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How To Crop Images and Videos for Instagram Stories

Posted by Jamie on May 15, 2019

Making sure your images and videos are the right size and don’t get chopped in awkward places is a key part of preparing your Instagram Story for publication. This tutorial is going to walk you through cropping images and videos for Instagram Stories.

Instagram Stories have a very defined size that fits your phone screen dimensions. It is 1080px by 1920px, or aspect ratio of 9:16. This fits the portrait orientation of most phone screens and will allow the image or video to be seen in full from within the app.

If your image or video is too large, the app will crop it automatically. Sometimes this might work for you but most often it won’t. That’s why it’s useful to crop it yourself so you can control where and how it is arranged to fit that very specific size. You can resize images and video within a specific app or Instagram itself has a cropping tool that does a decent job of things.

Crop images for Instagram Stories

You can crop your images within the app itself but I think Photoshop or Paint.net make better work of images, especially if you have more than one.

In Photoshop:

  1. Download the image(s) to your computer from your phone.
  2. Open Photoshop and create a new document.
  3. Set it to 1080 x 1920 which is the aspect ratio we need.
  4. Drag your image onto the document.
  5. Resize while holding Shift and using the corners so the best part of the image fits the document size. Shift maintains proportions so the image doesn’t look strange.
  6. Save the image once you’re happy using Export As and JPEG.

Getting the image right will take some adjusting but it should fit somehow. You can try without using Shift if you like but you need to try to maintain image proportions as much as possible to keep perspective.

In Paint.net:

  1. Open Paint.net and open a new document.
  2. Give it proportions of 1080 x 1920.
  3. Open the image you want to crop and add it to Paint.net.
  4. Copy the image and paste it onto your new document.
  5. Resize it using the cursor until it fits the dimensions in the best way possible.
  6. Use the crop tool, top right in the tool bar and select Image, Crop to Selection.
  7. Save the image once you’re done.

Like Photoshop, adjustments may take a little while but are much more accurate than using the Instagram app.

If you want to use the Instagram app, you can.

  1. Open the image in the app.
  2. Select Edit and Adjust.
  3. Pinch to zoom and adjust how it fits into the frame.
  4. Select Done once you’re happy to save it.

Crop videos for Instagram Stories

Cropping videos uses a similar process but you can do it online. Unless you have video editing software already, the easiest way to crop video to the correct dimensions is to use Kapwing. It’s a web app where you upload your video and have the app resize it for you.

  1. Navigate to Kapwing and select Upload.
  2. Upload your video to the app.
  3. Select the ‘Instagram story or IGTV’ option from the menu.
  4. Allow the app to process the video.
  5. Download the video once complete.
  6. Add it to your Instagram Story.

The process works well enough. I uploaded a 15 second video and the site took less than a minute to process and resize it. The resolution remained unchanged and the app mainly just added white bars each side of the video so it fit the required dimensions.

You can use an app if you prefer though. iPhone users should try Cropic – Crop Photo & Video, while Android users should try Story Maker. Both can resize your videos to fit Instagram Story requirements. Both are free and ad supported.

You can also just rotate a video if you shoot in 16:9 already. I use VLC for that purpose.

  1. Open VLC and import the video.
  2. Select Tools and Effects and Filters from the top menu.
  3. Select the Video Effects tab.
  4. Select the Geometry tab.
  5. Check the Transform box.
  6. Select Rotate by 90 degrees or 270 degrees depending on the orientation of the video.
  7. Select Media from the top menu.
  8. Select Convert/Save and Add.
  9. Select Convert/Save at the bottom of the window.
  10. Check the source and destination file, the conversion format and hit Start.

This will rotate your video from landscape to portrait which will fit the 9:16 format demanded by Instagram Stories.

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