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Getting Creative With Instagram’s Multiple Photos Feature

Recently Instagram added the “multiple photos” feature, where an image post can include up to 10 images and/or videos which you can swipe through.  Although sharing an album of shots from a trip or shoot is the most obvious choice, I am always on the lookout for new ways to share my work and the stories behind it.  Below are some creative ways to use multiple photos in my Instagram posts, as well as a short primer on how to use this new feature.

Ideas for Things You Can Do with Multiple Photos

Action Sequence

(See it on Instagram.  Best viewed on mobile!)

A great way to show off your action photography and tell a story.  I really like this for animals in action, but you can be creative and show things like the passage of time over a landscape.

White Ibis taking flight from where it had been hunting in the surf.

 

Panoramas

(See it on Instagram. Best viewed on mobile!)

This takes a little more work, but produces a really nice effect.  Start with a panoramic photo cropped to a whole number ratio (2:1, 3:1, 7:1, etc.).  This means the longest side is a whole number multiple of the shortest side. For example, an image that is 3600 pixels wide by 1200 pixels tall would be a 3:1 ratio (3600/1200=3).  In either Lightroom or Photoshop, set your crop tool to your desired ratio, and trim your photo to that.  Once you know your ratio, divide it into squares equal to the larger number in the ratio.  For example below I have a 3:1 ratio panorama.  If I divide it into squares, I will have three equal sized square images.  Personally, I use guides to make sure I have a clean transition between images, just divide your long side dimensions by the ratio, and put a guide at each multiple of this amount.  Load them to Instagram, from left to right in order of appearance.  Now your followers can swipe through the scene to see a full immersive view.  You can load up to 10 images, so don’t be afraid to go nuts and load a huge panorama!

 

Compare and Contrast

Some of the best ways to engage your Instagram followers are by teaching them something new or by asking them for their opinions on your images.  By using multiple photos, you can show before and after examples of your work, share your post-processing tips, or survey what your followers like when selecting photos for your portfolio.  Comparing and contrasting your images can really engage them while showcasing your skills as a photographer.


Which do you like, the Badlands in color or black and white?

 

Stills Paired with Video

(See it on Instagram.  Best viewed on mobile!)

This is a great way to make people feel like they were there with you while you were shooting.  The multiple photos feature allows you to combine stills and video into one post. Show off your shots, and make the last frame a behind the scenes video of your photo shoot.

Stills and Video from a 2 hour time lapse of sunrise over Prince William Sound in Alaska.

 

Zoom In or Out

(See it on Instagram.  Best viewed on mobile!)

Want to show all that glorious detail in your macro work, or zoom in on a distant landmark in your landscape shot?  While you can zoom to a degree in Instagram, this provides a different experience, and higher quality results.  Like the panorama, this takes a little crop work.  Pick something you want as the focal point of your image, what you want the viewer to “zoom” to.  Crop your image to a square (1:1) as close to the original image size as possible, somewhat centered on your chosen focal point.  Save a web sized version, then crop again, but a little tighter while still centered on your focal point.  Repeat this until your focal point fills the frame, you can have up to 10 shots in a multi shot sequence.  When you load, just go in order of most zoomed out, to most zoomed in.  Or reverse it for a fly out effect, like what we all did the first time we played with Google Earth. (There’s my house! Zoom in, zoom out, zoom in, zoom out…)

Bromeliad, with a visitor on its flower.

 

How to Post Multiple Photos

When you start a post to Instagram, there is a new icon in the lower right of the image preview, that looks like this:

 When you tap this icon, you can select multiple images from the thumbnails at the bottom of your screen.  As you select each image, a number inside a small blue circle will appear over top of it.  This is the order in which they will appear as you swipe.  You can deselect an image just by tapping it again.  Before you start, keep in mind you are limited to using square images (1:1 ratio).  If you use a rectangular image, Instagram will crop it.  You do still have control over where that crop occurs, just make sure you are using images that will look good as a square!  

Share Your Ideas!

While it is certainly not something to use for every image you post, it is a way to show off your images in a different light, or tell a story about your work.  I hope you have fun with this feature, and I would love to hear what other creative ways you have found for using it!

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