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How-To: Instagram Panorama

Since I posted the last three photos on my instagram profile, I’ve had a few requests from people about how I achieved the effect.

What I'm talking about

What I’m talking about

I’m going to explain how I did it, but I’m sure there are many (MANY) other ways to get the same result.

Tools Required:

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  • Photo/Graphic (It’s best if it has a 3:1 ratio or can be cropped to this ratio – I’ll explain how to do this)
  • Adobe Photoshop (I’m using CC 2014, but the same tools are available in older versions too)
  • Grid Guide (free plugin)
  • Dropbox
  • Instagram installed on a mobile device


1. Setting up Photoshop

Before you open up the photo or graphic you want to use, start by making a new document.


Width: 1920px | Height: 640px | Resolution: 72ppi | RGB Colour

With these dimensions you’re going to have three photos that are 640px by 640px, the optimum size for Instagram, and also the native size your followers are going to see (anything larger will be compressed).

2. Importing your file/photo

Now that your photoshop file is ready, you’re going to need to import a photo or graphic. I prefer the “Place Embedded” dialogue, but copy/paste, drag & drop or any other means of putting a photo into another photoshop file should work too.

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 8.09.22 PM

Needs a bit of scaling and positioning – not to fret.


As you can probably see, the dimensions of my photo (a panorama I took in the South Island of New Zealand) are not 3:1, and so I’ll have to adjust it slightly to fit the dimensions needed for the effect on instagram.

3. Creating the grid

Screen Shot 2015-03-03 at 8.14.48 PM

This is an amazing plugin I use on many projects!

This is the step that might be a bit “overkill” – install Grid Guide if you haven’t already, and go to the “Sets” page:

Click “Three column grid” and then “Make grid” – this will create a grid out of guides (Those cyan lines) of exactly the right dimensions for our photos (even though we already knew they were going to be 640×640.

4. Creating slices

Our next step is to make “slices” – there are many ways to take three pieces of an image from a photoshop file, but doing it this way means that you can add a new layer to the same file and output another three photos without doing any of these steps!


So slicey.

Find the slice tool in the tools panel on the left, it hangs out with the Crop, Perspective Crop and Slice Select Tool (Shortcut: C) – you may have to hold down the crop icon to see the slice tool.

Click and drag from the top-right to make a slice that is 640px by 640px – because we made guides, the slice tool will “snap” to the guides (turn on snap to guides in your view panel if you haven’t). Make two more slices that are the same size until you’ve effectively “sliced” your image into three 640px by 640px chunks.

5. Exporting

We’re so close you guys. Again, there are many ways to export images (nay, even slices) from Photoshop, but this is my website so you’re learning it my way. From File > Save for Web (this used to be called Save for Web & Devices – shortcut is Cmd+Shift+Option+S). Click and drag from the grey area around the image to select the slices you wish to export (all of them). You’ll see them go from faded to vibrant, that means they’re selected. Click save.

Selecting the slices

Selecting the slices

6. Getting to your phone

Upload the three photos to your Dropbox account on your computer, and then browse that folder (once they’ve uploaded) on your phone, and download the photos.

It’s imperative that you upload the photos in the reverse order as you want them to show up, so from right to left – this way they come out in sequence on your instagram profile.

7. That’s it!

That’s it! If you’re still with me, I hope this tutorial helped? If it didn’t, or you got stuck, leave a comment and I’ll be able to help you out. If it worked and you want to show off, leave a comment with your instagram profile so we can see your awesome picture.


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