How to Make Instagram Reels Like a Pro: 2024 Guide

Last Update:

13 mins

Discover expert tips and creative techniques for making Instagram Reels that capture attention and amplify your social media presence.


Reviewed by Chloe Bidle

Creative social media strategist, driving engagement and innovation.

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  1. What Are Instagram Reels? Overview
  2. 10 Tips to Create an Instagram Reel
    1. Choose a Catchy Song or Audio Track
    2. Plan Your Content and Storyline
    3. Use Creative Transitions Between Clips
    4. Pay Attention to Lighting and Filming Quality
    5. Add Text or Captions for Context
    6. Use Popular Hashtags Relevant to Your Content
    7. Incorporate Trendy Effects or Filters
    8. Keep It Short and Engaging (Around 15-30 Seconds)
    9. Use the Instagram Reels Editing Tools
    10. Share Your Reel to Your Instagram Feed and Explore Page
  3. What Are the Time Limits for Instagram Reels?
  4. How Can I Record a Reel Using My Phone's Camera?
  5. Are There Editing Options for Instagram Reels?
  6. What Are Some Creative Ideas for Instagram Reels?
  7. Can I Use Text and Stickers in My Instagram Reel?
  8. How Do I Share My Reel with My Instagram Followers?
  9. Can I Save My Instagram Reel as a Draft?
  10. Wrapping Up
  11. Frequently Asked Questions
    1. What is the optimum aspect ratio for creating Instagram Reels to ensure proper display?
    2. What steps are involved in adding music to an Instagram Reel for enhanced engagement?
    3. What is the maximum length allowed for an Instagram Reel as of 2024?
    4. How can one incorporate special effects into their Instagram Reels for increased visual impact?
    5. Can you explain the process of creating an Instagram Reel using still photos?
    6. What are some tips for staying current with new trends and creating popular Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels have become an essential feature of the Instagram app, empowering users and businesses alike to create and share short-form videos with their audience. As a dynamic platform for creativity, Reels offer the chance to go viral, enhancing visibility and engagement through the Instagram algorithm. By leveraging this tool effectively, you can craft content that resonates with your audience and showcases your brand's storytelling in a compelling way.

Understanding the intricacies of Instagram Reels is crucial to amplify your content's reach and discoverability. This includes mastering the use of special effects, audio, and the art of collaboration, which plays a pivotal role in connecting with a wider audience. The Reels algorithm favors videos that drive interaction and appear on users' Explore pages, presenting a unique opportunity to boost your presence on social media.

Staying abreast of the latest features and trends is key to making your Reels stand out. As TikTok continues to influence short-form video content, Instagram Reels have adapted to offer unique services and analytics tools dedicated to helping you understand your target audience and refine your strategy. By embracing these tools, you can ensure your Reels not only capture attention but also achieve your intended goals, whether for personal expression or business growth.

What Are Instagram Reels? Overview

Instagram Reels is your gateway to creating engaging, short-form video content on the popular social media platform, Instagram. Introduced in 2020, Reels allows you to craft 15-second to 60-second videos to share with both your followers and the larger Instagram community through the Explore page.

Key Features of Instagram Reels:

  • Length: Videos can range from 15 to 60 seconds.
  • Editing Tools: You have access to a variety of editing options such as trimming, speed controls, and the ability to align multiple clips for seamless transitions.
  • Audio: Reels provides a vast library of music, or you can use your original audio. Your audio can even become a trend if others use it!
  • Effects and AR Filters: Apply filters and AR (augmented reality) effects to add creativity to your Reels.
  • Sharing: You can share Reels on your feed, in your stories, or in the Reels tab — maximizing your visibility.
  • Engagement: Use Reels to join in on trends, challenges, and to increase your overall engagement on the platform.

With Reels, you can showcase your creativity and participate in global trends. It's a powerful tool that can help you craft your digital narrative, attract followers, and enhance your Instagram presence. By understanding and utilizing all the features Reels offers, you're well on your way to producing content that resonates with your audience and elevates your social media game.

10 Tips to Create an Instagram Reel

Crafting a professional-looking Instagram Reel requires both creativity and attention to detail. Below, you'll find targeted tips to enhance your Reels creation process and ensure your content stands out.

Choose a Catchy Song or Audio Track

Your Reel's impact starts with audio; a catchy song or trendy sound can make all the difference. Access Instagram's music library to pick something that resonates with your theme, or use current trending audio to increase your Reel's reach.

Plan Your Content and Storyline

Before filming, draft a storyboard or script to organize your ideas cohesively. Quality storytelling keeps viewers engaged, so map out a clear beginning, middle, and end for your content.

Use Creative Transitions Between Clips

Incorporate seamless transitions to maintain viewer interest and give your Reel a polished look. Practice different editing techniques to edit clips together smoothly.

Pay Attention to Lighting and Filming Quality

Good lighting and camera quality are crucial for a professional-looking Reel. Aim for a high resolution and use natural light when possible to enhance the visuals.

Add Text or Captions for Context

Text and captions provide context and make your content accessible. Play with different fonts and colors to match your Reel's mood, ensuring readability.

Use Popular Hashtags Relevant to Your Content

Employ hashtags to improve your Reel's discoverability. Choose tags that align with your theme and are trending, but avoid overstuffing your caption.

Incorporate Trendy Effects or Filters

Experiment with effects or filters, including AR effects, to add personality and flair to your Reel. Keep up with Instagram's trends to stay relevant.

Keep It Short and Engaging (Around 15-30 Seconds)

Maintain a brevity that promotes engagement; 15-30 seconds is often ideal. Instagram allows up to 90 seconds, but shorter videos tend to retain attention better.

Use the Instagram Reels Editing Tools

Leverage Instagram's native editing tools, like trim, alignment, speed settings, timer, and countdown timer to refine your video. Use layouts and templates to streamline your process — Reels templates can be especially handy.

Share Your Reel to Your Instagram Feed and Explore Page

For maximum visibility, share your Reel to both your feed and the Explore page. Consider scheduling your posts for the best time to post Reels to maximize impact.

What Are the Time Limits for Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels have specific time limits that you need to adhere to when creating content. Initially, Reels were capped at 15 seconds, but as the feature gained popularity, Instagram extended the maximum duration. The current maximum duration for an Instagram Reel is 90 seconds.

Here's a breakdown of the time limits:

  • 15 seconds: Great for quick, engaging content that gets the message across rapidly.
  • 30 seconds: Allows for slightly more narrative or detail without dragging on for too long.
  • 60 seconds: Suitable for tutorials, product demos, or more in-depth storytelling.
  • 90 seconds: This is the upper limit, giving you ample time for creativity and information, while still keeping viewers engaged.

To make a Reel longer than 60 seconds, simply select the desired length before you start recording or uploading video content. However, you cannot post a Reel longer than 90 seconds. If you have a video that is up to 15 minutes, you might want to consider other formats within Instagram, such as IGTV, for this extended content.

Always ensure your Reels are within these time frames to make full use of the feature. Remember, concise and engaging content often works best on social media platforms, so consider your message and audience when selecting the length of your Reel.

How Can I Record a Reel Using My Phone's Camera?

To record a Reel on Instagram using your phone, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Instagram App: Tap on the Instagram icon on your phone to launch the application.

  2. Access the Instagram Camera: Tap on the camera icon in the top left corner of the home screen.

  3. Select 'Reels': At the bottom of the camera screen, swipe to the 'Reels' option to switch to the Reels recording interface.

  4. Start Recording: Press and hold the record button to capture footage. You can record a sequence of clips or one continuous clip. Release the button to stop recording a clip.

When recording:

  • Audio: You can add music or use original audio. To add music before recording, tap the music note icon.
  • Special Effects: Swipe left to explore a variety of special effects like AR filters and speed controls.
  • Timed Clips: Use the timer to record clips hands-free. After setting the duration, tap record; a countdown will signal when to start.

After recording:

  • Edit Your Reel: Tap the right arrow to proceed to the editing screen. Here, you can trim clips, add additional effects, stickers, or text.
  • Review and Share: Once you're satisfied with the edit, tap the arrow to proceed to the share screen where you can write a caption, add hashtags, and share your Reel with your followers or on the Explore page.

Remember to frame your content creatively and use the editing tools wisely to enhance your Reel. With practice, you will be able to produce engaging and professional-looking Instagram Reels with just your phone's camera.

Are There Editing Options for Instagram Reels?

Yes, Instagram provides a suite of editing tools for Reels, allowing you to create professional and compelling content directly within the app. Here’s a rundown of what’s at your disposal:

  • Edit Media Content: You can select, trim, and stitch together video clips. Additionally, you can adjust their speed for slow-motion or fast-forward effects.

  • Filters and Effects: Enhance your Reels with a variety of filters and use AR effects to add a creative twist.

  • Audio Library and Sound Effects: Access Instagram’s audio library for a vast selection of music tracks and sound effects to overlay onto your Reel.

  • Voiceovers: Record and add voiceovers to your videos, providing commentary or extra context.

  • Reels Templates: Use preexisting templates to get started with your Reel quickly. These have preset audio and clip placeholders.

  • Transitions: Create seamless transitions between clips for a polished look.

Here's a simple guide to access Instagram's editing features:

  1. Tap on the Create button and select Reel.
  2. Add your videos/photos.
  3. Edit segments by trimming or applying filters and effects.
  4. Choose audio from the library or add sound effects.
  5. Record a voiceover if desired.
  6. Utilize transitions for seamless clip progression.
  7. Apply a Reels template for structured editing.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Experiment with these tools to find the best combinations for your style.

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What Are Some Creative Ideas for Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels offer you a dynamic way to share creative content and drive engagement. To ensure your Reels stand out and have the potential to go viral, consider the following ideas:

  • Trend Participation: Keep an eye on current trends and challenges, as participating in these can increase your visibility. Use the explore page to discover what's trending.
  • Music and Effects: Integrate trending music and effects to make your Reels engaging. Synchronize your actions with the beat for added impact.
  • Behind-the-Scenes Content: Give your audience a glimpse behind the curtains, showing the human and authentic side of your brand or lifestyle.
Quick Ideas for Reels Description
Showcase Your Skills Share your talents or professional work.
Before and After Transformations Visually demonstrate change or impact.
Educational Content Offer quick tips, tricks, or tutorials.
Interactive Stickers Use stickers to encourage user interaction, like polls or Q&As.
  • Fun and Humor: Light-hearted content can be incredibly engaging. Share anecdotes, jokes, or playful content that reflects your personality.
  • Use of Stickers: Incorporate interactive stickers to foster engagement. They can also add a fun element to your content.
  • Viral Attempts: Create content with the aim of going viral by bringing something new and creative to the table, which could range from a unique dance move to a quirky challenge.

Remember, authenticity mixed with creativity is key to resonating with your audience on Instagram Reels.

Can I Use Text and Stickers in My Instagram Reel?

Yes, you can enhance your Instagram Reels by adding text and stickers, which provide a dynamic way to share information and grab viewers' attention. Here's how to effectively incorporate these features:

Adding Text:

  • When creating a Reel, tap the text icon (Aa) on the screen.
  • A variety of fonts and color options will be available. Choose the style that aligns with your message.
  • You can tap and drag to reposition the text and use pinch gestures to resize it.

Utilizing Stickers:

  • After recording or uploading a clip, select the sticker icon.
  • Choose from a wide range of stickers, from interactive polls to GIFs and icons.
  • Stickers can be repositioned and resized similarly to text.

Customizing Captions:

  • If you add captions, Instagram can auto-generate subtitles for your Reel.
  • You can edit these for accuracy and change the font style to ensure readability.


Don't Overcrowd Use Wisely
Avoid packing too much text or too many stickers, as this can overwhelm viewers and detract from your content's impact. Stickers can be a fun way to interact with viewers and add context to your Reel. Use them to complement your content.

Remember, text and stickers are more than just visual elements; they contribute to the storytelling aspect of your Reels. Use them to guide your audience, emphasize key points, and create a more engaging and informative experience.

How Do I Share My Reel with My Instagram Followers?

Once you've crafted your Instagram Reel and you're ready to showcase it to your audience, sharing it effectively is key to maximizing engagement. Here’s a step-by-step guide to ensure your Reel gets the attention it deserves from your followers:

  1. After creating your Reel, you will be taken to a Share screen.

  2. Preview your Reel: Before sharing, watch your Reel to ensure it's just as you want it.

  3. Write a Captivating Caption: Craft a caption that complements your Reel. Use hashtags to increase visibility.

    Consider These Caption Elements
    - Engaging question or call-to-action
    - Relevant hashtags
    - A clear description of the Reel's content
  4. Choosing your Share Settings:

    • Select the cover image for your Reel by tapping on Cover and picking an image from your Reel that will entice users to click.
    • Toggle on Also Share to Feed to ensure your Reel appears on your profile grid and in the feeds of your followers for greater reach.
  5. Tap Share to Reels: Once you're satisfied with your Reel and caption, press the Share button.

Engage with Your Audience:

  • After sharing, monitor your Reel for comments and likes.
  • Respond promptly to comments to foster community and encourage further engagement.

By following this methodical approach to sharing your Instagram Reel, you'll ensure clarity for your followers and potentially boost your social media presence through increased likes and comments.

Can I Save My Instagram Reel as a Draft?

Instagram allows you to record and save a Reel to your camera roll and also offers a useful feature to save your creations as a draft. This flexibility means you can work on your Reel at your own pace before making it public.

To save a Reel as a draft:

  1. Once you’ve recorded your video, tap Next.
  2. Adjust any editing details as needed.
  3. Instead of posting, look for, and select the Save as Draft option.

Your Reel will remain in the Drafts folder within the Instagram app until you decide to post or delete it.

Quick tips for managing drafts:

  • Viewing Drafts: Tap the Reels icon on your profile and select Drafts.
  • Scheduling Posts: Instagram currently doesn't have an in-app scheduling feature for Reels, you may have to use third-party apps for scheduling.
  • Editing Drafts: Select your draft, make edits, and post it when you're ready.
  • Deleting Drafts: If you change your mind, you can delete a draft by selecting it and choosing the delete option.

Remember, drafts are only stored locally on your device, so if you uninstall the app or switch devices, you will lose your drafts. Utilize this draft feature to ensure your Reels are polished and engaging before they go live.

Wrapping Up

Creating Instagram Reels is a dynamic way to expand your digital footprint and engage with a larger audience on the platform. By now, you should have a solid grasp of the techniques that elevate your Reels to a professional standard.

Remember, consistency in posting quality content aligns with a robust content strategy, helping to cement your presence on Instagram. Keep a pulse on emerging trends and adapt them to fit your unique style and brand voice. Here's a brief recap of what to focus on:

  • Content Quality: Invest time in crafting visually appealing and original Reels.
  • Engagement: Interact with your audience by leveraging trending music and hashtags to maximize your reach.
  • Analytics: Regularly review your performance metrics to refine your strategy.

A successful Reels campaign can significantly impact your audience growth. It's not solely about posting frequently but also about posting smartly. Use insights you've gathered to produce content that resonates and entertains.

Finally, as you grow more accustomed to making Reels, don't be afraid to experiment. Your audience will appreciate the creativity, and it can lead to even greater engagement.

By prioritizing these practices and maintaining a forward-thinking approach, you're well on your way to mastering Instagram Reels and broadening your social media influence.

Frequently Asked Questions

Making Instagram Reels like a pro involves knowing the right specifications and current features. This FAQ section addresses common questions to refine your Reel-making skills.

What is the optimum aspect ratio for creating Instagram Reels to ensure proper display?

The optimum aspect ratio for Instagram Reels is 9:16. This vertical format ensures that your Reels display correctly on most devices, occupying the full screen for added impact.

What steps are involved in adding music to an Instagram Reel for enhanced engagement?

To add music to your Reel, tap the music note icon when creating your Reel and select a song from Instagram’s music library. You can also use your original audio by recording with music playing in the background.

What is the maximum length allowed for an Instagram Reel as of 2024?

As of 2024, the maximum length allowed for an Instagram Reel is 90 seconds. This gives you ample time to create compelling and engaging content.

How can one incorporate special effects into their Instagram Reels for increased visual impact?

Special effects can be incorporated by using Instagram’s built-in creative tools. After recording your video, tap the effects icon to browse and apply filters, transitions, and other visual enhancements.

Can you explain the process of creating an Instagram Reel using still photos?

To create a Reel using still photos, select the 'photo' icon in the Reels camera. You can then choose multiple photos from your gallery, and Instagram will automatically stitch them together. You can adjust the duration each photo is shown.

What are some tips for staying current with new trends and creating popular Instagram Reels?

To stay current with trends, regularly engage with the Instagram community, follow popular creators, and monitor trending hashtags. Use Instagram's Explore page as a tool to understand what content is resonating with users.

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