How to Add Photos to Your Instagram Reels

Add Photos Reels Featured

Reels are Instagram’s answer to TikTok. These are short video clips up to 60 seconds in length to which users can add various effects, music and filters. Some users don’t know that you can add photos to your Instagram Reels. This guide takes a look at how you can create Reels using just images or collages featuring both video and photos.

How to Add Photos to Your Reels from the Mobile App

When it comes to adding photos to Reels, you have two choices. You can use images only or combine video with pictures. It’s up to you. We cover both scenarios in the tutorial below.

  1. Open the Instagram app and start a new clip by tapping on the “+” button in the upper-right corner in your feed and choosing “Reels.” Alternatively, swipe left on your screen and select the “Reels” option at the bottom.
Add Photos Reels Mobile New Reel
  1. If you want to create an image slideshow in Reels using just images, then tap on the photo icon in the lower-left corner of the display.
Add Photos Reels Mobile Add Photos
  1. Select an image by tapping on it. If you wish to use multiple pictures, long-press them, tap to select, then tap “Next.”
Add Photos Reels Mobile Next Button
  1. In the next window, Instagram will suggest that you add music to your Reel. The most popular songs are listed at the bottom. Alternatively, you can press the Search icon and search for a special tune. If you don’t want music on your Reel, simply press “Skip.”
Add Photos Reels Mobile Add Music
  1. If you added music, press “Next.”
  2. You’ll be taken to the Editing screen with an option to add enhancements. Edit your Reel by adding effects, text, and more from the top menu.
Add Photos Reels Mobile Editing Reel Options
  1. You can also add a voiceover and other sound effects (press the music note button). Did you change your mind about adding music to your Reel? You can do that from this screen.
  2. Once you are happy with the result, press “Next.”
  3. Alternatively, if you want to perform more edits, such as controlling how many seconds a slide is displayed in the Reel, press the “X” in the upper-left corner.
Add Photos Reels Mobile X Button
  1. You’ll be taken back to the Instagram camera. Tap on the button with the arrow pointing to the left.
Add Photos Reels Mobile Extra Editing
  1. This will take you to the slide-editing area. Here you can decrease the amount of time your images will show up on the screen. Simply tap on a slide, then on the Scissors icon to get started.
Add Photos Reels Mobile Trim Slide
  1. Use the slider to select the amount of seconds you want the image to play.
Add Photos Reels Mobile Selection Trim
  1. Tap on “Trim” in the upper right when you’re done.
  2. If you don’t want to edit any more slides, press “Done.”
  3. You’ll be taken back to the Instagram camera screen. Tap “Preview.”
Add Photos Reels Mobile Preview Button
  1. Tap “Next.”
Add Photos Reels Mobile Next To Publish
  1. On the “Share” screen, you can tag people and add a location. Add a caption if you want and select the cover, then press “Share” to post your Reel.
Add Photos Reels Mobile Share Reel
  1. On the other hand, if you want to crate a mixed media Reel, start by repeating steps #1 and #2.
  2. Instead of adding images immediately, tap on the large circular button at the bottom to start filming the video part of the Reel.
Add Photos Reels Mobile Record Video
  1. Remove your finger from the button when you’re done. To add the photo(s), tap once again on the picture icon in the lower-left corner.
Add Photos Reels Mobile Add Photos After Video
  1. Add the images you want to appear in your Reel and follow the same steps detailed above to continue editing your video (#4 to #12).

Depending on where you want to the video to appear, first add the pictures, then the video and maybe a few more images afterward. It’s up to you and your creative vision.

How to Add Photos to Your Reels from the Desktop

Instagram for PC is pretty limited, so you won’t be able to create Reels while using the service on your computer. The good news, however, is that there’s a workaround that solves this limitation.

You can install the INSSIST extension for Chrome and add your own mixed media Reel from there.

However, before heading on to INSSIST and showing you how it’s done, we are creating a slideshow using images and/or videos. This step is required, as you can only upload video formats – such as .MP4, .AVI or .MOV – for Reels when using INSSIST.

You can create it with any tool you have at your disposal, but for the purposes of this article, we are using MiniTool MovieMaker, a free program that won’t watermark your slideshows. Alternatively, use one of these apps to create the slideshow on your mobile device. Share the clip to your computer.

Create Your Very Own Slideshow

  1. Open MiniTool MovieMaker on your PC.
  2. Tap on “New Project” on the right.
Add Photos Reels Desktop Minitool Start New Project
  1. Click on “Import Media Files” on the left.
Add Photos Reels Desktop Minitool Upload Files
  1. Select the files you wish to use. Note that you can add videos and photos alike. Make sure the videos aren’t super long, though. Remember that the Reel can be up to 60 seconds long.
  2. The images will now show up on the upper left of the display.
  3. Drag and drop them into the slots below which constitute your slideshow’s timeline.
Add Photos Reels Desktop Minitool Drag And Drop
  1. Arrange them in the order you like.
  2. Select how long each image/video will be shown on the display. You can do so by clicking on a particular image, then selecting the desired duration from the “Image Property” panel in the top-right corner.
Add Photos Reels Desktop Image Property
  1. You can also further customize your slideshow by editing additional image properties such as contrast, saturation and more.
  1. Furthermore, you can add transitions, effects, text and motion to your creation.
Add Photos Reels Desktop More Editing Options
  1. Once you’re happy with the way things look, tap on the “Export” button in the player window.
Add Photos Reels Desktop Export Button
  1. Select the lower 720p resolution for your Reel by pressing “Settings,” then tapping and selecting the option from the drop-down menu. Press “OK.”
Add Photos Reels Desktop Export Resolution Options
  1. Click on “Export” and wait until the program saves your clip to your PC.

Instagram will allow you to upload Reels (videos) that are up to 4GB in size, so it’s important to make sure that you don’t make your slideshows too big. Now that you have your slideshow, lets see how you can upload it to Instagram using INSSIST.

Upload Your Reel to Instagram from the Desktop

  1. Log in to your Instagram account in Chrome, then tap on the INSSIST extension in Chrome.
  2. This opens your Instagram account in INSSIST, thus giving you a smartphone-like view of the app on your PC.
  3. Tap on the “+” button at the bottom and select “Reels.”
Add Photos Reels Desktop Inssist Add New Reel
  1. You’ll be prompted to upload the video from your computer. Find the slideshow you’ve previously created and click on it.
  2. Once your Reel has been uploaded, you can preview it by pressing the Play button.
Add Photos Reels Desktop Inssist Check Preview
  1. If you’re happy with the result, click on the “Next” button.
  2. Write a caption for your Reel and select a cover (auto or select the desired frame).
Add Photos Reels Desktop Share Reel
  1. Press Share.

Keep in mind that with INSSIST, you only get three free Reels uploads, after which you will have to sign up for a subscription ($7.90/month) if you wish to have access to more.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. I can’t get past selecting photos for my Reel in the app. What can I do?

When creating Reels made out of photos, you may experience an unexpected freeze after selecting the photos for your collage. If it happens to you, restart the app or exit the Reel you’ve been working on and start the process once again. That should fix the issue. Another possibility is that you’re trying to add images that are too large for this format. Try using less or select pictures that are at a lower resolution.

2. What to do if my Reel doesn’t get posted?

This may be a random occurrence; therefore, we suggest that you try to post it again. You can also try exiting the app and opening it again. It may also be a good idea to check your Internet connection. In addition, your mixed media Reel may be too large for Instagram to upload, so make sure you try uploading a smaller one.

3. Can I add music to my Reels on desktop?

Of course you can. Just add audio sounds when creating the slideshow using your preferred third-party software, such as MiniTool MovieMaker. Most programs have a default library of sounds, but if you want to add a certain song, you’ll need to upload it yourself. This list of the best apps for downloading music for free might come in handy.

Alexandra Arici
Alexandra Arici

Alexandra is passionate about mobile tech and can be often found fiddling with a smartphone from some obscure company. She kick-started her career in tech journalism in 2013, after working a few years as a middle-school teacher. Constantly driven by curiosity, Alexandra likes to know how things work and to share that knowledge with everyone.

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