Point, shoot, share: 10 alternatives to Instagram and Facebook

Remember the good old online photo album—you know, that URL with pictures and maybe some captions? For some mobile photography nuts, the big social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and even Flicker are just as passé. Today, if you share photos with friends and family online, a variety of new apps let you dodge the routine of posting to mega social sites.

Like the specialized search engines that popped up in the early days of the Web, specialty photo-sharing networks appeal to users who seek distinct features like extra privacy, voice captions, storytelling, and even ordering prints. Here are some cool ones we found.

23snaps keeps private pictures out of public view and helps you chart the growth and activities of your kids.

23snaps Family Journal—iOS, Android (free)

The biggest liability of popular networks like Facebook is the conflict they have between protecting users’ privacy and making money—the latter seems to preclude the former. For folks who don’t want their personal lives splattered across the Internet, 23snaps lets you share private photos with a close circle of associates.

While 23snaps will work for anyone, it was designed for parents who want to share a timeline of their kids’ growth and activities with close friends and relatives without opening the images up to the larger Internet. People who use 23snaps may or may not have Facebook accounts, but they can rest assured that photos in a 23snaps album will not leak out to the general public.

VoxPixl—iOS (free)

If you’re the kind of person who craves more personality for your mobile photos and videos, the most compelling feature of VoxPixl is that it enhances your still images with voiceovers. With VoxPixl, you can record up to 30 seconds of commentary for each image.

VoxPixl's speech to text interpretation is surprisingly accurate.

Once the voice caption is saved to the photo, it can be shared across social networks, text, email, and the Web. And not only that, voice-recognition technology from Nuance automatically transcribes the narration into text, which helps you search for photos in your collection.

Shuttersong—iOS (free)

There’s more than one kind of yakking photo album. Shuttersong also lets you layer audio over any photo, with less hassle than shooting a video. You can include a 15-second sound file: a spoken caption, music, a baby gurgling, whatever.

Designed to be quick and easy, a few intuitive taps let you shoot and add audio to images and then share them via Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, popular European network VK, and Reddit—or email and text.

Adding a sound file is de rigueur with Shuttersong.

We Heart Pics—iOS, Android (free)

We Heart Pics gives shooters inspirational themes and editing opportunities before sharing to its responsive community.

Everyone wants to be a storyteller, and We Heart Pics provides an independent platform for shooters to tell the best story, using either new photos or ones they’ve already taken. You can gussy up your images with the usual editing tools, filters, text layers, tagging, and descriptions, of course. And the app includes daily challenges and competitions to inspire photographers to produce better work.

We Heart Pics enjoys an active community, letting users connect with friends old and new, like and comment on photos, and share them with followers and friends.

PicTapGo—iOS ($1)

Totally Rad’s PicTapGo uses Instagram and Facebook as a platform for smartphone-based photo sharing and commentary, but the app’s emphasis is on filters. That’s not surprising, as PicTapGo, derived from the company’s RadLab Photoshop plug-in, uses 55 built-in filters to convert routine, possibly uninspiring images into unique works of shareworthy art.

The app directly accesses the iPhone’s photo library and presents real-time previews of how each of the filters will look on your photo. Unlike some editors, it’s possible with PicTapGo to layer filters, creating an entirely different mood and atmosphere from the original shoot or each individual filter. Save your favorite filter combos as recipes to use on new images.

PicTapGo uses a tap interface to let you mix and match custom filters and then save your favorite combinations as recipes. This guarantees unique images.
Pumpic lets you share to groups as well as sync across devices, with full resolution backups.

Pumpic—iOS, Android (free)

Pumpic takes a problem-solving approach. You want to make sure every photo you’ve taken is backed up, but you also want to easily sort, curate, and share your snapshots with friends and family. So Pumpic offers unlimited storage for free, plus the ability to view and share pictures across devices and create group albums that other people can contribute to.

Best of all, the app stores images in their original resolution. And if you must share your images on Facebook, you can do that with one click too.

Eventiles—iOS (free)

Eventiles builds extremely attractive collages out of your Camera Roll.

If you carry your iPhone around everywhere and constantly shoot images of any random subject that interests you, the prospect of even looking at them can be daunting, much less curating and sharing them. Eventiles is built for just that sort of haphazard photographic methodology—it rips through the images in your Camera Roll and then selects and arranges the ones that look the best together, by date.

Eventiles even gives each dynamically created collage a title—and for the most part they seem pretty apt. We get more detailed in our hands-on, but anyone who’s drowning in a sea of mobile photos should definitely check it out for themselves.

Hipstamatic Oggl—iOS, Windows Phone 8 (free)

The original Hipstamatic launched the concept of photo filters, and thus began the whole lo-fi photo revolution. Of course, then it got pushed out of the way by the steamroller that is Instagram.

Oggl's various lens and film combinations impart unique looks to your pictures.

But the Hipstamatic crowd hung on, and earlier this year the company came out with a gracious little app called Oggl that skews somewhat more upscale, aiming for carefully curated profiles instead a haphazard stream of everyday snaps. The same virtual lens and film types are here, as well as five presets to use when shooting Landscapes, Food, Portrait, Nightlife, and Sunsets. If you aren’t content to limit your brilliance to the Oggl community, you can also share to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Foursquare.

Printic—iOS, Android (free)

Printic doesn't let you forget what photography is all about.

With all the focus on the Internet it’s easy to forget that pictures are not just pixels on a screen, wrapped up in a social networking interface, and accessible with a tap or swipe. Printic gets back to the basic pleasure of photography: holding a snapshot in your hand.



Printic can tap into the photos you have stored in Facebook, Instagram, and on your phone, and then you get to edit them, and send them away to have prints made—real prints! Printic has partnerships with reputable photo labs, and each print is only 99 cents (minimum order of 3). You can even include a personal message with your package, perfect if you’re sending the photos as a gift.

With the new Flickr, filters take center stage.
Flickr—iOS, Android (free)

Ever since Yahoo updated Flickr to offer 1TB of storage with a sparkling new interface, the original social networking photo app once again became cool. Flickr offers expanded ways to connect with other users alongside a unique new set of super customizeable filters. The new Flickr is stunning, attractive to both hobbyists and professionals, and goes a long way in making the app the go to photo sharing vehicle that everyone knew and loved from the old days. Easy camera tools such as grids, pinch and zoom, and more, let you shoot from the app or put a whole new spin on an older image. Flexible privacy controls let you decide who can view which photos.

Subscribe to the Help Desk Newsletter

Comments