So I finally did it.
I changed my Facebook profile to the new Timeline layout. I guess it was inevitable as Facebook did not really give us much choice in the matter. First the deal was that everybody – everybody – will have to change to the new layout by the end of March. Then it changed and everybody – everybody – will now be migrated to the new layout by 10 April.
So anyway, initially I was not too fond of the idea. In all honesty I’m still not convinced but I guess there really is nothing you can do about it. I reckon that for a business, and especially a visual business it is great, but from a personal page point of view – not convinced.
So anyway, yesterday I set up my timeline page and even though it was a pretty simple exercise a few people have asked about the image dimensions and how to go about the process so here is a very basic look at how to set up the cover photo – the bog one that runs across the screen – on your Facebook page.
Firstly you have to prep your image. Facebook says that the perfect size for the cover image is 851px x 315px so I used CS5 to crop my image to that exact size.
To do this select the Crop tool on the left of the page and then, in the top banner, type in the size you want to crop to – in this case 851px x 315px and at a resolution of 72dpi which is perfect for web use.
Now you just drag the crop tool over your images to crop to the desired size.
Once you are happy simply hit enter to see your newly cropped image.
So now that my image was ready I head on over to Facebook to upload the new cover shot. You can do this by clicking on the ‘Change Cover’ button on the bottom right of your current cover (or where it should go).
Simply select ‘Upload Photo’ and hit enter. Once your images has been uploaded you will have the option of repositioning the image but since you have sized it correctly this should not be necessary.
When you are happy with the image simply click ‘Save Changes’ and your good to go!
The little square above is where your old profile picture will go. Even though you will have the choice to reposition it when you click on it I would suggest to keep it so a square crop – a ratio of 1 to 1. Just makes life a whole lot easier!
Now there is one other image related issue I picked up with the new timeline layout and it has to do with the new ‘highlight’ feature where you can choose to showcase a single post or image by making it run across the whole width of the screen and not just in a badly cropped little block on the side.
When I used to upload images to Facebook – to link to blog posts – I used to size it to 650px at the longest side. Why? Cause that is the size that I normally post to the blog so it was just easier that way.
So now, when I posted an image this is what I see.
I could see the image, cropped, with the text just above it. In order to highlight the post with the two lion cubs you simply hover your cursor in the top right corner of the image and you will see a star icon appear.
By clicking this star you highlight the post thereby stretching it across the entire width of the screen. I tried it with one of my older images, which was sized to 650px (width) and this is what I got.
It is definitely a great thing that you can show images at this size – especially if your a photographer – but the problem is this. If your images is not big enough to fit the width of the column Facebook will upsize it for you making it look, well, crap! You can see in the above image that the lion is just not sharp which is, from my point of view, not great.
So, what is the answer?
Simple. I simply now upload my Facebook images at a width of 850px which solves the problem (well kind of!)
Much sharper and looks a lot better! Now at this point the only thing you will normally have to do only thing you will normally have to do reposition the image just a bit to maximize the visual effect. You can do this by clicking on the little pencil, which is next to the aforementioned star, and simply drag the image to where you want it.
Once you are done simply click Save and your done!
All in all pretty basic stuff. I am still not convinced about the whole timeline thing but from a photography point of view the ability to show your image slightly larger is definitely a plus! Also, if you’re a photographer wanting to show your portfolio, or at least your favorite images, you can keep on changing your cover images every week, day or month. By clicking on your cover image you can view all the previous ones as well – same as with all Facebook albums.
So from here you can keep on changing your cover image again and again, keeping it interesting for you and your friends!
I am sure that there will be a few upgrade and tweaks to the timeline layout, and how Facebook deals with images, so let’s wee what happens.
If you have any thoughts, or have anything to add, please feel free to add a comment below!
Until next time.
Gerry van der Walt
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