Photography Instagram Highlight Cover + FREE Downloads!

Social media and Instagram are key to gaining exposure as a photographer. There are a number of ways that you can use Instagram to gain exposure, including the use of hashtags and Reels. Today, we are going to focus on Instagram stories. More specifically, this blog post will highlight how to use and create a photography Instagram Highlight cover. If you are interested in learning more about photography Instagram Highlight covers, this blog post is for you! Keep reading to learn more.

What Is an Instagram Highlight Cover for Photography?

An Instagram highlight cover for photography is a visual way to organize various stories that you post to Instagram. Photographers and other businesses are able to create separate categories to illustrate different styles of work as well as things like frequently asked questions. These categories are also helpful as they provide potential clients and followers a feel for the photographer’s style and day-to-day activities.

Why Are Instagram Story Highlights Beneficial?

Providing additional information and context around a photographer’s work is crucial as this information helps to establish trust between a photographer and a potential client. I think that when you are showing off your work on social media, it is important to also show the behind-the-scenes of who you are as a person. Not only is this more authentic, but you will be able to build trust with potential clients much faster.

What Factors Should Be Considered When Creating an Instagram Story Highlight Cover?

When it comes to designing a highlight cover for photography, there are multiple factors to consider. From a design standpoint, some of the factors that should be considered include icons, colors, fonts, and logos. I will explain more about how to use some of these elements later in this article.

When creating Instagram Story Highlight covers, another factor that should be considered is the different categories that will be used. It is important to include categories that will be of interest to the people that you are trying to reach. As an example, if you are trying to sell more headshot sessions, you could have an Instagram Highlight that rounds up all of your portfolio work in this area.

Based on this, you may want to first consider the target audience you are trying to reach. You could then ask people from your target audience about the content that they are interested in and then create your Instagram Story Highlights based on this information.

Finally, it is important to ensure that the information that you share on your Instagram Story Highlights is accurate and authentic to who you are as a brand. It is important to be honest and to be yourself. Not only will this help you to build relationships much faster with the community, but this will also accurately portray who you are, which is only fair to the people who consume your content.

Examples of Instagram Story Highlight Covers

Below are some examples of Instagram Story Highlight covers that might be helpful for inspiration. I think that each of these accounts does a great job in designing and categorizing their Instagram Story Highlights.


I included Tula as I think this skincare company does an excellent job with its branding. Tula’s Instagram account includes story highlights around Where to shop for Tula products, products that help acne, customers using Tula products, Tula’s body products, Tula in the press, and more. As you can see from this account, the options for what to include in your highlights are absolutely endless! 

The various designs used for Tula’s Instagram story highlight covers feature different colors, but primarily stick to a pastel theme. Each individual highlight cover features different textures from Tula’s product line, so all of the cover images align in some way.

Instagram Story Highlight cover example - Tula

Adobe Creative Cloud

Since we are on the topic of photography, I thought it would be appropriate to include Adobe Creative Cloud! Adobe has a variety of Instagram highlight cover categories, including Challenges, a roundup of the Adobe MAX Creative Conference, Tips & Tricks, News/events, and a creative spotlight.  When it comes to the Instagram cover design for this account, as you can see it is all over the place. While this may not work for every brand, it certainly works for Adobe because the whole theme here is creativity and color.

Instagram Story Highlight cover example - Adobe Creative Cloud


This Instagram account features Irina’s artwork and leverages Instagram Story Highlights very well. Some of the categories features include drawings, information about Irina, how-to videos, trip highlights, and even a Q&A for how to film drawing videos. I think that Irina does a great job when it comes to diversifyingInstagram story content.

When it comes to the designs used for Illustrateria’s Instagram Story highlight covers, the general color scheme/theme is the same. Each image is different and has a bold, dark aesthetic. 

Instagram Story Highlight cover example - Illustrateria

Examples of Photography Instagram Story Highlight Covers

Women Who Drone

I really like the overall design of this account’s Instagram highlight covers. Some of the cover images are the same, some are different, but they generally follow the same theme. When it comes to categories, this account has included Sunset Sundays, Tropical Thursdays, a pilot spotlight, and more.

Instagram Story Highlight cover example - Women who Drone

Vanessa Joy

Vanessa’s photography Instagram highlight covers follow a very organized theme of dark teal with icons. I really like the simplicity of this design! I don’t know about you, but it really feels good on the eyes. The categories used for these icons include portraits, youtube, products, love notes, weddings, and more. You can mix it up and add in your other social media content as well as some of your favorite related products.

Instagram Story Highlight cover example - Vanessa Joy

Sue Bryce Photographer

Sue Bryce’s Instagram Highlight cover theme utilizes darker colors and focuses on images related to the category. This is definitely a great strategy! The different categories used include Content Curator, Holiday, Network, Water, Underwater, and more! You could do what Sue has done and pull out themes from your photos to use as Instagram Story Highlights.

Instagram Story Highlight cover example - Sue Bryce

Photography Instagram Highlight Cover – How to make them using Canva

Canva Tutorial

Step one – It is important to understand the correct dimensions of an Instagram Story Highlight cover. The current dimensions of an Instagram highlight cover are 1080 X 1920.

Step two – Next, it is important to design a cover that aligns with the ‘circle’ that will appear on your Instagram profile page.

Step three – When using Canva, you have the opportunity to use a pre-made design or to design your own! Woot woot! This is why I love Canva so much. This step is all about designing your image. Mix and match different templates and play around with the tool until you find something that you really like.

Step four – Next, export your design! It really is as simple as that.

Photography Instagram Highlight Cover – How to make them using Photoshop

Photoshop Tutorial

First, I want to say that if you are looking for an easy method of creating a cover image, I‘d definitely go with the Canva method! I still wanted to provide an alternative tool since not everyone is familiar with Canva.

Step One

Download the photoshop Instagram story cover template. 

Step Two

Design over the cover template so that you can pinpoint where the story design highlight will be positioned. 

Step Three

Design your cover and export!

How to upload your highlight cover to Instagram

Once you’ve designed and downloaded your Instagram Highlight Cover image, it is time to upload! Here’s what you do:

Step One

Go to your Instagram profile page and select either an existing Instagram Highlight to modify or the ‘plus’ icon to create a new highlight.

Step Two

If creating a new highlight, select the stories that you would like to include. If modifying an existing highlight, select the three buttons in the lower right-hand corner and then ‘edit highlight.’

Step Three

If creating a new highlight, after selecting your stories, select ‘edit cover.’

If editing an existing highlight, select the ‘edit cover’ button and then upload your new image.

Your new Instagram highlight cover is ready!

Tips for creating a great Instagram highlight cover

When it comes to creating a photography Instagram highlight cover, there are a few tips that are important to keep in mind. 

Brand Alignment

First, it is critical to ensure that the graphics used actually align with your brand. What I would recommend is that you first establish your business’ brand guidelines and then work from there. This way, you have a reference document to refer to when you decide to create content for your business.

Decide what is important for your brand

Next, be sure to highlight the most important aspects of your photography when creating your story categories. If you specialize in business and brand photography, create story covers for each of these.

Focus on Readability

Next, be sure to make your cover images easy to read. If no one can read the content on each cover image, creating an image is going to be pretty pointless.

Consistency with design

It is also critical to be consistent when it comes to colors and designs. If your color and design choices are all over the map, people may be confused about your branding. This may also look unprofessional. If you create the branding document discussed earlier in this guide, you will not have this problem.

Elements of design

Here is a quick guide to follow when using various elements within your cover design:


When using icons for your Instagram photography highlight cover, be sure to use the same style of icon in each cover image. As an example, some icons are solid, while others have an outline. Be sure to use a similar style for all of your images.


Colors give you the opportunity to be creative and try new things within your Instagram cover designs. I’d recommend sticking within the same general color family. As an example, you could go with pastels or neons. If you are not sure where to start, you could select 2 to 3 colors and stick with those when creating your Instagram highlight cover photos.


When it comes to fonts, I’d stick with just one so that all of your images are aligned to your brand. Using just one font will help to make your designs look cleaner. 


When using photography, I’d avoid adding any type of text. I think using your own photography is a great way to design your cover photos.

Other tools to use to create an Instagram highlight cover:

When it comes to actually creating an Instagram highlight cover, I think that Canva and Photoshop are really the best tools available. There are, however, some other tools that can be used to provide additional insight and inspiration. 

Color Thief allows you to pull the color palette from any image!
Fonts in Use helps you to find fonts for some of the most popular media.

FREE Photography Instagram Highlight Cover downloads

If you need a few ideas for your Instagram highlight cover images, look no further! I’ve created a few templates that you can easily download and use. Be sure to note though that other photographers may have also downloaded these images and will have the same images as you.

FREE Photography Instagram Highlight Cover Canva & Photoshop Template

If you are looking for a template to use for creating your Canva or Photoshop Instagram Story Highlight covers, this is for you! (just right click the image to download!)

FREE Instagram Story Highlight cover template download

Now, go design your Instagram photography highlight cover images!

I hope that this Instagram photography highlight cover tutorial was helpful! When it comes to designing cover photos for your photography Instagram, try to have fun with it. It is always helpful to keep various design rules in mind, but try to enjoy the process of creating these branding images if possible. The good news is that you can always go back and change the cover images if you are not happy with previous designs.

If I missed anything, please leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you and check out the designs that you created!

Check out these other articles:

Reel Ideas for Photographers – 30 of The Best Instagram Reel Ideas

The Best Product Photography Props – A Complete Roundup

How to Thank a Photographer on Instagram – Best Practices

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Morgan is a recognized video marketing expert and content creator. She also runs a video production company and has a passion for teaching all things video.