How to Make a Reel on Instagram: Ready, Set, Record

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Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | May 24, 2024

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Instagram reels are popping up left and right — everywhere you look. From your close friends to your favorite local businesses, this feature has quickly become a part of daily posting. There’s now an entire explore page dedicated to reels inside the app. It’s never been easier to find inspiration through social media. People are sharing it all, including their daily adventures and emerging businesses. Have you jumped on the trend and recorded one yourself? If not, you may wonder how to make a reel on Instagram. That’s where we come in with our Instagram tips.

Close up of a smartphone highlighting the Instagram app icon.

Instagram constantly adds new features and marketing tools, allowing you to try something new. Instagram reels are a great way to highlight yourself or your brand and grab viewers’ attention. In fact, reels often get more reach than other posting formats on the platform. But with new ways of sharing content can often come confusion. We’re here to help you sort it out. Eager to learn more? Read on as we break down the basics of using Instagram reels. We’ll also highlight some of the excellent editing and creative tools available.

What Are Instagram Reels? Get To Know Instagram’s Latest Feature

Wondering just what exactly Instagram reels are? They are short, 15-90 second multi-clip videos that let you add-on audio and other effects. Reels can be created in a quick series of separate clips or in one continuous video stream. With a prime focus on content creation, they let users post engaging and fun videos to share with a broad audience.

Person in white jacket using smartphone that is open to Instagram.

After learning how to make a reel on Instagram, you can post and share it with your friends and followers. Your Instagram profile features a separate tab to hold your reels, making it easy for followers to locate them. 

If your Instagram account is public, your reel can be visible to a wider audience by being featured on the Explore page. When you create reels, they will also be featured on the Instagram feed under the reels tab. This means that you can reach new viewers outside of your direct followers.

Prefer to keep your Instagram account private? No problem. Once you share a reel to your private account, only your approved followers can view it. Any reel you post will be available on Instagram until you physically delete it. This sets it apart from Instagram Stories, which expire after 24 hours. Like a classic post, reels give your creation a permanent space in the virtual world.

Couple laying on bed in mobile home watching Instagram on a smartphone.

The Basics Behind How to Make a Reel on Instagram

Creating, posting and sharing Instagram reels is easy, fast and fun. Anyone can learn to post a reel, from seasoned social media experts to Instagram newbies. Ready to get going? Let’s quickly take you through the basic process of how to make a reel on Instagram. We’ll review how to capture in real-time and how to use photos, video clips and Instagram highlights to build Instagram reels. Follow the below steps, and you’ll be posting creative content in no time.

How To Make a Reel on Instagram: 5 Ways to Get Started

Open your Instagram app, and now you’re ready to learn how to make reels on Instagram. From here, there are five main ways to create reels:

  1. Click the plus sign button at the bottom center of the screen. Select reel from the bottom row of options.
  2. Alternatively, you can access the reels editor by swiping right to open the Instagram camera from your home screen. Select the reels tab option at the bottom of the screen from here.
  3. You can also click the reels icon at the bottom of the screen immediately to the left of your profile icon. Click on the camera icon on the top right of the screen to access Instagram reels creator.
  4. Another option from your Profile screen. Click the plus button at the top right to open the Create window. Select Reel at the top of the list.
  5. If you want to make a reel to add to your Instagram stories immediately, start by clicking the Your Story button at the top left of the home screen. Click on the Instagram stories camera option, then the reels tab at the bottom of the screen.

Woman standing in kitchen and using smartphone to learn how to make a reel on Instagram.

Create Instagram Reels Content

Next, press and hold down the record button to capture your video in real time. Already have something saved to your phone that you want to use instead? No worries. You can also easily upload existing footage from your camera roll. We will walk you through those steps further down below.

Once your first snippet is recorded, you can continue or add more content. To include multiple clips in one reel, tap the record button to begin capturing again. Select next to preview your completed reel. Satisfied with the way it turned out? Great. Hit next again to add a caption and location, tag other users and choose where your reel is shared.

See? We told you that understanding how to make a reel on Instagram was easy. After recording or uploading, you can use Instagram’s editing tools. From adding music to speed control, your content is customizable. We’ll dive deeper into all these later on below. 

Women holding a smartphone and learning how to make a reel on Instagram.

How to Make a Reel With Photos

You may wonder how to make a reel with photos already on your phone. Don’t worry. That is entirely possible. You are building a slideshow with pictures saved in your camera roll. Let’s walk you through the steps to combine your favorite photos into one clip. You’ll recognize a few steps already!

  1. First, open your Instagram app and head to your profile page. Click the plus sign button on the top right-hand side of the screen. Select reel from the bottom row of options. Alternatively, you can access the reels editor by swiping left to open the Instagram camera from your home screen. From here, select the reels tab on the screen’s bottom.
  2. Click on the camera roll icon on the bottom left-hand side of the screen. You can also swipe up from the live camera view for quick access.
  3. Tap on the photo you wish to add to your reel.
  4. Next, you can adjust the time you want this photo to appear in your reel. Drag the slider to choose your preferred time under the default and maximum length of 5 seconds.
  5. Click add. This will take you back to the live camera view of your reel creator.
  6. Want to add more pictures to the same reel? You got it. Simply swipe up again and repeat steps 3 through 5.

Got all your photos lined up and timed up to your liking? Congratulations, it’s time to move on to the editing stage of learning how to make a reel on Instagram. Here is where you’ll want to get creative with tools and effects. We’ll explore those in more detail below, so keep reading.

Person holding smartphone to record video of view.

How To Make a Reel on Instagram With Videos

Before we dive into editing, let’s quickly talk about video posts. This format is quickly becoming the go-to way to share content on Instagram. Why? Entertaining videos give your content a more relational and personal feel, often letting your viewers get a behind-the-scenes glimpse. You’ll want to ensure that your video is enticing to keep your viewers attention throughout the entire. You have a few options when learning how to make a reel on Instagram with videos.

First, you can use videos that are already live on your phone. To do this, follow the steps listed above in our section about how to make reels on Instagram with photos. However, you’ll select your desired video from your camera roll instead of a photo. This way, you can use video editing apps to edit clips, adjust the original audio, and create seamless transitions. And, of course, you can add multiple pre-saved videos into one reel, just like with photos. Next, you can continue adjusting the length and experimenting with editing tools. You can film live videos directly through the reels creator if you are more of an in-the-moment person.

Group of people looking down at their smartphones to learn how to make a reel on Instagram.

How To Turn a Highlight Into a Reel in 6 Steps

Surely you’re already familiar with the Instagram stories highlights feature on Instagram. This is a great way to save your favorite content and make it easy to look back on quickly. If you’ve already got footage in your IG story highlights, you may wonder how to turn a highlight into a reel. The good news? It’s easy now that this option was rolled out in early 2022. This is a perfect way to get the most mileage from your Instagram content. Let’s peek at the six simple steps needed to complete this.

  1. Go to your Instagram profile and click on the story highlight that you want to turn into a reel. 
  2. Tap the three dots icon and select convert to reel.
  3. Edit your reel by reordering the content or adding new clips. 
  4. Once everything is good to do, select done.
  5. Add your favorite editing effects, such as GIFs, drawing tools or text.
  6. Finalize your reel with a caption, cover photo and hit publish.

Woman taking a selfie with a smartphone while holding a pastry.

Add Social Media Magic With Editing Tools

One of the most amazing parts of using Instagram reels to share your content? The plethora of unique editing tools that are available. From a vast audio library to speed control, you can do it all within a reel. Of course, you can also access Instagram’s classic editing features, such as filters, stickers, doodles and text. 

Be sure to add plenty of hashtags to give your reel added viewer visibility. Once you’ve got your photos or videos set, you can edit the content before the final review. Look to the right-hand side of the screen to a row of icons. Not sure which one to try first? Let’s break down a few of the most popular. Keep scrolling to learn how to make a reel on Instagram with all these extras.

Smartphone laying on table between headphones that are plugged into it.

How to Make Reels on Instagram With Music

Adding music to your Instagram reel is perhaps the most popular way to bring your clip to life. You can easily do this by tapping the audio icon to pull up Instagram’s music library. Quickly search for and select the song or artist of your choice. From here, you can cut and choose which part of the song you want to use. After you’re satisfied with the selection, select done to return to the main editing view. You can preview your reel with the overlaid music before posting. 

Changed your mind and want to edit the snippet you’ve selected? Simply hit the back arrow on the top left-hand side of the screen to make any changes. Guess what? You’ve successfully figured out how to make reels on Instagram with music from the Instagram music library. 

Person taking a photo of a skateboarder on a smartphone to learn how to make a reel on Instagram.

How To Do Slow-Motion on Instagram Reels

Speed control is another great way to customize your Instagram reels. Whether you want to hurry things up or slow them down, be sure to give this tool a try. Looking to learn how to do slow-motion on Instagram reels? It’s simple. From your reel editing screen, focus on the icon symbolized with a 1x. Once you click it, you will have six speed options, ranging from .3x all the way up to 4x. Remember, your selected speed control will affect your reel’s video and audio. Viral reels often feature catchy songs, so don’t hesitate to add music instead of using your own original audio if the sound gets too distorted in slow-mo.

Person holding smart phone open to Instagram app on a table with coffee cup, notebook and pen.

How To Make Reels on Instagram to Grow Your Brand

If you’re a business or influencer, Instagram reels can work wonders to grow your brand. In fact, reels are a great way to turn your Instagram account into a profitable, money-making business model. It’s all about learning how to make trending reels on Instagram. You’ll want to use a few tips and tricks to ensure your content gets the recognition it deserves. After all, the more people you reach, the higher your engagement rate will grow.

Woman taking picture of flowers on a coffee table and learning how to make a reel on Instagram.

First, for Instagram marketing, keep an eye on the latest reel trends. This can be anything, from a popular song making the virtual rounds to the it-dance of the week. Use these as inspiration and put your own unique twist to stand out in the crowd. Consistent posting is another trick you’ll want to keep in mind. This ensures your name or brand will always be front of mind for your audience. 

Of course, we can’t offer Instagram growth tips without talking about #hashtags. Hashtags are a great way to increase your likes and followers, from classic posts to reels alike. Just remember to keep your audience happy by only using hashtags that are directly related to your Instagram reel content.

Download Instagram reels you’ve made to your camera roll to share what you have created on your other social media channels. Now that you know how to make reels on Instagram, are you ready to implement these tips? Grab your phone and start recording.

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At Path Social, we’ve built up an in-house platform of Instagram influencers and a proprietary AI targeting algorithm over the past decade. That’s how we reach organic users that will remain interested and engaged. And that’s why no one can replicate our results, which means you’ll build an Instagram community that lasts! Start growing and gaining Instagram followers today.