How to post a video on Instagram, including Reels and Stories

An old-timey video camera taking a selfie

As the fourth most popular social media platform in the world behind Facebook, YouTube, and WhatsApp, Instagram is a great place to share video content. But like every other app, it’s always rolling out new features, and it can be hard to keep up with all of the different options for posting videos. How do you decide between a regular Instagram video post, a reel, or a story? Below we break down each video type and how to post them, plus how to add extras like location tag, music, and gifs to keep eyes on your content.

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3 types of videos on Instagram

There are three different types of videos you can upload to Instagram.

  • Instagram videos. Instagram videos (replacing the former IGTV) are essentially regular video posts that live on your profile alongside photo posts, and within their own video page on your profile. So a regular video post is a great option for content that you want to appear permanently on your page (or at least until you delete it). Instagram now allows 10-minute long videos for regular users, and up to 60 minutes long for blue checkmark-verified users.
  • Instagram reels. Often thought of as a competitor to TikTok, Instagram reels are best for attention-grabbing videos, and high-performing reels might even get your content in front of new viewers. You can embellish reels — which now have 90-second time limit — with music, text, and graphics. Instagram reels appear in your scrolling feed, and can also be found on the tab between your regular feed and Instagram video section.
  • Instagram stories. Instagram stories are short video clips, up to 15 seconds long, and are usually more casual and less-produced. They only show up on your page for 24 hours before they disappear. But you can also save your content as a story highlight, which will pin the clips to the top of your profile permanently (or until you remove them). Videos that exceed the 15-second limit (but are less than 60 seconds) will automatically separate into 15-second video clips when you upload them as a story, for up to four videos. You can watch Instagram stories by clicking the profile avatars that appear across the top of your main feed — your own story will always appear first in the queue, even after you’ve watched it.

How to post an Instagram video

The optimal aspect ratio for an Instagram feed video is 4:5 (for portrait mode) and 1.91:1 for landscape mode (though both can be adjusted to a 1:1 ratio by double-tapping the preview screen or single-tapping the double arrows in the frame’s bottom-left corner). The minimal frame rate for videos is 30 frames per second (FPS), and for dimensions, the optimal size is 1080 x 1350p. All videos under 10 minutes have a maximum file size of 650 MB, and videos up to 60 minutes have a max file size of 3.6GB.

To upload a video to the Instagram app:

  1. Open your Instagram app. If you’re not already logged into your Instagram account, enter your username and password on the login screen.
  2. Navigate to the upload screen. Click on the “+” sign at the top right of the screen, whether you’re on your home scrolling feed or profile page. Click “Post.”
  3. Find your video. After you click “Post,” a screen will pop up with an album of your most recent photos and videos. To browse a different album, select the drop-down where it says “Recents” and choose another option. Select the video you want to post. You can also click the icon with two squares to select multiple videos and make an album, or click the camera icon to record a video to post.
  4. Adjust your video frame size. Double-tap the video preview or (single-tap the double arrows) to expand or shrink the size of your video frame. When you’re finished adjusting, click the “Next” button in the top right corner.
  5. Edit your video. Instagram provides several editing features you can use before you upload your post. Select from a number of image filters, trim the length of your video, or turn off the sound completely using the “Volume” button at the top middle of the screen. Click “Next” when you’re done.
  6. Add any final details. After you’ve made your final edits, click on the video preview (where it says “Cover”) to choose the part of the video you want to use for the thumbnail. On this screen, you can also tag other Instagram users, add a location, create a promotion, share to Facebook, and more.
  7. Upload. Once you’re ready to post, click the blue “Share” button at the bottom of the screen. To edit or delete your post after uploading, click on the ellipses at the top right of the post, then select your option.

How to post an Instagram reel on your profile

Reels offer a number of fun flourishes you can add to your videos. Video reels are meant for vertical viewing, so a 9:16 aspect ratio with dimensions at 1080 x 1920p works best when posting content. To post a video reel to your Instagram profile:

  1. Navigate to the upload screen. Click on the “+” sign at the top right of the screen, then click “Reel.”
  2. Select your video. To record a new video, click the center button on the reel upload screen. To select an existing video, click on the blue plus sign on the bottom left of the screen.
  3. Adjust your video. After selecting your video, you can trim the length by using the tool at the bottom of the screen, or adjust the speed using the left sidebar. Click “Add.” If your video is less than 90 seconds, it will move to your post queue and you’ll return to the upload screen where you can record or add another video segment. If you only want to post a short video, click “Next.”
  4. Edit your video. On this screen, add music, filters, captions, drawings, stickers, and more to your post. After you’re done adding flourishes, click “Next.”
  5. Tag and share. On the share screen, you can edit your cover image, add a caption, tag other users, rename your audio selection, and add a location. You can also choose whether or not your reel will display in your regular feed. When you’re ready to post, click the blue “Share” button on the bottom right of the screen.

How to post a video on your Instagram story

The optimal size and dimension for Instagram stories is 1080 x 1920p, with a 9:16 aspect ratio for portrait mode, and 16:9 for landscape mode. To post a video to Instagram stories:

  1. Navigate to the upload screen. Click on the “+” sign at the top right of the screen, then click “Story.”
  2. Choose your video. Record a new video by tapping the first “Camera” panel, or choose a video from the album of your choice. If the video is over 15 seconds, it will automatically separate at each 15-second mark of the video for up to one minute.
  3. Edit your video. On the preview screen, you can toggle the audio on or off, turn the video into a Boomerang, add captions, filters, stickers, music, gifs, and more. Click the ellipses in the top right corner to draw on your video or save it to your camera roll.
  4. Upload your video. Click the bottom left button to upload the video directly to your story feed, or hit the “Close Friends” button to only share with a select group of users.

Before you publish to Instagram

Before you start posting videos on Instagram, here are a few tips to ensure it all goes smoothly:

  • Consider using hashtags. Using trending hashtags in your video captions can help expand the reach of your content and attract new viewers to your page.
  • Follow the guidelines. Instagram has a few rules pertaining to posting content. For example, they do not allow content containing full nudity, hate speech, or threats of violence. Read through Instagram’s community guidelines before posting your content.
  • Keep your videos to the point. If your videos are too long without a lot going on, people might lose interest in your content quickly. That said, if slow-moving content is your thing, go for it.
  • Check the audio. If your video contains copyrighted music, there’s a high chance Instagram will remove your video. However, using the music feature on the app will let you overlay music to your video without risk of violating their guidelines.

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