• Riley Draper

How to Add Camera Roll Photos to Instagram Story

With over 500 million posts uploaded per day, it’s plain to see that Instagram Stories are here to stay. The in-app feature combines the best elements of Snapchat and TikTok — in addition to the newest Instagram Reels feature — and offers a great way to increase your screentime on followers’ feeds. But exclusively posting through the Stories camera can be a bit boring, not to mention limiting for social media marketers. If you’re excited to add other content, read on for our guide on adding camera roll photos to your Instagram Story!

Posting a New Story from Camera Roll 

These days, uploading old photos or videos to your Insta Story is as easy as 1, 2, 3. 

  1. Open Instagram

  2. Slide your home page screen to the right. Alternatively, tap the camera icon on the top left corner of the screen, or the blue plus sign beneath your icon next to “Your Story”.

  3. Once you’ve opened the Instagram Story Camera, either swipe up from the bottom of the screen or hit the small gallery box in the bottom left corner.

  4. You’ll now see a three-panel grid of your most recent pictures, titled “Last 24 Hours,” or “Camera Roll” if you haven’t taken any recently. Scroll to your selected photo and tap to select.

  5. Once selected, you can either swipe to the left to add more filters, or use the stickers, gifs, text, or line art in the top right corner. Press “Send To” and you’re set!

Original Method

When first introduced in 2016, Insta Stories were limited to pictures or videos taken within a 24-hour limit. However, this made it difficult for social media marketers to post consistently, and for companies to post during peak weekend times. Fortunately, tech-savvy marketers created their own workarounds. In the old days of Insta Story posting, you’d have to do one of the following:

  1. Screenshot: The easiest way to get old pictures on your “Last 24 Hours” list was simple: Screenshot them. Video posters could also luck out by screen recording their smartphones, but both methods risked the loss of quality that comes with copying visual files. It could also be difficult to crop the screenshot, leading to awkward angles.

  2. Resending: Uploading the photo or video to a third party file hosting website was a popular method of re-saving new versions of old photos. Emailing it to yourself as an attachment was also common, but the picture’s metadata could sometimes still date it as too old: duplicating the photo file on a desktop computer and re-sending it was generally the best approach.

  3. Metadata Editor: Metadata is an invisible code written into your photos and videos that describes when and where they were taken. App store metadata editors, such as PixelGarde, can be found for iPhone and Androids. While no longer necessary for posting stories, they’re still a hugely helpful way to back-date photos or erase personal information.  

Tips for Stories

  1. Have too many killer shots to choose from? In the Insta Story camera, swipe up from the bottom of the screen. Then select the multi-photo icon in the top right corner, and select multiple photos for instant upload!

  2. If you’ve decided to post some throwbacks, it can be hard to find older shots while scrolling through your phone’s library. Try placing your pictures in a custom album for easy retrieval. Once you’ve opened your Camera Roll in-app, click the downwards arrow at the top of the screen to find different albums, and you’re set!

  3. Speaking of throwbacks: Any shot taken longer than 24 hours ago will appear in the Insta Story editor with a date sticker. You can change the color of the sticker to black, red, or white by tapping through it, or simply press, hold, and drag to the bottom of the screen to delete it.

  4. Speaking of stickers: custom stickers and gifs are a great way to add personality to your stories! Most people know that swiping up on a select photo will offer gifs, geotag, hashtag, and community stickers, but Instagram is always adding new features to play with.

The Fine Art of Filters

Speaking of new features: Instagram recently added their community-curated effects to Stories editor. Click the sparkling circular smiley face in the left corner of the screen, and you can add any filter you’ve previously saved to even the oldest of throwback pics.

Although Instagram used to keep its filters basic and widely accessible, its Effect Gallery of user-designed filters is growing every day. From goofy to glamorous, these new effects can add the perfect touch to any story. Here are our top tips for finding the best filters!

Browse the Effect Gallery: You can access this gallery by opening the Stories Camera and scrolling to the right through your camera button until you reach a magnifying glass. Alternatively, you can hit the down arrow beside the title of any previously used filters: this will give you the option to save the effect, share, or browse more.

Go Hunting: For influencers or bloggers, it’s smart to keep an eye out for which filters your favorite brands or fellow users prefer. Stories using filters will list the effects on the top left of the screen as they play: tap the effect name to bring up the “save” option. Some posts featuring music can occasionally obscure filter names, so double-check or even DM the user if you love their style! 

Follow Creators: Finally, if you find a filter you absolutely adore, consider following the creator’s Instagram page. Designers will usually test out and advertise upcoming effects on their own stories beforehand, allowing you to get the first-hand scoop on upcoming styles. 


Although uploading camera roll photos to Instagram Stories has grown easier over the years, it’s also grown more stylized. Whether you’re erasing personal metadata or perfecting your sticker game, Stories are a complex kind of storytelling. But most importantly: they’re fun. We hope you’ll take the time to experiment and tell some new stories we haven’t seen before!

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