Instagram’s defining square format has changed the way people take and share pictures. Panoramic city skylines become boxed vignettes, and that high-rise shot is pinched and squeezed into an abstract rooftop profile. But that’s all about to change.
Starting Thursday, Instagram will let users upload portrait and landscape photos and video, in addition to the 1×1 square format.
“Square format has been and always will be part of who we are,” reads an Instagram press release. “That said, the visual story you’re trying to tell should always come first, and we want to make it simple and fun for you to share moments just the way you want to.”
Instagram users will be able to adjust the orientation of their photos to portrait or landscape by tapping on the format icon before editing. Once shared, the full-sized version of the photo will appear on other users’ feeds, but the post will still show up as a center-cropped square on users’ profile pages.
The Facebook-owned company said the move is a response to some users’ demands for more flexibility. “We know that it hasn’t been easy to share this type of content on Instagram,” reads the post. “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.”
But the change is also a way for Instagram to better capitalize on the growing rise of mobile video, especially as rival service Snapchat popularizes portrait-oriented smartphone videography. “We’re especially excited about what this update means for video on Instagram, which in widescreen can be more cinematic than ever,” the post continues.
In addition to the formatting change, Instagram will now allow users to adjust the intensity of all filters with either photos or videos.
The Instagram update will be available immediately in the iOS App Store and Android’s Google Play store.