With the current facebook photo uploader, what are the optimal settings for uploading high-resolution photos. I process my images in Adobe Lightroom.
The supported sizes are:
Regular photos 720 px, 960 px, 2048 px High Resolution
Cover photos 851 px by 315 px (keep cover photos under 100K to avoid Facebook compression)
(JPEG with an sRGB colour profile)
Any other size will be re-sized by Facebook. You also need to make sure to select the High Quality Option.
Source: https://www.facebook.com/help/photos/photo-viewer Expand "How can I make sure that my photos display in the highest possible quality?" link for more detail.
I use Lightroom 4 where I have a custom export with auto image sizing for web set up with compression settings I am happy with. I don't go with the 2048 px because I don't want my online photos to be this large and I upload the same photos to facebook, flickr, 500px and my website so I just found a "happy" optimum size which works for me and diplays relatively fast in places that do not have fast internet connection.
My preferred "HQ" setting in LR4 is Short Edge: 900 px, resolution 96 PPI, standard screen sharpening.
It seems to work fine on Facebook. Take a look at my Fan Page. - all photos there are uploaded with the HQ setting on.
As a side note... As for the COVER photo, I believe that it needs to be exactly 851x315 and less then 100K in file size. (I also have an exporter in LR4 set up for just Facebook cover photo with the "Limit size to 100K" option set) This ensures crisp sharp cover photo image. I had several cover photos that did not comply with the standard and the cover page looked bad.
I'd opine that you don't need "optimal" settings but rather just "more than adequate to meet the capability offered". You ask with reference to Lightroom, and I'm commenting mentioning Irfanview, but the core requirements will be much the same.
A Facebook "high quality' photo page is typically about 3 megapixel. Actual dimensions vary slightly.
Facebook claim that if you upload a photo at 2048 pixels wide that they do no resize it. This may be true, but they may downgrade the quality. I just uploaded a 2048 x 1365, 538.97 kB image. I then downloaded it and compared the two. The downloaded files was also 2048 x 1365 but file size was 246.72 kB. THey do strip off EXIF data, but a flicker comparison of the two shows that they also strip off quality. Results were "reasonable" but fine detail was noticeably worse in many areas. Not so much that you would probably notice with two prints side by side. Pixel peeping / flicker comparator was really required - but obvious enough once done. Whether uploading with higher resolution/ more detail will help is tbd.
The following may be seen as hijacking this question to my own ends.
Most of My Facebook Wall Photos here were uploaded with the above settings.
I'd be interested in (polite) comment on the perceived adequacy of those photos for the purpose of FB display. That's my "Wall Photos" page where I post photos of mine that catch my fancy along the way. Some are limited by cropping (sparrows, dove, flying dog, birds nest, ...) or marginal conditions (lying on railway track at night, 35 year old off-print photo of my wife, ...) but most are restricted by the FB format.
If you want to get every little bit out of what FB can display you MAY get success trying to upload an image that fits their end size exactly, but I've decided that an image in the 1MB - 2MB range after JPEG 90 saving from Irfanview provides result that is close enough to the original that nobody is going to complain when viewed at "full HD" resolution. Full HD is slightly lower res than FB provides so a monitor which refits your image to a full HD screen is going to be reasonably well served by an uploaded image in the 1-2 MB range.
My source images re usually 6000 x 4000 (Sony A77) or ~ 4000 x 3000 (Nikon D700). Some are from years gone by with cameras of lower resolutions. (Lowest probably 2003 Minolta 7Hi 5Mp). I usually use Irfanview for quick process and post. A save at JPG 90 setting produces a result that is pixel-peeping level essentially identical to a JPG source and will cvom,press a camera JPG by about 2 to 6 times (depending on camera settings). I have more upload bandwidth than needed so speed of upload (about 1 mbps - varies) and FB willingness to accept files are the main constraints. If a files is over say 2 MB I may resize x 50% X & Y to 1/4 original size on A77. Maybe 70% x 70% on D700. FB will accept larger files but large uploads seem to fail more often for unspecified reasons.
Will answer and ask my own related question.
I keep most of my image at 4x6 ratio and upload on fb at 1200x1800 with normal sharpening for screen on Lightroom. Looks fine to me. (for facebook) Tried heavier sharpening but does not look as good.
Using files from My Pentax K5 (16mp) and now Nikon D800. Very little difference to my eye between the two at these resolutions.
Started using 500px now I'm and so find myself thinking about the same issue. Found the advice to just uplaod the full size. Images would apparently be viewed at 900 pixel long side but would then be available directly for the buy print option. Now what about sharpening? Should I go for matte paper sharpening like when I send files for printing? (I do lots of b&w and prefer matte and satin finish) or use screen sharpening?
I'll keep it simple. Currently in October 2012:
Upload images at a width of 720px, 960px, or 2048px, JPEG, sRGB color space, 72ppi.
Note: If you would like to upload the 2048px size, you must select the "High Quality" checkbox in the uploader tool of an album.