Why Instagram Reels should never be landscape

Instagram Reels are a huge yes, but shooting them in landscape is a big no. Your followers will only be able to see a small version of your work, surrounded by an overbearing black border.

Why Instagram Reels should never be landscape. Ombre red, orange, pink and yellow background. In the foreground are two smartphones, one with a Reel displayed in portrait format and the other in the landscape formatting. The portrait one has a green tick and the landscape a red cross. In between both is a graphic saying New Reel multiple times.

Instagram Reels are arguably the most popular feature on the app. Many creators use them as a way of securing more views, as visually they’re far more likely to grasp attention than still images. Reels are a brilliant way of bringing your photos to life, they add a personal element that you cannot get through other means. However, Reels have an unspoken rule.

They should be shot or created in a portrait format. Those uploading Reels which are landscape are far less likely to see growth from their videos. Landscape Reels aren’t as effective, nor are they as professional looking. In order to make your Reel wow your audience, they must be uploading as a portrait video. Think before hitting record.

Think before you record for Reels

Often, the problem for a lot of creatives is, they shoot in landscape. Whether you’re recording your own footage, or someone is videoing on your behalf, you must consider your format before you begin. Think about the output – where is your video going to end up? If it’s being recorded for Instagram Reels, TikTok or YouTube Shorts, you must record in portrait.

Of course, if you’re recording for a normal, long-length YouTube video, it should be shot in landscape, but that’s a different story. It’s important to know your platform before you start creating content. All Reels are 9:16 and therefore should be recorded in that size. Otherwise, you’ll find it very difficult to edit your footage to fit the specifications.

You can’t record landscape and then convert it into portrait. It will distort your video and parts of your footage will be cropped because it can’t all physically fit on the screen under new proportions. Adding a landscape video to a 9:16 frame will leave you will a small video in the centre of your screen. Surrounding it will be a black frame.

Be professional

This will look out of place, and it doesn’t come across as professional. By recording in portrait, all of your Reel thumbnails will display as a whole image. However, by choosing landscape, it will display a tiny version of your video and then the black border we keep discussing. As a viewer you want to see the whole thing, not a shrunken version.

An easy way to ensure you’re shooting the right way is to record within the app. Instagram will automatically give you the 9:16 framing. All you then have to do is press record and do your thing. It saves the hassle. However, in general, as a rule, always shoot portrait unless you know it’s for YouTube. This will allow you to use any videos you may record.

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