Although it seems like many of Instagram’s latest update efforts have focused on Instagram Stories, here’s something new for the books: A feature that will let you post multiple photos in one Instagram post is coming, giving you a (‘nother) whole new way to share your life with your followers. I’m honestly somewhat surprised that the photo-sharing platform hasn’t boasted this kind of feature before now; now that it's here, though, users are sure to hop onboard quickly, experimenting and finding as many creative ways to utilize it as there are selfies in the world.
Instagram announced the feature in a blog post on Wednesday after several weeks of anticipation — and although these new kinds of Insta posts aren't strictly called "galleries," "slideshows," "albums," or anything like that, I would argue that "galleries" is probably the best way to describe them. Here's how they work: Users will be able to upload up to 10 images and videos in one post. In your profile grid, these types of posts will look pretty much like regular posts; however, a small icon in the upper right hand corner of a multi-photo post will indicate that it is, in fact, a multi-photo post. Once you tap on the post, you’ll be able to swipe through it to view all of the images featured within it.
If you want to include a photo or video in one of these gallery-style posts, though, it has to fit a few specifications: All uploads have to be square, and videos can only be up to 60 seconds long. Additionally, if you’re hoping to garner additional “likes” via multi-image posts, I have some unfortunate news for you: This isn’t a 10-for-one deal. Each gallery-esque post will earn only one like for the collection of photos as a whole; you won’t get individual likes on each photo or video within the collection. These kinds of posts will also only have one location tag and caption, although you can tag friends in individual photos and videos contained within gallery-style posts.
Rumors of the feature have been floating around for a couple of weeks; Twitter users Philip Chang tweeted the below on Feb. 1:
And the story was quickly picked up by outlets like Droid Life and The Verge. At the time, noted The Verge, spokespeople for Instagram declined to comment on the possibility of galleries. Now, though? They have, as one might say, arrived.
You may have noticed that there's been an interesting theme running throughout many of Instagram’s latest updates: The ability to show not just one snapshot of your life, but to include many snapshots as a larger illustration of your life’s bigger moments. Instagram Stories started this trend, allowing users to put together a slideshow of their favorite images which can only be viewed for a brief amount of time; now we’ve got something resembling galleries to do that, too. The gallery-type posts are different than Stories in many ways, of course — for one, they don’t vanish like Stories do. But functionally, they’re quite similar, stringing your photos and videos together into something more like a narrative than a single image.
Instagram suggests using these new multi-image posts to share "your favorite memories of your best friend's surprise birthday party, from setting up to when they walk through the door," or creating "a step-by-step cake recipe that people can always find on your profile" with them. Personally, I also wonder if they might be used for storytelling purposes; given movies like The Den and Unfriended that use social media to update the found footage genre, as well as projects like Sickhouse, a feature film which was shot entirely on Snapchat
Maybe that's just me, though.
In any event, as is often the case with new Instagram features, this one won't be available to all users all at once; according to Instagram's blog post, mulit-photo posts will be "rolling out globally over the next few weeks." It'll be available for both iOS and Android. To learn more, check out the Help Center.