A new feature on the Instagram app allows users to adjust the way images appear. (original images courtesy Instagram)

A new feature on the Instagram app allows users to adjust the way images appear. (original images courtesy Instagram)

Instagram has broken its self-imposed mold and is now allowing users to bypass the square photo format in favor of landscape and portrait-oriented images. No longer will you be forced to crop out those on the margins of your group photograph or create images with distracting white borders to ensure your followers see the whole picture. Yes, the Facebook gods have heard your cries!

The adjustment is sure to please print media publishers, professional photographers, and the movie industry, all groups that tend to shy away from the square format.

The Star Wars account has already uploaded a clip from the highly anticipated upcoming film in the new landscape format. You can see why Instagram changed its policy to make it more friendly for content producers like Hollywood — the frame now captures the whole scene without feeling like you’re missing out. The change may also be a nod to Hollywood’s power, since its ad dollars and celebrity power are sure to be a growing force on the image-sharing platform as they turn to monetize the app and capitalize on mainstream interests.

There has been an awakening… #StarWars #TheForceAwakens

A video posted by Star Wars (@starwars) on

This isn’t the first loosening of Instagram’s once notoriously strict posting policies. Earlier this month Hootsuite announced that you can now schedule posts on Instagram, making the app a little less “insta” but better for institutions and brands interested in ensuring that their messages go out in smoothly timed intervals.

While these changes may make Instagram easier to use, they do chip away a little at what we’ve come to see as the app’s distinct aesthetic.

The new version of Instagram (v.7.5) is available in Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

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Hrag Vartanian

Hrag Vartanian is editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hyperallergic. You can follow him at @hragv.

One reply on “The Tyranny of the Instagram Square Is Over!”

  1. I still find it pretty useless. As an artist images taken with ANY phones are tno the best, and so I’ve spoken with artist friends who use it and the craziness they go through to post GREAT photos is insane. I’ll be interested when they allow us to open and account and post from a Mac Pro.

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