[Tutorial] How to deal with tumblr’s ‘Error uploading photo.’

Many of us have encountered this message at one point or another:


Most likely the gif you’re trying to upload is under the size limit of 1000kb (when you upload gifs that are 1000kb+, your gif is still uploaded but it just doesn’t move) yet you’re still getting this frustrating message. 

So why does this message pop up?  It’s all about the colours of the gif.  Tumblr doesn’t like gifs that are too saturated in cyan or magenta colours.

I’ve listed some fixes.  Go through them in order and if that particular method does not work, move on to the next.

1. CMYK vs. RGB

Make sure your gif is in RGB mode and not CMYK mode. Here’s a screenshot of where you should be looking:


Make sure that the “RGB Color” option is checked.  If your gif was originally in CMYK and you’ve changed it to RGB, you can try uploading again and it should work now.  Keep in mind that the colouring of your gif WILL be changed… It will look more dull, but you can always recolour your gif though there’s no guarantee that your gif will upload after recolouring.

If your gif was originally in RGB yet the gif still doesn’t upload, move on to the next method.

2. Colour Overlay

This is my go-to method and works about 80% of the time.

Open your gif file and create a new fill layer for solid colour.


If your gif is oversaturated in cyan, the solid colour you should be choosing is a light pink.  If your gif is oversaturatedin magenta, the solid colour you should be choosing is a light blue.  Here are two examples:


Now you can play around with the layer settings.  What you’re aiming to do is lessen the harshness of the problem colour without changing the original colouring of the gif too much.  I usually set the layer to multiply and lower the opacity to my liking.

Try uploading.  If it doesn’t work, try the next method.

3. Vibrance/Saturation

Because the problem with the gif is that it is too saturated, it’s an obvious fix to simply desaturate the gif a bit though this isn’t a desirable method because the gif just isn’t as pretty anymore after this. Playing with vibrance can also help.

Above the original layers of the gif, create a new adjustment layer for “Vibrance”.


Next, play with the settings until you feel like the gif is desaturated enough.


You really don’t need to decrease the settings by too much.  Decrease them by a little, then try uploading… If it doesn’t work, decrease the settings a little more.  Keep doing this until the gif no longer looks appealing.  Time to try another method if this is the case.

4. Changing the colouring/gradient maps

Now we’re at the last resort stage.  We’ve been trying to keep the gif as close to the original colouring as possible but if you’ve tried the above steps and are still not satisfied, it’s time to change the colouring altogether.

You can try “Channel mixer” and giving your gif a different tint that isn’t cyan or magenta.

Worst case scenario, you can apply a gradient map. Your gif will definitely upload now but the colouring will be very different from the original.


So there you have it! I hope this was at least somewhat helpful.  If you need any clarifications, you can simply send me an ask

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