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Instagram is thinking outside the square.



Facebook-owned image-sharing platform Instagram is allowing its 300 million users to share photos and videos in both portrait and landscape orientation on Instagram. Square format has been and always will be part of Instagram. And yet freedom marches on, toward the manifest destiny of portrait and landscape formats.

To what end? The landscape format will be more accommodating to certain Instagram genres, like photos of friends posing arm-in-arm, against the backdrop of some fun locale. But at a time when technology has freed us from almost all boundaries of what content we can record and publish and when, there is something to be said for restrictions. Twitter’s 140-character limit is one example. Vine’s six-second rule is another.

It turns out that nearly one in five photos or videos people post aren’t in the square format, and we know that it hasn’t been easy to share this type of content on Instagram: friends get cut out of group shots, the subject of your video feels cramped and you can’t capture the Golden Gate Bridge from end to end. Now, when choosing a photo or video, you can tap the format icon to adjust the orientation to portrait or landscape instead of square. Once you share the photo, the full-sized version of it will appear to all of your followers in feed in a beautiful, natural way. To keep the clean feel of your profile grid, your post will appear there as a center-cropped square.

We’re especially excited about what this update means for video on Instagram, which in widescreen can be more cinematic than ever. While we’ve historically had separate filters for photos and for videos, all filters will now work on all types of moments. You can also adjust the intensity of filters on videos, too.

It boils down to giving advertisers and users more options. There are more than two million advertisers who actively use Facebook to market their business and we want to leverage the best of Facebook's infrastructure for buying, managing and measuring the success of ads on Instagram