Best Lightroom Export Settings for Instagram

Susan Fernandez October 10 2022

Your Insta gets the activity and you desire to have more. Who doesn't, right? Quality photos are the answer and we have some tips for you on the best Lightroom export settings for Instagram to get those sweet, sweet likes.

When you're ready to share your photos with the world (or at least your followers), it's important to make sure you're exporting them in the highest quality possible. This means choosing the right file format and size, as well as specifying the appropriate resolution.

Lightroom is probably one of the most befitting tools for you in this case. Here we will tell you why.

Best Lightroom Export Settings for Instagram

Let`s start with some easy definitions you might already know.

Quality: The quality of a JPEG file is represented by a number that tells you how much compression was used. A higher number means better quality, but also larger file size.

Image Sizing: After you have the ratio between your chosen sides, resize your image so that neither side exceeds Instagram's maximum.

Image Resolution: Choosing the right resolution is key to ensuring your photos look crisp and sharp on all devices.

Image Crop: This is how you edit your image to make it fit one of Instagram's supported formats. Part of this process has to do with finding the right proportions between the shortest and longest sides (aspect ratios).

File Format: Your photo is stored as either a JPEG, TIFF, or RAW file. Each has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Color Space: The Color Profile controls how colors are shown. Every device uses a different one, which is why pictures might look distinct on your phone than they do on your computer screen.

Well, now we are ready to see how each of these Lightroom export settings can be used on your Instagram photos.


The file format you choose in Lightroom will offer up different choices, similar to what Photoshop does. If, for example, you export your image as a TIFF file, you then have the ability to control compression. But if JPEG is more your style (and quality-wise it's best for Instagram), then you can pick and choose the level of quality that suits you. That is all represented by that pesky number we talked about earlier.

A great tip is to never go lower than 70 on the quality scale, as this will start to noticeably degrade your photo. If you're really looking to make a statement with your photos and want the absolute best quality possible, then aim for closer to 100. Just remember that a higher quality number means a larger file size, so you might have to sacrifice some storage space for those top-notch pics.

Some individuals argue that exporting an image at its fullest potential is better because a higher-quality image will withstand less after going through the compression algorithm. Others say it's 76% where the sweet spot of the compression software lies. Play around with both methods and see which one works out better for you in terms of quality. Still, we don`t recommend lowering the quality of your photo less more than 76%.

Image Sizing

Lightroom has a nice export setting that allows you to change the dimensions and resolution of your photo all at once. Simply click on the Image Sizing options and put in your desired width and height. If one side is longer than the other, then make sure that the Constrain Proportions checkbox is selected so that your image doesn't get distorted.

Keep in mind that just because you changed the image aspect ratio to 1080 x 1080 doesn't mean the image will be exported as1080x1080. Instead, this means that the relationship between width and height will be kept no matter what size it is (For example, if it's 4000x4000).

That's why you should resize your images to make them Instagram-friendly. You can do this by going to the Library Module in Lightroom and clicking on the Export button found in the left panel. A dialog box will open so you can input your export settings.

This Lightroom setting will help you with the next Instagram setting: making sure your image doesn't exceed a certain size. The rule of thumb is to make sure the longest side of your image is no more than 1080px. That way, you know for sure that your photo will look great on any screen.

Image Resolution

The resolution is an attribute you must also assign to your image in the same settings window where you control the size. Besides, you can also keep the resolution to 72 pixels per inch or lower. If you choose a higher number, your image will be resized when you upload it to Instagram. Image resolution is the number of pixels per inch (ppi) in an image. The term applies to digital images, film images, and computer monitor displays.

A resolution of 72 ppi is fine for viewing on a monitor or for posting online because the files will be small, but it`s poor quality for printing photos. If you want to make prints of your photos, a resolution of 300 ppi is better. A resolution of 150 ppi is probably all you need for 4" x 6" prints.

Image Crop

Instagram used to only support square images, but that has changed over time. Nowadays, you can use portrait, landscape, or square formats on the platform. Keep in mind that your photo's width must be between 320 and 1080 pixels for it to meet Instagram's standards.

At this point, you have no control over the outcome, and that’s not a good position to be in. So, one of the things that you need to consider when uploading images to Instagram is cropping and sizing your image yourself. To do this in Lightroom, go to the Develop module. At the top of the panels, you’ll find the adjustment tools.

The first one from the left is a square icon – click on that. You’ll see a square and a grid appear on top of your image That’s the Crop and Straighten tool. It is used to, well, crop and straightens images. If your image is not already square, you can use this tool to make it so by dragging the corners of the grid until they meet in the middle.

The aspect ratio is normally expressed with a colon separating both numbers, such as 4:5. Here, you'll see the multiplication symbol (4 x 5). They're equivalent so don't be confused. If you can't find the aspect ratio that you're looking for, click on Enter Custom and type in your preference. You can either write out the aspect ratio or the number of pixels.

File Format

This Lightroom export setting for Instagram determines the format of your image file. The three most common formats for photos are JPG, PNG, and TIFF. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages, but for our purposes, we're going to focus on JPG.

  • JPG is a lossy compression format, which means that some of the data in the original photo is lost when the file is compressed. However, it's also the smallest file size and best suited for sharing online.
  • PNG is a lossless compression format, which means that no data is lost when the file is compressed. However, it results in a much larger file size than JPG.
  • TIFF is an uncompressed format, which means that no data is lost when the file is saved. However, it results in extremely large file size.

For the best quality, you should use the TIFF format. However, for most purposes, JPG is more than sufficient.

Color Space

The color space is the range of colors that can be represented by a given image file format. There are two common color spaces: RGB and CMYK.

RGB (Red, Green, Blue) is the most common color space for digital images. It's used by computers, TVs, and digital cameras. CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black) is the color space used by printers. For photos meant to be viewed on a computer or TV screen, RGB is the best choice.

Unless you take specific action to change it, Lightroom Classic uses Adobe RGB color space for displaying previews, exporting PDFs and uploading content. However, in Develop mode images will display using a different setting called ProPhotoRGB. If you're looking to share your photos on Instagram, remember to switch the Color Space to sRGB before export by adjusting the File Settings in the Export window.


As you can see, there are a lot of things to consider when exporting photos from Lightroom for Instagram. But don't let that overwhelm you – the defaults are usually fine. And if you're ever in doubt, just refer back to this guide!