If Instagram were a shape, there's no doubt as to what it would be: a square. It feels like the image-sharing social network practically invented the square-cropped photo. But not all photos fit that mold, and Instagram is finally providing a solution for images that don't work in its default form: Starting today, Instagram will support images in portrait and landscape mode. (If you just gasped, don't worry; we did, too.)
This is great news for group shots where you were previously forced to crop out a friend or coworker's face, or #OOTD posts where you might have had to crop out your head or shoes to fit in the full look.
After studying user behavior, Instagram found that 20% of photos posted to the network use "letter boxing" — white or black bars on the sides or top and bottom of an image — to hack non-square images onto the app. This is accomplished either by taking a screenshot of the image on the Camera Roll or using a third-party photo editor. Now, there's no need for letter boxing. By tapping an icon in the bottom left-hand corner of an image you want to post, you can swap from the default square crop to a portrait or landscape rectangular image. You can adjust the crop, aspect ratio, and the zoom level using the usual pinch-to-zoom two-finger gesture.
But, when you visit someone's profile, that neat three-image-wide grid of square thumbnails won't change. Images posted as portrait or landscape will be centered and squarely cropped in this view; tapping the image will open it up and reveal the full pic.
Instagram still thinks it's hip to be square, but at least now you're not forced to conform if your favorite new photo begs for a less-symmetrical shape. Click ahead to see what your feed will start looking like now.