5 minute read.

7 lesser known alternatives to Instagram

Paul Anthony / April 9, 2012

Posted in: Archive

Today’s massive tech news is that Facebook have acquired Instagram for a cool $1 billion. Whilst Mark Zuckerberg has publicly announced the news on his wall  and CEO of Instagram Kevin Systrom declares that ‘Instagram will not be going away‘ undoubtedly many of you will be wondering just what Facebook plans with the service. There has already been something of a mass exodus, if Twitter is any gauge of current user response to the news of Facebook’s acquisition. If you are wondering about some other, lesser known but equally as cool services that offer photo blogging services – look no further. This collection of 7 alternatives to Instagram should provide many of you with a new home that won’t find its way into the greedy mouth of the evil empire.


URL: http://www.eyeem.com/

Platforms: Android / iPhone

EyeEm main advantage over Instagram are its use of themed group albums. EyeEm automatically creates group albums based on different interests, and allow you to tag your photos to suit within each album. This allows users to subscribe to particular themes, making their stream much more tailored. Photo fiters can also be tested prior to taking a shot, rather than the post-processing approach of Instagram, which is a particularly nice touch. You can find people to follow by both location – ie. people near you, or by tag – which turns up plenty of likeminded photo bloggers who are into the same stuff as you. Users also get a dedicated URL to share online.


URL: http://picplz.com/

Platforms: Android / iPhone

PicPlz offer a couple of interesting USP’s. Firstly, all of the built in effects within the application are absolutely free. Whereas some of the competitors within the space force you to buy photo filters as in app purchases, PicPlz provide all of their offers absolutely free of charge. In tandem with this, they also offer the only ‘non destructive’ way to apply filters to your photos – i.e. you can restore the original shot back after applying the filter.  This means that regardless of the filters the company release, you can retrospectively apply new ones going forward should you wish. Smart. As you would expect, PicPlz also provides out of the box hook ins for social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.


URL: http://lightbox.com

Platforms: Android

Lightbox offers tight Flickr integration with its app, and a quick easy signup process lets you get snapping without hassles. Interestingly it attempts to gauge popular photos across different platforms, including major image-hosting sites (Flickr, is included), news networks (New York Times, Guardian), social media and the current user’s own Lightbox account, which is a nice touch and one which can turn up some pretty interesting photo offerings. Ships with 10 photo effects filters currently.


URL: http://hipstamatic.com/the_app.html

Platforms: iPhone

Perhaps predictably with a name like Hipstamatic this app is currently only available on iPhone. Marketing itself as a must have app for every wannabie hipster, its over the top marketing IMO shot itself somewhat in the foot. Anyway – that detail aside, the application is one of the more commercial alternatives on the market. $1.99 plus additional costs for photo filters and films, it offers similiar functionality to Instagram, with the added bonus of natively sharing directly to that platform.


URL: http://pixlr.com/o-matic/

Platforms: Android / iPhone

Starting life as an online hipster filter app, Pixlr o-matic offers a way to apply a unique selection of presets to your existing and new photos. Instead of constraining the user into the confines of its own photo application, it steps out of the way and lets your native photo capability shine first and foremost, and then offers the facility to select which photos you want to process. You can adjust both the frameset options and the filters for each photo and export allows you to either save to your chosen social platform or copy direct to your photo gallery.

Magic Hour

URL: http://magichour.me/en

Platforms: Android / iPhone

Another commercial alternative looking to get in on the action – MagicHour offers 40 filters and effects for your photos and retails at $1.99 – although unlike Hipstamatic all filters are provided absolutely free. The ability to save your own combination of presets will also appeal to many, as will the allure of being supported on both the Android and iPhone platforms.


URL: http://www.streamzoo.com/home

Platforms: Android / iPhone


Streamzoo is one of the few mobile apps showcased here that makes extensive use of gamification to garner traction. Users are awarded points for uploading to the service, and for commenting on other photos. Weekly and Monthly leaderboards are maintained to encourage further participation on the network. Along with the standard filters (Lomo, Vibrance etc) you can also apply a tilt shift effect to your photos, and as with PicPlz, effects can be seen before you take the shot. Video is also supported within the app, allbeit without the filter capabilities. Friends to follow can be found from your addressbook, and the existing social networks that you are a part of.

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