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6 Expert Tips for Mastering Instagram Stories

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Here’s how to use the Instagram feature to craft gorgeous Stories from your travels.

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A well-crafted Instagram gallery is a thing of beauty. Many travelers, however, have fallen in love with the app’s Stories feature—Instagram’s cheeky answer to Snapchat. While a full gallery showcases your favorite photos, a good Story allows you a little more creative freedom and is a fun way for your followers to take a peek at your trips in real time. Here are some expert tips for crafting a memorable and downloadable Instagram Story.  

Instagram's vertical format means shooting vertical is a must
1. Shoot vertically and film in the app

2. Mix up your media

The most basic thing to remember with Instagram Stories is to shoot vertical—even if you’re shooting with your phone’s default camera—because it lends itself to the format of Stories. If you really need to fit every thing into one frame, consider shooting a video, but with caution: Stories will trim videos to a slightly thinner size than most default cameras film, so if you want to make sure what you’re filming is exactly what people will see in your Story, use the Instagram app.

When you take a photo for your Instagram feed, that photo needs to tell a story on its own. But with Stories, you have all these other elements you can use to tell your story. The ideal balance is around 30 percent videos, 60 percent still photos, and 10 percent Boomerangs or time lapses. If you’re doing a travel story, a time lapse of takeoff and landing is a good way to start off.
The best Stories use a combination of video, photos, and Boomerangs. (Video by Alex Palomino)

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3. Make your videos count

An effective video takes the Story to a memorable level: It should feel like an experience that someone is having. It’s nice to see video of movement from a first-person perspective, like the view from a moving boat or car, and panning through the scene is always effective. But it’s not always about capturing a flawless video, sometimes it’s better to focus on what the video says about the place you’re in. 

Using a combination of stickers and text wisely helps move the story along

4. Create a narrative 

5. Use your extras wisely

With Stories you’re, well, telling a story. Maybe it’s the story of what’s happening or a retrospective of a trip. Sometimes with AFAR’s feed we’ll do roundup Stories that dive deeper into a certain theme, such as the animals you can see in the Galapágos, or places to see when you go down the coast. Above all, keep things interesting. 

The geotag sticker is the most useful for travelers. Followers can click through and see more about the location. Temperature and date stickers can also be used to make a point about what’s happening that might not be visible. And the opportunities are endless when it comes to the brushes and text tool: If you want to get information across, the type tool is your friend, but for more sweeping ideas, large lettering is fun. 

6. Have fun with it 

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The best part of Stories is that they’re so ephemeral and light. You post experiences that you have while you travel in real time without having to worry if it’s precious enough for your Instagram feed. You can have fun with it and take risks that you may not really take with the photos you generally put on your Instagram. The best advice? Start taking more videos when you travel and play around with all of the features. It’s only going to last 24 hours after all!

>>Next: Instagram’s Latest Announcement Will Stoke Your Wanderlust

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