What Is Aspect Ratio? [Begginer-Friendly Guide]

Deyan Georgiev
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Jul 19, 2022

SHARE:

Techjury is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Struggling with the size and shape of your photos and videos? 

Let us help you find the appropriate aspect ratio. 

What is aspect ratio?

The most simple answer - the different numbers in front of you:16:9, 3:2, 1:1, etc. 

We’ll explain everything you need to know.

Let’s dive in!

What Is Aspect Ratio?

Aspect ratio is the relation between the width and height of an image.  The first number is the width, while the second number is, of course, the height. For instance, 4:5 means that the image is 4 units wide and 5 units high. 

The width to height ratio defines the shape not the size of the image or video. To simplify, aspect ratio defines whether it is the square (1:1), portrait (3:4), or landscape (4:3). On the other handa screen resolution represents the number of pixels as the photo segment: 1920 x 1080, 3840 x 2160. In other words, pictures in both centimeters and inches will have the same aspect ratio.

A couple of square images with a resolution of 1080 × 1080 and 300x300 pixels will have the same aspect ratio of 1:1.

Why is the Aspect Ratio Important?

Did you know that humans have a very high retention rate for images - 65%?

So, the screen ratio sizes play a vital part in creating engaging content. If your pictures or videos don’t fit the platform you’re using, they’re going to look weird. In addition, some of the parts can be cut off. 

Not the best marketing strategy.

Here’s how to avoid it:

How to Measure Aspect Ratio?

Now that you are familiar with the aspect ratio definition and its importance, let’s move on and find out how to measure it.

To simplify, this is the formula:

 x:y 

(Remember: the width always comes first, then the height.)

Another way to visualize it would be AR = W:L.

Thus, a 3:2 aspect ratio means that every 3 units of width go along with 2 units of height.

Sometimes you will come across numbers like this: 1.5:1. 

Sounds hard? 

It’s just another method to describe a 3:2  aspect ratio. Dividing 3 by 2, and you will get 1.5. Every segment of height per 1.5 of width.

Now, imagine you have to buy a monitor, and you see that its resolution is 1680x1050. 

How to discover the computer monitor aspect ratio?

Just divide these two numbers, and you will get the result -  1.6. 

The 1680x1050 computer resolution has a 1.6:1 or 16:10 aspect ratio.

So, for example, let’s assume you have a photo that’s 1500x1800 pixels.  But, there’s a problem -  your blog only allows 300 pixels. 

You’ll have to do the following: 

( height / width) x new width = new height

In this case: (1800 / 1500) x 300 = 360

If you find it too hard, aspect ratio calculators will become your best friend.

What Is the Standard Aspect Ratio? 

So, is there a standard aspect ratio?

Each aspect ratio serves a specific purpose. Some of the most common are:

  • 1:1 : It’s just a square. It's usually seen in Instagram posts (320x320,1080x1080 pixels).
  • 4:5: Also known as Social, because you can use it for Facebook or Instagram posts (1200x1500 pixels).
  • 9:16: A portrait or vertical image mainly suitable for Stories, mobile videos, IGTV (1080x1920 pixels).
  • 4:3:  Also called Standard or Traditional, as it was very prominent in the early days of cinema;  but it is still in use today (640×480, 800×600, 960×720).
  • 16:9:  This is the widescreen aspect ratio for both computer monitors, movies, YouTube and Vimeo videos. 
  • 21:9: The proper name for this one is Cinematic. It’s clear why. It’s almost identical to the 16:9 aspect ratio. This one is great for Facebook cover videos or Blog banners. (2560 x 1080 pixels, 3440x 1440 pixels)

Those are just the basics, though.

Let’s elaborate:

Video Aspect Ratio

Let’s first get some things out of the way. You need to know exactly where the video will be posted and what its main purpose is. 

The 16:9 ratio is the standard one. It’s good for:

  • high-resolution TVs 
  • some platforms such as Netflix, TikTok, or YouTube 
  • nearly all devices. 

But:

  • Social media networks like Facebook and Instagram also support a 1:1 ratio.
  • For smartphones, live streaming apps, and social media story fans the best choice is the 9:16 ratio.
  • iPhone customers enjoy recording both 16:9 and 9:16 videos.
  • The best monitor aspect ratio for games and movies is 21:9.

Image Aspect Ratio

We’re the social media generation, whether we like it or not. So, posting stunning images is a daily occurrence.

Various filters and apps like Photoshop or Canva will make your picture a work of art. But that’s not enough. You need to choose the proper image ratio.

Worry not. We’re here to help.

Facebook

The most acceptable ones for Facebook users are:

  • Profile picture: 1:1
  • Cover photo: 16:9 
  • Fb Ads: 9:16

Instagram

You know this one surely.

  • Feed Photo: 1:1
  • Story: 9:16

Snapchat

Believe it or not, there is only one standard aspect ratio for Snapchat: 

  • Ads and Geofilter: 9:16

Twitter

For Twitter, your best options are:

  • Profile photo: 1:1
  • Cover Photo: 3:1
  • Timeline Photo: 2:1

Linkedin

Nothing too surprising here, either:

  • Profile Photo and Company Logo: 1:1 
  • Background Photo: 4:1  

Wrap up

No matter which platform you’re using, you can consult our guide to find the perfect aspect ratio.

This way, you’re guaranteed to create stunning visuals and send your message among various channels.

Ready to create?

FAQ.


What does the aspect ratio mean?

Aspect ratio is the connection between the screen and video’s width and height. Or, in other words, how long or tall your image/video will appear.

Which aspect ratio is best?

It really depends on the content you want to publish. If it's a video - your best option is 16:9. 

If you want to post a photo, you need to consider the platform first. For profile pictures, however, the best choice is 1:1, no matter which social media you’re using. 

If it’s contemporary photography you’re interested in, choose between 3:3 or 4:3.

Check our guide above for more information.

What is the aspect ratio of 1920x1080?

The aspect ratio of 1920x1080 is 16:9, High Definition (HD) resolution. It works smoothly on almost all devices.

How to measure aspect ratio?

Use the formula: AR(Aspect Ratio) = W(Width)/H (Height). For example, if the width is 300pixs, and height is 150pixs, then the aspect ratio will be 2:1.

If you want to find out what aspect ratio is and the best options for different social media platforms, take a look at our guide above.



SHARE:

Deyan Georgiev

Deyan Georgiev

Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.

Leave your comment

Your email address will not be published.