The Meta-owned app has gradually pushed towards greater use of video, at the expense of leaving photography behind. However, it will soon make an effort so that photography can live alongside videos on the service on a similar footing.
Revealed during a weekly Ask Me Anything session, The Verge reports Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said the app will be trialling 9:16 photos “in a week or two.”
“You can have tall videos, but you cannot have tall photos on Instagram,” said Mosseri. “So we thought maybe we should make sure that we treat both equally.”
Previously, photographers destined for the feed were limited to a 4:5 format for shots, far from the full-screen aspect ratio used by videos such as Instagram’s Reels. Users could previously post 9:16 images but only via Stories, which meant the images would disappear from view unless saved as a highlight.
Some creative photographers have also created Reel videos that are a few seconds long but only using one frame, giving the appearance of it being a full screen image post. However, due to using video, there is a loss in quality compared to an actual still image.
The announcement of the photography change may be a change in tactic for an app that is hell-bent on copying TikTok’s features. After an initial attempt at a fullscreen interface that was disliked by photographers for overlaying elements and obscuring parts of the image, the app walked the interface back.
Part of the backlash was an unexpected complaint from celebrities Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian, who urged Mosseri to “Make Instagram Instagram Again,” and to “stop trying to be TikTok.” The message echoed a meme spread by photographers over the loss of prominence of still images on the service.