Photoshop Basics Tutorial // Resizing Images (Perfect for Instagram!)

Photoshop Basics Tutorial // Resizing Images (Perfect for Instagram!)

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After my first Adobe Photoshop tutorial post, we were surprised to receive emails from readers requesting for a series of Photoshop tutorials for beginners. I wasn’t really sure where to begin for this series, but I noticed a few requests pertaining to resizing of images for Instagram. So yes, your request is my command!

Resizing images in Photoshop is really easy. I am going to use Instagram photo dimensions as an example in this post, but the steps to resize images for anything is basically the same.

If you were wondering how to resize an artwork to fit into Society6’s dimensions for certain products, you would find this tutorial useful as well! There are other steps that I use to resize and reconstruct honey&gazelle’s designs for Society6, but that would be a tutorial for another day (if anyone is even interested).

Let’s get started with this basic resizing tutorial!

A short note on resizing and image quality. It is really important to maintain image quality when you are resizing. As a very general sweeping statement, it is always better to scale down than up!

Step 1: Open your image

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You can either just drag and drop your image from the folder onto Photoshop, or go to the menu bar > File > Open to select your file.

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I am using this product shot for honey&gazelle’s newest postcard set – the #wordsofyouth series. I took this with an iPhone camera set to the “square” view, as I knew that I wanted to use this for our Instagram account.

Step 2: Go to Image > Image Size

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This dialog box will pop up:

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The Image Size dialog box is separated into two main sections with different measurements, Pixel Dimensions and Document Size. To resize an image, you want to adjust the pixels of the image, thus Pixel Dimensions is the section we will look at today!

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Beside the words “Pixel Dimensions”, you will be able to see the current file size of your image. In this example, my product photo is 13.3 megabytes. In a really short while, you would be able to compare the image’s original file size to the resized version’s file size right at that spot.

Step 3: Decide if you want to resize your image by pixels or percent 

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Adjusting your image via pixels allows you to enter the exact pixel values for the width and/or height.

Choosing the percent option allows you to adjust the image size in proportion to the original file. For example, if your original image was 2000 (width) x 1600 (height), selecting 50 percent will reduce your image size to 1000 (width) x 800 (height).

I always resize my images using pixels rather than percent, so that is the way we shall resize our image today (:

Step 4: Enter values for Width and Height

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To resize your image, all you need to do is change the numbers in the Width and Height boxes that I have circled in blue. For Instagram photos, use these dimensions – 1080 (width) x 1080 (height).

If you have not changed the default settings, you will notice that once you enter a new value for the Width or the Height, the corresponding value changes automatically. The reason behind this is that by default, Photoshop locks the original aspect ratio of the image when you resize so that your image will not end up distorted. Notice the linked icon that I have circled in red, next to the pixels/percent dropdown bar? This shows that the aspect ratio of your image is intact.

If you ever need to change the width and the height of your images separately, you can unlock the aspect ratio by unchecking the “Constrain Proportions” box at the bottom of the dialog box. See red oval in the picture!

After you have inserted the values, you will notice that the numbers on the right of the words “Pixel Dimensions” have changed. In this example (refer to the yellow highlighted box), you can see that the resized image will have a file size of 3.34 megabytes as compared to the original image of 13.3 megabytes. This is particularly useful to refer to, if you need your resized image to be of a particular file size.

(Optional) Step 5: Decide if you want to change the resolution

You wouldn’t need to change the resolution (in the Document Size section), if the image is to be used on the web. Resolution is only very important if the image is to be printed.

Step 6: Decide on your Resample options

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Right at the bottom of the dialog box is another dropdown bar with many resampling options.

What is resampling?

When we resize an image, Photoshop either removes or adds pixels to your image. If you are scaling it down, Photoshop basically “throws” away extra pixels that are no longer needed in the smaller file. If you are enlarging an image, Photoshop has to add pixels. Choosing a resampling option will help Photoshop make a more intelligent approach with the addition or subtraction of pixels. By default, “Bicubic Automatic” is chosen by Photoshop.

Whenever I am making my image smaller, I usually pick “Bicubic (best for smooth gradients)” or “Bicubic Sharper (best for reduction)“. How do I decide? If I had previously sharpen the image prior to resizing, I would pick “Bicubic”. However, for this particular product shot, I am going ahead with “Bicubic Sharper” as there are plenty of details in the photo that I would like to have refined, without going through the additional step of sharpening.

Step 7: Click Ok!

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And now you are done!…

…or are you? If you are intending to use the image online, then you should save your new resized image as a web-optimised file.

Additional Step 8 (for online use such as Instagram!): Save for Web

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Go to File > Save for Web

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This dialog box will pop up. Web-optimising your image files will allow them to load faster with a slimmer file size.

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Select JPEG as the format, and then you can decide on the quality of the image. I never go below 70% as I find that it visibly  degrades the image quality.

Option boxes that should be checked: Optimized, Embed Color Profile (mine wasn’t when this screenshot was taken, haha!), Convert to sRGB. The Blur option should always be set to 0, and you can decide if you want to embed any metadata with your image.

Click Save!

And now, you are really done (:

I hope that this tutorial was clear and easily understandable if you are a Photoshop beginner! Do let me know in the comments below or via email what you would like to learn next!

❤ Jia

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