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News & Insight

Facebook Image Quality got you down? That may soon change….

By Anthony Thurston on March 7th 2013

We have all been there, we upload a beautiful image to Facebook only to have their image compression algorithms kill the quality of the image. The problem is not just with the algorithms, it is with the ever changing quality in the backend. Some people have managed to figure out what quality settings work best to get the desired quality out of their Facebook images only to have Facebook change the algorithm on the back end a few weeks later. Maybe…… Possibly…… Hopefully that is all about to change.

Earlier today Facebook announced a few new features to its news feed, included in those features are improved image quality. Sadly our information does not get much more detailed, just that Facebook is releasing improvements to its Images included in the News Feed upgrade announced today.


[Rewind: Best Facebook Posting Practices for Photographers]

I am cautiously optimistic here. I mean I empathize with Facebook, the sheer number of images that get uploaded on an hourly basis is staggering so I understand the need to strictly control image compression for storage reasons. But the status quo is just so infuriating sometimes. Hopefully these new image improvements are not only in the image size department and also include sizeable improvements in image quality. But alas, only time will tell.

What you’re your thoughts? Will Facebook finally get its image quality issues fixed? Let us know in a comment below.

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Cristian

    I don’t know how to put this. Because I don’t want it to look like another commercial link toward a product one wants to sell.
    The last years I have seen many complaints from users about photo quality degrading when uploaded to Facebook. As a photographer, I must say that I’ve been spending a lot of time to analyze the compression algorithms and how to prepare a photo in order to reach best results on Facebook. I personally agree with Facebook’s policy regarding the “quality vs. bandwidth”. If you are in a part of the globe where bandwidth is not an issue you can almost not imagine what would be to get back on your old modem speed. And still this is the case for many FB users.
    Nevertheless, we all have to admit that Facebook offers a great visibility. But it could turn against us if the quality degrades so much that the photo brings eventually a bad image. So I started thinking about a project that would allow users to upload photos with a personalized text and a caption including an URL to the same photo on a site that supports higher quality such as Flickr, 500px, 1x, etc. I have finally started a development on a plugin that allows us basically to do next:
    1. Upload the photos in higher quality on Flickr.
    2. Upload the photos to Facebook.
    3. Add the user’s caption to Facebook, along with a direct URL to the Flickr photo.
    If you are somebody that uploads one photo at the time, don’t read any further. You can do this manually. But what if you are uploading many photos at the time?
    This Lightroom plugin does the work for you. For more details and installation instructions, see here:
    I appreciate your gentle and constructive feedback. If you don’t like Lightroom, it makes no sense to criticize it here, I can’t help that.
    An example is sometimes worth a thousand words. See here what it can provide as result:

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  2. Jon McGuffin

    If they charged a $0.25/image uploaded but it would be treated with pristine quality protection, would you do it?  Would you be ok with it?

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    • Jerseygirl

      they don’t need to be charge for photos, too its bad enough they want you to pay to permute a post or for sending a privet message so it goes into the regular message box. Don’t give Facebook any more greedy ideas.

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  3. Mark Dunk

    There’s a couple of things they could do.
    1. Identify if an image has been optimised correctly (along given guidelines) and treat it as ‘important’ enough to compress differently. Photographers will naturally adopt this.
    2. Even more rigorously compress bulk uploaded images, or images where no special check box has been checked for high quality. Currently, they seem to default to storing high quality (of sorts), but it should be a requirement to check the box EVERY TIME. Otherwise you clearly don’t care and they can save bandwidth on these images.

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  4. Rocky Shilly

    Facebook quality? They have quite good quality when you “save as for web & devices”

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  5. Jason Langley

    This would be great. I can’t see them doing this for free much longer though. I’m sure they see the value of social networks as an advertising tool. It’s been a critical part of my growth as a professional photographer. I fear that one day soon they will ask folks to pony up for biz and fan pages.

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    • Rob Phillips

      They already do.  You have to pay to promote your posts on your own page to people who ALREADY like your page.

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  6. Scott

    I’d rather see more effort put into image protection at this point.

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  7. Jon McGuffin

    This, I would think, can only be a step in the right direction. But why do I have a feeling that, long term, these guys are going to start charging for every little thing and I hope we don’t see them asking for $$ for high quality image uploads.

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