Instagram Video FAQs: Photography Videos Demystified

Moira West


Instagram is one of the best social media outlets for photographers. When your business is all about images, Instagram has the added advantage of showing off exactly what you do in a fun, engaging way.

How engaging? Instagram followers are 15 times more likely to respond to content than followers on Facebook, according to L2 Think Tank. And Simply Measured found that on Instagram, videos create two times the engagement of photos. But if you still don’t think Instagram is for you, maybe photographer Ana Brandt can convince you. At our recent CreativeLive class “How to Boost Your Business with Animoto Videos,” Ana said after she added video to her Instagram feed, she doubled her audience, giving her 25,000 followers.

So how do you get started creating amazing Instagram videos to engage your audience? Take a look at our Instagram Video FAQs and find out.

What are the best Animoto styles for creating Instagram videos?

Instagram allows portrait and landscape video. You can use any of our styles to create your videos.

How do I upload my video to Instagram?

Even though you can view Instagram on your computer, you can’t upload from there. You need a smartphone or tablet with the Instagram app. You can still edit your video on your computer, but you’ll have to save the video to a file storage system such as Dropbox and access it that way. You can also email it to yourself and save it to your camera roll. When it comes to actually uploading your video, there’ll be a video icon at the bottom of your screen right next to the camera icon. Tap that, then go into your library, select your video, and you’re all set.

How do I format my photos for Instagram?

Decide whether you would like your video square (the Instagram default) or landscape (the way most Animoto videos are formatted). If you would like to change your format to a portrait or landscape orientation, just touch the button on the lower-left-hand corner of your screen (pictured below) and your format will adjust automatically.  

How many photos should I use?

It depends on the speed of your video. You can fit about 4-7 images (depending on your song choice and pacing) without your video feeling too rushed. More than that, and images may be too fast for viewers. Take a look at senior portrait photographer Clark Sanders’s Instagram video, which does a great job at pacing the flow of images.

How do I get my video to be 60 seconds or less?

There’s no hard and fast rule for getting a 60-second video, because different songs have different tempos. To keep yourself within the 60-second limit, limit the number of photos. After that, adjust your tempo using the pacing tool. By increasing the speed, you can fit your photos and still keep your video short enough for Instagram.

What size should I produce the video?

Instagram currently allows photos and clips at a resolution of 1080 x 1080 pixels. So for the highest quality images the app allows, you should produce your Animoto video at 1080p.

How do I create a thumbnail image in Instagram

After you finish adding your video to Instagram, you can choose a thumbnail by tapping the icon shown below. Slides from your video will appear under the heading “Choose a Cover Frame.”

Take a look at our style page and find an Instagram-ready style that works for you. Then get started creating a video that’ll give your Instagram account something new and shareworthy.