Island in the Net

A personal blog by Khürt Williams, full of inchoate writing on photography, coffee, and geekery.

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Instagram Alternatives

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Photo Credit: Thanuzzi

The web is buzzing ( as in angry ) about the changes Instagram made to its terms of service. Instagram — which is now the subsidiary of Facebook — has given itself the rights to license your photos (well mine too) for use in advertising. This has implications.

According to attorney Paul Jacobson

While the more conventional display ad model raises privacy concerns with how the ads are targeted, this new model potentially has privacy, reputational and even commercial implications for Instagram users.

I’m not sure I want a photo of my head being inserted into an ad for genital herpes. Some blog authors think every one doth protest too much.

After thinking about it for a few minutes and talking it over with my friends I decided to delete my Instagram account. This was not an easy choice. I have over 400 photos on Instagram and a small following. Deleting my account meant saying goodbye to all of that. Fortunately, there are some worthy alternatives to Instagram.


But first I exported my Instagram photos over to I found the service via a Forbes article. Moving the photos was easy. I created an account and authorized Snapjoy to import my photos from Instagram. Depending on how many photos you have in Instagram the process can take a long while. Fortunately, Snapjoy can start the process and notify you when it’s complete — even if you shut down the browser.

After the import was complete, Snapjoy created a portfolio site with all my images organized by date. I could also import my Flickr and PicasaWeb photos if I wanted to. The service offers 5GB of storage but I can get more if I convince my friends to try Snapjoy. Snapjoy also allowed me to create and download an archive (Zip file) of all my images. Each archive is stored for 7 days. There is also an iPhone app for accessing your photos or syncing your phone photos to the service.


The day I found out that Facebook was acquiring Instagram I went looking for alternatives. There where are few but one that caught my eye was Starmatic. The app and services are very similar in design to Instagram. There are a few limitations — no web profile and it’s iPhone only — but most users may not care.

The Starmatic Brownie Camera was a toy camera created by Kodak back in 1959. In 1963 Kodak introduced the Instamatic camera. So now you have a short history lesson — and some indication of where Instagram got its name — let’s move on to the app.

The app is quite basic. Take a photo, apply some filters — from a choice of 16 — and share to your choice of social network. It’s a rather limited choice; Twitter and Facebook. You can use one of those existing social networks to create an account. After capturing an image with the basic camera you can apply filters. Starmatic names these after films. After applying filters you can share your photo creating with the Starmatic community or with your Facebook and Twitter followers.

There is one very exciting option which Instagram switchers will appreciate. You can import your photos from Instagram to Starmatic. Keep in mind this imports your images only. Your followers and comments and likes won’t transfer. Starmatic allows you to comment and heart community photos and follow and be followed. Except for the lack of a web profile, this app feels like Instagram.


Back when I was a photo sharing noob, along with an Instagram account, I opened an Eye’em account. Just like Instagram, Eye’Em has a vibrant social sharing community with both an app and a web presence. The app has support for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone.

The app has the requisite features expected in any photo sharing app: filters, hash tagging and social sharing ( Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Foursquare). It has a lot of features an Instagram switcher might want including a social profile page, something that Instagram recently added. Eye’Em had this feature first. Just like on Instagram, you can discover new photographers to follow and post comments and “likes” of photos.


While I like prefer the user interface of Starmatic — it so similar to Instagram — I prefer the active community on Eye’Em. Starmatic will import your existing Instagram photos making the transition easier. However, with Eye’Em I will be starting over. Eye’Em has been around a lot longer and has all the features I had come to expect from Instagram. I will keep both on my iPhone for now but I expect very soon one of these two will be delete. You can find me on Starmatic as khurtwilliams or link to my Eye’Em profile.