Creative Social Media

The Best Instagram Alternatives for Photographers

Emma Roth Updated 11-08-2020

With the quality of smartphone cameras these days, everyone’s a photographer now. But some of us take this hobby more seriously than others, and some even make money from smartphone photography.

Whatever kind of smartphone photographer you are, you’re probably on Instagram. But what if you’re bored of seeing over-the-top food pics, selfies, and other staged-for-Insta photos?

Thankfully, there are a number of great Instagram alternatives available. We’ve compiled a list of the best alternatives to Instagram, so you don’t have to go searching for them.

1. Dayflash

Are you tired of Instagram’s square format for photos? Dayflash is an Instagram alternative which puts the emphasis on an immersive, full-screen experience.

It’s free to sign up for Dayflash. Simply create an account and start sharing your full-screen photos with the world. All images captured with the built-in camera retain high-resolution quality at 1080p. Although in order to reduce clutter, they don’t get saved to your device automatically.

The viewfinder takes up the entire screen of your device. This format leads to even more aesthetically-pleasing photos, making it one of the best camera apps for Android and iOS The Best Camera Apps for Android and iPhone Here are the best camera apps out there for Android and iPhone that'll bring out the best in your smartphone photographs. Read More .

You can dump photos into Dayflash from your Camera Roll or Photo Library, which means you’ll never lose an opportunity to share. Photos appear in the original resolution, but they look slightly more zoomed-in thanks to Dayflash’s fullscreen focus. Dayflash’s photo editor also allows you to make edits to your images, giving you the tools to make basic adjustments, use filters, or add effects.

When you feel the need to get creative, Dayflash is more inspiring than Instagram. It recommends other popular users on the service to help you discover others who share your passion. It even comes with a collaboration feature that lets you find and team up with other users for your next post or shoutout.

And if you can’t give up Instagram just yet, Dayflash lets you add your Instagram username to your Dayflash profile. This way, others can check out your Instagram in one tap.

Download: Dayflash on iOS (Free)

2. SmugMug

SmugMug offers a community of photographers built by photographers. It’s definitely one of the best places to show off your photographs.

To join SmugMug, you need to create a free account. This begins a 14-day free trial, after which you choose one of four plans: Basic, Power, Portfolio, and Pro. The prices start at $7/month for Basic and go up to $42/month for Business.

SmugMug lets you easily add new photos directly from your photo library or camera roll, and gives you unlimited storage. It even has an auto-upload feature that transfers any new pictures on your device to the app, as long as you’re connected to WiFi.

For moments when you have less-than-reliable internet connections, SmugMug’s option of making entire galleries available for offline viewing is a lifesaver (and makes it a great Instagram alternative for photographers on-the-go). That way, you’re still able to show off your best work to friends, family, or clients.

If you want to better organize your photos, just favorite certain collections for quicker access. SmugMug lets you share images and video through SMS, email, Twitter, or Facebook, so it’s not limited to in-person viewing.

When you need a jolt of inspiration, follow other members of the SmugMug community. The app makes it easy to look up friends, family, colleagues, and anyone else whose work you admire. And when you follow someone, you can view all of their public galleries.

Download: SmugMug for iOSAndroid (Free for up to 14 days)

3. EyeEm

If you want to join a community that rivals that of Instagram then EyeEm is your best bet. EyeEm’s community is over 20 million strong, and it’s a fantastic way to find inspiration and even sell your photos.

Upon signing up for EyeEm, you’re greeted with a fresh feed of amazing pictures from talented photographers. Here, you’ll find featured photographers, pictures taken near you, photography tips, and several other themed galleries. It’s a great way to get your creative juices flowing.

EyeEm lets users snap new photos from the app, or import images from your phone’s gallery. The EyeEm Selects feature scans your images and picks out photos with the highest aesthetic score, according to its algorithm.

After you select your photo, you can do basic edits or apply filters, and it’s all free. Once that’s done, add a caption, pick out tags (this helps others discover and possibly buy your images), and then bam, it’s uploaded to EyeEm.

When you’re on EyeEm, it’s not just about getting likes. EyeEm focuses on inspiring other members to get more creative with their photos, not to mention that you have the potential to make money from your work as well.

Download: EyeEm on iOSAndroid (Free)

4. 500px

For those looking for a serious photography community, then 500px is another option. 500px has a community of over 15 million photographers who are passionate about their work.

As you check out other users, it’s easy to find your muse among such talent. The community encourages feedback from others, helping you grow and mature as a photographer.

When you’re ready to share, 500px lets you upload full-resolution photos directly from your smartphone. 500px allows you to get instant feedback from others, and you’ll gain recognition for your work.

500px also hosts a number of contests in which you can put your photography skills to the test. Winners typically receive a cash prize, photography gear, or even trips.

Connecting with other photographers is also important in 500px, and once you start following people, they’ll become a connection. There’s also curation in 500px, so you get recommendations based on your own personal tastes, and the app’s editors are able to provide guidance as well.

With 500px, you get a serious community that’s focused on quality photography, not just the amateur photos you’ll find on Instagram. If you consider smartphone photography important, then you should consider joining the 500px collective.

Download: 500px on iOSAndroid (Free)

5. Retrica

If you like Instagram selfies, then Retrica will up your game. The focus of Retrica is primarily on selfies and the freedom to express yourself through them.

Retrica provides users with a huge arsenal of fun filters that focus on your beauty, so you don’t have to spend time editing them to perfection. And if you can’t decide which selfie looks best, a built-in collage maker lets you add multiple images in the format of your choice, and share it with the community.

Not only is Retrica perfect for snapping selfies, but it’s also one of the best GIF maker apps for your smartphone The 5 Best GIF Maker Apps for Your Smartphone Sometimes, the right GIF for your needs isn't available online. That's why you need one of these GIF maker apps. Read More . Switch to Retrica’s GIF feature, and it’ll take rapid shots of your subject, resulting in an awesome GIF.

Once you’ve perfected the selfie of the day, share it with the community or to your favorite social networks. Retrica’s populace is also quite large, so it’s a great way to make new friends and find more inspiration.

Download: Retrica on iOSAndroid (Free, premium version available)


VSCO, also known as the Visual Supply Company, is well-known for its photo editing software, but did you know it’s also a community?

This app provides users with a powerful camera replacement, as well as a fully-featured photo editing studio. Everything comes in a minimally designed package. The editing tools let you create the perfect picture, and VSCO’s filters are super high quality.

The VSCO community is packed with creators from all over the globe. Your VSCO profile serves as a page where you can upload your best shots to share with others, or you can keep a photo journal or collection on the service as well.

When others follow you or like your pictures, you’ll get notified. The curated collections in the Discover tab let you find other talented photographers to connect with, eventually leading to inspiration. This Instagram alternative has a strong emphasis on hobbyist photographers, which is great when you’re trying to build your skills and share your shots.

VSCO is free to download and use, but there is an optional paid membership. This premium subscription costs $20/year and provides full access to all of VSCO’s preset libraries, more editing tools, and educational content. It may be worth investing if you’re looking to expand your photography skillset.

Download: VSCO on iOSAndroid (Free, premium subscription available)

7. Agora

Agora encourages you to explore the world through photographs. This awesome alternative to Instagram has an impressive community of photographers from over 193 different countries, making it easy to find inspiration and discover new cultures.

When you first open the app, Agora presents you with a feed of incredible pictures, as well as a carousel of some of the app’s best photographers. From here, you can start scrolling through pictures and finding users who you want to follow.

Agora hosts several photography contents. While some have a specific theme, there are other general competitions done on a weekly and annual basis. It’s a fantastic way to win some extra cash doing what you love!

But what really makes Agora unique is its emphasis on vote-based competitions. It doesn’t have a group of judges that deliberate on winners—instead, it lets users vote for the winning photographs.

Download: Agora for iOS | Android

These Instagram Alternatives Make Your Photos Look Good

The chances are, you’ve acquired a lot of photographs on your device—so why not share them with the world? While Instagram might be trendy, it isn’t the only place for your photos. The above Instagram alternatives offer more serious communities for photographers, allowing you to show off your work and gain inspiration in the process.

In case you do decide to stick with Instagram after all, take a look at the best Instagram photo editors 5 Instagram Photo Editors to Create Better Pictures There are many photo editing apps that allow you to share photos to Instagram. Here are the best Instagram photo editors. Read More .

Related topics: Instagram, Photo Sharing, Photography, Smartphone Photography.

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  1. Peter Beck
    September 16, 2018 at 4:02 am

    Thanks for the article. Dayflash seems like a pretty cool app. EyeEm looks nice too. My friend downloaded Dayflash and said she loves it. I'm gonna try both these apps out right now.

  2. Luc Schots
    May 16, 2018 at 11:44 am

    An app to check out: GURUSHOTS
    They gameify your image capturing capacity.

  3. John Lewis
    May 14, 2018 at 6:23 am

    Thank you Yaara Lancet for listing some great background removal tools . If any one need 100% manual background removal service you can contact with they also providing high quality photo editing service

  4. dragonmouth
    May 4, 2018 at 6:43 pm

    You put your pictures on somebody else's server, you no longer have any control over their use.

    • Steve Gossett
      May 15, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      The value of reading the terms and conditions for these kind of websites.

      • dragonmouth
        May 15, 2018 at 5:49 pm

        The terms and conditions are not worth the pixels or electrons that make up that agreement. Each and every agreement in the world contains the phrase "The provider of the service reserves the right to change the terms of this agreement at any time without prior notification". If the owner of the site where you store your images decides to block your access to those images or to the site, what are you going to do?

        When Instagram was bought out by Facebook, they notified all the users that "any images on Instagram/Facebook servers will be used in any manner Facebook wants, without any need for the owner's prior permission". In effect they said that any images on their servers now BELONG to them to do with as they please.