Change background color in Instagram Stories (2024)

Brendan McConnellBrendan McConnell·December 12, 2023

Instagram Stories have become almost synonymous with social media in recent years. Of the two billion monthly active users on Instagram, more than 500 million say they post Stories to their feed on a daily basis. Brands, celebrities, influencers, and individuals all use Stories to share news and updates to their followers. 

It’s easy to see why Stories is so popular. It’s a quick and easy way to post new content to engage with audiences. It’s also versatile, allowing users to create unique, creative, and engaging content in just a few clicks. 

The possibilities on Instagram Stories are virtually endless, which requires the platform to have a great deal of flexibility for editing and enhancing images and videos. Backgrounds play a big role in that flexibility. Users want flexibility to use different colors, images, and even dynamic backgrounds to enhance their images and videos. 

This article will walk you through how to get a solid color background on Instagram Stories, how to upload images and gradients as a background, and how to use external editors to your advantage.

How Instagram Stories work 

Instagram Stories is a feature within the Instagram application that lets you upload photos or videos to your profile in a slide show format, either via your camera roll or through your in-app camera. Stories content is separate from the traditional Instagram feed, and disappears after 24 hours. 

After selecting the media you want to upload, users can add elements to the image or video within the platform, including: 

  • Text

  • Music

  • GIFs 

  • Emojis

  • Geotags

  • Polls

  • And they can change the background color

The process for uploading content to Instagram Stories, as explained by Instagram, is as following:

  1. Tap the “+” sign at the bottom of the screen

  2. Scroll horizontally to “Story” at the bottom

  3. Tap the white circle to take a picture. Tap and hold to record a video. Or, swipe up to pick a photo or image from your camera roll 

  4. Tap the buttons on the top right to add text, add a sticker, add visual effects, or draw on the image 

  5. When you’re done, tap the white arrow on the bottom right of the screen to post your media 

Once you’ve posted the image to your account, other Instagram users can see your new story by clicking on your profile image. Stories disappear after 24 hours unless you add them to your “Highlights”. In this case, they will remain viewable as part of a slide show on your profile. 

Personalize your story’s background color 

There are multiple ways to change the background color of your Instagram Story. Let’s start with how to add a solid background color to your media. 

First, add new media to your story using the instructions listed above. Then, follow these instructions.

  • Click “...” in the top right corner of the screen and select “Draw”

  • Select the Pen option

  • Select your desired color either using the eyedropper color to pull a specific hue from your media, or choose one from the default color options 

  • Tap the Pen tool

  • Press and hold in the middle of the screen. After a few seconds, the entire screen will fill with the color you chose, in front of your image or video

  • Tap the eraser icon. Use the slider on the left side of the screen to increase or decrease the size of the eraser brush

  • Drag your finger across the screen to wipe away the color that’s covering your image or video (kind of like a scratch ticket)

  • If you make a mistake, use the Undo button at the top of the screen 

This technique can be used to give you a black Instagram Stories background, or any other color you choose, and an interesting DIY aesthetic for your image.

Instagram also gives you options to add gradient colors to the background of your Stories. To do this, use the built-in Create tool, which offers pre-made templates and Instagram Stories colors that you can use to add some personality to your images. Here’s how to take advantage of that feature. 

  • Tap the “+” sign at the bottom of your screen

  • Tap “Story”

  • Tap “Aa Create” on the left side of the screen

  • This will automatically add a color gradient to the story’s background 

  • Tap the small circle in the bottom right on the screen to toggle through background options 

  • When you’ve found the one you like, click the “Stickers” icon in the top center of the screen to pull up a menu with options to insert text, polls, stickers, and images. 

  • Click the “++” option in the Stickers menu to upload an image from your camera reel 

  • Adjust the size and positioning of that image to fit your needs 

PRO TIP: If you want more gradient color options for your background, save an image of a color gradient to your camera roll and import it into your story as a new background color 

Incorporate photos as backgrounds 

For more personalized branding or promotion, the solid or gradient colors that Instagram offers may not be what you need. In these cases, you can upload entirely unique images to Instagram Stories and use those as your background image. 

To do so, follow these steps: 

  • Tap the “+” sign at the bottom of the screen

  • Swipe up the access your camera reel

  • Upload a background image that you’ve saved onto your phone or desktop

  • The image will fill the canvas of your story

  • Use the Stickers function to add additional content on top of the background image, as outlined in the previous section 

Tip: For the best results, you’ll need to upload the background image with the correct sizing for Instagram Stories. That’s 1080px x 566px. We recommend saving that spec somewhere so you don’t forget. 

Infuse your Stories with brand colors for consistency 

Companies who use Instagram Stories to promote their business and share content need to be able to incorporate their brand colors into posts. Instagram gives social media managers an easy way to do this using the Stickers and Eyedropper tools. 

Here’s how to ensure your Instagram Stories are on brand:

  • Take a screenshot of your branded colors and save it to your camera roll

  • Make a new story and use the Sticker feature to import the screenshot of your branded colors as an image

  • Select the “Draw” icon in the top right corner of the screen and select the Eyedropper tool

  • Hover the eyedropper tool over your brand colors sticker to select the desired color

  • Use the Pen tool (press and hold) to fill the screen with your brand color 

  • Delete the screenshot sticker by tapping it, holding, and dragging to the “Delete” area at the bottom of the screen

  • Upload a new image, text, GIF, or whatever other element you want on top of the background color 

Make your life easier with external editors and templates 

While Instagram Stories offers a range of options to change background colors, it’s not also perfect. Sometimes you need an extra level of customization to create the perfect image. An alternative to these in-app techniques is to use an external editor like Photoroom and pre-built templates to create and upload pre-designed images directly into your Instagram Stories. 

This is the perfect option for marketers and designers who want greater control over their content. It extends what’s possible with Instagram, and allows you to more closely align your images and videos with your brand. 

Photoroom offers a huge range of pre-built templates, background images, and generative AI options to help you quickly edit and enhance your photos for Instagram Stories. 

Here’s how it works. 

  • Upload an image into the Photoroom mobile or desktop app

  • The app will automatically run the image through a background remover, giving you the option to replace it with a pre-built template or to use generative AI to create a completely new background 

  • Select “Instant Backgrounds” to access dozens of pre-built and dynamically created background templates. Alternatively, select a solid color for your background. 

Once a background is selected, click the “Image Resizer” tool and choose “Instagram Story”. Photoroom will automatically resize the image to meet Instagram’s specifications.

Once you’ve finished editing your photo, save the image to your device and upload it directly into Instagram Stories. 

Add dynamic video backgrounds via green screen

We’ve focused on images so far in this post, but Instagram Stories is just as (if not more) popular for videos. Changing video backgrounds is tricky, but it is possible thanks to the availability of green screen tools within the application. 

With green screens, you can record through either the front and back cameras on your phone, and dynamically replace the background with an image of your choice as you film. This is great for creating branded videos, or adding a layer of creativity and fun to your reels. 

Here’s how to add dynamic video background via green screen: 

  • Tap the “+” sign at the bottom of the screen

  • Scroll over to “Story”

  • Swipe through the different effects to the right of the white circle at the bottom of your screen until you find the magnifying glass icon

  • Tap that and type “green screen” into the search bar. A bunch of green screen tools will pop up. Choose the one you want to use. 

  • A dynamic green screen background will be added to your story with your camera video appearing in front of it. 

  • Use an out-of-the-box image from the application for your background, or select “Add Media” to upload an image from your camera reel

  • Record a video over the screen screen video and add it to your Stories feed 

A world of creative story backgrounds

What’s in the background of your Instagram Stories content is just as important as the foreground. Experiment and have fun with different combinations of imagery, videos, and background colors to create dynamic and engaging content for your followers. 

If you’re feeling limited by what’s possible in Instagram Stories, try an external editor like Photoroom to help extend what’s possible.  It’s accessible on mobile devices and can be downloaded from the App Store or the Google Play Store, or you can sign up here on the Web. Set up your account in less than a minute, and start saving time and focusing on more important tasks right away.

Brendan McConnell
Brendan McConnellI'm a freelance writer, content strategist, and SEO consultant. At Photoroom, I write about ecommerce photography and image editing tips.