I was literally shocked when I heard this news. I’ve never ever thought that this time could actually come! Today will go down in Instagram history, an important milestone to mark an important turning point when Instagram had finally given up its uncompromising support to be an exclusively square format photo sharing app.
All this time, when just about every other competitor had support for the natural landscape and portrait format from the get go, Instagram had resolutely been square format only. This was not just out of stubborness however. Instagram tried to maintain its original inspiration, which were vintage/toy cameras such as Polaroid, Holga, Lomo and Diana – all of them used square format.
Well, today this great bastion of squareness has crumbled, Instagram has finally recognised that ‘total inclusiveness’ is more important then a romanticism of the past. Someone somewhere (most probably the parent company Facebook) realised that Instagram’s insistent support of square format was its achilles heel that had prevented Instagram to be totally accepted as the one and only choice for all Photographers to share their photos.
Indeed many photographers had refused or at least loathed this ‘limitation’ that Instagram had and chose to use other services to share their photos. Sites like Flickr, 500px, EyeEm, and many others had gladly sheltered these ‘purist’ and welcome them in their tight embrace.
Today this situation will change, to Instagram’s advantage I predict. Because from today you don’t have to think square anymore, from today you can post your photo as the nature intended, regardless its orientation, be it landscape of portrait. Let’d give a round applause for Instagram.
Instagram said: “Square format has been and always will be part of who we are. 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.”
I must admit that I have a mixed feeling about this and I suspect many of my IGers friends whom have been with Instagram from the very beginning would have the same. In one side I’m glad that Instagram took this decision, which I’m sure was very hard for them; but on the other hand I can’t help but to feel that we are going to lose our exclusiveness as the biggest ‘square format’ virtual club.
More from Instagram on how this is going to work: “When choosing a photo or video, you can now tap the format icon to adjust the orientation to portrait or landscape instead of square. The full-sized version will show up in feed in a beautiful, natural way. To not disrupt your profile grid, your post will appear there as a center-cropped square.”
I am going to predict that soon Instagram is going to get more crowded as new users are migrating in a drove. Obviously this could only mean a good thing for Instagram in particular and Facebook in general as more users means better valuation for the product. More users means more eyeballs for the Paid-Ads program that has so far been only a rumour. So expect to finally see those elusive ads in the near future.
One final thing, this move towards the more natural media orientation is not just for the photos, but it works also for videos, which is awesome! Finally we don’t need to tear our hair out just to find a way to crop our beautifully widescreen video into square. At last we could see our cinematic video being shown as it was intended! Expect even more cool video coming on Instagram screen near you.
My warm welcome to Portrait and Landscape!