Instagram Stories are one of my favorite ways to connect with my audience and show them a more authentic, “behind the scenes” version of my life and the photos I share on Instagram. As Instagram stories continue to be a monumental tool for promoting your brand or business, it’s important to create stories that stand out. Creating beautiful Instagram stories goes a lot further than just sharing quality content. If you’re looking to up your Instagram story game, but aren’t sure how, I’ve put together a list of my top 7 favorite apps I use to create stunning Instagram stories.

1. Unfold

One of the most common questions I’m asked is “What app I use to get the white border around my stories?” The answer is Unfold.

This is one of my favorite apps I use to edit my Instagram Stories and the one I use by far the most. Unfold is a free app that allows you to place photos and/or videos of your choice in easy-to-use templates to create beautiful, minimalist layouts. You can also add text to set the mood and share more context of the story you’re sharing. While the free version alone offers plenty of great templates, I’ve purchased a few other template packs for $0.99 each and the film pack (my personal favorite) for $1.99.

Download for Iphone | Download for Android

2. Over

While Over has always been known for it’s ability to add text over a photo, it also has a powerful feature that allows you to overlay images on top of each other. This makes it great for making collages or creating a story from your photos. While there are millions of different creative templates you can choose from, you can also create your own templates from scratch when you want more flexibility. The app is packed with lots of other “Photoshop-like” tools that make it easy to create images that stand out for your stories. The app is free with the ability to upgrade to a pro version that is $15 a month or $100 a year.

Download for Iphone | Download for Android

3. Hype Type

Hype Type is a great app for adding animated text over photos and videos. It’s an easy way to give your stories that extra touch to make them more engaging. For me, I like using this app to announce new posts on my blog. I can easily give my story an animated title by selecting from a variety of fonts and animation styles. And if you’d like, you can even add music over a video or crop a clip to your desired dimensions. While this app is free initially, you must pay for the features in the premium version and to remove the watermark.

Download for Iphone | Download for Android


Best Instagram Story Editing Apps: Hype Type

4. Storeo

If you’ve ever tried to make an Instagram story while talking that’s longer than 15 seconds, then you know what a pain it is when you get cut off mid-sentence. Storeo solves that problem and makes it easy to create seamless videos. Just import a video of any length you’d like into Storeo and the app will slice the video into 15 second slices for you to upload to Instagram Stories. Now you can stop worrying about the 15 second countdown timer and, instead, focus on what you have to say. The app is free, but you have to pay a small fee if you want to remove the watermark when you export the videos you create.

Download for Iphone


VSCO has been around since almost the birth of Instagram, but the ability to edit videos with their filters is quite a new feature. I love using this app to make my photos and videos more vibrant and polished for my stories. For example, if a video is too dark, I can simply increase the exposure or even fix the white balance if the colors look off. You can also create your own preset formulas, which I love to use to bulk edit my stories if I’m in a rush and want them to look consistent. The app is a $19.99 yearly subscription fee, which is worth it considering all the tools you get access to.

Download for Iphone | Download for Android

6. 8mm

Ever wondered how I get my Instagram stories to look like they were recorded on a vintage camcorder? 8mm is the app you’re looking for! While the app does cost $1.99, it’s highly worth it in my opinion to give your videos a unique, retro look. Simply point the viewfinder at what you want to capture and bring the beauty and magic of old school vintage movies into your very own videos. There are also several filter settings you can choose from depending on the vintage feel you’re going for.

Download for Iphone

Best Instagram Story Editing Apps: 8mm

7. InShot

InShot is a great app for editing photos and videos on your phone and creating cool layouts. I like using this app to add unique backgrounds to my photos or add another photo behind an image. You can also create collages by adding your desired photos to pre-made templates that are offered within the app. InShot is also really helpful for editing videos. You can add effects like filters, change the speed, and make other edits before uploading your videos to Instagram stories. One thing to note when using this app is to make sure to set the canvas ratio size to 9:16 (Instagram story ratio).

Download for Iphone | Download for Android

What other tools or apps do you like using to edit your Instagram Stories? Let me know below in the comments.

A xx

Allie M. Taylor Photography Gear

Over the years, one of the most common questions I’ve been asked is “What camera or lens do you use?” That’s why I’ve decided to write a blog post breaking down all the gear that I carry with me in my camera bag. I’ve linked each item so that you can find out the exact prices, specs, etc. in case you are interested in learning further about it.

I want to point out that you don’t need all of this “fancy” gear to get started with photography. To be honest, I started out with my iPhone and then a Canon Rebel with a kit lens, which both allowed me to take photos that I thought were beautiful. I’ve worked extremely hard to get to the photography level I am at now and I’m incredibly grateful to be able to invest in such high quality gear.


Canon 1DX Mark II - Allie M. Taylor Photography Gear

Canon 1DX Mark II: This is the camera I shoot with mostly unless I am going hiking and need something more lightweight. The video quality on it is incredible, however I would warn that is is quite heavy compared to other cameras. With this camera I mainly use the Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB CFast card. It’s fast and holds an incredible amount of photos. I also had a 128GB CFast Card by Lexar but it got stolen recently.

Canon 5D Mark III - Allie M. Taylor Photography Gear

Canon 5D Mark iii: This is my backup camera and I still prefer to use it when I’m in cities or hiking since it’s much lighter than the 1DX. It still produces great images and I would highly recommend it to an intermediate/advanced photographer.

Film Cameras - Allie M. Taylor Photography Gear

Canon AE-1 35mm: I haven’t shot film in awhile now, but loved using this camera during Uni when I was in a film class. My goal this year is to pick it back up again though.

Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera: Great for capturing little moments and just plain fun to use because it’s so simple!


Canon Camera Lenses - Allie M. Taylor Photography Gear

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II: A great lens for shooting extremely far away subjects or creating a nice bokeh effect while compressing the background. I especially love this lens for commercial car shoots and the occasional portrait.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II: A great wide angle lens option, especially if you are interested in shooting subjects such as stars or when you need to capture a lot into one image.

Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L: My go to lens! This is one of my favorites to use because of how flexible it is while still being sharp. If you want to invest in one lens, then I suggest going with this one.

Sigma Camera Lenses - Allie M. Taylor Photography Gear

Sigma 20mm f/1.4: I absolutely love this lens, especially considering how reasonable the price is. I’ve actually been using this lens more than the 24-70mm lately and it works great for video since it’s extra sharp while still being a wide angle.

Sigma 35mm f/1.4: This lens is great for portraits, however I’ve had a lot of issues lately with a black ring appearing in my images once I go past f/2.0 so I don’t use it as often. With further research I learned that this is an incompatibility issues with 1DX and the 5D MKIV. Other than that, this lens is incredibly sharp and also a cheaper alternative to the Canon version.

Essential electronics + accessories

Allie M. Taylor Photography Gear

Macbook Pro 15″ Retina (2017 Model): This is the laptop that I use for all my editing on Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

Herschel Supply Co Network Pouch: I use this to hold all my loose cords and other small items so they don’t get lost in my bag. Herschel doesn’t sell the dark brown color anymore but they have many other great options to choose from.

Lexar CFast Thunderbolt Card Reader (Not The One Pictured): This is the main card reader I use, although it is not pictured because I had it recently stolen along with lots of other items in my bag.

B&O Play H8i Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation: These are a lifesaver, especially if you’re trying to sleep or work on a plane and there’s a crying baby next to you. Definitely worth the investment in my opinion. 

LaCie 4TB USB-C Thunderbolt Hardrive: I’ve used a lot of hardrives (and destroyed a lot too), so far LaCie has been the only hardrive to withstand the amount of traveling and wear and tear that occurs when I put it in my bag. I use this one primarily to back up my content.

Satechi Slim Aluminum Type-C Multi-Port Adapter: I struggled with dongles way too long and finally got this port adapter and it’s changed my life. Now I don’t have to worry about losing them every trip. 

Ipad Mini: I bought this when I was using a bigger drone, but now I use it primarily on longer flights to watch movies when there aren’t TV’s.

Additional camera accessories

Additional Camera Accessories - Allie M. Taylor Photography Gear

Waterproof Memory Card Carrying Case: This is where I keep all of my SD cards organised. Once when I was in Hawaii, this case went all the way down a waterfall with all of my SD cards inside and somehow we were able to find it at the bottom. Thankfully it’s waterproof for accidents like this!

Spare Canon 1DX Battery: I have an extra 1DX battery in case I’m filming all day or forget to charge my camera at night.

ZoMei 82mm ND Filter: I use this filter for long exposures, especially on waterfalls. This fits my Canon 16-35mm lens.

Velo ShutterBoss II: I use this to take timelapses, especially for northern lights.

Underwater Photography Gear

Underwater Photography Gear

Aquatech Delphin 1D Sport Housing: When I go to tropical locations or anywhere there’s clear water I love shooting underwater photography. It’s incredibly challenging but so much fun. I use this Aquatech housing which has been great for capturing moments underwater, and yes it even floats with the 1DX in it!

AquaTech PD-85 Dome Lens Port: This is the dome I use with my underwater housing to get those beautiful over-under style photos.


What's In My Camera Bag: DJI Mavic Drone

DJI Mavic Pro: Not only is this drone incredibly fun to fly, it’s also super lightweight which is a huge plus for when you’re out hiking. I love using it to get different perspectives that a camera just can’t capture.

Spare DJI Mavic Pro Batteries: I own three of these in case I’m out all day and don’t have time to charge my drone.

Video Gear

DJI Ronin-M 3-Axis Gimbal (Not Pictured): This is in the states at my parents house right now, but the Ronin is a great way to make smooth and stable videos

SmallHD 502 On-Camera Monitor (Not Pictured): This monitor is also home with my Ronin. I like this monitor because it’s small and light and allows me to see what I’m filming since the 1DX doesn’t have a flip up screen.

Backpacks + Carrying Cases

Camera backpack and Pelican Case

Peak Design Everyday Backpack 20L: This is the camera backpack I use at the moment when I go on small hikes. It has great dividers and easy access to lenses. I still haven’t found a great camera backpack that looks good too, but for now this one works.

Manfrotto BeFree Tripod: This tripod is nice and lightweight, making it perfect for traveling. However, the compromise is that it can’t handle the weight of my 1DX Mark II.

Pelican 1510 Case: This case has been a lifesaver for transporting all my gear while still keeping it safe and undamaged during flights. This one is even small enough to take as a carry on.

If you have any other questions about what gear I use please leave me a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer it!

allie xx