By Christina Shanahan
Updated Aug 04, 2016 @ 3:45 pm
Instagram Story - Lead
Credit: Courtesy (2)

Just when you thought your face-swapping skills had peaked, Instagram rolled out a new disappearing-photo feature that operates similarly to Snapchat. Called Stories, Instagram's latest update lets you take a series of still photos and videos (complete with custom text and drawings) that will disappear after 24 hours. Here's how it works--and what you need to know to totally nail it.

You can view Stories in a separate section of the app

The stories created by users you follow will appear in a bar at the top section of your screen when you open the Instagram app. Each user's story is represented by the profile photo on the account. A colorful ring appears around the profile photo when there's something new to see--simply tap to view.

Your Stories won't save to your feed

This feature is meant to be an in-the-moment account of what you're doing rather than a highly curated shot, so it disappears after a day and doesn't save to your feed. It'll never appear when you view your account in grid mode, so you don't have to worry about unfiltered shots of your dog rolling in the mud living next to that perfectly edited landscape from your weekend getaway.

You can hide Stories from certain followers

The privacy settings for Stories follow your account settings, which means that if you have a public account anyone can view them and if you have a private account your approved followers can see. But you can choose to block individual followers from seeing your Stories (if, say, you don't want your boss following your happy hour antics) by going into your profile setting, tapping the gear icon, tapping "Story Settings," tapping "Hide My Story From," then selecting the followers you'd like to block. After posting a Story, a quick swipe up allows you to see exactly who's viewed it.

The comments aren't public

Unlike your Instagram posts, other users can't like or leave public comments on your Stories. If you see something you just can't help but chime in on, you can tap the Story then send a message to the user via Instagram Direct.

You won't be seeing any puppy dog lenses yet

While you can add captions, text, and doodles to your Stories posts (plus overlay a few filters to tweak the color by swiping right), you can't yet add the real-time special effects and sounds that Snapchat is known for.

instagram story - embed

You can upload images from your camera roll to a new Story

Unlike Snapchat, which only allows you to send saved photos through the chat feature, Instagram Stories lets you choose an existing still photo from your library and include it in your Story.

Celebrities are already loving it

From Kate Hudson's makeup-free confessions to Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's shoe shopping tips, the A-list is fully on board with the new feature. Keep an eye out for your favorite stars' latest Stories to get an intimate look into their worlds.

For more tips and tricks, check out the Instagram blog.