How To: Add Image Backgrounds to your Shared Feed Post on Insta Story

Brown haired girl looking at her phone, smiling

One of the newest trends for Instagram stories is adding image backgrounds when you share a post to your stories. The trend, however, relies on extra effort, unlike the other creative tools that sit in the top right-hand corner. 

The idea is that you have an image of your choice behind the shared post but don't lose the ability to tap and follow the image. So far, it seems there is only one way to do this and, while it does take a bit of patience and a technical thinking cap, it soon becomes easier over time and ends up looking brilliant.

Following this step-by-step guide, you can achieve more creative Instagram stories...
Download the App, 'Over'. This app is best for this technique, though some claim you can use PicsArt too. Personally, I prefer Over, I find it easier to navigate for this particular job. 

Choose a background. Whether you want to have a look through the great selection of free images available through Unsplash and Pixabay on Over, or have a little look around Pinterest with your screenshot buttons, either way, find yourself the perfect background. I tend to choose something with a relevant theme or colour palette to the image I want to share. You can also choose the exact matching image to the one you share, but remember that we're going to be cropping these images soon. 

Check out a range of my examples below. These demonstrate background images directly associated with the image, or backgrounds chosen from Pinterest/Unsplash.

Instagram story examples

Upload your image to Over and slide along the bottom to select the appropriate size. Since Instagram stories are 9:16, that's the option you are going to choose. Don't worry if it's cropped your image just yet, select the size, then zoom.

Once you've aligned the image to how you want it, tap and selection the 'Edit' option. Once you've done that, you can slide along the controls. If you choose to, you can blur the image a little (I do this sometimes; see above) to draw focus to the image you're sharing. To do this, select the 'Blur' tool and add as much as you'd like.

It's getting a bit trickier now. Slide across to 'Mask' and tap your finger wherever you'd like to make a hole in your image. Your circle must be accurate so do not move your finger.

Even the slightest bit of error (sometimes completely unnoticeable to our eyes) can mean the image loses its transparency in the end and, when applied to Instagram, it will just continue to flip. This is the trickiest part of the whole process. It could take you anywhere between 1-100 attempts to get this right and, to be honest, even practice doesn't make perfect, it's just luck. Nevertheless, keep trying and you'll get there in the end. 

Save the image. Before you go ahead, check in the export settings (right at the bottom of the save page) that you are exporting as a png. Then save.

Head over to your photos and select the image. If you pinch the image, you should be able to see the transparent circle. Diving into the sharing options, select copy photo.

Pop over to Instagram and select the image you want to share, opting for 'Add Post to Your Story' via the paper-aeroplane button below the image. Once the image appears on the story editing screen, pinch it to a smaller size. If you chose to add your 'Mask' hole at the centre of your image (like the one shown on my demo images) keep the image in the centre of the screen, otherwise place it around where you added the hole.

Add the copied photo. Do this by tapping and selecting 'Paste'. Then, once the image appears, adjust it to fit the whole screen. You should be able to see the interactive photo from your feed through the transparent hole.

Tap on your Instagram image through the hole in the background image; when the image comes forward HOORAY! If it doesn't (and if the background image just flips) you need to rewind yourself back to Step 5 and retry the process until it goes right.

All in all, it's a fiddly process for something so small but, of course, it's worth getting comfortable with new Instagram and marketing trends as a way of demonstrating a fresh, up-to-date, and savvy brand. 

Adding interesting, creative tweaks to your Instagram stories are a fantastic way to demonstrate your abilities and create more eye-catching, unique content. 


  1. I haven't heard of this app before, but I really want to download it now! This looks like a great app to use with Insta stories, thanks for sharing! x

    Lucy | www.lucymary.co.uk

    1. It's brilliant for other kinds of creative things too, I love it :) x

  2. Such a helpful tutorial and makes stories look so gorgeous!

    Lucy | Forever September