The app will continue to let users post images and video in its traditional square format. However, the additional options could help Instagram appeal to serious photographers and maintain its dominance in the increasingly crowded photo-sharing app space.
“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,” Instagram wrote in a blog post.
Instagram users for years have resorted to third-party apps like InstaFit to post photos to Instagram without cropping them. More than 1 million people have downloaded InstaFit and more than 60 million photos have been resized and posted to Instagram from the app, according to its App Store description.
The new aspect ratio is also available for videos, a major focus of social networks competing for mobile advertising. With this update, users will be able to share wide-screen videos. The company paired its announcement of the new feature with an exclusive landscape video from the upcoming “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”
Instagram’s move coincides with consumers increasingly purchasing smart phones with larger screens that provide a better mobile viewing experience for wide-screen videos. The app also stepped up its video game today by announcing the same filters will work on both photos and videos.
The update is available on Android and iOS, so users can start fitting their whole “skinny arm” poses or the entire group in their shots right away.