How to get a sharp picture for Facebook

Have you ever got frustrated that your high quality picture turn low quality when you shared them on Facebook?  This is because Facebook is having a very bad compression system and low quality re-size method.

What happens here is when you post and uploaded non-treated photos to Facebook;  The system will automatically re-size and re-compress your photos to smaller file to save resources.  Sadly, there are no way we could bypass this at the moment, but there are some tricks on getting the best out of the system.

Like the most of you, I am very active in Facebook and sharing photos is now a part of my lifestyle.  I found out that by preparing the photos to be Facebook-friendly prior to posting,  I am getting much better picture quality in the album.  They generally appear sharper, and clearer compare to non-treated photos.

How do I do it?  Here’s my recipe for Facebook-friendly photos,
This tutorial is based on Adobe Photoshop CS5  and the steps are more or less the same with other editing software.

Step 1: If you need to make adjustments to your photos, just go through all the tweaks and settings.

Step 2: Once you have finalize your adjustment, go to ‘Image Size’ [Alt + Ctrl + I], and re-size your photos with the following settings.

*1 – Make sure the longest side of the photo is set to ‘720’, this is the longest supported size in Facebook currently.
*2 – Resample Image using ‘Bicubic (Best for smooth gradients)’ to get the best possible results.
*Notes: Resolution here served no purpose but I put it at 96dpi anyway, as most modern PC are now displayed at 96dpi.

Step 3: Once re-sized, you may view the photo at 100% by pressing [Ctrl + Alt + 0].  At the time being, you Photo may not look sharp enough as you lose details when re-sizing.  So, in this step, we are going to sharpen the photo by using a filter called ‘Unsharp Mask’.  You can call the filter out by going to ‘Filter > Sharpen > Unsharp Mask’.  Adjust your setting with the following settings.

*Amount: 350% – 500%
*Radius: 0.2 pixels mostly and 0.3 pixels at most
*Threshold: 0 levels
*Notes: I usually start with 0.2 pixels in ‘Radius’ and 500%, if the photo appear over-sharpen (White lines around the subjects),   then I will slowly lower the value of ‘Amount’.  On some rare cases, I will use 350% & 0.3 pixels.

Step 4:  Alright, now you got a good Facebook-friendly photo and now you are ready to save it for posting later.  To get the optimum quality with smallest possible file size.  I recommend saving the file using the following setting from ‘Save-For-Web & Devices’ by pressing [Alt + Shift + Ctrl + S].

*1 – I used Jpeg with custom setting.  I turn on ‘Progressive’ option, but Facebook will make it into ‘Interleave’ anyway.  I set the Quality to ’95’ instead of the usual ’60-80′ ranges recommended by most,  as I noticed that at ’95’, after downgraded by Facebook, I am getting better photo compare to quality of ’80’.  I do not use ‘100’ as I don’t see any difference between ’95’ and ‘100’ with my bare eye.
*2 – Some of you might have shot the photos with Adobe RGB profile.  So, remember to turn on ‘Convert to sRGB’ for compatibility and since Facebook does not store and show exif data, so you can safely remove all Metadata here to conserve file size.  You can safely ignore this setting if you have no idea what it is.
*Notes: Once you are done with the setting, press ‘Save’ and export your file.

Step 5: Now you got a Facebook-friendly photos,  it’s time to post them.  Make sure to select ‘High resolution’ option when you are uploading using the new Uploader.

Once uploaded, you and your friend can enjoy your photos at better quality now!

Thanks for reading and if you think this tutorial is useful, please share it to your Profile, sharing is caring.  Stay tuned for more tutorials.

Updates (27th Oct 2012):

If you are sharing a lot of photos using Facebook, you may notice that facebook has done a lot of updates/changes since this tutorial, originally published on Feb 2011.

The sharpening tricks here still works basically, but the maximum size of the photos can now be as large as 1024px at the long side rather than 720px I mentioned earlier, I have yet to try anything larger yet, but at this moment, you can consider using 1024px with the same sharpening amount as above.

Do leave me a comment or two if you encounter anything interesting by using this tutorial on Facebook.



Tutorial: The Photos Montage


I received quite a lot of inquiries on how to create the above photo montage.  The original idea came from another article off the net, which I can’t remember which one to credit to at the moment. So, I’ve created my version on how to create this montage in a few minutes time with minimum efforts.

To do this, you will need the following items (Click on the name to download them respectively)

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom (LR2)
Adobe Photoshop (PS) Big Pictures action script plug-in (Free Edtion) Template for exporting original file in Lightroom 2

I assumed you already know how to import action script for PS, and also template for LR2, if you do not know how to do this, please do a Google search or contact me.  You are also assumed to be able to understand PS & LR2 basics such as running an action, exporting picture in LR2 and etc.

1. Select and prepare 25 landscape photos in LR2, vertical oriented photos does not work very well in this montage.  Arrange them in the way you preferred after adjustments.


2. Once you have selected the 25 photos to be included in the final output, go to LR2’s Print module. As illustrated above, by using the attached template (Star 1). You get to preview the output similar to the above screenshot.  Here, you can click and move the small individual picture a little bit to the left or right for better composition.

3. When you are ready for the next step, click “Print To File” on bottom right (Star 2) and save the photo montage as a JPEG file.


4. You will then have a newly created JPEG file similar to the above, without my watermark of course, if you are not happy with the arrangement on the small pictures, you can always go back to step 2 and rearrange them in LR2.  When you are ready and happy with the result, proceed to close LR2, and execute PS for the final effects.

5. I am using Photoshop CS4 for this tutorial, so it might have a difference user interface as your Photoshop especially older versions.  Nonetheless, they are all the same, download the correct version of action scrip from for your Photoshop and we are ready for the next step.

6. There are 2 actions included in the current edition from, one is called “Big Picture flat actions”, and another one is “Big Picture curled actions”.  I am using “Big Picture curled actions” for this tutorial sample,  you can try either one of them as they work the same way, just produce difference results.

7. By executing the action, you will be requested to open up a landscape picture, if you already opened the file you saved earlier, just close the open dialog and it will then automatically proceed with plenty of recorded actions and once they are done, you will get a few results, pick one and save a copy and then your are done!


Thanks you for reading this tutorial and enjoy creating your very own photo montage!
Please do leave a comment if you find this tutorial useful and please share them with your friends.  I will be sharing more in the future and if you are interested, you are recommended to bookmark this blog and visit me regularly.