20 Secret Features in Instagram Stories

As an early adopter of Snapchat, I was so excited when Instagram launched their version and was quick to make the transition along with all my favourite influencers and brands.

Like Snapchat, Instagram Stories has lots of "secret" features that you will only discover by playing with the app. To save you time, I've put together my favourite 20 secrets for you.

Anatomy of Stories

1. Add More Colours

You are not limited to the colours along the bottom of the screen, scroll to the right and see more colour palettes OR hold your finger on a colour to open an entire colour wheel. No reason for your Stories not to be on brand. 

2. Add a Shadow Effect To Your Text

Nope, no fancy additional app needed. Just write your text twice and overlap! 

3. Go Hands-Free

When recording you might not be able to hold your finger on the button or perhaps you don't want to be only arms distance from the camera, swipe to the right and select "Hands-Free". If you want to set your phone further away from you and start recording at a distance, I would recommend investing in a remote as well. I have this one.

4. Create a Colour or Plain Background

At first, I thought you had to colour the screen in with the Pen! Nope, just select the pen and your desired colour then hold your finger on the screen and the screen will fill with colour. If you use the Marker Pen instead, you will get a wash of colour. 

5. Create a Selfie Sticker

Select the Stickers and chose the camera, it will open your front facing camera, and you can take a selfie or take a photo of anything you wish using the front facing camera.

6. Zoom In and Out with One Finger

No pinch and zoom required, just slide your finger upwards from the recording button to zoom in and back down again to zoom out. 

7. Mention other accounts

Want to tag someone? Type the @ symbol and start writing their username, a bar will appear at the bottom with all the possible accounts, tap the account you want to tag. 

8. Create Background Colour for your Text Boxes

This one is probably the most obvious but perplexed me for ages.
Type your text and click the A at the top, this will give you the option for a transparent background, a full colour or a wash of colour. Changing the background colour will modify the text colour as well. *update 2018, you can can now swipe to select from several different typefaces.

9. Upload Photos/Video Older than 24 Hours

*no longer necessary as Instagram let's you upload whatever you like!
This one requires an additional free app. Download Metatrixter from the app store and grant it access to your photos. Select the photo you want to upload and change the metadata to the day you want to upload. Your photo will now show up in the photos from the last 24 hours so you can add it to your Stories.

10. Hide Stories from Specific Users

Perhaps you're sharing how you're wrapping presents and don't want the recipient to see, or maybe you told someone a white lie as to where you would be because you want to surprise them. BEFORE you take the photo click on the gear icon at the top left of the screen and select who you want to hide the Story from. 

11. Check Out How Many People and Who Specifically Has Viewed Your Stories

Not exclusive to Business Profiles unlike the other analytics, just swipe up on your Stories to see who has watched your story. 

12. Pause, Skip and Rewind

Jump back to a previous clip: tap the left side of the screen
Fast forward: tap the right side of the screen
Pause: hold your finger on the screen
Skip that users stories: swipe to the left
Jump back to the previous user's stories, swipe to the right.

13. Download Your Story To Your Camera Roll

Instagram saves each clip to your camera roll, but you may want to save an entire day's story as one short video. Swipe up and Click the down arrow in the circle at the top right, and it will download.

14. Change the Colour of Stickers

You may already know that with certain stickers if you tap them they will switch to a different colour or even a transparent effect. What you might know is that you can colour them in! Change the sticker to the transparent effect, choose your Pen colour and colour it in!

15. Create Varying Text Sizes

Stories need to be a feast for the eyes, not a place to dump all the photos you don't think are good enough for your gallery. Jazz up the text by writing the text in separate boxes, changing the colour and pinch and zoom to change the size.

16. Add a Colour Fog

One of my favourite secrets. To create a hazy glow effect over your image or video, choose an emoji with the colour you want and stretch it out until its a haze of colour and then position it. 

17. Add Polka Dots

text bubbles.png

Decorate your images with a selection of polka dots, really simple and effective. Choose the Pen and select the size of the dot you want and get to work.

18. Make Text POP with Colour Bubbles

Write your text and position, then select the Pen, draw shapes over the text to create colour bubbles. I use a stylus, but finger tips work just as efficiently. 

19. Add music to your videos

Fancy adding some background music to a video to help set the scene? Choose the music you want to play on your phone and then set this playing while recording your Instagram Story. Make sure not to block the speakers as the sound is coming from your phone.

20. Upload iPhone LIVE photos as Boomerangs

If you have an iPhone 6S or newer, you will be able to take Live photos with your iPhone; you can then swipe up and add your Live photo to your stories and Instagram will turn it into a Boomerang. 

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