Instagram Stories launched back
in 2016, and since then millions have enjoyed the short,
disappearing snippets of our lives. Here, we’ll look at everything you need to
know about Instagram Stories, including how long your uploads should be, tricky
sizing issues and how to get maximum engagement.
Instagram Stories: Length and Dimensions
But wait, just how short are Stories?
- Photo duration: 7 seconds
- Video duration: 15 seconds
As you’ve probably
noticed, you can get around these limits by chopping up your video into 15 second
chunks and having one play after the other. To do this, you’ll need the help of
an app such as Story
Cutter for Android or Continual
The dimensions are a typical 9:16, or 1920px by 1080px – a flip of the 16:9 film format because of the usual
vertical orientation of many smart devices.
Every additional film or image
you add within the 24 hour period will appear in the same Story.
How to Choose Filming Options
When you click the camera icon in
the top left of the screen to upload a story, you’ll have a few options. These
options may vary depending on which version you’re using and how up to date it’s software is.
Record or photograph how you
As you’d expect, live means you
start filming and broadcasting straight to Instagram, where your friends can see
and leave comments as you go. When you’re finished, you can decide whether you
want the video to disappear, to stay on your profile as with a normal post, or
share it to Stories, where it’s subject to the usual 24-hour slot before vanishing.
Boomarang has become a firm favourite,
if occasionally a little annoying. Boomarang will make a GIF that loops back
and forth, but only up to three seconds in length.
If you’ve always wanted to zoom in
creepily slowly on something, then this option is for you. Add some music and
it edges from creepy to fun.
Keep your subject in crisp focus
with a nice blurring of the background with this option.
Show a video in reverse.
If you prefer to be a little
further from the camera, prop up your phone somewhere and yell ‘action’ to
Edit colours, background and font
to make your story colourful and fun.
Add a soundtrack, with the option
to choose the part that fits with your story.
Privacy Settings for Instagram Stories
Like Facebook, you can choose your
privacy settings for each individual upload, or you can go into your Instagram
Profile and create a default, including anyone you want to block from seeing
When you’ve uploaded a Story, you’ll
see a colourful circle around your profile picture, and likewise when your
friends do the same, so you know when you can view their Stories.
Create Great Instagram Stories
What you add to your story is
really up to you, but here are some of our tips for getting the most out of your
- Be consistent – it’s great when
you can post something instantly recognisable as created by you, so try to keep your style
and any branding or colours, consistent where possible. Using templates designed
for Instagram can be a quick way to help you keep consistency without
stifling you creatively. We’ll look at a few more, shortly.
- Get the light right – nobody expects
you to professionally light your Insta Stories, but getting the light right
helps with everything from, you know, being able to actually see properly, to
looking good while you broadcast. Natural light is perfect most of the time,
just avoid harsh light and severe shadows.
- Keep still and steady – we know
you’ll most likely be using your phone or tablet to shoot, and that’s fine, the
quality of most smart devices is really great, but try not to firehose (wave
your camera around) or walk about too much – you’ll make your audience motion
- Get to the point – with 15
seconds to play with (or a little more if you’re cutting up a longer video) you
don’t really have a lot of time to get your point across, so make sure you know
how you’re going to get in and out of your video, without an awkward cut.
- Use hashtags – too many hashtags
can be annoying, so be choosy about what you use and keep it relevant, but do
use them as they really help others to find you.
More Instagram Templates to Help
You Nail Your Insta Story
These templates are for Adobe
Premiere Pro and all from Envato
Elements, where you can download as many as you like once you subscribe.
Just drop in your own titles and images and you’re good to
go, with full colour control and no plugins needed.
Modern and versatile, this pack will give you a sleek and
professional look, saving you time and effort to concentrate on great content
for your Story.
This is a set of 10, well-designed Instagram Story templates
that come with an easy to understand video tutorial.