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Instagram Stories Video Basics: Dimensions, Duration, Options

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Read Time: 8 mins

Instagram Stories launched back in 2016, and since then millions have enjoyed the short, disappearing snippets of our lives. Here, we’ll look at everything you need to know about Instagram Stories, including how long your uploads should be, tricky sizing issues and how to get maximum engagement.

Note, this article is frequently updated by Envato Tuts+ staff to include recent and notable Instagram templates for Premiere Pro.

1. Instagram Stories: Duration and Dimensions

But wait, just how short are Stories?

  • Photo duration: 7 seconds
  • Video duration: 15 seconds

As you’ve probably noticed, you can get around these limits by chopping up your video into 15 second chunks and having one play after the other. To do this, you’ll need the help of an app such as Story Cutter for Android or Continual for iOS.

The dimensions are a typical 9:16, or 1920px by 1080px – a flip of the 16:9 film format because of the usual vertical orientation of many smart devices.

Every additional film or image you add within the 24-hour period will appear in the same Story.

2. How to Choose Filming Options

When you click the camera icon in the top left of the screen to upload a story, you’ll have a few options. These options may vary depending on which version you’re using and how up to date it's software is.


Record or photograph how you usually would.


As you’d expect, live means you start filming and broadcasting straight to Instagram, where your friends can see and leave comments as you go. When you’re finished, you can decide whether you want the video to disappear, to stay on your profile as with a normal post, or share it to Stories, where it’s subject to the usual 24-hour slot before vanishing.


Boomerang has become a firm favourite, if occasionally a little annoying. Boomerang will make a GIF that loops back and forth, but only up to three seconds in length.


If you’ve always wanted to zoom in creepily slowly on something, then this option is for you. Add some music and it edges from creepy to fun.


Keep your subject in crisp focus with a nice blurring of the background with this option.


Show a video in reverse.


If you prefer to be a little further from the camera, prop up your phone somewhere and yell ‘action’ to start recording.


Edit colours, background and font to make your story colourful and fun.


Add a soundtrack, with the option to choose the part that fits with your story.

3. Privacy Settings for Instagram Stories

Like Facebook, you can choose your privacy settings for each individual upload, or you can go into your Instagram Profile and create a default, including anyone you want to block from seeing your Stories.

When you’ve uploaded a Story, you’ll see a colourful circle around your profile picture, and likewise when your friends do the same, so you know when you can view their Stories.

4. Tips to Create Great Instagram Stories

What you add to your story is really up to you, but here are some of our tips for getting the most out of your story.

Go for Consistency

It’s great when you can post something instantly recognisable as created by you. Try to keep your style and any branding or colours, consistent where possible. Using templates designed for Instagram can be a quick way to help you keep consistency without stifling you creatively. We’ll look at a few more, shortly.

Get the Light Right

Nobody expects you to professionally light your Insta Stories, but getting the light right helps with everything from, you know, being able to actually see properly, to looking good while you broadcast. Natural light is perfect most of the time, just avoid harsh light and severe shadows.

Easy Does It

Keep still and steady – we know you’ll most likely be using your phone or tablet to shoot, and that’s fine, the quality of most smart devices is really great, but try not to firehose (wave your camera around) or walk about too much – you’ll make your audience motion sick!

Get to the Point

With 15 seconds to play with (or a little more if you’re cutting up a longer video) you don’t really have a lot of time to get your point across, so make sure you know how you’re going to get in and out of your video, without an awkward cut.

Use Hashtags

Too many hashtags can be annoying, so be choosy about what you use and keep it relevant, but do use them as they really help others to find you.

5. Instagram Templates to Help You Build Your Own Insta Story

These Instagram Stories templates are for Adobe Premiere Pro and all from Envato Elements, where you can download as many as you like once you subscribe. Read our guide to Instagram story templates.

Grip Modern Gradient Opener Promotion Instagram Stories Premiere Pro Essentials

Gradients are a huge design trend this year, and you can use them in your Instagram Stories. This template features customizable backgrounds and multiple dimensions.

Instagram Stories About Technology

Here's an option if you run a tech blog or offer digital services. This technology-themed template has different illustrations and icons you can use for personalization. 

Comics Instagram Stories - Premiere Pro

If you want to jump on the superhero bandwagon, download the Comics Instagram Stories template. It's a dynamic theme that's easy to edit in Premiere Pro.

100 Instagram Stories | Essential Graphics | Mogrt

Short on inspiration? These 100 Instagram Stories templates can give you a spark. Play around with the different graphics for some creative results.

Mood Instagram Stories - Premiere Pro | Essential Graphics

You'll like the typography used in the Mood Instagram Stories. Combine the bold fonts with your photos and videos to make stylish Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories Stomp

Just drop in your own titles and images and you’re good to go, with full colour control and no plugins needed.

Instagram Stories Pack No. 1

Modern and versatile, this pack will give you a sleek and professional look, saving you time and effort to concentrate on great content for your Story.

Instagram Stories V.2

This is a set of 10, well-designed Instagram Story templates that come with an easy to understand video tutorial.

6. Instagram Resources From Envato

Learn How to Use Instagram

Get the most out of Instagram with these tutorials:

Enroll in the School of Instagram

We're covering the basics in this post, but you can learn a lot more about Instagram Stories in the free lesson "How to Ace Instagram Stories" over at the School of Instagram. It's part of a comprehensive curriculum designed to help you master all aspects of Instagram. Check out the full site.

Make an Insta-site With Milkshake

Instagram gives you one hyperlink in your bio, so don't waste it! Make a great Insta website using Milkshake, on your phone, no web or design skills needed.

Milkshake Instagram Website MakerMilkshake Instagram Website MakerMilkshake Instagram Website Maker

Boost Your Video Marketing With the Envato Guide

Boost your video marketing skills with our comprehensive guide: You'll learn video marketing from start to finish, so that whether you're a novice or a pro, you'll learn some useful skills that will improve your next video.

Envato Video Marketing GuideEnvato Video Marketing GuideEnvato Video Marketing Guide

Download Free Video, Music, and Templates From Mixkit

Check out Mixkit for free stock videosfree stock music, and free templates for Adobe Premiere Pro.

Make a Motion Graphics Video Online With Placeit

Placeit is an online video maker with professionally-designed motion graphics templates.

Envato Elements: Unlimited Downloads

Envato Elements offers millions of stock items: photosmusicvideo clipsfonts, video project templates for After EffectsPremiere ProFinal Cut Pro and Motion, and creative courses from Envato Tuts+, all with a single subscription: Download as many items as you want for one low monthly price. Check out the social media video templates in particular!

Envato Elements Design Without LimitsEnvato Elements Design Without LimitsEnvato Elements Design Without Limits

More Instagram Tutorials

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