Carousel Instagram Post: Showcase Multiple Photos at Once

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Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | Sep 14, 2023

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Today, everyone’s eyes are on trendy Instagram post formats like Reels and Stories. And while these cool new content types deserve the hype, they unintentionally leave the classic photo formats in their shadow. That doesn’t mean that feed posts are rendered useless or uninteresting, though. On the contrary, classic formats—like the carousel Instagram post—are still thriving.

Carousels are awesome because they allow you to post multiple photos and videos in one set. It’s super simple to use. Just choose your favorite photos and post them in a slideshow, no editing or designing needed.

In this guide, we’ll delve into the ins and outs of creating your carousel on Instagram. Keep reading to learn more about this timeless Instagram post format.

Carousels allow you to publish many photos in one post.

What Are Carousel Posts and What Makes Them Unique?

First things first—what are carousel posts? In case you live under a rock (or obsess over Reels and hardly look at your feed), here’s a definition.

A carousel Instagram post is a format that lets users post up to 10 photos and videos in one post. Your followers can then swipe through each photo to look through all of them. This post shows up on your Instagram profile and your followers’ feeds.

By posting more than one photo at a time, you can use storytelling elements in your feed posts. Carousels are also great for posting photos from one event, kind of like a digital album.

Carousel posts are a lot more engaging than single-photo feed posts. When someone sees a carousel, they’ll be inclined to swipe through it to see all the photos in it. And the longer people spend looking at your content, the more they’re likely to interact with it.

You might be thinking, “I can post multiple photos on Instagram Stories, too—why do it on a carousel?” Sure, posting tons of photos on your Story is fun. But after 24 hours, those posts expire. If you post your photo sets through a carousel, they’ll be immortalized permanently on your page. Anyone can go through your photos and videos at any time.

 Person picking photos from a huge set to include in their carousel.

The “Photo Dump” Trend Is the Quintessential Carousel Post Example of Today

If you think carousel posts on Instagram have become lame and outdated, you’re wrong. While there are other modern formats available on the platform, carousels have had quite a resurgence in recent years. Why? Because of the “photo dump” trend, of course.

The concept of “dumping” photos on Instagram is something Gen Z and Millennials love to do in the modern age. Gone are the days of painstakingly curating every photo on your feed. Today, it’s trendier to dump groups of cute, memorable, unfiltered, and unpolished photos at once. And how do people post these photo sets? Through the classic carousel post on Insta.

These photo dumps are the prime carousel post examples of this day and age. They usually have themes, such as photos with your BFF or the highlights of your week.

Unlike Reels or single-photo feed posts, photo dumps are more laidback. You just choose cute photos and then post them away without fine-tuning them. They’re awesome for low-pressure content, especially now that raw, candid and unfiltered seems to be everyone’s go-to Instagram aesthetic. Vogue India even calls the trend a tool for young people’s “search for authenticity.”

So yes, people still use carousel posts to express themselves on Instagram. If you want to try posting a carousel and don’t know where to start, do an easy, breezy photo dump.

Make Your Photo Set: How To Create a Carousel Post on Instagram

Ready to publish your favorite photos and videos in one post? Here’s how to create a carousel post on Instagram, step by step.

1. On your Instagram home screen, click on the plus sign at the bottom of the page. This allows you to create a new feed post.

2. On the photo selection page, click on the multiple-photo icon.

3. Select all the photos you want to include in your carousel post. You can choose up to 10 photos or videos. After selecting all your media, click “Next”.

4. Rearrange the photos according to the order you want them to appear in the carousel. Tap and hold a photo and drag it to where you want it to go. Make sure to choose a compelling first photo for your post. This is the photo that will appear on your Instagram feed. It’s also the first picture people will see. Make it as interesting as possible to ensure they keep swiping through your photo set.

5. If you wish, edit your photos with the filters and settings at the bottom of the screen.

6. When you’re happy with your photos and how they’re arranged, click “Next”.

7. Fill in all the other details of your post, such as your caption, hashtags, music, location tag and more.

8. Finally, hit “Share” to publish your carousel post to the feed.

Can You Add Photos to Instagram Carousel After Posting?

If you’ve already posted your carousel but realize that you forgot to include one specific photo, what do you do? Can you still add a photo to an Instagram carousel after posting it?

Sadly, no, you can’t. When you edit a carousel Instagram post, you can only delete photos you uploaded—not add more. You can also change your caption, tag people and edit the alt text per photo.

Instagram doesn’t allow people to add more photos to a previously posted carousel for good reasons. Adding more photos to a post can lead to unreliable engagement metrics. Imagine if lots of people like a carousel only for the poster to add a controversial photo later. Data from the post’s engagements (like who liked or commented on it) might be used maliciously afterward.

It will also confuse people who have already seen the post, as this disrupts their overall Instagram experience.

If you’re adamant about including that one photo in your post, the most you can do is delete your carousel. Then, post a new one—this time with the missed photo included in the set. Moving forward, plan your carousel post to ensure you’ve added all the photos you want before publishing it.

Can You Run a Carousel Instagram Post as an Ad?

Yes, you can definitely create Instagram ads in a carousel format. Carousel ad posts are terrific for hyping up a collection of products.

If your brand has a huge upcoming product launch with a collection of new items, carousel ads will be your best friend. You can use each slide of the carousel to show the different products that are about to go on sale.

Even if you only have one product drop, carousel ads will be super beneficial. Instead of showing off multiple products in your slideshow, use the carousel to showcase the features of that one product.

Are you interested in promoting your branded content through multiple-photo posts? Here’s how to run carousel ad posts. Note that you can only go through the steps below if you have a business account on Instagram.

1. Open Facebook Ads Manager—the platform people use to manage Instagram ads.

2. Click “Create” to set up a new ad campaign.

3. Choose all the necessary details of the ad, from the advertising objective to the budget to your target audience.

4. Build your creative ad set, aka the carousel post you want to use as an ad. You can also choose an existing carousel to boost if you already have one up on your profile.

5. Edit the caption, alt text, hashtags and more.

6. Review your ad set and its settings one more time, then submit it for review. Once Instagram approves it, your carousel ads should start running.

You can create your carousel templates on Photoshop.

Using an Instagram Carousel Template To Let Your Photos Flow Seamlessly

There are many trends on Instagram right now, like “plandid” photos and the Instagram AI trend. But another trend that is currently on the rise is Instagram carousel templates.

People get super creative with their carousel posts. Some create layouts with their photo sets that allow people to swipe through a panoramic view of a continuous, horizontal photo. Others create long and seamless collages for their carousels.

One way to create these unique carousel templates is by using Photoshop. People make their Instagram carousel Photoshop template by creating one long, horizontal layout of photos. Then, they’ll slice up the layout into multiple frames. When they upload these frames on Instagram, they’ll flow seamlessly, creating a smooth slideshow of a beautiful layout of pictures.

Not so much of a Photoshop person? Don’t worry, there are other options out there for you. For example, Canva has tons of free carousel templates anyone can use. Using these templates is extremely convenient since they already come in default carousel sizes. You won’t have to measure your photo layout in pixels the way you would with Photoshop.  

Fashion brands can upload multiple glamour shots through carousels.

Carousel Post Ideas According to Your Niche

Not sure what kind of carousel Instagram post you should make for your account? Here are a few ideas you can draw inspiration from, depending on your niche.

Fashion and Beauty

There are plenty of ways to play around with carousel posts if you’re a beauty or fashion influencer.

If you love posting OOTDs, you can create photo sets of the best ones you wore for the week. That way, you don’t flood your followers’ feeds with posts every single day. Carousel posts make OOTDs neater and more organized while still showcasing each one.

The same goes for beauty influencers who like to experiment with glamorous makeup looks. Instead of posting too many photos on the feed, group your favorite looks together in a carousel.

If you own a fashion or beauty brand and have a collection launching soon, use carousels to promote them. That way, you can show your new products to your customers without overexposing them with too many posts.

Woman taking an aesthetic photo of her meal to add to a food photo carousel.

Food and Recipes

If you own a food Instagram account, you can use a carousel Instagram post to share photos of delicious meals. If you dine at a restaurant and take photos of five dishes, you don’t have to choose one to post. With a carousel, you can post all of them at the same time.

You can also use carousels to post recipes for your followers to try out. Each slide of the carousel can explain a step in the recipe’s instructions. By the time someone finishes swiping through your carousel, they’ll have a delicious, homemade meal prepared!

Travel Photos

One of the most popular themes of carousel photo dumps is travel photos. Think about it. When you go on vacation, you take photos every waking second of your trip. It can be difficult to choose which photos and videos to upload online. Luckily, with carousel posts, you can upload your travel content in groups.

You can also further break down travel carousels into more specific themes. For example, let’s say you recently went on a trip to Rome. In one carousel, you can post all the photos of the hearty Italian meals you had on your trip. In another, you can lump together pictures from the most popular tourist attractions you visited.

Sports and Fitness Content

Fitness influencers who post a lot about working out and exercising will also find carousel posts on Instagram quite useful. You can post fun, motivating workout programs through carousels. Since each carousel allows you to post ten photos or videos, upload 20 different exercises per carousel.

You can also use carousels to share educational content with your followers. Use carousels to talk about different gym equipment, or perhaps make a guide on meal prep for better nutrition.

Show Off Your Best Photos With Carousel Posts on Instagram

If you have tons of photos and videos to show people, publish them in a carousel Instagram post. This kind of post allows people to swipe through multiple pieces of content all in one post. Use it for travel photos, birthday posts and any other photo set you want to share online. When it comes to experimenting with carousels, the possibilities are endless.

Carousels are also awesome for brands and businesses. If you have a product launch coming up, use carousel ad posts to make more noise about it. Tutorials and storytelling content would also look great on a branded carousel.

And if you really want your carousel to stand out, make your own Instagram carousel Photoshop template. With custom templates, you can be as creative as you want with the transitions and layout of your photos.

Want more people to see the carousel Instagram post you’ve worked hard on? We’ve got you. At Path Social, we boost your content to make sure it reaches audiences that will engage with it. By serving your posts to the right people, you become more discoverable as a brand and get more engagement. That means you could gain tons of new followers that will consistently interact with your content every time you post. Build your community with Path Social today!