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image of a cellphone on a pink background with binder clips and eucalyptus leaves

Now videos, carousel posts, and graphics are familiar sights when scrolling through Instagram. With so many options, you may be confused about which image format to use.

Choosing an image format depends on what you are trying to accomplish with your post. If you’re unsure about the different types of posts for Instagram, then check out this article.

Using the right format can significantly increase your ability to see results on Instagram.

This article breaks down the different image formats and explains the best format to use for each type of post.

So, let’s get started!!!


Pictures are what most people expect to see when they log into Instagram. After all, the whole point (at least initially) for Instagram was a place to share and connect with others through pictures.

Using pictures with your post works for all types of posts. However, you may get better results using photos for certain kinds of posts.

example of an Instagram grid with carefully curated images

Pictures are an excellent choice for increasing your brand awareness. If you’re an interior designer, then pictures of your work will give your audience an idea of your style. Brand pictures are also highly sharable, which helps increase your visibility on the platform. 

Pictures of yourself are a fantastic way to build your personal brand. Images of you allow your audience to make a visual connection with you. While personal photos don’t receive as many shares, they are still a great way to establish a relationship with your audience.

When using pictures, make sure they are of high quality and sized for Instagram. Image sizes should be 1080×1080 for your feed.

When to use pictures:

All posts – perform well for increasing brand and personal brand awareness.


Videos have become increasingly popular across all social media platforms. And they perform quite well.  

Instagram has given us several different places to use video. First, you can add a video to your IG stories. This is an excellent option for shorter videos. If your video is a little longer (more than 3 minutes), consider creating an IGTV. You can post your IGTV video on your feed.

Going with a video format is an excellent choice when sharing educational content. Showing your face on video also allows the audience to make a personal connection with you, furthering your personal brand.

If you’re uncomfortable in front of the camera, there are still great options for creating videos for your Instagram posts. You can create eye-catching videos using photos and graphics. There are many video apps available.

One of my favorite video creation tools to use is Animoto. They offer several templates to make getting started easy.

When to use video:

  1. Educating

  2. Demos

  3. Promotional Posts


Graphics posts have been HOT lately. Graphics are highly sharable and have the best potential to go viral. If you’re trying to increase your visibility, then try using a graphic.

example of a Twitter-inspired graphic for Instagram

Graphics are great to use for sharing quotes. The use of Twitter graphics has become a familiar sight on Instagram. When using a graphic for a quote, make sure that it is simple.

Don’t go overboard adding designs to the graphic and always use a font that is easy to read.

Graphics are also useful when educating your audience. Bar graphs and pie charts can efficiently deliver content that is visually digestible for your audience.

To create graphics, I use Canva. They offer pre-made templates. However, as mentioned above, please keep it simple. Graphics should have plenty of white space. Incorporate your brand colors where you can, though.

Use Graphics for:


Educational Content

Carousel Posts

Carousel posts allow you to upload several photos, graphics, or both. Your audience then swipes right to see the next photo/graphic.

Carousel posts help to increase engagement because it encourages your audience to swipe right to see the next image. Each time someone swipes through your carousel post, the Instagram algorithm counts it as engagement. The more engagement your posts receive, the more they are shown to others on Instagram.

  1. Know which one to use to get the right results.

  2. Pictures can be used for all post types.  Make sure all photos are high quality and sized for Instagram 1080×1080

  3. Popular format that yields high reach.  Use for educating and promoting

  4. Extremely popular and highly sharable.  Use graphics to educate your audience and for quotes.

  5. Encourages engagement.  Use for educational and promotional posts

  6. You can create a series of graphics to go along with your educational posts. Carousel posts work well for showing a before and after. They also work well for sharing details about your products or services.

Use Carousel Posts for:

  1. Educational Content Promotional Content Before & After

Many Instagram users work hard to maintain a carefully curated feed. If you are worried that some of these options will disrupt your feed’s look, consider some of these options.

For IGTV – You can easily add a cover photo or graphic to your IGTV. So that when it posts to your feed, you can still maintain a consistent look.

Carousel Posts – Want to create a graphic, but are concerned about how it will look on your feed? Make the first slide a photo that is consistent with the look and feel of your feed.

I hope that you found this information helpful. Use these different formats to stop the scroll, use your content to create interest.

WAIT!!!! I can't let you leave empty-handed. Before you go, be sure to check out these amazing free resources:


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