Monday, May 25th 2009
Image quality on Facebook is awful. That’s the simple truth. Just compare what you get at Flickr and Facebook.
Facebook just completely mutes the colours. Look at the red lights on the cars, or the red windows of the building. And sharpness is nowhere to be found. The tree is just a mushy green mess.
While Flickr’s default size is a bit on the small side (500 pixels), it still contains more than twice as much information (163 kB) as the Facebook version (67 kB).
So … what can be done about Facebook’s mangling of perfectly good photos? Well, if you do the downsizing and sharpening yourself you get more detail left at the end, in the resulting image after Facebook has done its ruthless compression.
This is very easy if you’re using Lightroom, but can definitely be done with any other imaging software as well. Simply resize your photos to 604 pixels on the longest side, which is the maximum for Facebook, and then apply some sharpening. Personally I do
sharpening for screen, level
High, in the export window of Lightroom.
This is what you get: (Hover to see the improvement.)
So, you get slightly more detail, but Facebook still murders your colours. Below is a comparison between Facebook version and the 604 pixel original that I uploaded (when hovered):
An alternative to the hassle of downsizing and sharpening is to simply boycott Facebook for photos and just post links to your sets on Flickr …