How to Make Cinemagraphs for Magical Instagram Photos

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    My name is Una and I’m a stylist, photographer, and a Creative Market shop owner. Today I want to share an incredible new tactic to improve your Instagram feed, a file type that will make your grid more interactive and your followers more engaged. But before we begin, let me tell you the story of how it all began.

    One evening my mom, a friend and I were drinking tea, chatting about everything — when an idea suddenly popped up. My mom is an active user of this network and is fully aware of all the novelties and updates. Surprised at something she had seen, she suddenly asked: “Have you seen those photos on Instagram where objects move? I thought something was wrong with me! Are they moving or is it just me!? So unusual!”

    We told her what they were called: cinemagraphs. The name seemed too complicated to her and she decided she would just call them magical photos. @Ulla (my friend) and I exchanged glances, and thought “Well, that’s just an amazing name! Magical stock photos for Instagram — that's the idea!”

    What is a cinemagraph?

    Are these magical cinemagraphs photos or videos? A cinemagraph is essentially a still image with a moving part. Essentially, this is a very short video file with an almost immobilized picture where the first and the last frame are exactly the same, thereby creating an endless motion.

    Not too long ago, we had to choose between photos and videos to engage our Instagram followers. Now you can combine these two formats taking all the best from videos and photos and turning it into a completely new file type called cinemagraph. Cinemagraphs are elegant and unobtrusively draw viewers into their magic. The wow effect occurs when you stare at the photo and it suddenly starts to come to life! Without a doubt, cinemagraphs attract attention with their uniqueness.

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    Why publish cinemagraphs on your Instagram feed?

    It's no secret that Instagram is a powerful tool for promoting your brand or personal blog. The easiest way to understand what is relevant, fashionable, and interesting is to analyze the Instagram profiles of influential brands in your space. If you do this, you'll quickly notice a growing trend: quick animated photos with subtle movements. Unlike ordinary photography or video, these shots look very unusual, and stand out against the background of static images. With so many beautiful photos, interesting grids, and attractive videos, it’s become harder and harder to stand out on Instagram. As you read this, cinemagraphs are still fresh, rare, and unique on the platform. This is your chance to stand out!

    Cinemagraphs can work with other post formats to add visual interest to your Instagram feed. If you're trying to build a cohesive theme, make sure to check out this free Instagram grid template:

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    How cinemagraphs work on your Instagram feed

    Viewers will scroll their news feed and see your photo. Since all Instagram videos in the feed play automatically and loop endlessly, this gives cinematography a huge window of opportunity to grab attention.

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    How to personalize your cinemagraph

    Sometimes you need to add a little extra oomph to your announcements, photos, or product shots. Perhaps you’ve used .psd templates in which there is already an artboard with a smart object where you can simply insert your design, thereby making the photo more personal. But what about cinemagraphs? How do we personalize them if they’re both video and photo at the same time? You must be thinking it’s very difficult, but I’m here to show you that it isn’t!

    You can personalize a cinemagraph just like a static image. You don’t need complex video editors and obscure programs, the only thing you need is Photoshop. The best part? You don’t need to be a Photoshop pro. Any beginner can follow simple instructions to turn a cinemagraph into a more personal picture in a matter of minutes.

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    A cinemagraph has exactly the same capabilities as a photo, but it is technically an MP4 (video) file. You will, however, find many of the features that you use to customize image templates: smart objects, filters, text layers, and more.

    To create great-looking headings on top of a cinemagraph I suggest checking out these wonderful fonts on Creative Market:

    I also adore ready-made quotes that look great when placed on paper. Here are some you can check out:


    How to upload cinemagraphs to Instagram

    Cinemagraph files are so light that sometimes they are even easier to upload than photos. Like I mentioned before, cinemagraphs are not GIF files, but super short MP4 video files. There are lots of ways to upload cinematography in Instagram, including any that you currently use for photos. However, in case they’re helpful, here are the methods I use:

    First method: Email

    I send the file to my own email. Since my mail application is installed on my phone, I go to my inbox and just download this file to my gallery. From there, I upload it to Instagram.

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    Second method: Dropbox

    I use Dropbox on my desktop and phone. Since all Dropbox files are synchronized with the source files on the computer, it allows for easy downloads on your phone. Just choose a file on the computer, move it to the synced Dropbox folder, open the app on your phone, and save the file to your gallery from there. Then share directly on Instagram.

    Third method: Desktop services for scheduling posts

    Sometimes I use desktop-based applications to schedule Instagram posts. If you already use one, then just upload your file as usual. Most of these services and applications work fine with video.

    Add magic to your Instagram feed with cinemagraphs

    A cinemagraph is a fresh, unique, easy-to-use format for your Instagram feed. It surprises and attracts attention — it’s the magic that will make your Instagram memorable and unique. Surprise your audience, and be prepared for comments like "Does it really move, or is it me?", "What is this magic?", "How can this be?" and so on.

    That's it for today. Feel free to leave comments, ask questions, and I will gladly answer them.
    Oh, and here’s some parting magic to get you going:

    (P.S. Thanks Mom!)

    More cinemagraph templates to start experimenting

    Cinemagraph Templates
    by CreativeMarket

    Powered by Creative Market

    Products Seen In This Post:

    Get your free grid template

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    Design a cohesive Instagram grid

    Download this kit to quickly export Instagram shots that match your brand's visual style. PSD and AI files are included, as well as a moodboard to display your brand's assets.


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