Add your recommendations for Instagram-alternative apps in the comments section below!
Instagram is embroiled in more than a little controversy at the moment. The mess has stirred up some serious user anger as it seems to let Instagram (or, more properly, its new imperial overlord Facebook) sell your photos for its own profit.
So where else can a privacy-wanting, photo-loving smartphone owner turn for the same kind of filter effect imagery? Glad you asked.
Hipstamatic. Some smartphone camera fans were using Hipstamatic before Instagram had barely added a glowing halo to a single pic. With an initial bent on recreating effects from the low tech wet chemistry Lomo camera craze, Hipstamatic has an interface that lets you apply many more different effects than Instagram does–including tinkering with each effect by swapping the virtual camera’s “lens,” “flash,” and even film. As a bonus, the interface lets you share your square, filter-effected photos via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and even Instagram. ($1 on iPhone)
Camera Awesome. Camera Awesome is much more playful than Instagram or Hipstamatic, but beneath it’s cheeky style (you don’t “filter” photos, so much as select how much you want to “awesomize” them) there are great built-in tips for taking good photos. Plus it offers precise control over the effects (some of which you have to buy)–though this means it takes a little longer to use it. On the plus side: It shares to more networks than Hipstagram, (free on iOS)
Camera Fun. Perhaps the simplest app on this list, Camera Fun is also all about photo filters that are much crazier than what Instagram offers–including weird options like night vision mode. ($1 for iPhone and Android)
100 Cameras in 1. With a very attractive interface, 100 Cameras in 1 might be a photographer’s favorite–and its quick-search array of filters (each with a nice sentence describing what it does) makes for swift photo snapping. You can even layer effects one atop each other to go totally filter crazy. ($2 on iOS)
Twitter. Let’s be honest–much of Instagram’s attraction was in its swift interface and the social sharing angle, which led to warm, cozy feelings when someone “liked” one of your photos. Twitter’s now building in photo filters and it’s already a hugely popular social net. So sure, its filters aren’t necessarily awesome right now (and, no, they cannot “awesomize”), but for many folks it may be worth simply using Twitter instead of leaping into another app. (free on iOS, Android)