Monthly Archives: Apr 2015

A Photographer’s Guide to the Milky Way

A Photographers Guide to the Milky Way As I frequently bounce between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres on a regular basis, this article is written with both Hemispheres in mind, also for those that may be travelling to the Northern Hemisphere on holiday; or for those that live and follow my work there. Let’s have a look at a photographer's guide to the Milky Way... It’s January…the nights are long, the sky is crisp and dark, so why can’t you see the Milky Way very well, much less get those amazing shots you see on many Facebook photography pages or photographer's personal websites? This tutorial will help teach you everything you need to know about when and where to view our galactic home. Understanding the Geometry of the Galaxy The Milky Way is a disk-shaped structure, centered around a bar-shaped ‘core’ near the centre. This is the region you typically see featured in the dramatic astrophotography images that have become popular in recent years, on various Facebook photography pages and photographer's personal websites. Because of its disk shape, the Milky Way appears as a faint milky-coloured band, approximately 30° wide, arching across the sky at just about all times (obviously only visible only at night). Our Solar System is located in one of the outer arms of the Milky Way, as shown below in this NASA illustration: NASA's Image of the Milky Way The plane of our solar system is at an approximately 63° to the galactic plane. So what does that mean and why is it useful? It means that objects in our Solar System are rotating at almost a perpendicular angle compared to the angle of rotation of all the objects in the Milky Way as a whole (including our Solar System). Practically, this means that the Milky Way will appear at different angles in our night sky depending on both the time of night and time of year. The geometry of the galaxy brings up several important points: First, since our Solar System is not positioned in the Milky Way core, which means the core only forms a small part of the overall view from Earth. As our gaze moves away from the core (in either direction), the Milky Way begins to fade, since there are fewer visible stars to brighten the band. The second, and perhaps the most important consideration, is Earth’s relative position to the Sun. Since the Earth rotates around the Sun every 365/6 days, which means that during part of the year, our view of the galactic core is blocked by the Sun. In other words, the core is only above the horizon during daylight hours for a certain part of the year. So when is this? In the Northern Hemisphere, the core is not visible in most of November, December, January, and the first half of February. On the flip side, this means the best time for viewing is from late May to early August. Time of Night, Location and Seasonal Factors Now that you understand the concepts behind the Earth’s orbit around the Sun and the visibility of the core, it follows that the core is only visible at certain times of night during its visible months. In mid-February, for example, the core becomes visible in the pre-dawn hours just before sunrise, and remains above the horizon during daylight hours. Gradually, the core becomes visible for longer and longer each night, peaking in June & July when it is on the exact opposite side of the Earth as the Sun. During this time of year, the core will be viewable all night, with it being at its highest point in the sky around midnight. From July on, the cycle goes in the opposite direction, as core visibility begins to decrease and optimal viewing time moves towards after dusk, until it disappears from our field of view again in the winter months. The following image depicts the night sky field of view at peak viewing in mid-summer in the Northern Hemisphere: Milky Way Northern Hemisphere Viewing Location When discussing the visibility of the Milky Way, many people reference the hemisphere, but don’t explain how exactly this factors in. The reason that your location in either the Northern or Southern Hemisphere matters is twofold. First, the duration of daylight is different during the time of year when the Milky Way’s core is most visible. The Southern Hemisphere has the built-in advantage of being in the middle of their winter (i.e. short days, long nights) when the core is most visible. Meanwhile, the Northern Hemisphere is experiencing long days and short nights in its summer months, thereby limiting the available viewing (and photographing) time of the Milky Way’s most visible section. Milky Way, Hantam Karoo, South-Africa Secondly, your view of the Milky Way is different based on your location as well. The core of the Milky Way is approximately lined up with the constellation Sagittarius, which is situated at a declination of about -30°. This means that both Sagittarius and the Milky Way core are viewable directly overhead to those living at a latitude of -30°. For those of us in North America, Europe and Asia, at latitudes between 25° and 50°, this means we will always see the galactic core rising up from the horizon in our southern sky. Now this isn’t all bad news for Northern shooters, since this allows for the easier incorporation of the landscape into our shots, but it does offer some awesome views the further south you travel. How to Find the Milky Way Precisely lining up your shot is a matter of trial and error, but some general celestial landmarks will help you locate where you should be looking. As a general rule, if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, look towards the southern skies to see the galactic core.  This can be southeast (Spring), due south (Summer), or southwest (Autumn) depending on the time of year. As mentioned above, Sagittarius is found nearest the galactic core. Milky Way, Hantam Karoo, South-Africa Don’t forget that in the winter months you can still see the Milky Way, just not the core. You can use Orion and Gemini as reference points during these months (The Milky Way goes right between them), as well as Cassiopeia (all year), which cuts right across the faint milky arc at almost due North. I highly recommend downloading both the Google Sky Map app to your phone for on the go reference, as well as downloading the incredible Stellarium program (free) to your laptop or desktop.  The latter allows you to preview the night sky at any given point in time, and is an essential utility when preparing for an astrophotography expedition. One can also use Blue Marble Navigator's Dark Skies Map which is a Google & NASA collaboration that's quite useful. The Photographer's Ephemeris (TPE) is a tool to help you plan outdoor photography in natural light, especially landscape and urban scenes. It is a map-centric sun and moon calculator: see how the light will fall on the land, day or night, for any location on earth. I would also suggest a GPS, Navworld in South-Africa can provide a wide range of units and training to go along with that. GPS units can provide celestial information, as to when the sun and moon rise and sets will be. More so you can track your way back to your car in the dark! It's possible that most people on Earth have never seen the Milky Way, the galaxy in which we live. The Milky Way used to be a part of every human's life experience, but now that the majority of mankind lives in cities, with their light pollution, the Milky Way is rarely seen. If you live in the Northern Hemisphere, the center of the Milky Way will be low in the southern sky, and the band of the Milky Way will sweep upwards in an arch across the eastern sky to the northern horizon. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, the center of the Milky Way will be almost overhead, and the band will sweep from your southwestern horizon to your northeastern horizon. Look for a faint silvery or milky cloud. Some parts will be brighter than others, giving a faintly mottled effect. These are star clouds, concentrations of millions of stars too faint to see as individual stars. You may also see some “holes” in the Milky Way: clouds of interstellar dust blocking our view of the stars beyond. When to Shoot the Milky Way When should you start looking for the core of the Milky Way? When will it be visible? Or even better, when is the best time of the year to shoot the Milky Way? During part of the year, the core of the Milky Way is not visible because it is blocked by the sun. It's when the galactic center is only above the horizon during daylight hours. When planning the Milky Way, you are only interested in looking into the period of the year the galactic center is visible during nighttime. Thus, knowing the starting and ending dates of the best period of the year to shoot the Milky Way is important to narrow the search and get results faster. So, when is this? Northern Hemisphere In the Northern Hemisphere, the core is visible from March to October. But the best time for viewing it is from late April to late July, because the galactic center is visible for longer during the night. Don’t look for it from November to February. In late February, the core becomes visible in the pre-dawn hours just before sunrise, and remains above the horizon during daylight hours. As months go by, the core becomes visible for longer and longer each night, being June and July the months with longer visibility. During this time of year, the core will be visible all night. From July on, core visibility begins to decrease and best viewing time moves towards after dusk, until it becomes totally invisible again in winter. In conclusion, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, late April is a good moment to start planning the Milky Way, being June and July the best months. Southern Hemisphere In the Southern Hemisphere, the core is visible from February to October, being in the middle of the winter, June and July, when the core is most visible. Again, don’t look for it from November to January. People living in the southern hemisphere enjoy visibility longer because the peak occurs in winter, when days are shorter and nights are longer. If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, mid-April is a good moment to start planning the Milky Way. But, before you start brainstorming like crazy, there are two CAPITAL facts about the core of the Milky Way you should keep in mind: You’ll find the core in the Southern Skies Knowing the direction where it is possible to find the core of the Milky Way is mandatory. Don’t waste your time designing images that are not possible. These are the general rules depending on the Hemisphere you are: Northern Hemisphere: look towards the southern skies to see the galactic core. The core will start to be visible due southeast (Spring), due south (Summer), or southwest (Autumn). Southern Hemisphere: also look towards the southern skies to see the galactic core. In this case, the core will start to be visible due southwest (Spring) or southeast (Autumn and Winter). In conclusion, don’t look for the core of the Milky Way in northern directions. When brainstorming, think about different compositions with the galactic center in the southeast, south or southwest. Same location, same direction, same altitude “For a given location and direction (azimuth), the galactic center will ALWAYS be at the same altitude in the sky.” This means that if you go to the same location in two different dates, look towards the same direction and wait until the galactic center is in that direction, you'll see it at the same altitude in the sky. No matter the date, for a given location, when the galactic center is in one direction, it always has the same altitude. Thus, given a location, the galactic center always rises in the same direction. Also, it always sets in the same direction. Don’t forget that in the winter (Northern Hemisphere) and summer (Southern Hemisphere) you can still see the Milky Way, just not the core. Final Considerations: Moon Phase, Weather and Dark Skies As if there weren’t enough factors to consider already, the phase of the moon and the weather are the final two pieces of the puzzle. As a result, you’ll plan Milky Way shots happening during new moon and the 4 days before and after it. Light Pollution Over Southern & Central Africa Don't be disappointed if you end up with a full moon, or overcast or stormy skies, they can produce quite dramatic images. Photographing star trails under a full moon, gives the surreal impression of stars during the day!  Keep a moon phase calendar handy in your bookmarks or on your calendar, and know when the moon rises and sets each day.  You can usually find this information wherever you get your weather online. The World Meteorological Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations with international agencies under them, providing weather information, see here for the complete list of providers National Meteorological or Hydrometeorological Services of Members. This will help you to plan your weather abroad in that respective country. It goes without saying that you want an almost completely clear sky for optimal star shooting, so keep an eye on the forecast during the days when the moon is not a factor and base your shooting around that. Another good resource for dark skies and light pollution indication is The Night Sky in the World where the above image of Africa was taken. How to Shoot the Milky Way A wide angle lens, either a 14-24mm f2.8, 16mm f2.8 Fisheye, 24mm f1.4 or 35mm f1.4 will all do the trick. the fastest, widest angle lens will work. Depending on light pollution, I usually shoot at ISO 400, 640, 800, but not higher than 3200. It goes without saying that a tripod IS essential, remote shutter control / intervalometer - this is key for taking exposures longer than 30 seconds, and lastly a DSLR camera. For more creativity, a head lamp to paint a tree or a rock etc to be included in your composition. Using the 500 Rule Some people call this the 600 rule, but 500 is much more conservative for a sharper image which makes a great baseline to start with & is key to getting clear star or Milky Way shots. To obtain the maximum exposure time you can shoot, without getting visible "trails" behind your stars, take the number 500 and divide it by the focal length you will be shooting at. Moon Setting into the Atlantic Under a Shooting Star - Paternoster, West Coast, South-Africa If you exceed the noted maximum exposure time the picture will exhibit "star trails". Keep in mind that this max exposure time is just a baseline (rule of thumb), feel free to move up or down from it depending on your camera setup and how your photos are turning out. If you take a picture and see that your stars have "trails" behind them, decrease the exposure time a few seconds. If you take a picture and see that the stars are not bright enough, and don't have trails behind them, increase your exposure time just a few seconds. It's all about taking multiple shots and practicing until you get to know how your camera / lens setup operates in accordance with the 500 Rule. Once you have this down it becomes second nature. Experimentation is once again key. What to see in the Milky Way Galaxy Start your tour of the Milky Way by looking for the constellations Scorpius and Sagittarius. Unlike many constellations, these form clearly recognizable patterns. Scorpius looks like the scorpion it’s named for, complete with long curving tail with stinger at the end. Its heart is marked by the red giant star Antares. Milky Way Sky Map July 2012 Sagittarius looks nothing like a centaur archer, but rather like a prosaic teapot, complete with handle, spout, and lid. If you live in the north, you will find these low in the southern sky; if you live in the south, they will be almost overhead. Because the center of the Milky Way is the richest part of the sky, it is crammed with nebulas and open star clusters. To give you some idea of this richness, the chart shows the names of some of these objects. The brightness of the name indicates the brightness of the nebula or cluster. The brightest objects are gathered around the center of our galaxy, right on the border between Scorpius and Sagittarius, between the scorpion’s stinger and the teapot’s spout. But for now, don’t worry about the names. Just take in the rich clouds of light as you sweep upward from Scorpius and Sagittatius (in the Northern Hemisphere) or either left or right from overhead (in the Southern Hemisphere). You don’t need to put a name to sheer beauty, the Bible describes the Milky Way perfectly as the work of His hands: Psalm 19:1-6 1 The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. 2 Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. 3 They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. 4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun. 5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course. 6 It rises at one end of the heavens and makes its circuit to the other; nothing is deprived of its warmth. Job 9:9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. Job 38:31, 32 Can you direct the movement of the stars--binding the cluster of the Pleiades or loosening the cords of Orion? 32 Can you direct the sequence of the seasons or guide the Bear with her cubs across the heavens? Amos 5:8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns midnight into dawn and darkens day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land-- the LORD is his name.

Ten Reasons Why Photographers Are Expensive

Ten Reasons Why Photographers Are Expensive From the outset, you’re not just paying for the actual photograph; you’re firstly paying for photographic equipment, photographic software, post production time and shooting time, expertise, overheads like costly insurance on the equipment, travelling costs to your venue if the shoot is not at the photographers studio and so the list goes on! See below ten reasons why photographers are expensive. Time You might see it as a 1-6 hour assignment. But what you may ignore is the travelling time to reach the location, a pre-venue scout assessment of the venue to assess the set up time, time spent talking to the clients at venue, time spent in negotiations before the shoot, the actual shoot, transferring and backing up the data, post processing, reviewing with clients,  delivering the photos or scheduling a pick up. And we are not even going into time spent building relationship with client, marketing and office hours. Post processing itself may take over a day or many more depending upon the number of photographs edits required. Especially in case of weddings, depending on packages offered, the client may expect 2000 images out of the batch you shot...that means 2000 quality images processed! Gear Professional photographers don’t compromise with the quality of their gear. They buy the best professional equipment their budget can afford them at the time. They spend thousands and thousands of Rands getting multiple camera bodies (as they are the first items that need upgrading to remain current - R90 000 for Nikon's flagship D4s), the finest lenses (which are seriously NOT cheap, usually not updated as often as camera bodies - from R10 000 - R262 000), flash equipment for every situation, tripods, light stands, backdrops, props, carrying and storage cases. Craig Fouché  - Nikon D800e and Nikon 600mm f4 - © 2015 Dominique Fouché Not only this, they buy professional licenses for software and different cloud back-up storage solutions like Dropbox or their own Western Digital Servers desktop computer and monitor to manage the large image file sizes - this is the modern day darkroom. Joe Soap's 10mp cellphone camera is not a substitute for the real deal, my analogy is that it equates to what 2 minute noodles is in comparison to a gourmet chefs meal! All my equipment is professional equipment bought at Orms in Cape Town, none is sponsored. I have bought the odd smalls from Outdoorphoto in Pretoria and B&H in New York. Premium Services Pro photographers join communities to further learn and explore new dimensions. They have to pay for their membership to different premium photography communities. I myself belong to Nikon's NPU Service - Nikon Professional User Service where courses offered by Nikon are discounted, not free. Even there, to qualify, you are required at time of writing to spend around R100 000.00 on equipment alone! Photographers pay for a premium account on photography services like Flickr, 500px and others. Their fees included maintenance of website and or the hosting thereof. They may  even need consultations with lawyers for those sticky situations where clients may not want to pay, or where their copyrights have been infringed. Premium services may also include office and studio rent, paying a make up artist their fees for a creative shoot they may be doing. Skills Apart from being a good photographer, they have to be a CEO, marketing manager, financial manager, salesperson, production worker, buyer, negotiator, driver, networker, organizer etc. That’s the kind of skill-set of professional photographer - a jack of all trades, more so if you a one-man-band! No Compromise Work Ethic Professional photographers don’t compromise. They will give you the best they can, after all their business, livelihood and name is at stake. They don’t back off from tough assignments. They would travel to any possible location and will shoot to the best of their ability. They give you their valuable time. They don’t run for multiple assignments within a day; they would rather do one quality assignment. Technology Pro photographers keep themselves and their gear up to date with the rapidly evolving technology. They find tools that perfectly match their style and the clients they do business with. Their equipment is professional gear and very costly; and certainly not that of a hobbyist. They will be using the best technology available. This also requires being on top of their game with new software like Adobe Photoshop, Lightroom and Google Nik Collection. I have spent many hours learning from YouTube, and Lynda.com. Experience Experience is the one thing that may beat everything. Professionals are expected to be vastly experienced. They can advise you over a number of things which you would not be able to decide. They know what’s right and what could go wrong. This is something no person can buy in any field, it is learned through the school of hard knocks and practice. Uniqueness and Quality Professionals have their unique style yet every shoot can look different. They know how to infuse freshness. The quality of photos are supreme. This is true when the client being photographed participates in a positive way and their personality shows in the images. Returns The truth is that you get what you pay for. You will get your worth for the money spent. This applies to all walks of life, invariably penny-wise is pound foolish, in saying that; you will get chancers too, the onus on you is to do a background check on the photographer. Assistants and Help They may have a small team working with them either on location or back in studio. The photographer pays them for their work from his income. So next time if you think a photographer is charging too much, do consider the above points, and put the camera in your hands and see the business from that side of the viewfinder!

Facebook Photos Size Guide 2015

Facebook Photo Size Guide 2015   I came across this interesting and comprehensive blog written by David Coleman Photography on how to edit your images for for social media. This was not written by me, full credit to him for all the content and images. Ever tried using photos or graphics on your Facebook page? It can be frustrating. So here's an up-to-date, unofficial Facebook photo size guide to what's what, what's where, and how big. In its early days, Facebook was all about text and links. But as it has grown up, images have become more and more important. They’re now more important for design and identity on the user interface, like your profile picture or cover photo. And it’s a great way to share photos in galleries and on the timeline. Facebook photos are now a huge part of the site’s appeal. The site still isn’t as photographer-friendly as Google+, but it’s getting better. Working out what image sizes to use on Facebook isn’t as easy as it could be and involves some wrangling to get the result you want. Each type of image on a page, profile, and timeline has its own size and quirks. And Facebook never has been very good about making its help pages easy to find. Making things even more fun is that Facebook changes things from time to time. Sometimes it’s a small, incremental tweak. Sometimes it’s an entire overhaul (such as when timelines were introduced and again when they were changed from two columns to one column). So it’s always a bit of a moving target. And there always seems to be a new system just around the corner. So here’s my updated 2015 version of the unofficial guide for the sizes of Facebook photos on the various parts of the site. This post is the first in the series. You can find similar guides for Event Pages, Newsfeeds, and Facebook Image Quality in the box at right. And I also have photo size guides for Instagram, Google+ and Twitter that might be of interest. You can also see the examples below in action on my Facebook page. I try to keep this as up-to-date as possible, but Facebook has a nasty habit of making unannounced changes and then rolling them out gradually to users so that not everyone gets them at once. If you’ve noticed something that’s changed, please let me know in the comments so I can update it. Facebook’s New Layout (mid-2014) In March 2014, Facebook announced a new layout for the timeline of business pages. As of June, most pages are being switched over. I’ve updated the information below to reflect the new layout. The new layout brings pages in line with personal profiles. There’s a single column at the right with updates. The narrower column at left is for admin features and static information. The new layout looks like this: Facebook Cover Photo Size The Facebook Cover Photo is the large panoramic image space at the top of the timeline. It’s displayed at 851px wide by 315px high, like this: The image you upload must be at least 399px wide–one that’s at least 720px wide will work best. You can upload a photo already cropped and resized to precisely those sizes (here’s how if you’re using Lightroom). Or you can upload a larger image, in which case you’ll be given a chance to move the image to choose the crop you’d like displayed. You can only designate one photo as your Cover Photo. Panoramas are ideal. Simple crops also work. And there’s nothing stopping you from assembling a collage in your imaging software, saving it as a single image file, and uploading that. Here’s an example using TurboCollage (see Creating a Photo Collage with TurboCollage for step by step instructions). And here’s an example using Lightroom (see How to Make a Facebook Cover Photo Collage with Lightroom for step by step instructions). If you’ve just set up a new Facebook profile or page and don’t yet have a cover photo, just click on the “Add Cover Photo” button at the top of the page where the Cover Photo will go. You’ll then get this warning popup: Once you’ve added your photo, you can change it easily. When you’re logged in to your account and on the Timeline view, if you hover the mouse over the Cover Photo you should get a “Change Cover” button at the bottom right of the Cover Photo. Click on that and you’ll get the menu item to choose where photo comes from. You can choose from existing photos you’ve uploaded to Facebook or upload a new one. And if you decide you want to reposition or remove the photo, you can use the same menu. It looks a little something like this: Facebook offers this advice: “To get the fastest load times for your Page, upload an sRGB JPG file that’s 851 pixels wide, 315 pixels tall and less than 100 kilobytes. For images with your logo or text-based content, you may get a higher quality result by using a PNG file.” For more information on the latter point–about using text, logos, or watermarks on images, I have a separate post on that which goes into more detail. I also have a separate post with more detail on Facebook Cover Photo Size. Facebook Cover Photo Gradient In the new layout, cover photos now have a narrow gray semi-transparent gradient running along the bottom. This is something personal profiles have had for a while, but it’s now also on cover photos on business pages. It’s presumably there because the page name, page type, and admin boxes now overlay the bottom of the cover photo (they used to be below the cover photo). Because the text is always in white, the gradient makes the text legible even against a white cover photo. I can’t say I’m a fan, but unfortunately there’s no way to remove it. Facebook Profile Picture Size The Profile Image is now the smaller, square at bottom left of the header, overlapping the cover photo. You have to upload an image at least 180px by 180px. It’s displayed at 160px by 160px. (Its “natural” size is actually resized to 168px by 168px, but it’s only displayed at 160px by 160px.) The thin white border is added automatically and there’s no way to remove it. If you use a photo that’s not square, you have some control over which part of the image to use for the crop. When you’re logged in, hover over the profile image and choose “Edit Profile Picture” and then “Edit Thumbnail”. You can then click on the crop lines to choose the part of the image you want to use. Tip: If you find that your resulting profile picture, after it’s downsized in Facebook, is blurry, try uploading an image twice the size of the downsized image (that is, an image that is 320px by 320px). That should give a sharper result. Profile Picture on the Timeline The profile image that appears next to your name on comments and posts is the same image but is automatically scaled down to 32px by 32px. Shared Link Thumbnails Some things got simplified in the new layout. Shared link thumbnails didn’t. There are different ways that Facebook displays thumbnail images with links. Ideally, you can get full-width thumbnails that are scaled to fill a box 484px by 252px. Like this: But not every link thumbnail displays full-width. What the specific criteria are is still to be determined, but it likely has to do with whether the page you’re linking has the OpenGraph image property defined (ie. the og:image tag). It might then also depend on the size of the image and orientation, as it does with Google+. When the thumbnail doesn’t display full-width, it goes into a small box at left. In that case, a landscape thumbnails fits in a box 155px wide. And a portrait thumbnail fits in a box 114px high. You also have the option of uploading a new image for the thumbnail if you don’t like the one automatically suggested from the original page. I’m still experimenting, but it appears that if you upload a new image you’re stuck with the small thumbnail even if the original suggested one was full-width. One Photo on the Timeline When you upload an image to the timeline, a thumbnail is generated automatically to fit within a box that is 504px by 504px. So if you want to use the maximum space allowed, upload a square photo at least 504px wide. If you upload a landscape (horizontal) image, it will be scaled to 504px wide. If you upload a portrait (vertical) image, it will be scaled to 504px high and it’ll be centered with gray on each side. How much empty gray you get on the sides depends on the aspect ratio. A narrower image will result in more empty gray than a wider image. Uploading Multiple Images to a Page Timeline You can upload multiple photos at once to the timeline. How they’re displayed depends on how many images you’re uploading and the orientation of what I will call the primary image. The primary image is what I’m calling the one that displays first, and it also displays larger in some of the layouts. So far as I know there’s not official name for it, but I’m going to go ahead and use primary image. As well as displaying first, the primary image has another important role. It determines the layout you get. If you upload 3 images with a square primary image you’ll end up with a different layout than if you upload 3 images with a rectangular primary image. The easiest way to select which image serves as the primary image is to drag it to the left in the upload dialog. In this example, the photo of the lion will become the primary image. If I want the photo of the monkey to be the primary image, I’d just drag it to the left. In many circumstances, the order matters not just because it determines which photo is to the left or on top, but because the way that the thumbnails displays is determined by the orientation of that primary image. 2 Images With Horizontal (Landscape) Primary Image 2 Images With Vertical (Portrait) Primary Image 2 Images With Square Primary Image 3 Images With Horizontal (Landscape) Primary Image You can mix and match the orientations of the non-primary images–they’ll still display the same. 3 Images With Vertical (Portrait) Primary Image You can mix and match the orientations of the non-primary images–they’ll still display the same. 3 Images With Square Primary Image You can mix and match the orientations of the non-primary images–they’ll still display the same. 4 or More Images with a Horizontal (Landscape) Primary Image You can mix and match the orientations of the non-primary images–they’ll still display the same. If you upload 5 images or more, it displays only the first 4 images. 4 or More Images with a Vertical (Portrait) Primary Image You can mix and match the orientations of the non-primary images–they’ll still display the same. If you upload 5 images or more, it displays only the first 4 images. 4 or More Images with a Square Primary Image You can mix and match the orientations of the non-primary images–they’ll still display the same. If you upload 5 images or more, it displays only the first 4 images. Full-Width Photos on the Timeline The new layout that Facebook introduced in the summer of 2014 did away with the option of having a featured image span both columns. Your updates now only show in a single column, and there’s no way to make photos wider than that column. Facebook Photos Cheat Sheet Width Height Notes Cover Photo 851px 315px Profile Picture in Header 160px 160px Must be uploaded at 180px by 180px Profile Picture on Timeline 32px 32px Same image as main Profile Picture, automatically downscaled Shared Link Thumbnail 484px 252px Only for full-width thumbnails. In some cases much smaller thumbnails are used. Uploaded Photos 2048px 2048px Uploaded Timeline Photo Thumbnail 504px max 504px max See exceptions above for multiple images. Hammad Baig has also put together a fantastic infographic cheat sheet for social media sites. You can find it here.  

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