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How to Post a Live Photo on Instagram – All the Ways + Your ?s Answered

How to Post a Live Photo on Instagram

Live photos have become a huge trend over the past few years, so much so that they are able to be taken directly on iPhone; for Android you can take them but you’ll have to install a third party app. 

The concept of a live photo isn’t exactly a new idea; they’ve been featured in different movies and cartoons and even part of the newspapers in Harry Potter! After all, why wouldn’t you want to record a short snippet of a moment to remember forever? 

Live photos were actually created by Apple for the iPhone 6s and became a staple feature of all other phones to come out afterward as well. It’s not exactly a photo and it’s not exactly a video, and it was made possible through new technology that can capture more of a moment in a candid way. 

In fact, some people don’t even know that they are taking live photos and that they can potentially look back on many moments of their life and see a bit more than they initially thought they captured! It’s happened to quite a few people I know and they have a pleasant surprise waiting for them in their camera roll. 

If you’re not too experienced in the use of live photos and are curious how you might be able to use them on Instagram, we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’ll discuss: 

  • What a live photo is 
  • Why live photos are awesome for Instagram 
  • How to post a live photo to Instagram stories
  • How to post a live photo to your Instagram feed
  • Live photos and hashtags on Instagram 
  • Live photo FAQs 

We’re sure that you’ll be ready to dive into the world of live photos and give your Instagram a bit of a boost with this unique content type. Let’s take a look! 

What is a Live Photo?

Instagram Live Photo

A live photo will technically capture 1.5 seconds of motion without you having to do anything other than ensure that the setting is on. The photo will come out to 12 megapixels. 

That’s the basic idea of what a live photo is. You can view the live photos in your camera roll just like you would any other photo or video, but you’ll have to tap and hold the photo to see it moving. 

If you want to try out live photos but aren’t sure if you have them enabled, this is what you need to do to turn on live photos: 

  • Step 1: Open the camera app on your iPhone
  • Step 2: Click on the icon at the top of the screen that has two circles with a third dotted circle outline
  • Step 3: Take a photo just as you normally would; you don’t need to hold down the shutter speed any longer than normal. Just tap. 
  • Step 4: After taking the photo, when you want to look at it, make sure to press and hold the screen so that the live photo element will be activated and you’ll see the full clip. 

Live photos are great for a variety of reasons, but having the ability to look back on a 1.5 second clip of time is pretty invaluable, and they’re becoming more popular on social media for good reason. 

They allow you a small look into the past as well as to the “behind the scenes” moment of the photo, but you can also use it when you don’t want a full video but you also don’t want a completely static photo. 

Why are Live Photos Great for Instagram?

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While Instagram first started out with the ability to post photos only, it has long since expanded its potential for posting a wide variety of photo and video content. In the past, people were so concerned with posting the picture-perfect life for all of their followers to see. 

There may still be a hint of that energy on Instagram, but now more than ever people want to see true, authentic content that can give people a complete picture of the most beautiful moments of our lives as well as those funny or not-so-perfect ones leading up to those moments.

When you post real, relatable content that people find to be authentic, you can make a stronger connection with your followers and get new viewers to follow you more easily. You will also expand your reach because people will be engaged with your content when they can relate to it. 

Live photos can help you do that and they’ll show a real side to your profile that can set you apart from the crowd. People want to know you and they want a real glimpse into your life so that they can make a connection. 

At the end of the day, that’s what the true purpose of social media was meant to do. This human connection is much more effective than the perfect, salesy tactics that some people are still trying to use. 

It seems like it’d be pretty simple to upload a live photo to Instagram, but it’s not quite as easy as uploading other regular content types. Don’t worry— we’ve got you covered and we’re going to bring you a few different methods for uploading your live photos to your Instagram. 

How to Post a Live Photo to Instagram 

There are four basic ways that you can post a live photo to your Instagram account. We’ll discuss one way for Instagram stories and three alternative ways that involve your Instagram feed. 

How to Post a Live Photo as an Instagram Story 

The most practical way to get your live photo onto Instagram is to upload it onto Instagram stories. This is basically what the feature was made for. 

There is a bit of a stipulation here, though; the live photo has to have been shot within the past 24 hours or it won’t show up as an option for posting. If it was taken over 24 hours ago, you’ll have to look at some other options for sharing. 

Here are the steps to upload a live photo to your Instagram story: 

  • Step 1: Open Instagram and click on the camera icon at the top left of the screen so that you can add a new story. 
  • Step 2: Select the live photo that you want to add from your camera roll 
  • Step 3: After selecting the live photo, press and hold the screen to turn your photo into a boomerang suited for your Instagram story. And there you go! You’re ready to post your live photo to Instagram stories. 

If you’re interested in using them in your Instagram feed, keep reading and we’ll tell you how. 

3 Ways to Post a Live Photo in Your Instagram Feed 

Live photos are a bit more complicated for Instagram because they are only 1.5 seconds long and Instagram technically requires a video to be at least 3 seconds long for uploading. With that in mind, how can you upload a live photo to Instagram? 

There are three possible ways around this rule; perhaps in the future Instagram will allow for live photos to be directly uploaded normally, but it’s yet to be seen. 

1. Make Your Live Photo a Boomerang

Boomerang

The easiest way to post your live photo is to create a Boomerang in the story feature as we just mentioned above, and then save it and post it in your Instagram feed. 

Follow the steps mentioned in the above section and instead of posting to your story in step 3, click save (icon with a downward arrow and a horizontal line). You can then go to your IG feed and post it as normal content. 

The boomerang that is created from IG stories will be 6 seconds long, making it long enough to post as a normal Instagram content video.

You can even use apps like Instasize or Canva to add additional elements to your content and help it stand out and look unique. There are so many different borders and content templates that you can implement with your newly created boomerang. 

Adding different filters and correcting different elements of your photos with Instasize or other photo editing apps can make a world of difference on how your content performs. Take a look at our guide for the best photo editing apps if you want some new suggestions. 

2. “Loop” or “Bounce” Live Photos 

Live Photos

If you don’t want to prepare your live photo directly within the Instagram app, you can use the Photos app on your iPhone to help you. 

You can use the loop or bounce feature to extend the length of your videos so that it can be uploaded as normal to Instagram without having to do anything on the stories feature. 

Here is what you do: 

  • Step 1: Open the Photos app on your iPhone
  • Step 2: Find the live photo you want to upload to Instagram; it can be from any length of time ago, not just within the last 24 hours, making this a great option for Instagram. 
  • Step 3: Once you take or find the live photo you want to use, swipe up to see the effects option screen
  • Step 4: From the effects, choose the loop or bounce option 
  • Step 5: Save the image 
  • Step 6: Open Instagram and find the image that you want to upload. Upload it as you would any normal Instagram photo or video

3. Convert Live Photos into GIFs 

Instagram GIFs

The final option you have for implementing live photos on Instagram is a bit different. If you want to add a unique twist to your live photo, you can use an app to convert the live photo into a GIF and then use it on your content. 

GIFs are widely used on Instagram and increasingly popular; you can now find thousands of GIFs provided by GIPHY to up your Instagram story game. 

If you want to use your own GIFs on Instagram, use an app such as Lively, Alive, or Motion Stills to convert your live photos to a GIF and then you can use them as part of your content. 

Live Photos and Hashtags on Instagram 

In order to get your live photos out to the world and seen by more users, you should continue to use hashtags when you post them so that they will be viewed by more people on Instagram. They’ll still appear in hashtag feeds just like regular photos and videos would. 

You can use hashtags on your content posts as well as on Instagram stories. To find the best hashtags for your Instagram live photos, you can use a hashtag tool like Task Ant so that you can create a tailored Instagram hashtag strategy that will optimize your content reach. 

Too often Instagram users simply use hashtags that they think represent their content or might get seen by lots of people; in fact, these hashtags are too generic and end up being pushed down the hashtag feed and seen by no one due to the volume of posts that are using it. 

With Task Ant, you can get hashtags that are in your particular niche so that the right type of users will see your posts; they’ll be more likely to engage with it and follow you because they are within your target audience. 


Task Ant is a simple tool that allows you to dive into your hashtag strategy and eliminate the guesswork; you can see hashtag suggestions that will help you understand how the hashtag will perform and you can even filter your hashtag searches. 

Once you see the hashtags that’ll work for you, you can organize them into sets that you can use immediately for posting, saving you time and getting your content live, faster. 

Don’t forget about hashtags and use Task Ant so that your live photos on Instagram will get seen by the right people! 

FAQs: Live Photos on Instagram 

These are some of the most common questions about Instagram and live photos, so we’re just going to give you a quick rundown of the answers at a glance in case you forgot how it works. That way, you can leave with confidence and get posting! 

Can you post a live photo to Instagram? 

You can post a live photo to Instagram stories by making it a boomerang directly in the stories feature; the live photo needs to have been taken within the past 24 hours. 

If you want to upload a photo to your IG feed, you can do so by using that boomerang and uploading it, or you can use the effects on your iPhone to loop it or bounce it, extending the length and making it postable. 

Can you turn a live photo into a GIF? 

You most certainly can; there are a variety of third party apps that will allow you to make your live photo into a GIF so that you can use it on your Instagram content. Some apps include Alive, and Motion Skills. 

Can you save a live photo as a video? 

Your live photo isn’t necessarily going to be saved into a photo. You can use an app such as Lively, however, to do this if you want your video to be saved in a certain format. This can also help you to upload the photo to Instagram as long as it’s longer than 3 seconds. 

Can you make a boomerang out of a live photo? 

You can make a boomerang out of a live photo directly on Instagram, which is one of the best and most accessible ways to get your live photos onto Instagram and even save them for later. 

Add Some Pizzazz to Your Instagram Feed with Live Photos 

All in all, the live photos feature is really cool, but may be a bit confusing when you want to post it to Instagram. If you accidentally took a live photo it can also present some difficulties, but this guide can help you find some solutions. 

In today’s social media climate people are interested in seeing the real side of Instagrammers and they want to get a sense of who you are behind the camera and what you, your brand, company, or creation is all about. 

Using a variety of media and the right hashtag strategy can give followers what they want to see. WHat’s your favorite way to use live photos on Instagram and connect with your followers? We’d love to see some content you’ve posted! Drop us a line in the comments.