Stories are now a firm favorite when it comes to Instagram features. They’re a simple way to share less-polished moments with your followers, only to be deleted from the public sphere 24 hours later.
And since Instagram effectively stole the idea of Stories from Snapchat, you’d be right to expect pretty much the same features: filters to give your photos and videos a more retro look, stickers, text overlay, face filters. It’s all there, plus all of Instagram’s other features.
For some of us, though, this just isn’t enough. To really make your Instagram Stories stand out, you’ll need to look to third-party apps to help you design and create striking, stunning Stories that really catch the eye.
1. Hype Type
Hype Type is an iOS app that’s all about animated text, so you can share your message with style.
Grab an existing image or video from your camera roll, or take one directly from within Hype Type. Type your message, and select an animation style. You can then customize the size, position, and color of the text. Choose from millions of tracks to add some backing music (if you like), and set the speed of your video and text.
Once finished, you can save this newly animated video to your camera roll ready to upload straight to your Instagram Story.
Hype Type is available for free on iOS. Removing the watermark costs $1.99, and unlocking additional animations costs $1.99. If you’re looking for something similar on Android, check out the Legend app.
2. Microsoft Hyperlapse
This free app available on Android is a simple way to create smooth, stabilized timelapse videos that you can share to plenty of places, including Instagram.
You can either record a new time lapse from within the app (up to 20 minutes) or use the app to convert an existing video to anything from 1x to 32x the normal speed. Just remember to record in portrait mode, not vertical mode, for Instagram Stories.
If you’re looking for something similar to use on iOS, try Hyperlapse (same name, different app) from Instagram itself. Again, videos are smooth and stable, but only go up to 12x the normal speed.
If you want one of your Instagram Stories to contain more than just a single vertical image or video, use PicPlayPost. This is a free app available on both iOS and Android that’s perfect for creating photo and video collages that are ready to share.
For Stories, you should start a new project that’s a 9:16 ratio, but there are plenty of other sizes available for other purposes. Pick your preferred layout, and add images and videos to each of the available spaces within the collage. You can include some music if you want, too.
To remove the watermark, you’ll need to upgrade for $4.99. Other in-app purchases are also available.
Although it’s primarily an in-browser app, Canva is also available on iOS. This is a free, powerful graphics tool (for images, not videos) for creating professional looking designs without any design experience. Whether you’re creating a social media graphic, logo, ebook cover, or poster, Canva can help you out.
To create an Instagram Story, just start a new project on Canva that’s 1080 x 1920 pixels. You can then upload your own images to work with or purchase one from Canva’s huge library (where everything’s priced at $1).
Simple edits can all be performed from within Canva. These include things such as brightness and contrast tweaks, adding vignettes, choosing filters, cropping, rotating, and blurring. You can also add different design elements, such as shapes, lines, and arrows to your projects. And, of course, you can overlay your own basic text, or use one of Canva’s premade text templates to really get that professional feel.
A big draw here is that you can save your designs to use again later as templates. And you can also include more than just one image in each project, then download them all at once. This makes it super-easy to add multiple Stories to Instagram, with minimal back and forth between apps. The only downside is that Canva is no help with videos.
Download: Canva (Free)
One of the big problems with Instagram Stories is that your videos and images will be cropped to fit the vertical aspect ratio of Stories. Luckily, there’s a fix: InShot. This is a free app available on iOS and Android (though you’ll need to pay a couple dollars to remove the watermark) that allows you to customize the aspect ratio of any image or video you want to include in your Stories.
The app essentially creates a new video (for Instagram Stories select the 9:16 option), into which you import your original video. You can either preserve its original aspect ratio or adjust this to whatever you like. The excess space can be filled with a solid color, gradient, or just blur out parts of the video that you don’t need.
From there, you can add text, animated emojis, stickers, filters, music, voice-overs, effects, and adjust video speed, before sharing.
In effect, this is a genuine, albeit relatively basic, video-editing app (that’s not just for Instagram Stories), which offers far more options than you’d find on Instagram itself.
6. Adobe Spark Post
One of Adobe’s many apps, Adobe Spark Post is a mashup between Hype Type, and Canva. You can use the app to create designs for flyers, social media posts, collages, and much more. Additionally, you can add animated text to images ready to share straight to Instagram (and other platforms).
Within the app, choose the image you want to work with, then choose Instagram Story as your template. Add some text, and play around with the styling until you’re happy. To pick an animation, click Effects > Animation.
You can go back and change any of these settings at any time, but when you’re happy with your image, export it to your camera roll, and it’ll appear as a 4-second video, ready to be shared to Instagram.
This really is a powerful app that allows you to create truly professional images quickly and easily, with stunning typography, and eye-catching animations.
Download: Adobe Spark Post (Free)
Beyond the Basics of Instagram Stories
With third-party apps like these, you can move far beyond the basic features that Instagram itself offers.
These apps give you the creative control to create Stories that are way more professional, eye-catching, and different to what you’d otherwise come across on the platform.
If you think you know of any other apps that deserve a place here, please let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: furtaev/Depositphotos