When Instagram first started valuing reels more highly than photo content there was an outcry from the photography community. We were (rightly so) jaded – the platform we once loved was changing beyond recognition and it didn’t feel like a place for photographers anymore.
It felt like it was trying to become TikTok and in some ways, it succeeded. People jumped aboard the Reels train as fast as Billy jumped aboard the Polar Express but only out of necessity. Now that Instagram has introduced a template feature that makes creating Reels effortless, will more people start posting them?
Until today I had never made a reel. For so long I didn't bother because I didn’t want to succumb to Instagram's new algorithm and was deadset on making photos alone work for me. Needless to say, my engagement has dropped massively, my follower count has stuck around the same figure for ages (not that it's all about followers) and I’m lucky if I get 40 likes on an image. Desperate times call for desperate measures, so into the world of reels, I ventured.
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The thing that’s always put me off is they seem incredibly time-consuming to make. Even reels that are trending and have tutorials showing you how to make them, involve you finding and saving all the images you want to use and then making sure each one is set to show for the exact right amount of time.
Now thanks to templates, making a reel is as simple as selecting the photos you want to use and letting Instagram automatically sync them to a sound. At the start of making the reel, it shows you how long each clip would be and gives you an example of what it will look like. You can make reels using a selection of photos and videos to keep things interesting, especially when making reels with clips longers than 1 second.
Photographers like me no who never bothered with reels because of time no longer have that excuse. I just created a reel in less than a minute and while it isn't the most exciting it does the job. There are lots of free and subscription-based services outside of Instagram that will allow you to make more complex reels but if you're only looking to work the algorithm, Instagram is a really good place to start.
Learn how to make Instagram reels the old-fashioned way. Or discover the best cameras for streaming and the best cameras for vlogging.