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How to change the background color behind a photo on Instagram story?

Instagram stories allow users to post photos and videos that disappear after 24 hours. One popular feature is the ability to customize the background color behind photos in a story. This can help make the photos pop or match a certain aesthetic. Changing the background color is easy to do directly within the Instagram app. In this guide, we’ll walk through the steps to change the background color behind a photo on an Instagram story.

Benefits of Changing the Background Color

There are a few reasons why you may want to change the background color behind a photo on your Instagram story:

  • Make the photo stand out: A colored background draws more attention to the photo instead of it blending in with the white background.
  • Match your brand aesthetic: You can choose a background color that matches your brand colors and overall aesthetic.
  • Set a mood: Colors can evoke certain emotions and feelings. You can choose a soft pastel for a calm vibe or a bright color to grab attention.
  • Highlight or contrast with the photo: Pick a color that either complements the dominant tones in the photo or one that makes it stand out more.

Adjusting the background color ultimately helps catch the viewer’s eye and makes for more engaging Instagram stories.

How to Change the Background Color

Changing the Instagram story background color to something other than white is easy to do directly in the Instagram app. Here are the steps:

  1. Open the Instagram app and swipe right to open the stories camera.
  2. Take or select a photo for your story post.
  3. Swipe up on the screen to reveal the creative tools.
  4. Tap on the background color icon (looks like a rectangle with a rainbow gradient).
  5. Select your desired background color from the color picker wheel.
  6. Drag the slider below the color wheel to adjust the color brightness.
  7. Tap “Done” to apply the color to the background.
  8. Customize any other elements of your story.
  9. Tap your profile icon to share the story or tap “Your Story” to save it as a draft.

And that’s it! The background color will now appear behind your photo whenever it’s viewed by your followers. Feel free to get creative and try out different color options.

Choosing Background Colors

With the full color wheel at your disposal, there are endless background options to choose from. Here are some tips for picking an Instagram story background color:

  • Base it on your photo content – Choose a color that complements the main tones and colors in the photo. For example, an orange background for a sunset pic.
  • Use your brand color palette – Select your brand’s primary or secondary color to maintain visual consistency.
  • Match the holiday or occasion – Try red and green for Christmas, pastels for Easter, or patriotic colors for the 4th of July.
  • Set a mood – Go for bold tones like red or magenta to grab attention or soft muted hues like lavender for a relaxed vibe.
  • Contrast with the photo – Pick a vibrant color that contrasts with the photo content to make it pop even more.
  • Use color psychology – Different colors can evoke different emotions from viewers.

Here’s a quick reference guide to what some colors represent:

Color Meaning
Red Energy, excitement, intensity
Orange Creativity, happiness, enthusiasm
Yellow Joy, optimism, positivity
Green Growth, harmony, health
Blue Stability, professionalism, trust
Purple Royalty, luxury, wisdom
Pink Femininity, playfulness, warmth

Keep these color associations in mind as you choose the right background color to convey the desired mood or vibe.

Creative Ways to Use Background Color

While solid colors are the default, there are a few creative ways to leverage background colors:

  • Gradients: You can choose a gradient with multiple color tones blending together. This adds visual interest.
  • Patterns: Some preset patterns are available like polka dots, chevron, plaid, etc. Patterns can really make your story pop.
  • Stickers: Overlay decorative stickers like florals or geometric shapes, then change the sticker color to complement the photo.
  • Split colors: Use the layout tool to split the screen into two sections and set a different background color for each half.
  • Duotone effect: Select the black and white filter, then change the background to a color for a duotone style.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with colors and patterns to take your Instagram stories to the next level.

Tools to Plan Color Palettes

Not sure where to start with selecting a color scheme? There are a few helpful tools out there:

  • Instagram story templates: Browse premade story templates in apps like Unfold and Preview to spark ideas. Many have coordinated color palettes.
  • Adobe Color: Adobe’s free color wheel tool helps you generate color palettes and explore combinations.
  • Coolors: This handy web app allows you to create, save, and export color palettes for reference.
  • Canva: Make custom color palettes you can access later in the design app Canva.
  • Pinterest: Search “color palettes” and browse images to find premade color schemes to try.

By using one of these tools to select multiple coordinating colors, you’ll have palette options ready for any Instagram story.

Complementary Colors for Photos

If selecting colors for your Instagram story feels daunting, there’s an easy solution – choose a complementary color to your photo!

Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel. When paired, they create maximum contrast and make each other stand out.

Here are some examples of complementary color pairings that work well:

  • Orange and Blue
  • Red and Green
  • Yellow and Purple
  • Pink and Teal
  • Red and Cyan

To find the direct complementary color, look at a color wheel and select the one 180 degrees across. Or use an online color complement generator by uploading your photo.

The high contrast will make the colors in your picture pop!

You can also expand on complementary colors by adding shades of those hues for a triadic or tetradic scheme.

Tips for Testing Colors

It may take some trial and error to land on the perfect background color. Here are some tips for testing options:

  • Take a screenshot of your image and edit it in Photoshop, Canva or another photo editing app to preview different backgrounds.
  • Use the Instagram Create mode to assemble a draft story with color options without publishing.
  • Change up the brightness and saturation as you test colors to see the effect.
  • Show story tests to friends or followers and ask for input on choosing colors.
  • Reference your brand style guide or other content if you have an established color scheme.
  • Check your analytics to see if any colors have performed better previously.
  • View your story on multiple devices to ensure colors render accurately.

Putting in the upfront time to test different color combinations will ensure you end up with a background that complements your photo perfectly!

Using Color Effectively

While an eye-catching background color can enhance your Instagram stories, don’t go overboard. Here are some tips for using color effectively:

  • Choose 1-2 main colors instead of too many competing shades.
  • Make sure the text and foreground elements stand out against the background color.
  • Avoid busy patterns and textures that distract from the main photo/video.
  • Keep most of the frame relatively simple and draw the eye to key points of interest.
  • Change up the colors occasionally to avoid visual fatigue.
  • Use muted and darker tones at night when viewers’ eyes are more sensitive.

The most important thing is choosing a background color that highlights your awesome pictures and videos! Let the content be the star.


Customizing the background color for your Instagram stories is an impactful way to elevate your visual content. With the ability to choose any color from the rainbow, the options are endless.

Consider colors that complement your brand identity or photo content. Don’t be afraid to run some tests beforehand to nail down the perfect shade and brightness. Use color thoughtfully to grab attention while keeping the focus on what matters most – your story.

With the right background, your Instagram stories will look cohesive, captivating, and wholly on brand. So get creative, play with color palettes, and watch your storytelling stand out from the crowd!