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The 16 best Instagram alternatives for photographers, video sharing, and more
Whether it’s the constant shift toward Reels content, Meta’s shaky history with data protection, or just the desire for something new, millions of people around the world are turning to Instagram alternatives for their social fix. Some of these apps attempt to copy the photo-feed-only Instagram of old, and others offer features above and beyond what’s available on Instagram.
To help you pick the right app for you, we’ve tested and selected the best Instagram alternatives for photographers, video sharing, social interactions, and more. All of them are available on Android, iOS, and the web, but some are more suited to mobile and others to a mouse and keyboard.
The best Instagram alternatives
First up is one of the oldest Instagram alternatives and one that pares back the idea of a photo-sharing app to its core. In fact, it’s more of a camera app than a true social media platform. It has a number of photo filters and video editing capabilities (some of which are free and some of which are paid), and photos can be posted to your profile with hashtags, much like Instagram.
Where it differs is that there’s very little interaction with other users. People can view and favorite posts, but there are no likes or comments. Metrics are hidden, so it never becomes a game of trying to get more likes or subscribers. For many Instagram addicts, that’s a big plus.
Flickr is generally considered more of a Google Photos alternative, and lots of people use it to just dump photos for backup. However, it uses a tag feature (similar to hashtags on Instagram) that makes it easy to find other people’s work. There are also groups of like-minded photographers, where you can post your own photos to receive feedback.
Ultimately though Flickr isn’t as dynamic as Instagram, especially on mobile. There aren’t many non-photographer users, so don’t expect to build a big following or gain much exposure. Still, it’s free to upload your first 1000 photos, and you don’t need a paid account to view other people’s work.
Glass is a paid-only alternative to Instagram, which will immediately turn off the majority of potential users. It costs either $5 a month or $30 a year. As a result, it’s home to exclusively professional photographers looking to show off their portfolios. That translates into less content, but better content. The subscription model also means the company isn’t doing anything sketchy with your data to monetize, which can’t be said for pretty much any other social media platform.
At launch Glass was iOS-exclusive, but it has added Android and web support in the past few years. The app itself is smooth and easy to use, but much more barebones than Instagram. Photos can be organized by tags, but there’s no search feature for discoverability. You can follow and comment on photos, but there aren’t many features beyond that. If you want to give it a shot, there’s a 14-day free trial.
Like Glass, Vero is another platform that’s trying to relive the glory days of Instagram, before the algorithm hijacked your feed. However, it takes this concept beyond just photos with a feed that features recommendations for movies, music, books, places, and more, all from people you like and trust. Obviously, you can also recommend things to your own audience, and choose who sees what you post. All of this promotes engagement in a way that feels more organic than most other social media platforms, especially since it’s mostly still early adopters.
Vero still has a relatively small userbase, but the app itself is gorgeous. It doesn’t show any ads, and instead monetizes by selling products directly from the app. Like a song you hear? You can buy it without leaving the app. Vero gets a cut of the sale, and the app remains free to use. Granted, the founders have said that it won’t remain free forever, so sign up for free while you still can.
Pixelfed is a completely decentralized and open-source Instagram alternative, meaning that none of your photos or data are stored on a central server. It’s built on the ActivityPub protocol, which uses a federated server-to-server API for delivering content. Other social media platforms, such as Mastodon (further down in the list), also use this approach, and the idea is to create a safer, more private way to enjoy social media.
With all that tech talk out of the way, at the end of the day Pixelfed is a fairly barebones Instagram clone with a very limited userbase. The official mobile apps for iOS and Android are still in beta, but there are a number of third-party apps to try out, as well.
For artists and photographers who are fed up with Instagram’s push into Reels video content, Behance is a great alternative. The Adobe-owned platform works like a portfolio for all of your creative work, but also integrates social media features like following, messaging, Stories, and likes. You can think of it as a more visual LinkedIn for artists instead of business folk.
Behance has a few other unique features, like live streaming and tutorials, but some of them require payment. Thankfully, all users are able to upload as much content as they want for free, and the options to upload are much more fleshed out than they are on Instagram. There’s plenty of space to write descriptions of the work, plus you can add many photos to a single post.
DeviantArt is another portfolio-style Instagram alternative, but the community is much more focused on digital illustration, game art, comics, manga, anime, cosplay, and various other nerdy pastimes. If any of those are your jam, you’ll find a lot of great communities to join on DeviantArt.
Apart from the communities, the social aspect of DeviantArt is somewhat limited. You can, of course, follow people and there is an activity feed, but the best way to interact with others is to join a community. It’s also worth noting that the site allows “artful” nudity (although you can turn on a mature content filter), so take care with minors.
For professional photographers, 500px is worth checking out. Again, it’s more of a portfolio site than a true social media platform, but the limited interactions are with other serious photographers, so you won’t have to scroll past any selfies or duck lips. The site also has a unique algorithm that attempts to inject fresh content into your feed, increasing discoverability.
That said, if you are a professional photographer looking for work, there aren’t many non-photographers on the platform. It also tends to take itself quite seriously, which might be a drawback for casual users.
Pinterest is an interesting alternative to Instagram in that they’re both visual platforms, but they work in very different ways. Rather than posting your own personal photos, it’s more about collecting other images (called “pins”) from other users and brands, then organizing them into “boards.” It’s a fantastic place if you’re looking for inspiration for DIY projects, infographics, tutorials, and more.
There are a few social elements, but Pinterest is more about curating your own boards than interacting with other users. Depending on what you’re currently using Instagram for, that could be an advantage or a disadvantage.
If you haven’t heard of TikTok, you must have been living under a rock for the past five years. It’s the largest video-sharing app in the world, with billions of users around the globe. Although it’s recently been the subject of house committee investigations and faces a potential ban in the US, it’s used by a whopping 150 million Americans.
For anyone who likes the newer Reels-first algorithm, TikTok is an easy Instagram alternative to recommend. The app does an excellent job providing a constant stream of interesting, relevant content on the For You page, but you can still follow individual users or hashtags to see specific content. TikTok hashtags have also created some really cool niche communities like BookTok, CleanTok, TechTok, or my personal favorite, RugTok.
BeReal emerged as a major video-based TikTok competitor recently, focusing on authenticity. Instead of uploading a heavily edited and curated video to your feed, it encourages you to upload a random two-minute moment of your day. If you mostly use Instagram to keep in touch with friends, this is a great alternative to try.
However, it’s not a great alternative for anyone who likes following and interacting with brands. Also, you may find that most moments in your friends’ lives are exceptionally mundane. That’s kind of the whole point of BeReal, although it doesn’t always make for the most entertaining content.
Once upon a time, Snapchat really shook up the social media scene with unique features like Stories, silly filters, and disappearing messages. If those sound familiar, it’s because Instagram promptly co-opted them for its own platform, bringing them to the masses. Now that Instagram has moved on to copying TikTok-style video content with Reels, Snapchat is a great Instagram alternative for anyone looking for the OG experience.
The main draws here are messages and stories that disappear after a certain amount of time (although some content is permanent). The app is wildly popular among younger users, so older Instagram lovers might feel a bit out of place. However, the platform is still pushing new, innovative features much faster than its competitors. For example, it has some of the best AR filters available on the market, and it just added a ChatGPT-powered AI chatbot.
Twitter is another very well-known social media app, although it’s more focused on microblogging than photo or video sharing. Still, it can be a great Instagram alternative for news junkies, since it’s filled with news organizations, celebrities, and journalists all over the world. The short and sweet nature of Twitter messages (called Tweets) makes them easy to consume on the go.
However, Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter has been a constant source of controversy for the platform. Staff has been halved and many of the content filters have been removed, leading to a major growth in hate speech. There are some content filters in place (although you can turn them off, if that’s your thing), but this isn’t a good option for youngsters.
With Twitter seemingly circling the drain, a number of Twitter alternatives have risen in popularity. Chief among them is Mastodon, which is very similar to Twitter in concept (Tweets are called Toots), but with a few very important distinctions. First of all, it’s open-source and decentralized, meaning anyone can create a server. You can also join a server, and each one has different moderation standards. The feed is also completely chronological, so you don’t have to worry about any platform or algorithm deciding what you see.
Ultimately though, Mastodon is a lot harder to get into than Twitter or Instagram. We’ve put together a guide to getting started with Mastodon, but it’s up to you to convince your friends, family, and anyone else you want to interact with to join the same server.
Tumblr is another microblogging site, but in a much more literal sense than Twitter or Mastodon. It consists of millions of “blogs,” each a little self-contained hub of content. It’s much more visual than Twitter, but not quite as video-heavy as Instagram. It also has its own quirks, like using tags not just as a means of organizing content, but also as a means of expression. For example: “#you won’t see that on instagram”.
The platform is mostly known as a haven for the LGBTQ+ community, as well as a popular place to post fanfiction. However, everyone from NASA to Taylor Swift is on there, too, and the microblogging format supports much more interesting and long-form content than Instagram.
Reddit is the most popular forum in the world, but if you like to share photos it can serve as a capable Instagram alternative. If you’ve never used Reddit, you should know that it’s organized very differently from Instagram, with “subreddits” for specific topics. There, you can share photos, videos, text, ask questions, and more. Like Instagram, you’re more than welcome to post original content or just consume, upvote (like), and comment on other people’s posts. That said, it feels more anonymous than Instagram, so don’t expect to build close connections with other users.
There are a few general photography subreddits like r/pics, r/itookapicture, and r/photographs, but the real value here is in more niche communities filled with like-minded users. There are literally thousands of these, so you’ll have no problem finding the right options for you. To give you an idea, there’s r/analog, r/streephotography, r/wildlifephotography, r/pixelart, r/cosplay, and thousands more. We’ve linked the official apps below, but there are plenty of third-party Reddit apps out there, too.