Adobe Photoshop Lightroom Classic CC

As we work with our clients, one issue that continues to come up, with ever increasing frequency is: How to Export Photos for Instagram from Lightroom Classic CC. So, I figured it would be a good idea for us to put up a post that covers the basic settings. To make this easy for you, I’ve created a set of workflow instructions and essential export presets that you can download and install on your computer (Mac and PC).

In Lightroom Classic CC, there are two steps to exporting an image to use on Instagram: cropping and exporting. And yes, there is a plugin which will allow you to upload your images directly from Lightroom to Instagram (called LR/Instagram). 12/1/2019 – LR/Instagram plugin is not working until further notice. 

However, some folks like to do things manually! So, immediately below are all the current, baseline settings you need to know to export photos for Instagram with detailed explanations and instructions.

Crop Settings

  • Square
    Aspect ratio (1:1)
    Pixel dimensions [1080 x 1080]
  • Portrait
    Aspect ratio (4:5)
    Pixel dimensions: [1080 x 1350]
  • Landscape
    Aspect ratio (1.91:1)
    Pixel dimensions [1080 x 566]

Export Settings

File type: JPG
Color Space: sRGB
Quality slider: 76
Resolution: 96ppi (minimum)
Output sharpening: Screen/Standard
[Note: there is a lot of debate about sharpening so, user discretion is advised]

Export Presets

Download our Lightroom Guy Export Presets which include the basic export settings for square, portrait, and Landscape. Installation instructions are provided at the end of this post.

A quick note and general disclaimer: there are thousands posts about this topic on the internet with lots and lots of discussion about what the current best settings are. As well, Instagram continues to silently change their standards. So, what is true today may not be true tomorrow! This article only discusses posting photos to Instagram, not videos or Instagram Stories.


A basic Instagram workflow would roughly look like the following:

  1. Shoot
  2. Import to Lightroom
  3. Select then Develop
  4. Export to your Hard Drive
  5. Transfer to Mobile
  6. Upload to Instagram

Once you have a photo imported into Lightroom Classic CC you should proceed to developing the photo to your satisfaction. Remember to consider the “why” of your photo in order to help you develop it in such a way that it best shares your vision or communicates your point of view.

Your next step will be to crop the image in the Develop module.

  1. Lighteoom Classic CC Crop & Straighten tool

    Crop & Straighten Tool

    Open the Crop & Straighten tool in the toolbar above the basic panel.

  2. Lightroom Classic CC Aspect Ratio

    Crop Aspect Ratio Pulldown Menu

    Open the Aspect Ratio menu by clicking on the word “Original” and then choose:

    • 1×1 for a Square image
    • 4×5 / 8×10 for a Portrait
    • [Pro Tip: press the ‘X’ key to rotate the crop orientation]
    • 1.91 for a Landscape image*
  3. Adjustthe crop to suit your needs and then click on the “Done” button in the lower right corner of the Preview screen or click the Crop tool again to close the tool.

Now, for the Landscape image, [1.91:1] is NOT a standard ratio so we need to add it manually, if you haven’t done so already. Follow the video below to see how to enter a custom ratio.

Once you are ready to export, you can either use our Export Presets or you can make the selections manually.

Lightroom Classic CC Custom Aspect Ratio

Export Settings

Here are all the recommended baseline settings, along with a brief explanation for each.

Lightroom Classic CC Export Settings for Instagram

File type: JPG – At the time of this post, Instagram supports either the JPG or PNG file format. The default choice is JPG.

Color Space: sRGB – this is a big topic suffice to say that sRGB is the only choice you want to use for Instagram posts. In brief, Color Space refers to how many colors there are in a particular gamut. The easiest way to think about this as a box of crayons. A basic box of crayons may have only one shade of red, while another may have 5 or 6 different reds. sRGB is the widest and simplest box of crayons to use across the internet. Choosing a different Color Space could shift your colors in unexpected ways.

Quality slider: 76 – a lot of research has gone into this and 76 turns out to be the sweet spot in terms of image quality and file size. If you are interested in more info, the best research on this can be found on Jeffrey Friedl’s Blog.

Resolution: 96ppi (minimum) – At a minimum, you should be choosing 96ppi and many folks are currently recommending 144ppi to accommodate for the newer Retina screens. Either is fine.

Output sharpening: Screen/Standard – this is another point that engenders a lot of conversation. Once an image has been cropped and resized, the image can begin to look a little “mushy” or soft. A little bit of sharpening on the output stage can bring some life back to your image. Some people advocate for a “high” level while others say “standard” is best. Again, we recommend “standard” amount at a minimum.

Lastly, you should specify the actual pixel size of the image. The pixel width and height need to match the crop aspect ratio that you choose during the Develop process. We’ve done the math for you so here is the info again:

Square (1:1)
Pixel dimensions [1080 x 1080]

Portrait (4:5)
Pixel dimensions: [1080 x 1350]

Landscape (1.91:1)
Pixel dimensions [1080 x 566]

To enter the width and height manually, check the “Resize to Fit” option and choose “Width & Height” in the pulldown menu. You can then enter in the exact PIXEL dimensions that you want.

After you export your image you can then transfer it to your mobile phone to upload the image. There are several ways to do this, depending on what kind of phone you have. At a minimum, you can email the photo to yourself, or send it wirelessly or use a file sharing app like dropbox.

With all of these settings, you should be able to get your images looking good with a minimum of fuss. Again, things change and there is a lot of competing information available on the internet so in no way are these settings authoritative. As we can report today, these are the best minimum settings at this time for posting only photos from Lightroom Classic CC to Instagram.

Export Preset Installation Instructions

Download our Lightroom Guy Lightroom Classic CC Instagram Export Presets

Included in this .zip file are 3 Lightroom Classic CC presets for the Export process.

  1. Locate the Export Presets folder, the easiest way to do this is to go to the Lightroom Preferences and choosing the “Show All Other Lightroom Presets” button from the Presets tab
  2. Locate the Lightroom / Export Presets / User Presets folder
  3. Unzip the download and place the three Instagram lrtemplate files into the User Presets folder
  4. Restart Lightroom and you should see the presets ready to use in the Presets menu of the Export window

Lightroom Classic CC Presets

Lightroom Classic CC Export Preset File LocationNow you know how to export photos for Instagram from Lightroom Classic CC!