Instagram Post and Stories have been grabbing the headlines for quite some time now. This photo-sharing app, with more than 500 million active users, has been continually surprising its users with new and innovative features.
What's best about these new features is that they have been subtly introduced, without cluttering the app interface, unlike FB Messenger or for that matter Facebook itself.
Now, with the new Focus Mode in tow, Instagram is surely charming its users and attracting a few new ones as well. If you're one who wants to stay on top of their Instagram game, these new features will help you stand out in the crowd of Insta buffs.
The Portrait mode aka the Focus mode is one of the newest features of Instagram. This mode blurs the background while keeping the face in sharp focus. All you have to do is go to the Focus mode, point the camera at someone (or yourself) and click. Your new picture with DSLR-type bokeh effect is ready to be shared (and liked).
The good thing about this mode is that the results are not half-baked as you'd find them in a few of the image-editing apps. The background blur is soft and the edges of the object in focus have also been handled well.
Here are two pictures that were taken with the Samsung Galaxy S9+'s rear camera Live Focus (photo on the left) and Instagram's Focus in low light condition (photo on the right). The result is hard to believe. The color reproduction of Instagram's Focus mode definitely won me over.
Cool Fact: Instagram's Focus Mode uses background segmentation and face detection technology to separate the foreground and background.
2. Get Creative With Stylized Mentions
Another new Instagram feature is the stylized Mentions stickers. Gone are the boring and ugly text mentions. Instead, you can now add a stylized Mentions sticker.
However, this is an iOS-only feature. Android users would have to wait.
To use it, all you have to do is pick the Mentions sticker, as you'd pick the location sticker and add the text. Cool, right?
Interestingly, this sticker is resizeable. So, if you want to shout out your friend's name, Instagram gives you the full liberty to do so.
3. Express Your Emotions With GIF stickers
Instagram's GIF stickers have seen its share of controversy. The feature was discontinued over a racial slur in early 2018. However, after a bunch of fixes to Giphy's moderation filters, GIFs are back in Instagram Stories.
To use GIF stickers, select the sticker and search for the appropriate one which describes your story. The best thing is that you can put multiple GIFs in a story and make it come alive.
4. Say More With Written Stories
For those who wish to tell a story minus the picture, the Type mode is your best bet. With an array of creative text styles and snazzy backgrounds, this new Instagram feature focuses more on verse than on the canvas.
Using it is as simple as 1-2-3. All you need to do is type the text and change the font by tapping on the Strong icon. Tap on the A* icon at the upper-left corner to stylize the text. Add a few emoticons to express your emotion and that's it! Welcome to the world of written stories.
Cool Tip: You can mix and match various fonts and typefaces to come up with a unique story.
5. Follow Hashtags
Instagram has a new way to interact. Now, not only can you follow a particular account, you can also follow a specific Hashtag. So, instead of tapping on a hashtag to see what people have been posting about it, you can simply tap on it and click on the Follow button.
From now on, Instagram's algorithms will take care of choosing the highlights and showing them to you on your feed. Instead of only focusing on an umbrella topic, you can go deeper and choose a tag that describes your interests best.
6. To See or Not to See the Last Seen Status
The Last Seen feature was part of the January update. With this feature, your followers or people who are on your DM list can see when you were last active on Instagram. For some, the Last Seen feature is a boon, while for others it's more of a privacy-invading thing.
Thankfully, you can easily turn it off in the settings. This step-by-step tutorial will show you the way.
So, these were some of the new features using which you can up your Instagram game. So, how is your Instagram game? Do you know all the hidden tricks that this photo-sharing app has up its sleeves?
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