Instagram Stories has fundamentally changed the way people use Instagram as a whole.
Both individuals and brands are breaking down the barriers of beautifully curated feeds to share more off-the-cuff and behind-the-scenes content through Instagram Stories. All this casual sharing is generating deeper engagement as more than half of the platform’s one billion-plus monthly users watch stories on a daily basis.
That attention also comes with intention as one in four Generation Y and Z shoppers look through Instagram Stories of products and services before purchasing, according to Vidmob.
But with this influx of Instagram Stories viewers and creators, along with the introduction of IGTV, creativity has never been more important.
To help you raise your game, we wanted to share some of our best Instagram Story ideas, tips, and tricks (with step-by-step tutorials) to help you impress your followers and keep them coming back for more.
Photography tips for Instagram Stories
Some say that Instagram Stories are for photos and videos that aren’t good enough for your feed. But with a bit of curation and planning, you can produce standout Instagram Stories that are worthy of pinning to your profile as a Highlight.
Sarah Pflug, an in-house photographer for Shopify’s Burst stock photo library, recommends understanding the following photography fundamentals before playing around with each component.
- Rule of Thirds: This classic theory suggests dividing photos into 9 equal quadrants as a guide to place the main subject not directly centered but within the right or left third. To hone this rule, try shooting photos on your phone with the "grid lines" setting on. Once you are acquaintanced with where to place your subject, feel free to break this rule by testing out how you like to frame your vertical photos for Instagram Stories.
- Lighting: Before sourcing lighting equipment, first master natural lighting by placing your subject in front, to the side of, and behind your light source. Seeing how lighting affects your photos allows you to experiment with shadows, glares, and additional light sources.
- Cropping: Uploading a pre-shot photo into Instagram Stories often makes it less sharp and resizes it to 9:16. To combat this, edit your photos beforehand to a 9:16 aspect ratio before uploading them to Instagram photos.
10 creative Instagram Story ideas, tips, and tricks
Without downloading any additional photo editing or graphics apps, there’s plenty you can do within Instagram to make your Instagram Stories stand out. Here are some creative Instagram Story ideas that you can easily apply, along with tutorials and examples of how to bring them to life.
1. Use rainbow or ombre letters
To add flashes of color to your Instagram Stories text, you can use rainbow or ombre letters to make your captions stand out.
- Type out your word or phrase
- Select all of the letters
- Hold down your cursor on the letters and the color selection tool at the same time, both from the far right
- Slide both fingers at the same time and watch as each letter gets updated with a different color gradient
- Let go of both fingers and rearrange your rainbow letters to the desired place on your screen
2. Change the background color when sharing a post
There may be times when you want to notify your followers that you have posted something new to your grid by sharing your post to your Instagram Stories. But the default background color for it might not be what you had in mind. Here’s how you can change it.
- Select the photo from your grid that you’d like to share on your Instagram Stories
- Click on the sharing options and share to your Stories
- Click on the drawing tool
- Use the color selection tool and drag to the desired color for your background
- Hold down on any part of the screen; your background color will be updated
3. Use individual letters as decorations
This might take a little bit more time but decorating your Instagram Story with the individual letters of a caption adds an additional flair that will help you stand out.
- Select where you would like to use the individual letters to decorate. Ideally framing or tracing an object or subject within your shot
- Type and adjust each letter individually to place it around your object or subject
- Repeat until your word is completed and readjust the positioning of the letters if needed
4. Mix fonts and handwriting together
Show your personality by writing part of your caption with your own handwriting and mixing it with a complementary font for the rest of the text.
- Use the drawing tool to write out the word or phrase with your finger
- Type out the second part of your phrase and adjust the positioning
5. Add a drop shadow to your text
Add an instant pop to your text by adding in a shadow.
6. Use text as a backdrop
Create a unique background and get your message across with this text-based backdrop Instagram Story idea
- Type out the phrase Select all text and click to copy
- Move to another section of the screen and paste the phrase and adjust for positioning
- Repeat the pasting and adjusting until you fill the screen
7. Create a collage with multiple photos
Give your Instagram Story a scrapbook look by using this idea to create a collage and share multiple images at once (iPhone only).
- Start with a background of your liking
- Go to our album and click to copy the image you want to use
- Go back into Instagram Stories and post the image as a sticker
- Repeat the copy and paste process to include all of the images you desire
- Rearrange photos to the layout you planned
- Add a caption if needed
Android users: With the Gboard keyboard enabled, you can add a collage of photos to a single story if you select the 🔎 when entering text to search for photos.
8. Convert a Live Photo into a Boomerang (iPhone only)
Without the need to take your Boomerang within the Instagram or Boomerang app, here’s how you can turn a Live Photo into a Boomerang.
- Take and then select a live photo from your Instagram Stories upload cue
- Hold down on the image
- Watch as it gets updated to a boomerang
9. Use the eraser tool to reveal parts of a photo
Add a little bit of mystique or unveil an exciting surprise for your followers by using the eraser tool to showcase the most important part of your Instagram Story.
- Start with a photo you want to partially reveal
- Use the drawing tool to select a color
- Hold down on the screen to cover up your photo
- Switch over to the eraser tool
- Move and erase part of the photo you want to reveal
- Add additional text to complete the Instagram Story
10. Decorate with dotted lines
You can bring more attention to the main subject of your story with dotted lines. Here’s how to create them by combining the drawing and the eraser tools.
- Draw some lines on the screen to frame a subject or object
- Use the eraser tool to remove part of the line to create dotted lines
- Add additional text to complete the Instagram Story
Start sharing your story with Instagram Stories
With these tips and tricks now at your disposal, go ahead and experiment to bring your own style to your Instagram Stories. Instagram is all about creativity and play so try out new designs, keep tabs on your Instagram Analytics, and post consistently to share your story as Instagram Stories.