Tuesday, December 18, 2012

5+ Alternatives to Instagram, Also, Rupert

So as you may have heard, Instagram decided that they can sell your photos for commercial use and users are closing their accounts in droves. Why you gotta be that way, big evil companies? Why??

Personally I've never used Instagram much, partially because I'm not a huge filter person but also because I didn't like having to sign in every time and I didn't really want to use their platform for sharing, I just wanted to use the photos on twitter or whatever. So I've amassed quite a collection of other silly camera apps which I am all too happy to share with any Instagram refugees. (Note, I use all of these on an iPhone, I'm not sure which, if any, have Android versions. Also, I ignore their sharing functions and just save the photos into my iPhone library and go from there. A few will do that automatically.)

We'll be using Rupert as our willing subject:

Original photo

Camerabag ($1.99)

Very simple, straightfoward- some of the filters are a little more subtle and tasteful than in some other apps. Admittedly not very powerful considering what some of the free apps can do.

Helga filter

Puddingcam (free)

This app has some very cool features... unfortunately you can't apply them to existing photos, you have to actually take the photos in the app. Which means I never use it. But they do look cool, and it's free.

Fantasy "camera", Blue Vintage "film"

Pixlromatic (free)

This is a great app. Tons of filters, then tons of layers that can go on top, then tons of frames. Using all three is kind of a bit much a lot of the time (as you can see) but it's good to have options. Does more than Instagram ever did, and for free.

Bob filter, Devine overlay, Hassel frame. 

Aviary (free, but you can pay in-app for more options)

More than a filter app, Aviary actually lets you edit things like brightness and contrast and white balance. But it does come with some filters, and stickers, and the ability to add text and memery. 

San Carmen filter, stickers, text, and "meme"

And of course, there's the classic...

Hipstamatic ($.99 at the moment, I think it's usually $1.99)

Ignoring the fact that putting "hip" in the name of something is a terrible way to sell it to hipsters... this app is kind of fun to look at but a bit obnoxious to use. It takes way too long to do...anything, and again, you have to shoot in-app, no editing pictures in your library. The finished photos are admittedly kind of cool looking, though, and like a film camera, you don't actually know what they're going to look like until they come out, adding a degree of suspense and thrill to your mirror-shot selfies and lunchtime documentation.

John S "lens", flash off, Ina's 1969 "film"

8mm ($1.99)

Different but related, this app is basically the Instagram of video. Again, you have to actually shoot in-app. In this exceedingly boring snippet, you can see me scroll through most of the different lenses and films. The lighting was too severe for it to handle, here, but I don't know, could be kinda fun if you're into making stupid little films.

If you're Photoshop savvy, you can also download collections of Instagram-esque Photoshop Actions (I can't remember where I got the set I have, but google around a bit and you'll find plenty.) There's also the in-browser version of Pixlr-o-matic, which does similar things with any file you upload. I find it hard to get those photos to save correctly, though, so I don't use it much (they don't save as jpgs so I have to convert them, and sometimes some of the filters don't seem to "stick," it's weird.)

Or, of course, there's stuff like this, and this, and this... If you want to be super extra cool and spend a lot of money producing photos that everyone will assume are Instagrammed anyway. (Oh the sad plight of the film photographer.)

Just remember, nobody cares that you ate a perfectly round pancake that kinda looked like an eclipse

(but I did.) 


  1. You ate a perfectly round pancake that kinda looked like an eclipse?!?!?!?!

    1. It was so perfectly round!! I was very impressed.



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