Photographers of Instagram, rejoice! We can now upload content directly from our computers. Check out how to add photos right from your desktop with this step-by-step guide.
After years of requests by content creators, Instagram has heard our pleas and added the ability to upload your photographs and videos directly from your computer. For an app that came out October 6, 2010, over 10 years ago, this often requested change is long overdue. Initial testing of the feature appears to have started in late May with broad-scale rollouts over the past few weeks. More and more accounts are now able to use this time-saving feature. My own account just got enabled this week. From filters to adding tags and location pins, it is just like using the app on your phone. There are a few missing features that I will go over as well. The main issue is that all of this was rather low-key; there wasn’t a pop-up or notification letting me know I had access to this new feature. I just had to figure it out.
To check if you are one of the lucky ones who have desktop upload enabled, go to Instagram from your browser and log in. At the top of the page will be a new toolbar icon of a plus sign in a round-edged square. You may recognize this icon from the phone app; yes, that’s the upload icon! Click it to begin an upload and select your file. Here is a step-by-step run-through of what an upload looks like, the options for customizing your content in the new upload menu, and how you can try this out on your computer if you have the feature.
First, look for the upload icon at the top of your browser page when logged into Instagram.com. I marked it here with a big red arrow.
Next, a New Post window will pop up, where you can either drag a photo or video in or click to browse your computer to find the content that you want to upload.
Once a file is selected, you have the option to choose the size: you can drag a slider to crop or zoom into the image as well as drag it around to find the desired composition. A button at the bottom also gives you the option to select additional content. This is for if you want your post to have multiple images and video together to swipe through in a single post.
The next section is where you can use the popular Instagram filters to add a different look or feel to your content. While many photographers have already post-processed their photos and videos to taste, some still enjoy the look of adding a filter. These work just like you are used to when using the iconic Instagram filters in the phone app.
Adjacent to the Filters tab is an additional panel called Edit for more fine-tuned editing. Again, you have probably already post-processed your photos, but this is super useful for any final adjustments before you send the content out. It is also super quick and easy for images that you want to share but did not have time to fully edit. The sliders are all the popular tools to finish off your photos and videos. Noticeably missing from the web version are the app's lux slider, structure, color, highlights, shadows, tilt-shift, and sharpen sliders. The warmth slider has also been changed to a temperature slider. I am not sure if these features will be added later or were purposefully kept out to give folks who solely edit in Instagram a reason to stay in the app.
The final panel before you hit submit is the Compose section. This is where you add your caption, location, and alt text. There is also a toggle switch to disable commenting for that submission. An important section missing for me is the share to multiple apps field. When using the Instagram app, I create my post, and then, at this final page, I have the option to also post it to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. Personally, I just use the share to Facebook option, but it saves me so much time being able to create my post once and have it go to both my Instagram and Facebook pages.
Although I don't use it, other users may notice that the Create a Promotion and Add Fundraiser toggles are not in the web version. This might be a big deal for content creators who regularly use their posts as ads. For those folks, you are still tied to the phone app for now. It seems like a strange move, as this is how Instagram generates money, by users purchasing ads and promoting posts. So, I can only speculate that they will want to add that feature to the new web version sooner than later.
Overall, I think it is a great move forward for Instagram to start embracing that not all users are posting content that was taken with a cell phone. When content is made on a DSLR or mirrorless camera, it goes from your memory card to the computer. You used to have to then send it to your phone if you wanted to upload it to the Instagram app. Cutting out the phone can save so much time and hassle when all you want is just to share your images with social media. For me, however, I really need that feature where I can post to multiple apps at the same time. If they add that to the web version, I may not even need the phone app except for when I am on the go.
If Instagram is listening to us out there, we also need the ability to move the display crop of our thumbnails in our posts. That way, even if I upload content that is not a square, when it auto crops it to a square for my profile page I can make sure it is not an awkward crop. That would be another game-changing move. Maybe that is asking for too much all at once. Baby steps.
What do you think of this new update that allows users to upload to Instagram directly from the web on your computer? Will you use the web version or do you prefer the app on your phone?