Buying Instagram Prints - What You Need To Consider

Have you ever scrolled through the endless feed that is Instagram and stumbled upon an image that you just 'must have'!? Or maybe you find yourself on the other end of the scale, actively searching for a new print to grace that empty wall that you have been staring at for the past few months? If you fall into either of these two categories and you're thinking about buying Instagram prints then there are probably a few things that you should consider before you start throwing your hard earned cash at the first thing you see. Below we have listed a few things you should consider prior to making a purchase, this will help to ensure you end up with a quality print that you'll be over the moon about. 


Size Of The Print

Size is the most important thing you should be thinking about before you buy a print from Instagram. How big do you want that print to be? If you're looking for a print to fill a small frame which will sit on a side table then you probably don't have to worry too much. But if you're thinking of having an image enlarged to a size large which you can hang on your wall then you should exercise some caution when buying from Instagram. Images which are displayed on Instagram's platform are very small which means that just about any image will look half decent regardless of the quality. An image which looks good in this size, may not look equally as good once it has been enlarged. So if you're looking for a large print, it pays to also take the following points into consideration if you want to get a quality piece of art.

living room with New York print

Crop Factor

As you may already be aware, when you upload an image to Instagram you are given the ability to crop your photo which essentially makes a portion of the image bigger allowing it to fill more vertical space on your feed. It is for this reason that you need to pay close attention to the print you are planning to purchase. A standard square crop at 1080x1080p will show you roughly 2/3rd's of the original image. An entire landscape image can be uploaded uncropped however a portrait shot will need to be cropped in order to be displayed. The maximum crop Instagram allows on portrait images is 1350x1080p which still leaves some of the original image missing. See the images below for examples. A large portion of Instagram users aim to upload images this way so that it will appear larger on your feed, this will more than likely get your attention over something which is displayed smaller. 

Santa Monica Beach

Like the print seen above, shop it here

You may also not be aware but you can turn a landscape photo into a portrait simply by adjusting the crop. This will crop the original image by more than 50% and if the artist then wants to achieve maximum visual space on your Instagram feed they can then crop it further to 1350x1080p. I have attached another image below as an example. Because phone screens are so small it doesn't reduce the quality of the image and no one will ever know the difference. That is until you decide to buy that image and have it enlarged. Just so it's clear, an image which has been reduced by more than 50% cannot be enlarged to the same size as an original without losing quality.

Joshua Tree national parkLike the print seen above, shop it here

That is why it's always a good idea to pay attention to the crop factor because if your planning to enlarge the print quite big, this can affect the overall quality of the image. But as we mentioned before if you're only looking for a print to sit in a small frame on a desk or bookshelf then you probably don't have too much to worry about. 


Sensor Size and Megapixels

Before purchasing your desired image, it's worth asking the artist what type of camera was used to compose the image. Why might you ask? It's because cameras do not all use the same sized sensors or contain the same amount of megapixels. Without getting too technical, it's these two components together which control the amount of information recorded in an image. 

For example, a iPhone would use a sensor size of roughly 1/3 which would be fractionally smaller than the first black square on the chart shown below. A $2000 drone currently uses on average a 1" sensor size (yellow square). A midrange DSLR camera would use a sensor size of 22mm (purple square) and a top of the range full frame DSLR would use a 35mm sensor size (Olive square). These examples will change over time with technological advancements, so please keep that in mind if you are reading this in a few years.

From iPhone to Full frame DSLR cameras, megapixel can range from as little as 12 all the way up to 50.1 in today's models. It can be a lot to take in but in order to help break it down, roughly a camera which contains a 22mm (purple square) and roughly 20 megapixels should be able to blow an image up to a 100 x 66cm without losing much quality. Cameras with smaller sensors or fewer megapixels can still have their images blow up to the same size but the quality of the image will decrease as the image gets pushed beyond its limits. It tends to go without saying that an image taken with a bigger sensor size and more megapixels than the example above would be able to be enlarged a lot further.  For image quality, it's better to have a camera with a bigger sensor with fewer megapixels than a smaller sensor with lots of megapixels.


sensor size chart


My goal here is not to talk you out of buying prints from your favourite Instagram artists but just to give you some understanding of what can impact the overall quality of an enlarged image. Where possible the safest way to know what you're getting is to see the print enlarged prior to purchasing but this option isn't always available, so try to use your best judgment. 

Rest assured if you're looking to purchase any prints online from Lonely Hunter, you can sleep easy knowing that we only sell the original sized images and do not sell Instagram crops. We also only use top of the range full frame DSLR cameras and lenses which means you are getting the best in quality. We also provide a feature on our cart page which allows you to hover over your selected print with your mouse and take a closer look at the image quality.

All the prints that were seen in the images above and many more are available for purchase through our online print store at Lonely Hunter. Come and check out our entire range of beautiful photographic prints.

Should you wish to keep up to date with all our new release prints, you can also follow us on our socials:

Instagram: @lonelyhunter

Facebook: /lonelyhunterphoto

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