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Instagram Stories Video Basics: Length, Size, Duration


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.

Instagram Stories: Length 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.

Enrol for 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.

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.


Boomarang has become a firm favourite, if occasionally a little annoying. Boomarang 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.

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.

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.

  • Be consistent – it’s great when you can post something instantly recognisable as created by you, so 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.
  • 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.

More Instagram Templates to Help You Nail Your Insta Story

These templates are for Adobe Premiere Pro and all from Envato Elements, where you can download as many as you like once you subscribe.

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 Stomp

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 Pack No 1

Instagram Stories V.2

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

Instagram Stories V2

Build an Instagram Website With Milkshake

Milkshake is an Instagram website maker. Milkshake will help you create a free website for your Instagram profile all on your phone, instantly. Show the world what you’re made of, and build a beautiful website for your Instagram fans and followers. Check out Milkshake.

Download Free Vertical Stock Video With Mixkit

Discover the perfect vertical video download for your next Instagram Story over at Mixkit. You'll find over 100 free vertical HD video clips covering a whole range of topics, so you're sure to find what you need. And while you're there, why not browse the full library of free B-roll and completely free stock footage, both vertical and horizontal?

More Instagram Tutorials

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