Instagram has announced a major shift by allowing users to upload photos at different aspect ratios for the first time.
The company has broken free from the Polaroid-style square photos, which has underpinned its identity since day one, and is now enabling portrait and landscape snaps to be posted to the app.
Instagram says the decision was made partly due to 1 in 5 photos or videos being posted are letterboxed as they don’t fit the format.
“Square format has been and always will be part of who we are,” the company wrote on its official blog. “That said, the visual story you’re trying to tell should always come first, and we want to make it simple and fun for you to share moments just the way you want to.
“It turns out that nearly one in five photos or videos people post aren’t in the square format, and we know that it hasn’t been easy to share this type of content on Instagram: friends get cut out of group shots, the subject of your video feels cramped and you can’t capture the Golden Gate Bridge from end to end.”
In a new version of the app for iOS and Android, available from today, users will be able to tap a format icon to adjust the orientation to portrait or landscape.
The Facebook-owned social network says photos will still appear as a centre-cropped square within the profile grids.
Instagram says the change should be most effective in videos, with posters now able to showcase natural widescreen shots without having to crop out important details.
“Once you share the photo, the full-sized version of it will appear to all of your followers in feed in a beautiful, natural way. To keep the clean feel of your profile grid, your post will appear there as a center-cropped square,” Instagram added.
In another small change, the company also announced video filters can be used on photos and vise versa.