Instagram Adds Support For Horizontal, Vertical Photos

Courtesy of Instagram

The Facebook-owned app is "thinking outside the square" with its latest update.

The hallmark of the Instagram app is its square photos. Over the last five years, the square has become so engrained in the Instagram culture that there are third-party apps devoted to turning portrait or landscape photos into squares, and printing companies have been launched specifically to offer square prints.

But starting Thursday, Aug. 27, Instagram is becoming less square.

The Facebook-owned company announced in a blog post titled "Thinking Outside the Square" that it is now supporting horizontal and vertical photos and videos. "Square format has been and always will be part of who we are," read the post. "That said, the visual story you're trying to tell should always come first, and we want to make it simple and fun for you to share moments just the way you want to."

The company even copped to some of the challenges that its square format has presented over the years, including cutting friends out of photos and making it nearly impossible to show the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Square still will be the default photo and video format on Instagram, but now the app also will allow users to adjust the orientation of the photo to portrait or landscape. These photos will appear alongside square photos when scrolling through the app.

According to Instagram, this change was adopted to support the one-in-five photos and videos uploaded to the app that aren't in the square format. The company also said this will have a big impact on video. "We're especially excited about what this update means for video on Instagram, which in widescreen can be more cinematic than ever," said the blog post. To showcase the new feature, the official account for Star Wars posted exclusive new footage from The Force Awakens using the landscape format.

Instagram also announced that it has standardized its filters across photos and videos. Prior to the change, there were different filters for each setting.

The update rolls out Thursday on iOS and Android devices.