How to Create Beautiful Instagram Stories: IG Secrets & Hacks to Up Your Story Game | Claire Petersen | Skillshare

How to Create Beautiful Instagram Stories: IG Secrets & Hacks to Up Your Story Game

Claire Petersen, Fashion & Influencer Photographer

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
9 Lessons (25m)
    • 1. Let's Get Started!

    • 2. What You'll Need

    • 3. Narrative is Key

    • 4. Picture Perfect Editing

    • 5. Attention-Grabbing Title Slides

    • 6. Lay it All Out

    • 7. Let's Draw

    • 8. Story Hacks

    • 9. Class Project & Conclusion

104 students are watching this class

About This Class

In this course, photographer and Insta-addict Claire Petersen will show you her tips and tricks for crafting beautiful Instagram Stories.

Whether you own a business and want to connect with your customers in a new way, or you’re a blogger who wants to tell your story through Stories, this course is for you!

You'll learn:

  • Which apps the influencers use to stand out
  • What you need to think about before you post your Story
  • How to make an attention-grabbing title slide
  • How to create one coherent and beautiful Story
  • The Instagram secrets and hacks that will take your Story to the next level

If you see other people’s Instagram stories and wonder "how the hell did they do that?" then this is the course for you.

Suitable for any level, as long as you’re somewhat familiar with Instagram and the Stories function, you’ll be able to follow along!


1. Let's Get Started!: Hi, and welcome to this class on How to up your Instagram story game. In this class, I'm going to teach you how to create really beautiful stories on your Instagram and a few tips and tricks on how you can make your stories stand out. There are many reasons why you might want to up your Instagram story game, perhaps you're a business owner and you want to show some behind the scenes of what you do, maybe packaging product or creating your product, or maybe you're a travel blogger or a fashion blogger, and you're just looking for a new way to engage with your audience and tell your story. Whatever your reason, this class is for you, if you want to create some really beautiful Instagram stories. you don't need much experience as long as you have an Instagram and you're very familiar with it, you'll be able to follow along with this class it is for beginners. If you've never been on one of my classes, I should probably just give you a little introduction to myself. I am a fashion and lifestyle photographer and I maybe take Instagram a little too seriously, you can check out my photography Instagram that's Shotbyclairep, but it's my personal Instagram that I get really creative with Instagram stories. These are showed on the screen now, but if you want to take a closer look, then feel free to check out my Instagram, It's at byclairep. let's just jump into the first lesson and this is about what you will need. Get your phones ready you might be downloading a few apps, but they're all free to Begin with. 2. What You'll Need: So In less than one, we are going to talk about what you will need for this. Of course you are going to Instagram and you are also going to want to make sure you update your Instagram so that you have all the latest features because they're constantly adding new features to the app. Okay? The next thing you'll need is a photo editing app. I personally recommend VSCO. It has some great filters, some great editing capabilities, and also I have personally upgraded so that I can edit videos on there.Use the same filters on my videos as I use on my images. It costs me about, I want to say €15 for a whole year, and if you find yourself using VSCO a lot, if you find yourself taking your Instagram story a little bit more seriously, maybe you have a business and it is part of how you build your brand, then you might want to consider upgrading of VSCO. It will also unlock many more filters, as well as on looking video editing capabilities, but if you do not think you are going to be using it that seriously, or if you are just not sure yet, maybe just download the free version of app for now. If you find yourself using a lot, you can always upgrade. Then the final thing to download onto your phone is Unfold. This is already popular Instagram story layout app, so it is free to be direct message with. But of course you do not get all the fonts on layouts, with the free version. So again, just download the free version to begin with and see if you use it and when you find yourself taking it more seriously, or maybe you just have a really great story in mind which needs premium filters. Then you can purchase it and you can purchase the premium layouts on an individual basis. You do not have to go for like the subscription model, which VSCO kind of does. Its really affordable is only a couple of Euros each time that you want to unlock a new pack of layouts. All these things you can do for free. You do not want to spend any money. Instagram is of course free. VSCO will work fine and Unfold will also work. At the beginning when you are experimenting, do not be putting any money into these things when you have use it a bit more and you know that you will get us out of it, then maybe by the premium features. That is what you will need. Let us get on to the next lesson. 3. Narrative is Key: I know you're eager to just get creative and start capturing content, editing it and just putting it out there. But the first thing you're going to need to do is actually have an idea of the narrative that you want to tell. Of course, it's Instagram story, so you should be telling a story to your audience. You're going to want to come up with a vague idea of the narrative,and this means that you will put your story in the right order, because if you just end up firing the behind the scenes, what you're doing in any old order, it's not going to necessarily tell something to your audience. It's not going to push them to do anything if you're trying to inspire action, it's just going to be confusing and messy and that's not what we're about. You're going to plan a little bit, and this time to be as detailed or as vague as you like. If you want to just think in your head the general layout of the story of how your Instagram is going to look, that's fine. But again, if you're taking a bit more seriously, if this is part of your business and you really want to inspire the audience to do something like maybe purchase a product or check out your website, then you might want to sit down and actually write every detail of it and even storyboard. I got sound crazy here, but I have actually story boarded things before when I was entering a competition where you had to create a Instagram story. I story boarded each picture and each video that I was going to take, which is of course, on the extreme end, don't get me wrong, but it really did help me visualize and know exactly what content I was going out to get when it came to actually creating the content. For example, I wanted to share some of the highlights from my hometown on my story. But instead of just randomly throwing up snaps from the city, I structured it around one afternoon in dairy. From there I built a story about how you could explore the city in one afternoon, getting coffee and walking over the Peace Bridge and all those cute little things. But it gave [inaudible] a bit more of a structure on a narrative to my story. Once you have an idea of the narrative, or at least a vague idea of the order that you're stories should be in, now, it's finally time to actually create the content and put it all together and share it with the audience. 4. Picture Perfect Editing: Once you've got a general idea of how you want your storage flow, it's time to capture the content and put it all together. I'm not going to talk to you about how to take mobile phone photos or videos. There are many other classes for that, and maybe that's a class I'll do another time. This is more about editing them, and putting them in your layout, and finally uploading them. Let's get on to the editing first. Like I said before, my choice of editor app is VSCO. You might use another editing app, that is fine, but what I would recommend is that for each story you keep it really consistent, meaning you edit them in a similar way, brighten your images, make them warm if that's the vibe you're going for. It doesn't really matter as long as it's consistent, because remember, this is one narrative, this is one story. Also, use the same filter across. This is just again about keeping consistency, and it really will make a difference if you choose the same filter for every image. This is where you have premium VSCO, you can also apply the same edits to your videos. In an ideal world, that's what you'll be doing as well. You'll be editing these videos with the same filter as the photos, and it all looks consistent. Don't forget as well, Boomerangs can also be edited. You can record a Boomerang on Instagram, then you can save the Boomerang to your phone, and then you can open it up in a video editor like VSCO video, and apply your filters here, save them again and then post them. You lose a bit of quality here because you're saving it off one thing to another, but personally I would do this because for me, consistency is more important than a little bit of a loss of quality. I'm not going to go into too much detail when it comes to the actual photo editing, but I will briefly show you what I would do in VSCO, just to give you an idea of how you can make your images really beautiful and bright for your Instagram. First, I start with my exposure, and I usually brighten up. Really bright images do well on Instagram, people like to see bright images on social media. I will play around with all the other settings, usually I use a sharpened tool and increase that, and maybe I'll change the white balance slightly. This HSL hue, saturation, and luminance slider is with VSCO X. It's not too important, you might not use it at all. Don't worry about it if you don't have the premium version of VSCO, but it is something that I would play around with, I like messing with these sliders as well. Once I'm happy with the general edits, that's when I will go to my filters and choose a filter. Personally, I stick with the same filter in all of my images, which is A6, but it's very contrasty. I'm going to turn it down because it makes our hands look far too bright, It really depends on the image. Now that I've added a filter, I think it's too bright, so I'm going to take my exposure down. A touch, and liking how that is looking, so I'm going to save it. On VSCO, you can tap the three dots in the bottom right corner, you can go copy edits and then you can paste it on another image, to ensure that your edits are consistent. Don't forget if your one image is in cloudy weather, and the other image is in bright sunlight, something like that. If you are copying the exact same exposure adjustment to the other image, it might be too much. Although we're keeping it consistent, you'll have to go into each individual image and make a few adjustments there. That was just a glimpse into how I edit my photos. Now, let's get onto the next lesson, which is about title slides. 5. Attention-Grabbing Title Slides: Let's have a look at these different kinds of title slides. Starting with a plain background and texts, one of those examples is my International Women's Day. This is an example of a title slide with a plain background. I chose in this instance is have a white background. But you see on Unfold in the bottom right-hand corner, there's a little pentagon. If you click that, it brings to you some more options. You could press the "Droplet", which gives us different backgrounds. I went for a white background and black text. But as you can see there are a few options here. There's blue, green, yellow, pink. This is also something to play around with. These small touches are really going to make your Instagram stories stand out because most people, most influencers are making their Instagram stories completely, natively on the Instagram app. They don't have as much flexibility to create different backgrounds and use different font and all the extra things you can do on something like Unfold. Again, it's just about experimenting. Like I said, that's an example of the text on a plain background. Let's have a look at example of a faded image and text. If I tap into the how to spend an afternoon in Derry, let me show you what that looks like in the Unfold app. This is one of the free templates you can use, this gray one here. This is how you get the faded background. I could potentially, if I wanted to do a story about London Fashion Week here with this image, I could do something like that. Simple. London Fashion Week, edit text, maybe make it bigger, maybe change the font. Don't forget you got a lot of different fonts to play around with. With just a few taps, I've already got a title slide that's looking pretty good. Of course, I might want to play around with it a bit more. Maybe I'm not liking just the three letters, doesn't look that great. Maybe it should say London Fashion Week. Let's see what that looks like instead. There you go, London Fashion Week. That could be a title slide for a story that I do about my time in London. As you can see, there's a lot to play around with on Unfold. I've shown you the plain background with text. I've shown you the faded background and finally you could have an image and text together. Here is a little title slide I did for my skill share class, not this one, my other one, about how she get photography clients. As you can see here, it's saying want to start earning money from your photography? Simple question, simple image in the next slide. This is it's no longer title slide, but it still shows you what you can do with these kind of combination. Again, it's a grayed out background here and it's for two months, three access my class and many more tap my LinkedIn bio. Now you're getting to see how you can use Instagram stories as a call to action. There you go, these Instagram stories and not just for fun, there also can be used to monetize your Instagram, to grow your email list, your Instagram stories can be a great way to do this. Let me just show you again in the Unfold app. You tap the "Plus" at the first page of your story. In this one, anywhere where you see the grayed box or gray outline is a way you can add an image. I'm just going to choose a random image for now, there you go, and now perhaps I'm plant shopping, there you go. That's just another example of how your title slide could look. Before we finish up on title slides, you should really use the edit text section in Unfold, find a font you like, and then stick with it throughout your whole story. I would use maybe one other font maximum. As you can see, that's looking pretty cute. Let's take this now into Instagram. I would have my title slide like that. Perhaps, I would put it straight to my story. But a lot of the time I want to add something like a location. This is really simple stuff. I'm sure you've done this thing before. Do you remember once you've got your location that you can tap it, you get different colors. This could either be a feature of your story and could be quite predominant on your image, or you can make it really small and then you can hide it somewhere. You just move it about until you find a spot in the image, where you can't really see it because it's so small and it's on a similar background, there you have it. Now I've hidden that location tag. Why would I want to hide the location tag? Well, I might just think it doesn't look that great in the image, but I still want to include it because of course, if you use image tags, then your image can be picked up and seen by more people. And another thing you can do is do a hashtag. Maybe I want to go hashtag DUBLINSTA. I want to do the same thing and I want to hide it. Make it as small as you can go. It's tiny now. Again, I'm going to just bring it to the side and put it somewhere where you can barely see it. I would say, the majority of people are discriminated. Tap through the story. They're going to see your nice title slide. They're going to continue on and not notice these very, very tiny hashtags and location tags you put on there. You might just prefer to hide the hashtag. It doesn't really add any value to your audience, it's only adding value to you because people can find you through the hashtag. That's why you'd want to maybe make your hashtag super small and still add it to your story. Those were my tips for creating your title slide. Let's get onto the next lesson. 6. Lay it All Out: You've got all these great images you want to share. But now, how do you share the rest of your images? I would say that the best way to do it is probably to compile your story in Unfold first, and then you can put them into Instagram. Just as you would have made your edits very consistent, you're going to want your layout to be consistent. As you've seen in my afternoon in Derry story, these were all Polaroid's Vintage film effect, but that wouldn't work for every story. If I had thrown more of an editorial layout here in amongst the Polaroid Images, it could've looked quite out of place. Just as you kept your editing really consistent, you should think about keeping your layout really consistent for each new story that you tell. My Derry story, that was all Polaroids. I have a story I told about Belfast. Well, that was a bit more contemporary and I've got a bit more of an editorial vibe going further repeating text on the title slide and then when you get into the other images. It's a very simple layout. I chose one of the layouts with two images on a plain background and then I added a few extra bits and bulbs in the Instagram app, which I'll go into later about how I just drew those on. This is the layout I kept for the rest of this story. Just to really drive it home, the simple rule of thumb is keep it consistent. Keep your layout consistent, keep your editing consistent, keep the fonts you use consistent. The same goes for color schemes, all this thing. But this isn't to say that this has to be your style forever and ever, Amen. It's more so with each story, keep it consistent. Feel free to experiment with each new story. That is the layout. Have a look at Unfold, mess about with the options, and you'll come up with some really beautiful stories. Now, it's on to the next lesson. 7. Let's Draw: So you've got your title slide, you've got your layout, and now you're starting to post them on Instagram. This lesson is all about adding a simple touch that's really going to make your Instagram stories stand out. Simply by drawing,and I think this is such an underutilized tool on Instagram stories. So you're on your story and you tap the pen tool. Play around with using this pen tool because it can really add some great effects. For example, I've got this simple title slide again, saying plant shopping. But if you're really arty, you could even try and draw some sort of plant. Now, I'm not that arty. I'm not going to quite go that far. But what you can do if you're not as artistic in that sense, you can simply do cute little things like highlight words. Simple line underneath that word has really brought it out and highlighted it. And it's added a little bit of something. Or you can add this pen tool to the sides of the image. So here now it looks like this image is being pinned down by those green lines. So I really like that. Look and that's something you can do as well. You can make your pen tool bigger, much bigger, and then simply dot and do polka dots. So how simple is this? I'm literally using my finger to tap the phone to add polka dots. This is just again another thing to experiment with. Don't forget to use the eyedropper tool. And you'll go and you'll choose a nice green that you wouldn't have had the option for. You can bring out a certain color from the image and use that as your pen tool. But also here's a hack for you. So down where your colors are, if you put your finger to them and hold down, you will come up with this kaleidoscopic colors that you can choose from,but that's just a very simple thing. I've done on my title slide. So I'm going to exit out of this now, and then you choose a different image now and I'll show you what else you can do. Here is a simple image of me holding my camera, and something I love to do is to again go to my pen tool. And you can either use the pen here or you can use the highlighter. You've got your highlighter, and I would usually use one of the smallest setting. You simply use your image to do swirl, like so, and then you go to the eraser tool and you use a bigger eraser for this. And you simply erase the parts that are in front of the person. So this is going to give you this cool image that looks like it's been photo-shopped when it hasn't been photo-shopped, and it is so easy to do. There you go. It's as simple as that. So let me show you here on the Fashion Week content that I created. So this is a really great way to highlight the people that were walking on the fashion show. To highlight the clothes, I simply did this swirl and erased the parts of it that were in front of the person. There you go. It's really easy to do. It looks amazing. I hope this does inspires you to get creative with the drawing tool on Instagram. I think I've given you some really great tips here so you can get experimenting. But I'm not quite finished. I have a few more Instagram hacks. So make sure you watch the next lesson and you'll really be able to up your Instagram game. 8. Story Hacks: Now it's time for a few more Instagram hacks. Let's start with how you can get the faded background look on the Instagram app. You simply go to your highlighter tool, I'm going to choose the color. Remember, hold down over the colors to get more options and play around with the shade and when I'm happy with the color I've got, you just hold down with your finger and boom, you've got a translucent background. When you've got your translucent background, that might be perfect. You might want to just work with that and maybe put text over it or something or you can go to your Eraser tool again and maybe erase out the part of it that you want to see through. You can do a zigzag maybe. I'm painting with my finger so it might take a while to get it perfect but you can't get some really cool effects with this. Now what if you want a solid color background? You can do the same thing except instead of the highlight tool, this time use the regular pen, choose the color that you want and then hold down with your finger and you've got a solid background. Just as with the translucent one, with this one you can erase or you could simply maybe just want to have that background to work with and then you tick and you write your title. So that's Instagram hack number 1. Let's go back to the regular image now. This is something that I only found out recently. If you choose one of the text stickers, tap the stickers, you can actually tap for more and then change the color of the sticker. For example, here the Sunday one is yellow and purple. It doesn't really go with my image but if you tap for more, there you go. It's white and that looks good. Always look for different ways that you can change things. At the top corner here you can see there's color so you can actually change it to be different color background. So that's another one. One of the big hacks I've already told you about, I'll repeat it really quickly here. It's just use your hashtag, maybe #fblogger and make it super small. I know I'm repeating myself, I've said this hack before but it is so sneaky. It's such a great way to get your stories to be seen a little bit more and no one will even know, just by adding those hashtags in. This isn't so much a hack but I just love the GIFs. So use your GIF function and use the search function and you now look maybe for this one, it's me holding the camera. Maybe I'm talking about photography in this so maybe I'll put a little polaroid camera GIF in it. So there was just a few bonus hacks for you there, of course this whole tutorial has been about hacks. So you've got use your pen tool and erase to create different effects, don't forget to hold down your pen tool if you want a solid background or if you want a translucent image, don't forget to always click through, tap your stickers to get different colors and if you're looking for more colors, hold down where the colors come up for the pen tool and you can then select out of a range of different colors. Those were your Instagram hacks, now onto a little conclusion but make sure to watch because I'm going to be telling you about the class project in the next lesson. 9. Class Project & Conclusion: So there you have it. You now have all the tips and tricks you need to really up your Instagram story game. Now, I'm not going to leave you without leaving you a little bit of homework. Your class project is simply create a beautiful Instagram story using a few of the tips and tricks I've shared here. Put it on your story, and save it to your highlights. Post in the class project area in your Instagram handle so that we can all check out how we're doing. Check out each other's Instagram stories, and we can give feedback on each other's work. If you want some more inspiration, feel free to check out my Instagram, and check out the stories I have saved. My Instagram is @byclarep. So that is it. Thanks a million for watching, and I'll see you in our future class. Bye.