Instagram Stories is a great place to share the less cultivated, more casual content that you wouldn't necessarily share to your Feed. But that doesn't mean that you can't still curate a specific aesthetic for your Stories. You might have found it hard to create that consistent aesthetic with Stories, though, because of the limited options Instagram gives for Story backgrounds.
To give you back a little creative control, I'm breaking down a few different solutions for changing the background color of your Instagram Stories. In this article, I'll cover how to change the background color for these three types of Instagram Story:
Tip: Use the hyperlinks in the Table of Contents above to navigate the article more quickly.
Alright, let's get started!
Change the Background Color for Photos Uploaded to Your Instagram Story
Unless you're shooting in 9:16 with the express intention to share on Instagram or TikTok, most photos aren't the right aspect ratio for Instagram. You can crop your image, of course, but that's not always the right option, especially if you took the time to set up and compose the perfect shot. Cropping would ruin that artistic vision.
To fill up that extra space around your not-9:16 image, IG will pull colors from your image and create a gradient background — which might also ruin your artistic vision. There's currently no option in the app to change the automatically applied background color.
Instead, you can use a third-party image editing tool to resize your image and add a background of your choosing. For this example, I'll be using Kapwing because I can access it from the browser on my phone, so I don't have to transfer any images from my camera roll to my laptop.
Pull up Kapwing.com on the Safari or Chrome mobile browser and select "Get started" to sign in and open a new project.
Choose the 9:16 preset underneath the "Start with a blank canvas" header.
Click the Upload button in the top left corner over the canvas then tap the "Click to upload" box. You'll have the option to upload an image from your Photo Library or Files as well as to take a photo or video with your camera.
Once you've chosen the photo you want to resize, it will appear, centered on the canvas. From here, tap the "Edit selected layer" button to open the canvas editor and change the background.
Toggle "Canvas blur" on if you want a blurred background. If you want a colored background, open the background color menu. You can choose from a preset color, use the slider and gradient tool, or enter a specific HEX code to select a custom color.
Next, click Export and choose your file type and resolution settings. You'll be able to save the image to your device from the download screen.
Now you have a 9:16 version of your photo in your Camera Roll with a custom color background. All that's left is to open Instagram Stories, upload, and share.
Change the Background Color When You Share a Feed Post to Your Instagram Stories
Sharing a Feed post, whether your own or someone else's, to your Stories results in the same automatic gradient background. There's a quick hack that you can use right inside the Instagram app to fix this one:
Share the post to your Story then open the three dot menu in the top right corner and select "Draw."
Choose the color you want the background to be. If it's a photo post that you're sharing, you can use the eyedropper tool to select a color from the image itself.
If you're sharing a Reel, you won't be able to use the eyedropper, but you can scroll through the preset colors Instagram provides and find the best option.
Once you've chosen your new background color, use the slider on the left side of the screen to increase the pen size all the way to max.
Finally, just fill in the background, using your finger or stylus to scribble back and forth on the screen. The nice thing about this is that you can't draw over the post, so you don't have to be super precise (which would be difficult on a tiny little phone screen anyway).
And voilà! You have an aesthetic, colored background for your IG Story.
Change the Background Color for Text and Sticker Posts on Instagram Stories
The last type of post that you might want a custom colored background for is a text post. Adding text over a pretty photo is a standard IG Story format, but sometimes you just want your words to stand on their own. Or maybe you're doing a quick Q&A and don't want to dig through your Camera Roll for background photos. You can even use this kind of background to add multiple photos to one Story.
Whatever your reasoning, Instagram has a Story setting for theses kinds of posts: "Create." Unfortunately, this setting only comes with seven background color options: white, black, orange, magenta, purple, blue-green, and rainbow.
If none of those bright colors suit your fancy, you can create your own, aesthetically pleasing background to keep in your Camera Roll for whenever you want to post one of these types of Stories.
I'll be using Kapwing again for this example.
Head to Kapwing.com on mobile and choose the 9:16 preset canvas again. This time, though, you don't need to upload anything. Instead, select the "Edit background" button to open the canvas editor.
Tap on the Background Color tool to select your background color. If you have branded colors that you'd like to use, you can input the HEX code to get that exact color. Or you can just use the gradient and slider tools to find a shade that speaks to you.
Once you're happy with your selection, hit that Export button, download, and save to your Camera Roll.
I recommend either adding this background to your favorites album or even creating a whole new album to save backgrounds like this in, so you'll be able to find it when you're uploading to Instagram without needing to scroll through your Camera Roll for ages.
And that's it!
Whether you're sharing a Feed post that you found interesting, sharing your own photography, or just sharing your thoughts, know you can change the background color of your Instagram Story and create your own custom look.