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5 ideas to make your insta story pics more interesting!

by Kate Holderness 5 months ago in editing

Easy tricks to edit instagram story photos, no other app required!

A few years ago, an article about photo editing would have been filled with advice on aspect ratio, compression and bokeh (no, me neither). Whilst the world still needs skilled photographers who know their apertures from their shutter speeds, many of us without a knowledge of the craft can lay claim to having a photograph hanging in a gallery with over one billion visitors every month.

Instagram.

Back in the day, a photograph was a big deal. We’d have a whole day dedicated to our class photos at school; we’d agonise over using the last shot on a roll of film, not wanting to waste it. Photo albums would be filled with memories and tucked away in a drawer, brought out every now and then to laugh at our awful hair cuts.

Nowadays we strut around like the goose that laid the golden photo, snapping our cameras willy-nilly at anything that might look good on the ‘gram. I once read that humans take more photos in two minutes than existed IN TOTAL during the whole of the 1800s.

I read that in 2015. I SHUTTER to think what the statistics are now.

With the arrival of Instagram Stories in 2016, photographs became even more disposable, remaining on our profiles for a mere 24 hours. Whilst professional photographers may consider this sacrilege, I kinda like it.

While I use my main Instagram grid for photos I want to remember for years to come, my version of the photo album in the drawer I mentioned earlier, my STORIES are used like a daily bulletin board of everyday comments or observations; “look at this”, “that’s cool”, “I did this”, “here’s my lunch”. Photos on stories can flit from style to style, there’s none of this ‘aesthetic’ malarkey to worry about here, making it perfect for anyone who feels a little precious about their main grid.

So that my stories avoid becoming a graveyard of pics that didn’t make the main cut, I love playing around with new ways to make them interesting or eye-catching. It’s also good to remember that each story slide is only shown for 15 seconds, so these little hacks come in handy in helping your photo communicate a ‘message’ in an instant!

Here are 5 of my favourite tricks for swanking up story photos!

1. The Sketch

This look is so simple to achieve and really lends itself to a ‘snapshot’ of a location or moment. It has a ‘sketched in a hurry’ feel to it which suits Instagram stories where it’s all about on-the-fly action. Your photo can be ‘signed’ with any word you choose to set the tone. I used a photo from a rainy day in London for mine so simply signed it ‘London x’ for a postcard-like effect but you could annotate it with a day of the week, a mood, a name, whatevs!

How To

  • Start a new story, add your photo and make it fill the screen.
  • Select the draw tool and select a colour you’ll use for the background, I went for white here.
  • Long-press with your finger on the screen. You should now have a full screen filled with your colour choice.
  • Select the erase tool and use the slider on the left to make it as big as it will go!
  • Roughly erase the flat colour until you can see your photo underneath. Don’t be too neat with it and leave some colour masking the edges.
  • Now use the slider to make the eraser tool as small as it will go! Scribble messily around the edges of your photograph to cut into any smooth lines and give it a messy feel.
  • Using the same size eraser tool, sign your creation on any of the flat colour that’s left with a word of your choice!

2. The Dictionary

This one is great for quickly creating a mood or theme. Choose a word that encapsulates your photo and google the dictionary definition. You can use this technique for ANYTHING....you could literally snap a blank wall and define boredom /ˈbɔːdəm/ noun. the state of feeling bored.

How To

  • Start a new story, add your photo and make it fill the screen.
  • Select the text tool and choose the last font style in the row.
  • Pick a colour, I used black here, and type your word of choice. Position it where desired.
  • Select the text tool and choose the italic font style (4th in the row). Type the phonetic spelling of your word and whether it’s a noun, verb etc. Position under your main word.
  • Select the text tool and choose the last font style in the row again. Now type your definition (true or false, it’s up to you!). Position underneath the other text.
  • Select the highligther tool and pick a colour using the dropper tool (a colour which makes up a lot of your photo works well).
  • Long-press with your finger on the screen. You should now have a full screen filled with your colour choice.
  • Select the erase tool and use the slider on the left to make it as big as it will go!
  • Roughly erase the highlighter colour until you can see your photo underneath. I was a little neater with this one, using a diagonal swipe.
  • Select the draw tool and choose a contrasting colour to the one you used for the text (I used white here).
  • Draw a rough box under your text to make it stand out.
  • Select the text tool and 1st font in the row. Using the same colour you used in the last step, type a ‘line’ by repeatedly tapping the ’underline’ on your keyboard ( _ ). Position the line pointing from your text to a ‘feature’ in your photo.
  • Using the text tool again, type the white circle emoji ⚪️ and position it at the end of your line!

3. The Playlist

One of my faaaaaavourites! Often, there’s a perfect song to sum up exactly how you’re feeling. Add a track title to your pic and...voila! It’s a mood!

How To

  • Start a new story, add your photo and make it fill the screen.
  • Select the text tool and 1st font in the row. Pick a dark grey colour. Type a ‘line’ by repeatedly tapping the ’underline’ on your keyboard ( _ ). Position near the top of your photo.
  • Type a shorter line, making it white this time. Position it directly over the first line.
  • Staying in the same font and colour, type the name of your chosen song and position it above the line, leaving a little room underneath.
  • Same font and colour again, this time type the artist name and position underneath the title.
  • Type the white circle emoji ⚪️ and position it centrally underneath the line.
  • Same font again but this time using dark grey, type two capital i’s ( II ) and position over the white circle.
  • Type the rewind symbol emoji ⏮ and position to the left of the circle.
  • Type the forward symbol emoji ⏭ and position to the right of the circle.
  • Select the draw tool and select a colour you’ll use for the background, I went for white here.
  • Swipe the screen to select a fitting filter, I used Lagos here.

4. The Sparkles

Sometimes you just want to show people something you think is really neat. Like water...in a can! Interesting concept but Van Gogh probably wouldn’t choose to paint it. That’s where sparkles come in. Suddenly you’ve gone from ‘meh’ to ‘ooOOh! Shiny!’

How To

  • Start a new story, add your photo and make it fill the screen.
  • Select the draw tool and use the slider to make it as small or large as you’d like your sparkles. I went quite small for mine.
  • Select a colour you’ll use for the sparkles, I went for blue here.
  • Draw a rough swirl over your object in dots by tapping your finger on the screen in a zig-zag pattern.
  • Select the glow-pen tool and add some more dots to your pattern.
  • Select a lighter shade, make the brush slightly larger and add more dots.
  • Select the eraser tool and, keeping the brush size quite small, erase some of your dots where your object would ‘cover’ them.
  • Swipe the screen to select a nice filter. A ‘glowy’ one like Jaipur works well.

5. The String Lights

String lights make everything better! While I’ve gone full Broadway-jazz-hands-stylee for this shot, you can make them as flashy or as minimal as you like. I also really like using these to frame books I’m reading as it gives a nice ‘cosy study’ vibe.

How To

  • Start a new story, add your photo and make it fill the screen.
  • Select the draw tool and select a dominant colour from your photograph using the dropper. I went for red here.
  • Long-press with your finger on the screen. You should now have a full screen filled with your colour choice.
  • Select the erase tool and use the slider on the left to make it as big as it will go!
  • Roughly erase the flat colour in a circular action until you can see your photo underneath, leaving some colour masking the edges.
  • Select the draw tool and make it as small as it will go. Select a colour for your ‘string’, I went for white here.
  • Roughly scribble around the erased part in a circular action.
  • Select the glow pen tool and pick a colour for your lights, I went for yellow here. Use the slider to determine the size of your lights, I made mine quite large for a ‘Broadway’ effect but tiny ones look great too!
  • ’Dot’ your lights around your ‘string’.
  • Play around with fonts to add caption to your photo if needed!

I hope you found these useful and please feel free to tag me on insta (@kateholderness) to show me how you’re using them, I’d love to see!

editing
Kate Holderness
Kate Holderness
Read next: 4 Ways To Find Inspiration As A Beginner Photographer
Kate Holderness

insta: @kateholderness

London 🇬🇧🏳️‍🌈 Actor. Illustrator.

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