Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition)

Ever tried using photos and images on your Facebook page? It can be frustrating. So here's an up-to-date guide explaining what's what, what's where, and how big.

Facebook Photos Size Guide

There are many different ways to use images and photos on Facebook, and different reasons you might want to do so. Some are for design and identity on the user interface, like your profile picture or cover photo. And it’s a great way to share photos.

But working out the display sizes and types isn’t as easy as it could be. It involves some wrangling to get the result you want. Each type of image on a Facebook page has its own size and quirks.

And Facebook changes things from time to time. Sometimes it’s a small, incremental tweak. Sometimes it’s an entire overhawl (like the introduction of the “new” timelines). So it’s always a bit of a moving target. And there’s a new system rolling out sometime soon, apparently.

So here’s my updated 2014 version of the guide for Facebook image and photo sizes and types. You can see the examples below in action on my Facebook page. I try to keep this as up-to-date as possible. If you’ve noticed something that’s changed, please let me know in the comments.

Cover Photos

The cover photo is the large panoramic image space at the top of the timeline. It’s displayed at 851px wide by 315px high. The image you upload must be at least 399px wide–one that’s at least 720px wide will work best. You can upload an image already cropped and resized to precisely those sizes (here’s how if you’re using Lightroom). Or you can upload a larger image, in which case you’ll be given a chance to move the image to choose the crop you’d like displayed.

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) Facebook Cover Photo

You can only designate one photo as your Cover Photo. Panoramas are ideal. Simple crops also work. And there’s nothing stopping you from assembling a collage in your imaging software, saving it as a single image file, and uploading that. Here are some examples. And here’s a guide for creating a Facebook Cover Photo collage using Lightroom.

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) facebook photo sizes guide 10

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) facebook photo sizes guide 04

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) facebook photo sizes guide 03

If you’ve just set up a new Facebook profile or page and don’t yet have a cover photo, just click on the “Add Cover Photo” button at the top of the page where the Cover Photo will go. You’ll then get this warning popup:

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) facebook photo sizes guide 09

Once you’ve added your photo, you can change it easily. When you’re logged in to your account and on the Timeline view, if you hover the mouse over the Cover Photo you should get a “Change Cover” button at the bottom right of the Cover Photo. Click on that and you’ll get the menu item to choose where photo comes from. You can choose from existing photos you’ve uploaded to Facebook or upload a new one. And if you decide you want to reposition or remove the photo, you can use the same menu. It looks a little something like this:

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) facebook photo sizes guide 11

Facebook offers this advice: “To get the fastest load times for your Page, upload an sRGB JPG file that’s 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels tall and less than 100 kilobytes. For images with your logo or text-based content, you may get a higher quality result by using a PNG file.”

For more information on the latter point–about using text, logos, or watermarks on images, I have a separate post on that which goes into more detail.

Profile Images

The Profile Image is now the smaller, square at bottom left of the header, overlapping the cover photo. In the examples above, it’s my shadow.

Its final display dimensions are 160px by 160px, but you have to upload an image at least 180px by 180px. The thin white border is added automatically and there’s no way to remove it. The profile image will display 23 pixels from the left side of your cover photo and 210 pixels from its top.

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) facebook photo sizes guide 07

If you use a photo that’s not square, you have some control over which part of the image to use for the crop. When you’re logged in, hover over the profile image and choose “Edit Profile Picture” and then “Edit Thumbnail”.

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) facebook photo sizes guide 06

You can then click on the thumbnail and drag. Alternatively, you can check the “Scale to fit” box, which will display the whole image but fit within the same sized square (that is, you’ll end up with white on the top and bottom of a horizontal image or on the sides of a vertical image).

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) facebook photo sizes guide 05

Tip: If you find that your resulting profile image, after it’s downsized in Facebook, is blurry, try uploading an image twice the size of the downsized image (that is, an image that is 320px by 320px). That should give a sharper result.

Profile Image on the Timeline

The profile image that appears next to your name on comments and posts is the same image but is automatically scaled down to 32px by 32px.

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) facebook photo sizes guide 08

Shared Link Thumbnails

When you post a link on your timeline you have the option of including a thumbnail. It used to be that you were basically limited to images embedded in the page (or did some coding). But Facebook now has the option of choosing a different image by uploading one directly. You’ll get that option as you’re editing the link post.

The thumbnail for shared links is now sized at 377px wide and 196px tall, like this:

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) Facebook Timeline 20

Photo Thumbnails on a Page Timeline

NB: Facebook displays the timelines on your personal account a bit differently to the way it displays timelines on pages. For personal timelines, see the section below.

When you upload an image to the timeline, a thumbnail is generated of the entire image to fit within a box 403px wide and 504px tall.

Again, the behavior here has changed recently. It used to generate a cropped square thumbnail. But now the aspect ratio matters. The new method will fit the full image within a box 403px wide and 504px tall.

So if you upload a horizontal (or landscape) image, it will fill the width, like this:

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) Facebook Timeline 11jpg

And if you upload a vertical (or portrait) image, it will go to a maximum of 504px high and fit the image within the box (in this example, that meant some spare space on either side):

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) Facebook Timeline 12

If you want to make maximize use of the space, upload an image at exactly 403px wide and 504px tall (or the corresponding ratio if larger–eg. 806px by 1008px, etc).

Full-Width Photo Thumbnails on a Page Timeline

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) Facebook Timeline 16 590x800

On Pages (but not on personal timelines), you can also make the thumbnail span both columns of the timeline. After you add your photo, hover over the top right of that post’s box. You should see a small down arrow (it’s not very obvious) that launches a dropdown menu. From that menu, choose Highlight.

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) David Coleman Photography 3

The thumbnail will then display full-width at dimensions of up to 843px by 504px.

Again, this behavior has changed. It used to crop the image, it now shows the entire image to fit within a box 843px by 504px. If you upload an image of exactly those dimensions (or the same ratio), you get this:

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) Facebook Timeline 13.jpg

If you upload an image that’s not at those dimensions, you’ll get space on two of the sides, like this (note the space on either side of the image):

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) Facebook Timeline 14.jpg

Photo Thumbnails on a Personal Timeline

One a page timeline, updates are added on two columns of equal width. On a personal timeline, updates are added only to a right column. And that right column is a bit wider, meaning that there’s a larger box for thumbnails.
So on a personal timeline, thumbnails go up to 504px wide, like this:

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) Facebook Timeline 17

Uploading Multiple Images to a Page Timeline

A new feature is that you can now upload multiple images directly to the timeline. When you’re adding a photo, simply hit the plus sign in the upload box.

The resulting images don’t display like regular thumbnails, though. What you end up with depends on how many images you upload and the orientation of what I will call the primary image.

Primary image is what I’m calling the one that displays first, and it also displays larger in some of the layouts. So far as I know there’s not official name for it, but I’m going to go ahead and use primary image.

As well as displaying first, the primary image has another important role. It determines the layout you get. If you upload 3 images with a square primary image you’ll end up with a different layout than if you upload 3 images with a rectangular primary image.

There are two ways to change the order and to choose which is the primary image

  1. Before you upload the files, rename them in sequence. You can then select them all and upload them all together.
  2. Upload the files individually. Upload only the first file. This will be the primary or top photo. Then hit the empty square with the plus symbol and upload the next one, and so on. The images will display in the order you upload them this way.

You don’t have any control over which part of the image displays in the crop.

2 Images With Horizontal (Landscape) Primary Image

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) DC Photography

2 Images With Vertical (Portrait) Primary Image

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) DC Photography2

2 Images With Square Primary Image

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) square1

3 Images With Horizontal (Landscape) Primary Image

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) DC Photography 1

You can mix and match the orientations of the non-primary images–they’ll still display the same.

3 Images With Vertical (Portrait) Primary Image

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) DC Photography3

You can mix and match the orientations of the non-primary images–they’ll still display the same.

3 Images With Square Primary Image

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) square3

You can mix and match the orientations of the non-primary images–they’ll still display the same.

4 or More Images with a Horizontal (Landscape) Primary Image

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) DC Photography 2

You can mix and match the orientations of the non-primary images–they’ll still display the same. If you upload 5 images or more, it displays only the first 4 images.

4 or More Images with a Vertical (Portrait) Primary Image

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) DC Photography1

You can mix and match the orientations of the non-primary images–they’ll still display the same. If you upload 5 images or more, it displays only the first 4 images.

4 or More Images with a Square Primary Image

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) square4

You can mix and match the orientations of the non-primary images–they’ll still display the same. If you upload 5 images or more, it displays only the first 4 images.

Uploading Multiple Images to a Personal Timeline

On a personal timeline you also have the new option to upload multiple images, but because the right column is a bit larger than on a page timeline, the thumbnails behave slightly differently.

Rather than squares, you end up with rectangles. With three or more images, you get three thumbnails that are each 166px wide and 125px tall, like this:

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) Facebook Timeline 18

And if you upload two images, the thumbnails are each 251 px wide by 188px tall, like this:

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) Facebook Timeline 19

Display on Mobile Devices

Pretty much all bets are off when it comes to display on mobile devices. There’s a huge range of screen sizes, screen resolutions (like Apple’s Retina Display), and software, so the pixel measurements vary quite a lot. As some examples, here are how the same timeline from above looks on an iPad 4 and iPhone 5. The pixel measurements will vary from device to device, from app to app, and even between holding the screen vertically and horizontally.

iPhone 5 ( IOS7 / Safari / Screen vertical )

What were the square thumbnails and the full-width thumbnails from above are all rendered in the same full-width rectangle on iPhone.

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) 2013 10 25 142931png

iPad 4 ( iOS 7 / Safari / Screen vertical)

The full-width and square timeline thumbnails are retained, but the pixel dimensions are different.

Facebook Photos Size Guide: Dimensions & Types (2014 Edition) photoPNG

What is the Biggest Photo You Can Upload to Facebook?

Facebook nominally has a maximum upload size of 2048px wide, but the practical limit is actually much higher.

I’ve tested with images 3000px wide and a 6000px by 4000px image. There was no problem in either case–they uploaded just fine and displayed normally. Which makes sense–most cameras and phones these days take images far bigger than 2048×2048, and expecting the user to resize every image before they upload would make things unnecessarily complicated (or, in business jargon, would create too much friction), and people would become less likely to post images.

At the moment, there are limits to the usefulness of uploading images bigger than 2048px. Most of the visitors to your page don’t have larger than a 27-inch monitor–a 2048px image with the design elements Facebook puts around it will fill up most of the screen on a monitor that size. It might become more useful when very large high-density displays like Retina screens become more common. And, if image security is something you’re concerned about, uploading full resolution photos is asking for trouble.

Image Quality Issues

Something to be aware of is that Facebook compresses some images pretty aggressively when you upload and display them.

It makes sense–naturally, they want to speed page loads and reduce bandwidth by applying as much compression as they can get away with. To my mind, they compress too much, but how noticeable it is will depend on whether things like the range of colors in your image and amount of detail in your photo.

In the examples above, the JPEG compression is far more noticeable in the montage version than in the Sydney Harbour Bridge version. I set the quality and sharpening settings the same for each in the originals before they were uploaded. Some users have reported that images with lots of reds and oranges seem to show the effects of the compression more than ones with blues and greens, but it depends on the actual image.

It also seems to depend on what kind of image you’re displaying. Photo gallery images seem to have less compression applied in displaying than do design elements like the cover photo and profile image.

There are some things you can do in prepping the images before uploading that can help reduce the chances that your image will come out looking crappy.

Upload images that don’t have a lot of compression already applied. For jpegs, for example, try keeping the quality setting at 80 or above–Facebook is going to compress it again anyway. If you’re using software that factors in colorspace (like Lightroom or Photoshop), use sRGB colorspace. And uploading images that are already resized to close to or at the target display size and not overly sharpened seems to work well.

If none of these work, take a look at my post on how to get sharp text on Facebook images. In theory, there’s no reason it doesn’t also apply to photos, but using PNG-24

Getting Fuzzy Text on Images?

If you’re including text, a logo, or watermark and finding that it’s ending up fuzzy and unclear due to the JPEG artifacts, I’ve got a separate post detailing how to fix it: How to get sharp text on Facebook images.

Protecting Your Images

Once you’ve shared an image on Facebook you’ve pretty much given up any control over protecting it. Others can download the photo simply by right-clicking. There are also dedicated apps designed specifically for downloading Facebook photos in bulk (like this one or this one).

And, annoyingly, Facebook strips out all IPTC metadata when you upload the image, meaning that any embedded copyright information, location information, or captions are removed (and that includes PLUS metadata, a system that many professional photographers use). It also renames the image file, so adding copyright information to the filename doesn’t work either.

So your options are:

  1. Share your photo and not worry if someone “borrows” it.
  2. Share your photo and add a watermark (recognizing that people still might “borrow” it).
  3. Don’t upload it to Facebook to begin with.

One strategy some photographers (including me) use is only to upload small images. It’s not going to stop people from “borrowing,” but it at least reduces their options if they do. They can do less mischief with a 843px image than one that’s 4000px.

Cheat Sheet

Width Height Notes
Cover Photo 851px 315px
Profile Image in Header 160px 160px Must be uploaded at 180px by 180px
Profile Image on Timeline 32px 32px Same image as main Profile Image, automatically downscaled
Shared Link Thumbnail 377px 196px
Uploaded Photos 2048px 2048px
Uploaded Timeline Photo Thumbnail 403px 504px See exceptions above for small images.
Full-Width Thumbnails 843px 504px Only available on Page timelines (not personal timelines)
Video Preview Thumbnail 403px 226px

Facebook’s Terms of Service

Just because you can add photos to Facebook doesn’t necessarily mean you should immediately start uploading your entire image archive. If your photos have value to you or you want control over how they can be used, I strongly recommend taking a careful look at Facebook’s Terms of Service. They’re closely watched and often controversial. And to complicate matters, it’s not always clear whether you’re looking at the latest version.

In early September 2013, Facebook changed its Terms of Use again. The new language allows Facebook to do more with your photos (and other content), including selling them without compensating you. As the American Society of Media Photographers, one of the largest and most respected photographers’ trade groups (and of which I’m a member), put it:

The new Facebook Terms of Use have been modified to allow the company to sell virtually anything that is uploaded to the service, including all your photos, your identity and your data. Facebook has also explicitly removed the privacy protection from the commercialization rights.

This means that any photos uploaded to Facebook may be sold, distributed or otherwise commercialized with no compensation to the photographer. These new terms of service go into effect today.

. . .

Here’s the most important language. (Strikethrough indicates language that is being removed. Bold text is used to indicate the new additions.)

“You can use your privacy settings to limit how your name and profile picture may be associated with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us. You give us permission to use your name, and profile picture, content, and information in connection withcommercial, sponsored, or related that content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us, subject to the limits you place. This means, for example, that you permit a business or other entity to pay us to display your name and/or profile picture with your content or information, without any compensation to you. If you have selected a specific audience for your content or information, we will respect your choice when we use it.

 

The ASMP also posted a Q&A on the topic, which includes some very handy information.

And to make things even more interesting, it’s a moving target. It’s entirely possible that the terms will change at some point after you’ve uploaded the images.

More to Explore

The Powergen Dual USB Car Charger looks much like every other USB car charger out there except it has two USB ports. But it's still small and light, so it's easy to just throw in your bag.

Charging Cameras and Devices in the Car: The Basic Option

One of the downsides of modern cameras and devices is keeping everything charged. A USB car charger adds a lot of options, especially when has dual ports.

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sacks

Kit Essentials: Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry Sacks

Sea to Summit Ultra-Sil Dry SacksSmall, cheap, endlessly useful for travel photography and something I like to keep in my camera bag at all times.

martin-edge-underwater-photographer

The Underwater Photographer

If you’re looking to do any kind of underwater photography, this might well be just the book you’re after.

lightroom-splash

How to Resize Images in Photoshop Lightroom 5

Lightroom doesn’t have a resize function in the main Library or Develop modules. Instead, it has a more powerful and safer way of dealing with image resizing.

markdown

Brett Terpstra’s Markdown Service Tools

Brett Terpstra’s Markdown Service Tools is a collection of incredibly useful markdown services as Mac services.

keyboard

How to Rename a Lightroom 4 Catalog File

A quick step-by-step buide to renaming a Lightroom 4 catalog in both Mac and Windows.

Comments

  1. … thanks for the informative article.

    I like facebook, but consider their terms of service, and the stripping of all metadata, really evil.

    The obvious answer would seem to be to host images elsewhere, and post links to them – are there any disadvantages in taking that route?

  2. I am using Photoshop with “403×403 and more size with high resolution, but when i post on my page text on picture get blur? suggest me some tips for HD picture with text,

  3. Thanks for the informative post! Question- when I put my logo on an image to watermark it before posting to FB, it always looks fine. On FB, it always looks blurry, though the picture looks sharp. How should I be saving these in PS to make the logo sharp? Here is my page: https://www.facebook.com/theclickchickphotography?hc_location=timeline -My last post (today, 3/22) is my latest attempt. :)

Leave a Reply