Instastories are a great way to show your followers and friends many different things that you interact with on a daily basis. It could be a deeper look into that photo you just posted, a shot that wasn’t quite right for you profile but it was too good to go unnoticed or, another creative outlet you want to show. For me, it’s usually the latter. My life is pretty repetitive and to post a story about me analysing some data isn’t very exciting at all. However, I found that putting together beautiful instastories was an amazing creative outlet as I could post things I wouldn’t usually show anyone. You may have noticed that from time to time, I will have framed my posts with some basic like a white border – or I go to the other side of the spectrum and post a story that combines both still image and video at the same time, decorated with brushwork or whatever I feel suits the imagery. I’ve had a lot of people ask me how I do it so I thought I would make a post out of it. Some of my processes are quite tedious and intense for just one story, but some you can definitely do on the fly.
Still Image with a Frame
Let’s start with the simplest one. For this, I use an app called whitagram. I’ll import the photo that I want, tap the square icon on the bottom toolbar and drag the slider all the way to the right side. You can also choose another colour for the background, but I like to stick to white. Because this app is made to suit square photos (good ol’ Instagram days), the image will be saved as a square but it doesn’t really matter because as soon as you choose to upload this to your stories, Instagram will automatically make it fit.
Pros: You get a nice clean frame around your photo
Cons: You can only do one photo at a time
Video with a Frame
To create a video instastory with a frame, I use an app called Splice. It very easy to use but, of course, that means that there isn’t too much flexibility. In this app, you can cut videos, apply preset filters, speed up or slow down videos, add text, remove or add sound/music, and finally, it allows you to resize the actual video but zooming, pinching or dragging to move and/or resize the video to where you want it to be. To do this, import the video into the app by tapping the ‘+’ sign on the top right corner to create a new project. Select the video you want from your camera roll and tap ‘ADD’ in the top right corner. The next screen will ask if you want to add some music using either the ones they have readily available or, songs you have in your Music app. If you don’t want to add any music, just tap ‘SKIP’ in the top right corner. The next page has all your settings. Change the format to portrait, change the background colour to whatever you like, select ‘none’ for the default transition, and take the transition duration to the lowest setting. Once you’ve done this, tap ‘DONE’ in the top right corner.
In the next screen, tap on your video in the timeline at the bottom half of your screen and tap ‘EDIT VIDEO’. Go to the icon that is second from the right. This is where you will be able to move and/or resize your video. Once you’ve got it just right, hit the back button in the top left corner. If you’re happy with what you have, tap the icon in the top right corner to save your video.
Pros: Gives your video a nice frame; the app has a few different functionalities to play with
Cons: You can only do one video at the time and can overlay images anywhere; only for iPhone users
I’ve also been told that FilmoraGo is an app you can use and this is available for both iPhone and Android users. I did give it a go once but it was a bit clunky and not as easy to use.
Combining Images with Video
Ok, this is where it gets tricky. This process is for people who are committed to getting their stories really creative and who have the time to do so. For this, you will need Adobe Photoshop and a computer with decent processing power. For me, this takes up to an hour – this time includes loading and making sure everything looks perfect.
Firstly, you will need to make sure that the Timeline window is visible in Photoshop. To do this, go to Window in the top toolbar and select Timeline. Next you need to import your video. Go to File > Import > Video frames to layers. Browse and select the video you want to use (note: it needs to be in the right format. You will be able to tell if it is compatible if a) you proceed to the next step and; b) you can see the preview in the next step). You will get a little pop up window with a few options – choose your range and click OK. Photoshop will import the frames of your videos as individual layers.
The resolution for Instastories is 1242px x 2208px so you will want to resize your video to suit that. Resize the video to something smaller than that resolution and then use the Canvas Size feature to make the overall video match the Instastory resolution. Excess space will be transparent at first so go to the first layer and change it to the background colour you want.
If you want to add a still image, find the one you want and open it in a new window in Photoshop. Resize it to the size you want and paste it into a new layer in your video file. Create this new layer either as the first or last layer depending on whether you want the image to be on top or behind your video. You also have to ensure that the layer/s is visible in every frame (or every frame you want it to be in).
Lastly, you can also add brush effects. Like still images, you just need to create a new layer on top of the layer that has the background colour. There are a load of free Adobe brush sets available for download – just google Adobe Photoshop brushes.
Once you’re done, go to File > Export > Render video. You can then transfer the video to your device.
Like I said earlier, the Photoshop method is a lot of work and to my knowledge, there isn’t an easy way around it. If you do have some tips and tricks of your own, feel free to share them in the comments below!