Did you know that Instagram didn’t start off as Instagram? Yes, it was initially called Burbn until its creator Kevin Systrom gave the platform an early rebrand, renaming it to Instagram (instant + telegram). While the app was focused on being a social platform for smartphone photography initially, the present state of Instagram is all about Reels and short videos. A lot of people may like the resultant changes, but there’s also a large section that’d rather see the app return to its roots. Unfortunately, we do not see that happening anytime soon, so here are some apps you’d like if you want a classic photo-sharing experience.
BeReal is not your usual social media app by any means. If you’re tired of all the time you spend on Instagram, or any other social platform for that matter, you’re going to love the no-frills approach of BeReal. First released in 2020, BeReal, just like its name implies, encourages you to “be real.” Every day you get to share one photo without any filters whatsoever with friends and loved ones to show them what you’re up to.
They can then leave comments and reactions on your post. Another unconventional approach the app takes is that photos clicked using it contain images from both your front and back camera, so that people can see what you look like and where you are located.
Despite the similar-sounding names, rest assured one has nothing to do with the other. If you consider yourself to be the artsy kind or are a professional artist/photographer, then Behance is easily one of the best social platforms to showcase your creative work.
Owned by Adobe, the platform has over 24 million users and is a great place to find potential clients, look for inspiration, or simply show off your photos. The app interface shares a lot with Instagram with a bottom tab for navigation and even lets you share ‘stories’. It also lets you follow other accounts and ‘like’ their work.
Tumblr used to be very popular once upon a time, but it lost out in the game. Tumblr lets you share photos, memes, videos, and GIFs, but it’s actually a lot more than that. You can also share text-based posts and links to interesting stuff you found on the internet. One of its greatest selling points is that you can customisation your own blog (or profile) to your heart’s content. There are also no Instagram-like ‘Stories’ here, so if you feel Instagram’s only gone downhill since it introduced full-screen content on its platform, Tumblr may be the right pick for you.
You might have seen a lot of Instagrammers link their VSCO profiles on their bio. The popular image editing app is also a social platform, allowing you to share photos captured through it (and from elsewhere) with over 100 million users. There isn’t a lot of interaction here — users can’t like or comment under photos. But they can follow other users and share their work with others, as long both are following each other. There’s a discover section where you can go through a feed of aesthetic images. And once you follow users, you can catch their latest uploads on your home feed.
It may not have the largest user base, but 500px is perhaps the closest to the classic Instagram experience in this list. It does not support videos but your uploaded photos can be liked and commented on. You can even find other photographers through the Discover page and follow them. The app also has a built-in equivalent for Instagram’s DMs — although you’d likely be using it more for professional communication since the app’s advertised as a “premier community and social network for aspiring and practising photographers.”