post dslr photo to instagram stories

A few days back, Megan Loeks posted a beautiful picture of her son, and in her caption lamented that Instagram had cut off the beautiful sky.  Well…throw this dog a bone, and I’ll chew on it!

(In other words, ask me something about Instagram and a tutorial is coming!)

I knew Instagram had a weird limitation with vertically (portrait orientation) cropped pictures.  I don’t run into that too often because my personal photography is overwhelmingly landscape oriented.

Here’s her picture (and if you’re one of the few people on the planet not following her work, go ahead and do that here: @meg_nlo.

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Photo Credit: Megan Loeks, Photographer in Michigan, USA

(Want a QUICK & EASY Meg Loeks-inspired tutorial?  Check out How to Add Music to your Instagram Story.)

Ok, so I found out quickly that the aspect ratio limit for vertical images is 4:5, meaning 4 inches by 5 inches is the most severe a crop can go when you post it.  Anything more narrow, and IG will cut it off.

I commented to her that she could post it to her story – she does a wonderful job showing “behind the scenes” in her stories – it’s fun to watch the videos and then soon after, see the final result of her images taken at that scene.

She commented back that she couldn’t figure out how to post her dSLR photos to her Instagram Story.  Hmmm….I thought.  That’s easy.

I started replying back with a comment on how to do it.  When it struck me – it’s actually not that “easy” or intuitive.  There is some putzing around to make it look good.  I remembered all the quirks I have run into when trying to post something other than an in-app photo or video.  But I knew it was possible, because I had done it before, but the explanation was way outside the scope of a simple IG comment.

So, here we are.  Backstory complete.

First, I do recommend that you watch the video tutorial below.  It’s 20 minutes long, and I know you don’t have time for that.  But I show you all the obstacles you run into when trying to post to your Instagram stories.  And then I show you the solutions.

If you don’t have time to watch, I’ll include a step by step below the video.
(There were a few parts where the video was a little choppy for some reason, please forgive me for that!)

Ok, thank you for watching or, if you’re not a video person, here are some highlights…

(And be sure to ask me any Instagram questions or issues you’re having and I’d love to try to come up with a solution!)

When posting to stories, you need to know that you CAN post anything taken and saved to your camera roll (I speak iPhone – if you’re android, this may not make total sense…) that was taken within the last 24 hours.  Or more…

Side note: I’ve been hoping to do a huge Insta-Stories tutorial and best practices article…

One thing that WILL be in there is that you can absolutely take videos with either Instagram, Snapchat, or just your phone camera, and then “curate” what you actually post.  That way, you can choose the best clips and eliminate any duplicate/similar/redundant clips or clips that just don’t tell the story in the best way.  

Now – I admit I’m not awesome at this!  But here’s the thing…Think of your own behavior… You want to watch a few friends’ stories, but when you tap and get started…all of a sudden, you’re faced with a friend’s story that has like 47 bars.  (47 different video clips or photos.)  What is your reaction?  Holy crap, no way! Nobody’s got time for that type of commitment!  Because you also know that they can see who has seen each clip and who’s fallen off the wagon.  

The first few clips will have the most viewers and then they’ll fall off from there.  And you’re feeling insecure that they’ll notice that you watched the first one and then thought, “Nah, not worth watching the rest” and you’ll hurt their feelings…. Just me?  Tell me it’s not just me… 

What’s the cure for this scenario?  I did this the other night… We took the kids out for ice skating the other night for the first time ever.  I took a TON of videos!  But I went through them at the end of the evening, and only actually posted the ones that were pretty decent and told the story in the best way.  You wouldn’t want to post 4 videos in a row of the SAME EXACT THING.  Why the capitals?  Because I see this a lot.  Better to record a few clips and then pick the best one or two to post, rather than post ALL of them.  

Ok. Rant over.

So, to post anything from your camera roll (your Photos) all you need to do is go to your camera screen/page and swipe from top to bottom.  Just take a finger and touch near the top of your phone screen and pull it down.  Then, anything put into your camera roll within the last 24 hours will appear.

One thing to note about Insta-Stories:  You cannot adjust your crop.  At all.  So, if you post anything taken outside the in-app camera, it’ll be a weird, zoomed-in version and there’s no way to fix that (that I’m aware of!)

You have one option: The ScreenShot.

I know, I know!  You’re all rolling your eyes as if I don’t know that screenshotting a picture doesn’t degrade image quality.  Yes, ok, it does.  But one?  Just one?  No big deal.  And remember, these are just Insta-stories!  Who cares, it’ll be gone in 24 hours.  If it’s a big deal, then just post it to your gallery.  Your best stuff goes to your permanent gallery, and your behind the scenes, fun, off-handed stuff can go to your stories.

Big deal.  And based on this article, I would argue that most people would not be able to tell the difference between an original copy and a screenshot. Now, take a screenshot of a screenshot of a screenshot?  Well, yeah.  Definitely.  I won’t argue you there.

Ok, now that we’ve agreed that a screenshot won’t kill you…

Now, you need to decide if you’re cool with a quick, black background, or if you want a more time-consuming white background.

Quick version – If you’re in either Dropbox (moving over your dSLR images) or in your Camera Roll (photos already exported or existing on your phone) you can tap the picture within either application to black out the background.  When you do that, take a screen shot to remove all the other distractions.

If you must go with a white background (I get it, Insta’s background is white and to a discerning eye, a white background is more pleasing…) then Photoshop is your friend.  It’s not difficult at all.  Just create a new document, and input the dimensions according to your phone’s screen dimensions.  I found that with the iPhone 6, I created a new document preset with these dimensions: Width – 2.424 inches and Height – 4.303 inches.  Leave the rest the same.  If you have a different model phone than an iPhone 6, just google “(your phone model) screen dimensions inches” and you should easily find what you need.  Or, honestly, just use those numbers and you’re probably fine!

Then, be sure that you’ve resized your image for Instagram – don’t use the full-size image!  I resize mine to 1080 pixels on the longest edge.  See this tutorial for how to resize and sharpen your photos for Instagram.

Then, use your Move tool in Ps, to move that image over onto the new white document.  Then, save it to your dropbox (or however you move pictures from your computer to your phone.)

I’ve shown you all of this on the video tutorial. I’m sorry it’s so long – I just wanted to show common issues with posting to Instagram Stories along with a couple ways to get around those.

Any other questions?  And other Instagram or photography questions?  Ask away!  I’m always on the lookout for fun, new tutorials to help you!