Tag Archives: DeviantArt

3 Instagram Alternatives: Beyond Facebook’s Instabillion Buy

Disturbance In The Force

Join me and together we will rule the galaxy!

Did anyone else sense a disturbance in The Force recently?

You may have heard the news: Facebook Buys Instagram for $1 BillionMoves Operations to Secret Volcano LairIgnites Hipster Outrage.

I’m not afraid to say I love Instagram, and I anticipate continuing to enjoy it as a casual consumer for some time to come. It’s opened up a world of mobile photography and photo editing via smartphone that I never would have considered before. It’s been just enough of a social network to add engagement and hold my attention, while also making it easy and rewarding to discover some great images and have fun interacting with fun people.

I personally am encouraged by this news, since there’s only so much Instagram’s 13-person operation is capable of, and since their monthly hosting bill alone must equal the GDP of a small country. I think having the vast resources of Facebook will ease more growing pains than it will create, and I don’t plan to change how I use either service, for now anyway.

Instagram’s New HQ (rumored)

That said, this opens up all kinds of questions about whether your Instagram content is now Facebook’s content, if Instagram will now have ads, or if the whole Instagram experience goes down the tubes.

Whatever.

I’m not so concerned, because, simply, Instagram is not the only show in town. It’s service is one of the most streamlined, accessible, and, ironically, the most connected with other networks. I think that’s ironic because it’s these other networks that offer so much of what Instagram already does: easy photo sharing, mobile apps, and interaction with like-minded folks. They also come with web interfaces – something you only get for Instagram through 3rd-party sites like Gramfeed or Statigr.am.

These other networks might not have filters at the ready, but most of my photos don’t even use Instagram filters, since there are so many apps far more capable of turning everyday snapshots into appreciable art. And once you’ve become handy with some photo editing apps that suit your taste, here are three other photo-sharing networks to consider:

If you find this useful, share it on Twitter — thanks!

Flickr

While more general-purpose and slightly more complicated to use than other networks, Flickr is a fantastic value (2 videos and 300MB worth of photos each calendar month for free accounts) and has a very robust web interface for organizing your images. You can use collections, sets, adjust privacy levels for each, and plenty more. Just like Instagram, there’s commenting, favorites (likes), followers (contacts), groups, but then there’s still more beyond that. And they have a wacky sense of humor (big points from me for that). The Flickr mobile app is also a great way to browse images and see those of your contacts.

Hopefully, this could be the business model Facebook anticipates, where the service is practically independent from its parent: much-beloved Flickr is thriving, unlike much-cursed Yahoo. It might take a little more searching to find arty pics here, but it’s worth a look if that’s your thing. If mobile art specifically is your thing, you might like…

iPhoneArt.com

Designed by artists for artists, iPhoneArt.com has an inherent elegance to the interface, both on the site and the mobile app. Full disclosure: I’ve been featured as artist of the day there, but as I’ve noted earlier, it tends to make Instagram look like MySpace, since one major distinguishing feature is that you can only upload five photos per day. So they’d better be good. You won’t find the deluge of mediocre snapshots all over the place highlighted for their so-called popularity, but you will find a talented community of creative folk who are into pushing the limits of what can be done with mobile photography as art. If art beyond the mobile platform is what you’re after, you might like…

DeviantArt

No, liking it doesn’t make you a deviant (let’s hope), but DeviantArt does offer an enthusiastic community and tons of content, all sortable and searchable depending on what your interest may be. DeviantArt is truly a social network for creatives, with a slant toward the artistic. There’s not a specific app, but that’s a non-issue, since their ultra-slick mobile-friendly version of the site gives you the same experience and functionality as the full-site version.

I’m already on Instagram; Why Reinvent the Wheel?

Good point. You don’t have to abandon ship. And I, especially, am not eager to learn a new photo-sharing interface just because of an acquisition – heck, I just recently figured out Pinterest. But one thing to consider is that unlike many other photo sharing apps or networks, these particular examples are very well-established – either in terms of how long they’ve been around, the depth of experience they offer, dedicated user base… or any combination of these and other factors that are of proven appeal to many Instagramers.

So if you think the party is over for our beloved Instagram, have a look at these other, less-likely-to-be-purchased-by-Facebook networks serving up their own style of social art.

What do you think of Facebook’s Instapurchase? Are you already on one or more of these networks? What has your experience there been like vs. Instagram? Is there another network (not app, but network) you would recommend? Let us hear from you in the comments!

iPhoneArt.com – the Next Level of Mobile Photo Sharing

As a fan and avid user of several photo sharing websites for years, I’ve been around the block when it comes to quality of work, features, and ease of use of these online communities, especially as of late with my interest in the area of mobile photography growing into a full-blown obsession (in a good way). Sites and apps I’m most familiar with are Instagram, Statigr.am, Flickr, DeviantArt, Fotki, and now I’m happy to add to that list with iPhoneArt.com.

I'm a Featured Artist of The Day at iPhoneArt.com

I’m a Featured Artist of The Day at iPhoneArt.com – A great site, and not just because they feature moi.

Full Disclosure: They Have Excellent Taste

It so happens that I have been a featured iPhoneArtist of the day on the site :) which is a total honor for me, considering the quality and vastness of most iPA featured artists. I do this for my own enjoyment and expression, so that someone of some authority sees fit to recognize it as exemplary or interesting to others — well, that’s a huge compliment I’m very grateful for.

That said, I was a fan of the site well before being featured. The site recently released a companion app for the iPhone, which I find more enjoyable the more I use it. Here’s what I wrote to that effect in my second-ever app review:

Makes Instagram look like MySpace
Click for larger view - text is at leftDon’t get me wrong; I absolutely love IG (and loved MySpace back in the day), but I’m digging iPhoneArt as an alternative experience. There are no filters, so it’s up to you to create something artistic either with a solid photo or though editing via other apps. The “popular” page content here is considerably more art-based. And the interface is bare-bones, elegant, just enough. There’s also a fully functional website interface with organization through sets and such. Altogether, I see IPA as a relevant, enjoyable evolution in the mobile art sharing experience.

Is the app perfect? No. Is the site as feature-rich as it possibly could be? Of course not. But that’s to be expected with any new platform. The features and enhancements will come. But what about the art? Well, now… this is where iPhoneArt.com really shines. It lives up to the name wonderfully.

For one thing, it was designed by artists for artists, so there’s an inherent elegance to the interface, both on the site and the app. Also, you can only upload five photos per day. So they’d better be good. You won’t find the deluge of mediocre snapshots all over the place and highlighted for their popularity the way you might on, say, other sites. And the whole community there is indeed very creative. Just browse the site and you’ll see.

Seriously, don’t just take my word for it. Have a look at these screenshots from the app and then go download it and visit the site for yourself.

iPhoneArt.com app available for free at iTunes

Galleries, faves, & searches — oh, my! Search in iTunes for “ipa: the mobile art network” to download for iPhone.

Again, I’ll state: I still love Instagram. I’ll still use and endorse it for general sharing and discovery. And I’ll still use Flickr for mass-scale storage and organization of the bulk of my images. And along with those sites, I now I have a home for the arty shots I’m most happy with, and a growing community of like-minded folk to discover and share with.

My sincerest thanks to the folks at iPhoneArt.com for featuring me, and for developing such an enjoyable site and app. I am truly honored.

What do you think? Do you have a preferred photo sharing platform? Do you use different photo sharing sites differently? Is this just a fad, or is this truly opening up a creative world to more people with the rise of smart phones and apps? Let us hear from you in the comments!

Getting Social, and a Bit About Instagram

So I’ve been making the effort lately to get more active in the social media space (hence this blog) for my own education and entertainment. Way back when (you know, like 2003), I was one of the first to rock a MySpace account with customized HTML. Remember having to plop some code in your “About me” field? Ha, you hacker.

The most-tapped area of my phone here, lately.

Anyway, most of my social activity lately has been via the amazing Instagram photo-sharing app for the iPhone (and maybe one day other platforms). Plenty has already been written about this, so I won’t go into detail for now, but just let me say that it takes smart phones to an entirely new level and is one of the most fun things to do with a phone camera. Having had a career as a graphic artist, and having always been driven to be creative — and now with the bit of social media Instagram integrates, I am continually satisfied and excited about this app. It’s like Twitter for visual thinkers, and social media for visual-creative types.

Back in the day I tried the still-excellent DeviantArt (DA) briefly, but after early photo manipulation experiments, lost interest. Instagram takes care of that almost completely with its built-in filters — and now apps like Photoforge2, Juxtaposer, and especially Noir (think dodge/burn/B&W made super-easy) let me do with my thumb in five minutes what would have otherwise taken hours in PhotoShop — and to the same net effect. This part is key. The most fun element of DA for me was the community interaction/comments, and it’s still there in Instagram, super-fast, and in the same spirit… while my creation tools are always in my pocket, ready wherever I’m at. There are a couple of DA browsing apps I might explore for inspiration, and I still recommend the site for all the same reasons (they have a solid mobile version), but I’m not going to be losing interest in Instagram anytime soon. Come say hi sometime; I’ll be over there as rsmithing.

Cats, flowers, architecture all figure prominently in my Instagram feed. Viewable here at Statigram.

What do you think is the most interesting aspect of Instagram? Where do you think it will be a year from now? Have you found yourself recently inspired or newly fascinated by/addicted to mobile photography? Tell us your experiences in the comments!