How To Post a Live Photo on Instagram

Live Photos are a great addition to newer iPhones that combine video and GIF imagery to create something more interesting than a still image. Live Photos bring photographs to life! This new innovation to photography certainly does more than freezing a moment in time (as what still images do), it breathes life into your captures.

How To Post a Live Photo on Instagram

As soon as the option was released, the major social media platforms like, Twitter and Facebook, decided to start using them. The hold out among the popular social media networks was the photo-centric Instagram.

Considering Instagram’s delay in rolling out this feature, it took a while to figure out how to post a Live Photo on Instagram, but now it can be done. Well, it can be done with just a bit of tinkering, at least.

Before we get on to posting a Live Photo to Instagram, let us discuss how to take Live Photos first, just in case you have yet to try it. Once you do, I doubt you will ever go back to still images ever again!

Here Are The Steps To Take Live Photos:

Live Photos allow you to get more than a great picture; it lets you capture it with sound and movement.  Your iPhone records what happens within 1.5 seconds before and after you click the shutter button. You can take a Live Photo in the same way as you do a normal photo. You can follow these simple steps to help you.

  1. Open your iPhone camera app.
  2. Turn on the Live Photos setting by tapping the bullseye icon at the top of the screen. It should turn yellow once enabled.

  3. Frame your shot as you normally would, holding the device still.
  4. Press the shutter once, keeping your phone steady on the subject for at least 1.5 seconds.

The camera will then take its 1.5-second Live Photo. You need to treat Live Photos as video shots and try to keep the device as still as possible. Framing the shot in advance is another way to ensure you’re taking great Live Photos.

Remember that it records audio as well as images, so be aware of ambient noise and what’s going on around you.

Live Photos can be taken with both the front and rear cameras. As the main camera is 12 megapixels and the Live Photo is 1.5 seconds long, taking too many shots will soon make you run out of space. A single Live Photo is comprised of a 3-4MB .mov file and a 2-5MB JPEG, so they will quickly use up the storage on your phone.

For this reason, it is recommended that you only leave Live Photos enabled by default if you have lots of storage or use iCloud storage for your photos. Otherwise, it’s better to only enable Live Photos when you are specifically trying to take one.

You can view Live Photos as standard photos, the same way that you view the rest of your photos. Just open the Photos app and you’ll find your Live Photos with the rest of your pictures. The only thing that will set it apart is that you’ll see the Live Photos (bullseye) symbol at the top left of the image (this symbol isn’t actually on your photo, it’s just a display element.

To view your Live Photo as an animation, just long-press it and the video/animation will instantly start playing. You can edit it as well with all of the same options you have for editing a regular photo, as well as some additional options. For example, if you swipe up on the photo, you’ll get options to play the photo as an animated Loop, Bounce (a.k.a. Boomerang), or Long Exposure.

There’s also an extra section in the Edit screen for Live Photos. To view these options, tap Edit on the top right of your photo and tap the bullseye at the bottom left of the Edit screen. Once there, you’ll see options to mute the audio of your Live Photo, change the Key Photo, and even disable its Live Photo features (it will still be a Live Photo file, but it won’t play or appear as a Live Photo in the Photos app).

How To Share A Live Photo On Instagram

Ignoring the contradiction of terms, Live Photos is a very neat feature added to the iPhone 6 and later models. Rather than taking a snapshot, Live Photos takes a 1.5-second video and audio recording, making Live Photos more like a video than like still photos.

That short recording contains both video and audio, which together comprise a Live Photo. Despite what the name implies, Live Photos aren’t happening in real-time and they aren’t exactly photos, either. Instead, they’re more like miniature animations that only show one frame (a photo) but can play like an animation if you long press on them (an animation).

The name is more so meant to evoke a photo that’s alive, rather than something that’s happening live. It’s a Live Photo in the sense that it seems like a photo that comes to life, animating itself, kind of like the photos in Harry Potter.

Despite being all about images, Instagram has been very slow to adopt the use of Live Photos. At the time of this writing, Instagram only supports videos of 3 seconds or more. As a Live Photo is only 1.5 seconds long, it won’t work. Uploading a Live Photo from your iPhone to Instagram will only make it appear like a still image.

You can post the Live Photo as normal on Instagram but it will only appear as a still image, and that sort of defeats the point of it being a Live Photo in the first place.

There is a workaround, though: converting the Live Photo into a Boomerang.

Can You Make A Live Photo Into A Boomerang?

Converting your Live Photo into a Boomerang will change your Live Photo to 1 second, which is the length of a Boomerang, reducing the time of your 1.5-second long Live Photo by half a second. The good news is that Live Photos often end up being awesome Boomerangs.

Boomerangs are Instagram’s version of short videos. It uses your camera’s burst photo mode to take a series of shots that will create a moving image, and you can also use it to convert a Live Photo to a Boomerang.

Those using older versions can still use the method listed below. If you have a new phone, skip ahead for options that work for your phone.

Step 1

Open Instagram and select the camera.

Step 2

Create a new story by tapping the circular icon on the upper right-hand side and swipe up to select your Live Photo.

Step 3

Upload a Live Photo and press and hold on the screen. This uses 3D Touch to create the Boomerang.

Step 4

Post the Boomerang to your story and compose the rest of your post as you wish.

It isn’t the most elegant solution, but it gets the job done until Instagram catches up with the present and begins playing nicely with Live Photos.

Posting Live Photos – Newer iPhones

If you no longer have the press/hold option to post the photo, try this:

Step 1

Open the Camera app on your iPhone and tap on ‘Live Photos’

Step 2

Tap on the Live Photo you’d like to upload to Instagram

Step 3

Tap on the share icon in the lower left-hand corner once your photo is open.

Step 4

Scroll down and tap ‘Save as Video’

Once you’ve saved your Live photo as a video, head over to Instagram and upload as a story just as you normally would.

Convert Your Live Photos To GIFs

If that solution really doesn’t work for you, you could always convert your Live Photos to GIFs and upload them to Instagram. Ironically, one of the best apps to convert a Live Photo to cinematic GIF was created by Google.

Called Motion Stills, this useful app turns Live Photos into cinematic GIFs and video collages using Google’s stabilization technology. You can share your Motion Stills as looping GIF movies.

If you use Motion Stills, you don’t have to use the GIF format either as the app directly supports Live Photos.

Other apps such as Lively or Alive will also work, but Motion Stills gets the job done and you don’t even need a Google account to make it work.

It is surprising that even months after Live Photos was introduced, Instagram still doesn’t play nicely with them, instead opting to get left in the dust.

At the time of writing, at least, you still need to work around this limitation to post them. Considering Instagram’s photo-centered nature, it’s a little bit ironic.

Can You Share Live Photos in Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories have gained massive popularity since it was first introduced in the social media platform. Unlike normal Instagram posts, Instagram Stories can only be viewed for 24 hours. This feature allows you to share moments in your day and enables you to share multiple videos and pictures.

So, you might be wondering whether you can post Live Photos on Instagram. Well, uploading a Live Photo to your Instagram Story pretty much follows the same concept as sharing it as a post. Instagram converts your Live Photos to Boomerangs.

To upload a live photo on Instagram Stories, follow these easy steps:

  1. Open your Instagram app, then tap the camera icon on the top left of the screen.
  2. Swipe up the screen to show photos in your phone gallery.
  3. Select the Live Photo that you want to upload to your story.
  4. When your photo is loaded in the editor, press firmly with a finger to enable 3D Touch on the screen. You will see a loading wheel appear on the screen, and the word Boomerang shows.
  5. Tap Send to and Share.

Do Galaxy phones have Live Photos?

Yes, depending on your model and OS you have options for motion photos. You can upload these using the same steps as above. If you can’t save it as a video, save it as a video to Google photos.

Can I add stickers to my Live photos?

Yes, just as you would any other Instagram post you can add stickers, date and time, etc.

7 thoughts on “How To Post a Live Photo on Instagram”

Avatar Susann says:
Thx, Your tip of using motion stills worked for me. I converted a live picture with this app and after that I was able to add this into my status.
Avatar Maria Pacheco says:
Your first method does not work. I have a iPhone 11. I have been stuck trying to figure this out for About a week. So frustrating
Avatar Daisy M says:
I used to be able to do this (3D touch) on IG to add a story. However, I haven’t been able to do it anymore since I tried it last month. Anyone knows why? Did they get rid of that option? I loved that I was able to use it before. ☹️
Avatar Ash says:
I came here looking for an answer to the same question as I no longer can do it either! ugh why would they take it away, such a cool feature.
Avatar Anna says:
My 3D Touch also doesn’t work when making Instagram stories from Live Photo’s.
Avatar Msprivatekitty says:
Upload your live photos to Google photos under your personal google account. Be sure they are saved on google. Delete them on your iPhone, then google photos will let you save the live photos to your iPhone as a video file.
Avatar Sif Dumas says:
This works!
Avatar Catherine says:
Instagram and Facebook won’t allow the live feature for Motion Stills — they only show a flat photo with the Motion Stills logo.
Avatar Mai says:
It does work for me and I don’t have 3D Touch. I have iPhone 6 (not iPhone 6s).
Avatar Dave says:
This doesn’t work. There is no 3D Touch response on the live photo once selected in Instagram.
Avatar Carly says:
did anyone ever figure this out? I have uninstalled and reinstalled the app twice. I dont know what else to do. it will not work for me and ive tested my 3d touch in other apps and it works fine.

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