With Facebook’s new layout, you have the opportunity to share a large photo of yourself, your business or your hobby. With any photo of this size, it better be good, or it’s going to look bad. Read on for the proper size to post as well as a great Photoshop tip on making it look better than life.
The almost great photo
Just like real life, often our photos aren’t perfect. But, that doesn’t mean we can’t improve on them. Sure, if you are a journalist, there’s a code of ethics that says you can’t alter a photo; but, you’re not a journalist are you… so edit away.
One of the most common annoyances in photos are wires and traffic poles blocking the subject you want to feature. Using either a recent version of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, there is an almost magical tool you need to know about called ‘Content-Aware Fill’. Essentially it will figure out what you don’t want and replace it with what you do want. Too cool? Read on.
The before shot
Let’s assume this is your store and you want the picture big and bold at the top of your Facebook page. Unfortunately, there’s that big traffic light, sign and pole blocking your storefront. Wouldn’t it be nice to get rid of that? Let’s zoom in and get to work.
Open your photo in Photoshop or Photoshop Elements 10, and select the Spot Healing Brush tool. Make sure it has the option – ‘Content Aware’ checked. Select a brush size just big enough to cover the pole and paint over the pole. Now enlarge the brush to cover the street light and the sign. Continue painting until you’ve covered everything you want removed. Try to do as much as you can in each stroke.
Amazing! Not perfect, but what an improvement already. Now you’ll need to switch to the Stamp tool to finish it up. Alternately sampling different sections of the photo using the Alt key on a PC (or the Option key on a MAC), duplicate them by painting the good parts over the parts that are out of alignment. For example, sample the corner of the bricks and then drag down to straighten out that area between each window.
Do the same on the windows, sampling a good section of one window and painting it onto a window that is not correct. In less than five minutes, I had something that looked like this.
Now we are ready to crop
Zooming all the way back out, now it’s time to crop the photo to fit the space Facebook has reserved for the photo.
Facebook specifies that the cover photo should be exactly 851 pixels wide and 315 pixels tall. If you upload something larger, Facebook will do a crop that may or may not be what you really want. If you upload something smaller, guaranteed you won’t like the looks when they stretch it to fit.
In Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, use the crop tool to pick the area that you want featured and set the exact dimensions to 851 wide and 315 high with a maximum file size of 100kb. Photoshop does a much better job or reducing file sizes than Facebook does, so take this additional step yourself. Then, upload away.
Here’s what out picture could look like, ready to grace the top of our Facebook page – looking much better without the pole, sign or traffic light.