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Instagram Story Highlight Covers for Photographers

Instagram Story Highlight Covers for Photographers

How to Create Instagram Story Highlight Covers (+Free Icons!)

The first thing people see on your Instagram are not your photos, but your bio and story highlights. They give an overview of your brand and profile and decide whether or not people find your content interesting and keep on scrolling. Despite the fact that your highlights are naturally always interesting, they can look messy at times. This is where custom Instagram story highlight covers and icons come into play. They keep your Instagram profile sleek, on-brand and much more professional so that you get even more eyeballs on your work!

A) What Are Instagram Story Highlight Covers And Why Do You Need Them?

Instagram usually uses the first photo you add to the highlight as the cover. However, this might not always fit the brand or style you’re going for. Luckily, there’s the option to replace the cover with custom Instagram story highlight covers. These are customized covers for your story highlights that create a cohesive look and feel for your profile. That way you can easily keep your profile consistent with your brand’s style and Instagram aesthetic. With the strategically placed covers, people only need one look at your profile to know what you’re all about and will make your profile a whole lot more organized for your viewers.

No matter which industry or theme you’re going for, you can easily combine different themes with different story highlights without compromising on a clean and cohesive look for your Instagram feed. For example, you’re creating a fashion blog or profile, but you’re also a massive foodie capturing the best lunch and coffee spots? Then you can simply make a highlight for your foodie adventures and still keep a fashion focus in your feed.

Moreover, using custom branded highlight covers for your stories help you aesthetically grow your brand – no matter if it’s for your business or your personal brand. Especially brands and influencers are now using their Instagram Stories strategically and are coming up with unique creative ways to jazz up their custom Instagram highlight covers.




What Are Instagram Story Highlight Icons?

While the covers are basically a full screen image that is displayed at the beginning of a highlight as an intro image, the icons are the ones you see right beneath the bio giving a stylish overview of your different story highlights.

B) Highlight Cover Style Inspiration


Do you have a particular color palette that you often use throughout your feed or one that resonates best with your brand? If you want to put the focus more on colors rather than text, neutral Instagram Highlight Icons are a perfect fit. This style merely consists of uni colored covers and is great when you’re looking to up your profile’s aesthetics in a minimalistic, yet striking way.




Patterns as highlight icons are a sleek and minimalist, yet fun way to create your customized highlight covers. Again, this style is very versatile to fit your already existing color scheme.


This dreamy style with floral elements is quite an eye-catcher. It’s particularly fitting for themes evolving around beauty, lifestyle and travel topics that live from moods. You can both use black and white florals or colored ones. Thus, it’s a very versatile style to fit existing themes and IG feed looks.

Uni Color Icons

Your favorite color, brand color or something clean and neutral? Pick one and create captivating icons to go well with your story highlights. Uni color icons are a safe way when you’re just trying out unique IG story highlight styles for your profile or when you’re going for a more minimalist look. But that doesn’t mean that they look boring!




The watercolor style is a great option when your brand leans a bit more towards playful colors. The soft strokes of the watercolor designs perfectly fit themes that range from beauty and fashion to travel. But also food-themed IG profiles can work very well with this Instagram story highlight cover style, as these themes naturally include a lot of popping colors already.

Lettering / Font

One word often says it all… That’s also quite true for story highlights. So why not use the most descriptive word for each of your highlight categories and make that your highlight cover? With different lettering and fonts you can also imitate or even use your own handwriting to make the cover design more personal. Moreover, this style is completely adaptable to different color palettes or overarching brand styles and hence, is a great way in order to try something more bold when you’re just starting out with using custom covers for your IG stories.



C) How To Make A New Instagram Highlight

Do you want to try the styles yourself? Simply create a new story highlight on your Instagram profile. We’ll show you how it’s done in 4 easy steps:

  1. Go to your IG profile and click the button “+” right under your bio to add a new highlight
  2. Select the stories you want to summarize in the new highlight
  3. Next, give your highlight a catchy title that will make people want to re-live your favorite moments themselves.
  4. Lastly, edit the highlight cover. Done and good to go!

How To Add A Cover / Icon To A Highlight

If you’re creating a new highlight, the creation process will automatically lead you to the point where you are asked to edit the cover. Instagram will make a suggestion for the cover based on the stories that you’ve selected to go into that highlight category. However, this is also where you can insert your custom cover designs. Instead of moving forward with the suggested cover, simply click on the little gallery icon at the bottom to add another image from your gallery as the cover.

If you already have your highlight categories in place, you can also edit and add a unique cover or icon to an existing IG highlight without posting the cover. To do so, tap and hold the highlight category you want to edit. Then, click “edit highlight. In this section, you can edit your story selection, the title and also the cover. Again, Instagram will give you a suggestion based on your highlight stories. If you scroll to the left to the beginning of your images, you can choose the gallery icon again and select your custom cover or icon straight from your phone’s gallery.




How to Make Custom Instagram Highlights Covers Using Canva

Step 1: Create a Canva account (free graphic design platform for beginners and pros) and type “Instagram Story” into the search bar.

Step 2: Click on the template for “Instagram Story” when it appears. Now you’ll have the perfect sizing for your Instagram Story highlight cover.

Step 3: Let’s get creative! You can either type “Instagram Story Highlight Cover” in the search bar and choose one of many templates which you can customise or create a brand new one using color and text or elements.


D) Tips For Using Highlight Covers And Icons

With highlight covers and icons, you get a whole new level of personalization for your Instagram profile. Here are a few tips for using Instagram highlight covers and icons to get you started:

Clearly define highlight categories

This is an important aspect when it comes to usability and structure of your IG profile. Make the category titles as clear and descriptive as possible. No one wants to play the guessing game to find out what your highlights are about. Usually, a single word is enough to bring across the overarching theme of your highlights.


Use a variety of categories

… and not just one. The charm of Instagram story highlights is that you can add up to as many as 100 stories into a highlight and a limitless amount of highlights to your Instagram. You want to showcase products, provide behind-the-scenes insights or event coverage or drive traffic by creating branded content that’s quickly consumable and shareable? Then IG story highlights are a great medium for you. It’s also a good option when you’re using your personal profile for professional purposes and want to split personal and brand content through distinct highlight categories.

Examples of highlight categories:

  • Business: girlboss, life, business, quotes, mindset
  • Fashion & Style: fashion, style hair, beauty, spa, sale, shop, free
  • Hobbies: travel, nature, movies, blog, books, décor, diy
  • Family & me: baby, me, family, kids, love, pets
  • Health: sport, fitness, beach, mind, food, drinks
  • Seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter


Go With The Seasons

Speaking of seasons in the last category, you can also use different color palettes during different seasons. For example, go for browns, yellows and dark reds during fall or pastel colors during spring to add a bit of contextuality. This can especially helpful when your content changes depending on the seasons like i.e. in fashion or interior decor.

E) Get Your Free Highlight Covers

Even though we focus on our presets, we also got creative and created our Rosé Copper Icons for a classy and clean look which we would like to share with you! We hope you like it :)

You can download our copper Icons HERE.


Time to get creative and play around with your own custom IG story highlights! Whether you design them yourself or use Instagram highlight cover templates, we’d love to see your take on this IG feature 

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