I think that we can all agree that social networking has become a really important marketing tool for photographers in this day and age. Social Networking is the new “word of mouth”, and if you do not make a good impression on your Facebook, Twitter, Youtube or of social profiles then you could be losing out on business.
But how do you go about getting your work to look its best on these social networks? Each one has their own compression settings, and each one can take a beautiful photo or video that you upload and turn it into crap. It is a problem that I am sure many of you have struggled with at some point or another, so I wanted to share what has worked for me in an effort to save you all the trouble of messing with it yourself.
Facebook Quality Settings
Facebook is the worst culprit when it comes to image quality issues, they are constantly messing with their compression algorithms and as such what gives you good results on one day may not give you the same results net week. That said, there are a few things you can do before you upload to Facebook to get the most out of the images you upload there.
- Re-size Your Images to One of These Three Sizes: 720 px, 960px, 2048px – Facebook re-sizes and compresses every image that is uploaded to their servers, with the exception being images that are 720px, 960px or 2048px. Images that are those sizes are not re-sized, just compressed. This means that if you upload an image that fits one of those sizes you will most likely get a better quality image after the Facebook compression.
- Sharpening – Facebook’s compression algorithms can cause your images to sometimes turn out looking softer than when you uploaded them. To combat this I usually like to add a bit of extra sharpening on top of what I normally do for images being uploaded to Facebook. This helps to offset the softness that can occur post compression.
- Export at Max Quality – Facebook is going to compress your image no matter what, so you might as well give it all of the information so that the compressed file ends up looking as good as it possibly can.
The SLR Lounge Lightroom Presets also comes with some great export presets that you can use to upload your images to your social networks. You can learn more about it or purchase it here.
YouTube Quality Settings
Some of you may upload to YouTube and wonder why your videos do not look quite as nice as you think they should. Just as Facebook compresses their photos, YouTube compresses their videos. These companies simply couldn’t deliver the content fast enough if they were not compressed.
Adobe Premiere has some YouTube presets that you can use at export, but I recommend using the settings below for the best effect. It will take longer for YouTube to upload and process your video, but the resulting video will look much better.
- Constant Bitrates – Low and variable bitrates can cause lots of artifact and results in lower quality video. I recommend setting a constant bitrate between 10mbit/s and 15mbit/s.
- Export As Mpeg2, MOV, or MP4 – YouTube works best with these file formats, so when you export the file for YouTube make sure that it is one of them for the best results.
- Export Max Quality – Again, its is going to be compressed no matter what you do to it. So you might as well give YouTube all of the information so that they can make the best compressed version possible.
These are just a few guidelines that can help you keep your brand looking its best on your social networks of choice. In the end you may have to tweak a little to your own personal taste, but these should be good enough to get you heading in the right direction.
If you have any additional tips or tricks to getting your images or video looking their best feel free to share them in the comments below.