Instagram Stories is Facebook’s take on ephemeral photo-sharing. A couple of months ago, it reached 200 million daily users, surpassing Snapchat at its own game.
Instagram is constantly updated with new features. Some of them are headline features, while others are neatly hidden. Let’s have a look at the not-so-obvious features of Instagram Stories you can use to level up your story game.
1. Access the Full Range of Colors
By default, Instagram presents you with pretty limited color options. The color slider is accessible from the bottom of the screen, and you can select from a total of 27 preset colors. But what if you want to access the full-color spectrum so you can choose the exact color variant?
Luckily, there’s a hidden trick that lets you access the full range of colors. To do so, tap Aa or the pen icon to open the text or the brush tool. Here, long-tap on any color in the existing color slider. You should now be presented with a full range of colors. Just swipe across to select a custom color of your choice.
2. Create a Solid Background
Sometimes, you just want to share text and drawings instead of a photo or a video. A lot of people cover the phone’s camera with their hand and then snap a picture to create a solid background. Fortunately, the good folks at Instagram included a super-handy feature to create solid backgrounds instantly.
To do so, capture a picture as you usually would and then tap the pen icon. Here, select the color you want to use as the solid background. Next, long-tap on the screen for about three seconds. Now, the screen should be filled with a solid background. You can also select the chisel-tip pen and repeat the process to create a semi-transparent background.
3. Add Background Music to Your Videos
There’s no shortage of online video editing tools that let you add free background music to your videos. But not everyone out there might be comfortable using sophisticated video editing tools just to add a background music to a video.
Thankfully, Instagram can record any song playing on your phone. To get started, play any desired song on your phone and start recording a story video on Instagram.
Note that because the sound is captured using your phone’s microphone, it might also pick up other noises from the surroundings.
4. Post Photos From Your Gallery/Camera Roll
Since Instagram Stories is supposed to showcase events within 24 hours, it’s hardly a surprise that you can only post pictures taken within the last 24 hours. But sometimes you need to share that really amazing picture from a couple of days ago.
A nifty workaround is to take a screenshot of the image. Doing so will add the current timestamp to the image, tricking Instagram into believing that the picture was taken in the last 24 hours. You can now crop and post it from your Gallery/Camera Roll. One obvious downside to it is the slight reduction in quality, although it won’t be too noticeable.
If you don’t want to compromise on quality, you can edit the EXIF metadata and modify the image capture date to reflect the current time.
5. One-Finger Zoom While Recording Video
If you’d like to zoom in on a particular area while capturing a Story video, there’s an easy (albeit not very obvious) way of doing so. While recording an Instagram Story video, simply hold the record button and slowly slide your finger up or down to zoom in or zoom out. It also works with the “Hands-free” video mode.
6. Use Gestures to Navigate Through Stories
There are quite a few gestures you can use to navigate through Instagram Stories quickly. While viewing a story, tap on the left side to go back to the previous story or tap on the right side to skip to the next part of the story. If someone posts a lot of stories in one go, you can skip through all of their stories by swiping left. Also, you can hold the screen to pause a story.
7. Use Your Selfie as a Sticker
Stickers give context to stories with time, location, etc. A couple of months ago, Instagram copied the latest big Snapchat feature: the ability to put your selfies as a sticker in your Instagram Stories.
To do so, capture a picture and then tap on the stickers icon. Here, tap on the camera icon and frame your shot. You should now be able to insert your face as a sticker into the current picture. You can tap on your face to select from a few different frames. Selfie stickers might come in handy when you need to add a reaction to your story.
8. Download Your Instagram Story
Instagram makes it really easy to download your stories. If you have taken a picture, but haven’t posted it to stories yet, you can tap Save at the left-hand corner of your screen. If you have already posted the story, open the story and tap on three dots > Save Photo. Your story should now be saved in your Gallery/Camera Roll.
Unfortunately, you cannot download someone else’s story using this trick. An obvious workaround is to take a screenshot of their story. Alternatively, there are a few third-party apps that you can use to download Instagram stories of other users. You can give them a shot, but remember that they are riddled with ads.
Download: Story Saver for Instagram for Android (Free)
Download: InstaStory for iOS [No Longer Available]
What’s Your Instagram Story Tip?
With tons of updates, it can often become difficult to keep track of all the new features in Instagram. Hopefully, you can use the above tips to level up your Instagram Stories game.
Do you use Instagram Stories? Do you have any additional tips on how to enhance your Instagram Stories? We’d love to hear about them in the comments below.