Despite being released 5 months ago, Instagram Stories are the huge new feature that a lot of bloggers have yet to start using. I just uploaded my first Instagram Story two or three days ago, in fact. Just this morning I was contacted by a user who saw my story. What a concept, right? How many more of us are missing out on this action?
As a part of my New Year’s Instagram Challenge, I’ve included posting an Instagram Story as a task. It was partly to force myself to finally do it, but mostly to help out other people who are either struggling with getting started or who just haven’t taken the time to try it yet (totally me right there).
I’m here to tell you that getting started with Instagram Stories is actually super easy! I did my first one while I was in the car (as a passenger, of course), so it’s not like you need this huge setup or anything. Let’s get you started on your first Instagram Story!
How Instagram Stories Work
First, let’s go over how Stories work:
- There are three types of Stories; photo, video, and live video (the latest addition!).
- Each Story is visible for only 24 hours. After that, it disappears.
- Live Stories disappear after the live session is over.
- People can message you directly from your story.
When creating your Stories:
- You can upload any content saved to your phone within the last 24 hours.
- You can add text, doodles, or stickers to your Stories.
- You’re able to save your own photos and videos, whether you add them to your story or not.
- You can send your Stories to people through direct messages. They still disappear after 24 hours.
Creating Your First Instagram Story
Now that you have some background info, let’s take a look at just how easy it is to create your first Story!
You can get to the Story creation screen by one of two ways; swipe from left to right from the main Instagram screen, or click the little camera in the top left corner.
Your front-facing camera will load up, probably with that unflattering angle that we’ve all experienced before. You’ll notice at the bottom of the screen that you have a few options:
- Live – use this to start broadcasting live Stories.
- Normal – Press the button to take a photo or hold it down to record video. Once you stop holding the button, the video will stop recording.
- Boomerang – If you’re familiar with the Boomerang app, this is exactly what you think it is. Boomerang allows you to repeat a short video clip, first forwards then backward, basically turning it into a looping video/gif.
- Hands Free – This records video without you needing to hold the button down. You can use it with a short press to start recording immediately or holding the button down for a second will give you a 3 second timer before recording starts. Great for use with a tripod and recording video Stories by yourself.
You can also add photos or prerecorded video added to your phone within the last 24 hours. Swipe up to get a list of eligible photos and videos.
Adding Doodles, Stickers, and Text
After taking your photo or recording your video for your Instagram Story, you’ll be taken to a preview screen. From here, you can add stickers, draw on your Story, or add text from the buttons at the top. Video content also has the option to remove the sound. You can also open the sticker panel by swiping upwards.
When adding a drawing/doodle, the very first button you see before the color buttons changes the brush size. Just tap and drag up or down to change it.
You also have several different colors to choose from when adding doodles or text. At first, it seems like there are only the first 9 colors you see there. There’s actually 3 pages of 9 colors to choose from. Just swipe left and right on the colors to switch pages.
After placing elements or adding a drawing, press the Done button to get back to the main preview screen. You can add more elements, save, or publish your story from there!
Editing Added Elements
Editing text and stickers is pretty straight forward. Once your elements have been added, just tap one to select it. Use the typical gestures you know for rotating (2 finger tap and rotate), scaling (2 finger pinch or expand), and positioning (drag into place) different elements. Tap and drag a sticker or text element to the trash can at the bottom of the screen to delete it.
Drawn elements can’t be edited or moved (if I’m missing something here, let me know), so make good use of the Undo button and make sure you have what you want before you hit the Done button, or you’ll need to start over. UGH, I know!
Using Photo Filters on Your Instagram Stories
This is sort of a hidden feature in Stories and to be honest, I only found it on accident! You can use some photo filters by swiping left or right from the Story preview screen. Make sure you don’t have stickers, drawing, or text tools selected or it won’t work.
If you do this after adding text or stickers, be careful not to accidentally move them!
Publishing Your Story
Once your Story is recorded and edited, it’s time to publish! If you want to, you can hit the Save button in the bottom left to save a copy of your completed Story to your phone. Once you’re ready to publish, just tap the Your Story button that’s beside the Save button. This will add your story to your Instagram account and people can now view it.
Each photo or video you add will be shown to users in the order you upload them. So if you’re creating a message, just add it in the correct order.
Congratulations! You now know how to create your first Instagram Story!
Using Snapchat Filters in Your Instagram Stories
I figured I’d also share this little trick with you guys to help you spice up your Instastories.
Instagram doesn’t have its own filters (yet?) like Snapchat, but you can use Snapchat features by utilizing the Last 24hrs feature on Instagram. You can take photos or video with Snapchat, save them, and then upload them to your Instagram Story.
Since I’m not a heavy Snapchat user at the moment, I’ll let xcvii.hova explain it to you in this short video. Shoutout to that tweet from Snapchat, by the way! Hey-oooooo. lol
Share Your Story!
It’s time to share your own story! Open up your app and get started. Stories are a great way for you to share content that doesn’t really fit into the aesthetics of your Instagram feed. You could also use them to share projects you’re working on but you don’t want your WIP to be on your feed forever. With Instagram Stories, you don’t have to worry about coming back to delete it.
This guide should have given you enough information to get you started, but if you have any other questions, let me know in the comments. You can also check out the Instagram Stories FAQ page for more info.
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