If you’ve been following the latest social trends, chances are you’ve made an Instagram collage. No, we’re not talking paper, scissors, and glue. Think Instagram Top Nine. Or the “LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter” meme.
But brands have used the crafty artform for more than memes. Instagram collages can combine multiple photos to show off different product angles and features—or even before and after shots. Add frames and borders for a scrapbook-styled event recap. Or roundup multiple pieces for gift guides and seasonal mood boards.
All this and more can be done without papercuts and superglue snafus. An assortment of free Instagram collage apps make trimming and styling easy and mess-free.
So, feeling scrappy? Read on for the tips, tricks, and tools you need to make collages a part of your Instagram business strategy.
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How to make a collage on Instagram
Follow these steps to learn how to make a collage on Instagram posts and Stories.
Here’s how to make a collage on an Instagram post:
- Download and open Layout.
- Tap on the images you plan to include. You can choose up to nine. A checkmark will appear beside each image you’ve selected.
- Select the layout you prefer from the top of the screen.
- Tap on any image to edit it. Use the blue handles to resize.
- Mirror or flip each image according to your desired outcome.
- Add borders if you wish.
- Hit save.
- Share to Instagram or save to your camera roll.
Tip: Instagram Layout only offers basic editing features. If your photos require work, make sure to edit them first and save them to your camera roll.
Here’s how to make a collage on Instagram Stories. The lingo may be slightly different depending on the device you use.
- Open Instagram.
- Tap the camera icon in the top left corner, or swipe right.
- Take a picture.
- Open the pen tool. It’s the squiggly line icon, second from the top right.
- Choose a background colour. Press down and hold on the image until the colour fills over the image. Hit done.
- Leave Instagram and go to your camera roll.
- Select a photo you’d like to include and choose copy.
- Open Instagram and wait for Add Sticker to appear. Tap it and place it where you’d like to appear.
- Repeat until you’ve added all the photos you plan to include. Add drawings, stickers, text, or tags.
- Hit share.
Instagram collage tips
Mashup your social game with these Instagram collage tips.
Start with a concept
All Instagram collages should be created with purpose. Don’t collage just for the sake of it.
And they should fit into your overall Instagram marketing plan.
Before you set out to make one, consider why a collage is the best choice over a single-image post, carousel, or other option.
Your answer will lead to your collage concept. Here are a few examples to get you started:
Use a split-screen to showcase multiple options
Show off a new collection, lineup or product options
Encourage feedback and engagement
Create a step-by-step, how-to, or before and after
Use multiple visuals to drive a narrative
Choose the right mix of images
A good Instagram collage should never overwhelm the viewer. The choices you make should always be in the interest of communicating a message or idea as clearly as possible.
There are some instances where high volume is called for—say, to convey the size or diversity of a community. The rest of the time, use images sparingly and intentionally.
Stick with simple visuals that have a clear focus. Images that are too detailed or zoomed out lose impact when paired with others and reduced in size.
Avoid color clashes by creating a complementary palette. If that’s not possible, try adding tints or treatments to make photos match.
When all else fails, or to set a mood, go black and white.
Style your collage
Sometimes a simple mashup of images is all you need. But there are times when a little more “zhuzh” is called for. And there are several ways you can kick your collage up a notch.
From vintage film borders to florals and punchy graphics, here are a few examples.
Frames can lend a nostalgic vibe or photobooth effect to a series of photos. They can also bring order and clarity to a mishmash of images.
Textures and shapes can add both dimension and cohesion.
Patterns can add flair and intrigue to a series of images.
Text boxes can cover everything from product info to positive comments.
Add stickers and tags
Stickers and tags make your Instagram Stories and posts engaging and shoppable. And collages are no exception. At their best, collages can even unlock new ways to use these features.
If your collage features multiple influencers, partners, or fans, be sure to tag them. This can drive more engagement to your post or campaign.
For collages that feature gift guides, roundups, or multiple products, shoppable tags let people learn more about the item that catches their eye. Instagram allows you to tag up to five products per post, so make the most of it. For now, only one product sticker can be added to Stories.
Brands have used stickers in Instagram Story collages to great effect. French jewellery designer Louise Damas uses the poll sticker to see which pieces people like best. Netflix uses it for viewers to vote for the best dressed participants of The Circle.
Mix it up with multimedia
Instagram collages can bring images, video, music, and text together in a single post.
Doing this well can be tricky, though. Posts with too much media can come across as jumbled or chaotic.
It all comes back to having a strong concept and clear message.
Dove uses a collage to break beauty stereotypes with a grid of changing portraits. Notice how only one image changes per frame, and at a speed that allows viewers to take everything in.
Coachella’s “you might like” series combines a visual with a video to provide a snapshot and soundbite of artists its followers might like. The framing of the campaign is super slick and straightforward.
Try advanced collaging techniques
Collages may be a good way to cram things into a single post. But there’s no reason you should limit yourself to one. Expand an Instagram collage into a multi-post carousel or Story. Or, spread it across your feed.
Keep feed aesthetics in mind
Technically, your Instagram feed is already a collage of every post you’ve published. Adding a collage post into the mix can look busy, unless you’re strategic about it.
Plan ahead with a content calendar, like Hootsuite Planner, so you can see how the collage will look next to other content before you hit post.
Just because you’ve spent extra time on a collage doesn’t mean you should spend less time elsewhere. Keep the Instagram algorithm’s ranking signals in mind before you post.
7 Instagram collage apps
Use these Instagram collage apps to speed up your workflow and add some pizzazz.
As the official Instagram collage app, Layout has you covered for your basic collage needs.
Add up to nine photos and position them in different layouts. Save posts as squares, which means they’re good for the grid, but not always ideal for Instagram Story collages.
For photo editing and fancier templates, check out the options below.
Unfold is one of the most popular Instagram collage apps available. In fact, the app is so popular that brands like Tommy Hilfiger have even created branded templates on the platform.
A plethora of customizable options are available for both posts and Instagram Stories. And new layouts, for special events or trends, are regularly added into the mix. It’s free to use, but monthly members have access to a wider range of stickers, fonts, and features.
3. A Design Kit
From the creators of A Color Story and Filmm, A Design Kit brings creators a kit and caboodle of free Instagram collage tools. Think cute and crafty, these templates, brushes, and stickers veer toward bright and playful.
This tool is good for posts and Stories, with a monthly membership available.
As its name suggests, this Instagram collage app specializes in the Story format. More than 570 photo and video templates are available with backdrops, filters, branding, and styling tools. Available for free or monthly subscription.
Mojo bills itself as a video stories editor for Instagram. New templates and fonts are added monthly to its library of more than 100 templates. Each one is 100% editable, so you can brand and tailor as you see fit. Did you accidentally shoot your video in landscape? No problem. The makers of Mojo have several fixes for the common video orientation hitch.
With access to Unsplash’s 30,000+ photo library, SCRL makes it easy to create Instagram collage layers. These stock photos can add high production value to your content without the high costs.
This app especially excels in panoramic carousels. In other words, you can use its tools to unfold a collage across a series of posts. This is a popular approach for wardrobe capsules, event recaps, and narrative concepts.
Magisto is a video editor that lets you create video collages or photo slideshows. The free app includes thematic templates, access to a music library, as well as filters, effects, and stabilization fixes.
Professional and Business plans offer access to a vast stock photo and video library.
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