Free Facebook Cover Photos

Posted by on May 31st, 2012

I’ve had a few people ask me to make them some cover photos for their Facebook timeline, so I decided I’d post a bunch of them on the blog for everyone to use. Choosing just the right photos for the project was fun. They had to work as panoramic crops, be compelling, and have most of their visual mass in the center or right side. I found a couple I really enjoy and I hope you will too.

To download the photos, first click the thumbnail, then right click on the image and select “save as” or “save image as.” Save them to your desktop (or somewhere else you’ll remember) and then upload them to Facebook by hovering over your cover image and clicking the “Change Cover” button. Or you can download them all by clicking here.

Make your own:

While creating these photos, I came across some useful tips on optimizing your own cover photos for Facebook. First check out these guidelines. The most important thing I learned is that you want to upload an image that is exactly the size of the cover photo area (851 pixels wide by 315 pixels tall). Uploading a photo with different dimensions will result in Facebook automatically resizing it and the results are pretty awful. You’ll likely end up with a photo that is blurry, muddy, or overly grainy.

Step 1.

Choose the right photo
To finish with a great cover photo, you need to start with a great photo. Choose something that will crop well; landscapes, a photo with lots of empty space, or macros work great. Choose a photo that is visually striking because Facebook will compress your photo and you need to have something that will work well even if it gets slightly muddy. Choose a photo with most of its “visual weight” centered or on the right. This will keep the cover photo from clashing with your profile picture.

Step 2.

Using your favorite photo editing software, resize the image to 851 pixels wide. Then use the crop tool to set the height at 315 pixels tall.

Step 3.

To overcome the ugly compression that Facebook uses, apply sharpening to your image. I found that the “high” setting in the export panel of Lightroom gave me the best results.

Step 4.

Another way to get around Facebook’s unattractive compression is to do the compression yourself in a program like Photoshop, Pixelmator, or GIMP. Instead of saving your .jpg at 100%, try lowering the quality. You goal is to get the file size just under 100mb for best results.

Step 5.

That’s it, you’re done! Congratulations, if you’ve followed these steps you probably have a decent cover photo. Pixel-peepers will likely notice some ugly compression artifacts but the end result should be much better than simply uploading an image straight from your camera.

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