When it started, Instagram was all about square images. They’ve since relaxed that and have embraced rectangular images as well. But there’s also a neat way to post multi-image panoramas for something quite different.
Of course, you’ve been able to post panoramic photos all along. When the requirements were for a square image, you could pad the borders to make it up. But that left a very small panorama in the middle which was kind of hard to see. When Instagram allowed rectangular images, they limited the narrowest aspect ratio to 1.91:1, which is still taller than most panoramas. And posting them that way makes them awfully small and loses all the impact that panoramas can have.
Now there’s a neat new way to do it. Fundamentally, it makes use of Instagram’s feature that lets you include multiple photos as part of a single post. It adds to that a feature that makes that swipeable multi-post move seamlessly from image to image so that the resulting image is a smooth, seamless panorama without obvious joins.
Table of Contents
Basically, you can split up a panorama into multiple square tiles, post those tiles to Instagram as part of a single post, and users can simply swipe left to move smoothly across the panorama. It’s a neat effect, and it’s much more impressive than the itty bitty rectangles of a single image.
Here’s an example of how it comes out (it used to be embedded here, but unfortunately that no longer works because Instagram blocked embedding, so I’ve replaced that with a link).
It works best when viewing the images through the mobile app, where the transition between the images is smooth. It still works when viewing through a web browser, but you lose that smooth transition, and it isn’t as slick.
You can also get creative with this and do a wide layout of several images rather than just one single image. Photographer Phil Penman uses some good examples of this approach to make photo essays.
How to Split a Panorama into Square Tiles
There are multiple ways you can split up a panorama into square tiles.
Splitting a Panorama into Square Tiles with Photoshop
There are always a bunch of ways to accomplish the same end in Photoshop. This is no different. If you want to split a panorama image into three (or any other number) pieces, you can do it with a combination of the marquee tool and cutting and pasting, or the cropping tool and the undo function.
But here’s the way I prefer to do it. It’s quick and neat.
This particular method relies on your master image divided evenly into squares. You want it to divide neatly into two squares or three squares or four squares, or whatever number you’re aiming for. What you don’t want is for it to divide into three and a bit squares.
So first crop the image to a whole number ratio like 1:3 or 1:4. In this case, I’m going to break it into three square tiles. Click on the crop tool, and then set the parameters at the top to Ratio. Then the first number is the number of horizontal tiles—in this case, 3. And the second is number 1. Like this:
Then apply the crop by either double-clicking inside it or clicking on the checkmark in the top toolbar.
Next, choose the Slice tool from the main toolbar at the left. The slice tool is under the same button as the crop tool, so click and hold on the crop tool to get the drop-down menu.
With the Slice tool active, click outside the image and drop around the outside of the entire image so that it creates one large slice that includes the whole image.
Then right-click on the small icons at the very top left of the slice. You’ll get a pop-up menu.
Choose Divide Slice.
From the Divide Slice options, uncheck the default “Divide Horizontally Into” box and check the “Divide Vertically Into” box. Then enter the number of slices you want.
You’ll notice that there’s no way to specify square slices. That’s why we made sure we started with a master image that divided neatly into whole squares.
You’ll notice that the slices are marked on the image now.
Click OK to close the Divide Slice options panel.
Now it’s time to export those slices as individual image files. Adobe touts the benefits of the newer Quick Export feature, but for this (and most of the time, for that matter), I prefer the old-fashioned Save for Web function. So choose that (File > Export > Save for Web).
Chances are, your master file is still a very large image. The Save for Web function isn’t really designed for very large images, and if only part of it is showing up in the preview panel, you might need to adjust the magnification in the bottom left. “Fit to View” is a good option for panoramas like this because it ensures that you can see the whole image.
In the right panel, change the image format to JPG and choose your compression amount. Something around 85 percent is a good working level, but you can choose higher or lower if you want. Do be aware, though, if you choose lower, that Instagram will be applying another round of compression when you upload the photo. So unless there’s some unusual reason not to, it’s better to err on the side of higher quality rather than lower quality.
The next thing to do is adjust the output size. The ideal size for photos for Instagram right now is 1080 pixels. So I change the height to 1080.
Then click Save.
You’ll then get the filename and location browser. Adjust the filename and folder if you want.
Before you hit Save, there’s a bit of a trick. You’ll notice at the bottom left that there are a few options. It’s important that the Slices one is set to All Slices.
Then hit Save. The images will output to an “images” subfolder, and sequence numbering will be applied automatically.
Splitting a Panorama into Square Tiles with ImageSplitter
ImageSplitter is a free online service that can quickly and easily split your panorama into tiles.
Again, it will work much better if you start with an image that will divide evenly into square tiles. If you have Photoshop, you can use the crop by the Ratio method outlined above. If you don’t have Photoshop, you can use any other cropping tool and manually calculate it (e.g., 3000 pixels by 1000 pixels). You can also do that in ImageSplitter after you upload the image and before you use the Split Image feature.
I’m not going to do the step-by-step guide for using ImageSplitter because it’s pretty self-explanatory. Just upload your image, choose the Split Image tab, and then specify the rows and columns (rows will be 1; columns will be however many tiles you want).
Once the splitting is down, it automatically downloads the resulting JPGs to your computers in a zip file.
Posting to Instagram
You now finally have the square tiles that you can upload to Instagram. As part of the upload process, whether on the mobile app or, now, on the desktop browser interface, allow you to select multiple images (up to 10) to post.
The only thing to watch is that you choose them in the proper order, from left to right. That is, the first image should be the far left tile and be numbered 1 in your sequence.
Things Worth Knowing
- You can use up to 10 tiles across. That’s the limit of the multiple-image posts.
- This only works for horizontal (landscape) panoramas and ones that have a single row. So you can’t use vertical panoramas or multi-row panoramas.
- The panorama tiles can be any image file format that Instagram accepts: JPEG, PNG, BMP, and non-animated GIFs.
Frequently Asked Questions About Posting a Panorama to Instagram
What are Instagram panorama tiles?
Instagram panorama tiles are a way to showcase a large, high-resolution panoramic image on Instagram by splitting it into multiple, smaller square images. These smaller images, or tiles, are then uploaded in a specific order to create a seamless, swipeable panorama in your Instagram feed.
How do I create Instagram panorama tiles from a single photo?
To create Instagram panorama tiles, you can use photo editing software or apps specifically designed for this purpose. Start by cropping your panoramic image into equally sized square images that maintain the aspect ratio of the original photo. Save each square as a separate file, and then upload them to Instagram in the correct order.
What are the benefits of using Instagram panorama tiles for my posts?
Instagram panorama tiles allow you to display high-resolution, wide or tall images in a more engaging and interactive format as seamless panoramas. They can help you showcase stunning landscapes, cityscapes, or other large-scale subjects, and encourage users to interact with your content by swiping through the tiles.
Are there any mobile apps or tools available to create Instagram panorama tiles?
Yes, there are several mobile apps and tools available to help you create Instagram panorama tiles, such as Panoslice, Panora, and Unsquared. These apps simplify the process of cropping and preparing your panoramic images for uploading to Instagram.
How do I ensure that the tiles are in the correct order when I upload them to Instagram?
When uploading your tiles to Instagram, start with the last tile in the sequence and upload them in reverse order. This ensures that the tiles appear in the correct order when users swipe through your post.
What are the ideal dimensions and aspect ratios for Instagram panorama tiles?
The ideal dimensions for Instagram panorama tiles are square images with a 1:1 aspect ratio. However, you can also use other aspect ratios like 4:5 or 16:9, depending on the format of your original panoramic image and how you want it to be displayed.
Can I use Instagram panorama tiles for videos as well as photos?
While Instagram panorama tiles are primarily used for photos, you can also use them for videos by splitting your video into shorter clips and uploading them as a carousel post. Ensure that the clips are in the correct sequence and have smooth transitions to create an engaging panoramic video experience.
Is there a limit to the number of tiles I can use for an Instagram panorama?
Instagram allows up to 10 images or videos in a carousel post, so you can have up to 10 tiles in your Instagram panorama.
Can I use hashtags and captions effectively with Instagram panorama tiles?
Yes, you can use hashtags and captions effectively with Instagram panorama tiles. When writing your caption, provide context and information about the panoramic image, and use relevant hashtags to increase the visibility of your post. Remember that the caption and hashtags will apply to all tiles in the carousel, so choose them wisely to encompass the entire panorama.
How do I post a panorama on Instagram?
To post a panorama on Instagram, you need to first split the image into separate, smaller images that can be uploaded as a carousel post. You can use apps like Panosplit, PanoramaCrop, or Adobe Photoshop to divide your panorama into tiles.
How do I create a seamless carousel post on Instagram?
To create a seamless carousel post, first split your panorama into equally-sized tiles. Then, upload the images in order to Instagram as a carousel post. Make sure each tile maintains the same aspect ratio for a smooth scrolling experience.
How do I post both horizontal and vertical photos in one Instagram carousel post?
It’s not possible to mix horizontal and vertical photos in a single carousel post on Instagram. All photos in a carousel post must have the same orientation and aspect ratio. You can, however, create separate carousel posts for horizontal and vertical images.
How do I split a panorama into multiple parts for an Instagram post?
You can use apps like Panosplit, PanoramaCrop, or Adobe Photoshop to split your panorama into smaller tiles. These apps will help you create equal-sized images that maintain the correct aspect ratio for a seamless carousel post.
How do I add panorama pictures to Instagram Stories?
To add a panorama to Instagram Stories, crop or resize the image to fit the platform’s aspect ratio of 9:16. You can also use apps like Panosplit or PanoramaCrop to split the panorama into smaller images, then upload them as separate Instagram Stories, allowing users to tap through the entire image.