Taming the Instagram Crop With the Top 8 Free Apps and Methods
First Off, Can We Tame the Instagram Crop Without Using an App?
Of course, you can! Let's start with the first approach -- one that doesn't require downloading a new app: the snapshot method (no software required). Since Instagram is a mobile app, you can easily use the basic approach of bypassing the crop window via your smartphone.
- As you try this method, make sure to switch on the "rotate feature" for your phone.
- Preview the photo that you want to upload into Instagram. Check if it's fitting into Instagram crop window.
- If the photo isn't fitting into the crop window, then re-open the photo in preview mode. Tilt your phone to make the photo fit in a square width. As it fits the square, take a screen snapshot of the photo.
- Now, just take the screen snapshot and upload it on to Instagram. You've just bypassed the Instagram crop window, and have won the battle!
Note: the above instructions are for portrait frame, so if the photo was in landscape frame then I simply needed to keep the phone vertical to bring the landscape frame to a compromised square frame and then take a screen snapshot.
Note also that if you have a smartphone which doesn't allow for screenshots or has no rotate feature, then you'll need to find alternatives. From here on out, all the approaches shall be alternative methods, using third party apps.
Approach 2: Using InstaPicFrame (Free App)
InstaPicFrame was the very first app made for uploading multiple photos on Instagram. It also can also be used for adjusting the frame of your photos so that they can bypass the Instagram crop window.
- Open the InstaPicFrame app on your devices and first choose the "Pro Mode" from the InstaPicFrame menu
- Now from the "Templates," choose the frame for a single photo
- To upload a photo to the frame, tap on the frame. Upon tapping the frame, it will then take you to the photo galleries from where you can choose your photo As you tap the frame, a window will appear asking for photo's location -- browse for the photo's location and upload it once you've found it.
- Adjust your photo within the square frame by using the blue dot and arrow for moving and orienting the image within the frame. Make sure to place the images in the center and not at the edges to avoid disturbing the photo during fitting the frame.
- Now, to choose the frame, click on the "Size" button in the bottom toolbar and choose your best fit frame for your photo or a frame of your choice to fit the photo. (For elongated images and horizontal images, choose the best fit frame accordingly).
- Edit your photo's border and style using the bottom toolbar. Then, click on "save" at the top right corner of the app. Upon clicking a window asking for export medium will appear. Choose Instagram from the options to upload it to Instagram.
Approach 3: Using Photo Grid (Free App)
Photo Grid works similarly to InstaPicFrame, but also has additional features. However, we'll of course focus on how to bypass the crop in this article:
- Open the Photo Grid app on your devices and choose the "Single Photo Mode" from the Photo Grid menu
- Upon opening Photo Grid, you'll also be directly taken to the photo galleries where you can select your photo to be uploaded
- In the editing panel, click on the "Size" button in the bottom right corner of the toolbar and choose your best fit frame for your photo or a frame of your choice. Use the dragging tool to orient your photo and the remaining editing tools to adjust the photo's border and style.
- After you are finished editing, click on the share icon on the top toolbar of the app to upload it to Instagram.
Approach 4: Using PhotoShake (Free App)
PhotoShake is a unique app on its own and is loaded with great features. In fact, it may arguably be second to Instagram, with many of Instagram's functions already included in it. It also works similarly to the previous two apps, save for how photos are moved or oriented within the frame.
- Open the PhotoShake app on your device and choose the "Single Photo Mode" from the menu.
- Upon opening PhotoShake, it will also ask for the location of photos which you want to upload. Browse through the location and upload the photo.
- Now, click the "Image Customization" button in the bottom toolbar under the menu "Edit" to customize the photo's frame.
- Under Image customization panel choose "Image Orientation" tool and browse for options "Zoom In" and "Zoom Out." Use the Zoom out option to fit the photo within the frame and zoom in to decrease the zoom out according to your liking.
- After adjusting and editing the photo with other features of PhotoShake, you can then upload it to Instagram. To upload click "Share" on the top right corner of the app and from there choose the "Export" option to upload it to Instagram.
Note: although this app, like all the others, can bypass the crop, it's slightly more complicated to use, due to slightly more excessive (but cool) functions featured in it that the previous two apps don't contain.
Approach 5: Using SquareIt (Free App)
Unlike the previous three apps, SquareIt the app directly converts your photos into a square frame.
- Open the SquareIt app on your device and choose photo that you want to upload. To upload click "Select Picture" and browse through the photo location and upload it.
- The moment you choose your photo, it gets auto-adjusted into a square frame, leaving a white background behind to compensate the unfilled space in the frame. This white background is customizable and can be replaced with other colors.
- After adding your desired background, click the "Share" icon on the top right corner and click the Instagram icon to upload it to Instagram.
Note: SquareIt fits your photo into Instagram crop, but leaves your photo looking less attractive due to the reduced quality and also may leave it with an undesirable background. SquareIt best fits portrait framed photos rather than landscape framed photos, but works fine with wide width landscaped size photos. It should be avoided for photos with written material (especially words with smaller fonts), because the pixel concentration after fitting makes the text appear crowded, stretchy, or blurry, thus making it unfit for reading.
From here on out, the remaining three approaches mentioned will also be square type apps, just like SquareIt -- but, with different interfaces and limitations.
Approach 6: Using InstaFitIt (Free App)
InstaFitIt is similar app as SquareIt, but with a different interface. Their interface is actually a bit more unusual and not as user-friendly as the others.
- Open the InstaFitIt app on your device and choose photo that you want to upload. Browse through the Gallery and upload the photo.
- Here, you can also customize the background color. The app comes with additional two effects of "Photo on Wall" and "Reflect Photo" to preserve the quality of the photo. Note however that these two effects are a waste, as you can't upload the photo's to Instagram or even save them after you've applied these effects to photos. So avoid these two features and follow the basic procedure of background color.
- Finally, share your photo to Instagram.
Notes: InstaFitIt is similar to SquareIt, but with additional disabilities. While the app has included the two additional effects of "Photo on Wall," which optimized the photo into a photo hanging on a wall, and "Reflect Photo," which creates a reflection of the photo. However, to preserve the quality of the photo (by overcoming the undesired background), these feature can only be applied in the paid version of the app, InstaFitIt Pro, which, while paid, is actually still quite inexpensive, considering the fact that no other square it type apps provide this feature.
Another disability worth mentioning is that these two paid effects can't be applied together. InstaFitIt, therefore, comes out at the bottom of my list of preferences.
Approach 7: Using InstaFrame Style (Free App)
As some of you might have already guessed, the app's name is indeed influenced by the very popular Gangnam style.
- Open the InstaFrame Style app on your device and choose photo that you want to upload in "Grid Style."
- Browse through the Gallery and upload the photo.
- Click on the photo to activate the orientation arrows. Use these arrows to adjust your photo's orientation. If you look closely, this actually appears the same as it would on InstaPicFrame.
- Now, click on the "Frame" icon and choose the best fit frame for your photo.
- Edit your photo for background and boundary adjustments.
- After editing, click the share icon to upload it to Instagram. Now your photo will be able to fit in the Instagram crop window.
Approach 8: Using InstaSize (Free App)
InstaSize is again a similar app as SquareIt and InstaFitIt but with a different interface and less features.
- Open the InstaSize app on your device and choose photo that you want to upload. Browse through the Library and upload the photo.
- Your photo, upon opening, will automatically get optimized. For background, InstaSize only provides two colors of white and black, which can be applied by using the switch next to "InstaSize" button on bottom toolbar.
- After choosing your background, click the"InstaSize" button to upload the photo to Instagram.
Notes: This app has a very simple interface with few tools. The black and white background options may also be undesirable. InstaSize works best with portrait type photos rather than landscape type photos. It may also get little annoying with the advertisements.
Approach 9: Using Photo Squarer (Free App)
Photo Squarer is similar to SquareIt, InstaFitIt, and InstaSize, but also contains an additional feature of zooming just like in "InstaFrame Style." Photo Squarer names it more specifically with a tool, however.
- Open the Photo Squarer app on your device and choose photo that you want to upload by clicking "Pick an Image."
- Browse through the Library and upload the photo.
- Edit your photos for background and click share after finishing editing to upload it to Instagram.
Notes: Photo Squarer is a decent app, and somewhat maintains the quality of the photo. However, the background, much like with the other square it type apps, may be undesirable.
Ultimately, my final preference would be: InstaFrame style > Photo Squarer > SquareIt > InstaSize > InstaFitIt
Instagram Crop Tip: Know When to Crop and When Not To
A general rule of thumb when it comes to cropping on Instagram -- know when to crop and when not to.
Cropping is helpful when the main focal point of your photo comes into focus and you want to leave all other excess, filler, or junk things out of the picture. However, if your photo is vast -- a scenery type of view, for example, one should avoid cropping unless the width is somewhat closer to 3:4 or wider.
Hopefully this article has helped you! For any doubts or concerns, please comment in the comment box below.
-- Your Fellow Instagrammer :)
Poll: Try Any of These Approaches?
ubrish ali from Pakistan(Asia) on November 10, 2014:
So informative....you provide me a lot of knowledge about intagram
oldiesmusic from United States on June 20, 2014:
I always use PhotoGrid for such purpose.. it's relatively easy. :)
Yogurt on November 23, 2013:
or using any photo editing apps, there's this function after you edit your photo "share to instagram"..voola, your photo auto fit !!
Nell (author) from Netherlands on July 23, 2013:
@Jasmine you can use the multiple photos in one photo technique. You can find the article here http://bit.ly/12aRVId
@Jess Thanks for updating us about the new app.
@Nikki Ooowh you poor kid ! Hope you found a solution! :)
@Zainab your welcome! :)
@Natasha I am Genius after all lol ! :D
@Salman your welcome! :)
Jasmine on July 22, 2013:
What is the app where instead of picking a color you can choose a picture, and choose another picture over it. So its overlapping and its really two pictures in one?!
Jess on July 01, 2013:
I have found a lot of these apps to be helpful in squashing a full size image in to a square. However, there is a new app coming out that allows you to see Instagram's square cropping whilst you shoot. I think this would keep peoples IG profiles more professional looking instead of having a heap of different frames/sizes. Plus you can make sure you frame everything within a square.
Food for thought.
Nikki on June 29, 2013:
Zainab on June 24, 2013:
Thanks a lot this helped so much
Natasha on June 01, 2013:
thanks man, the first advice was enough :)))
Salman on April 10, 2013:
Thanks..It was helpful!!!