Like many other photographers, I have been reading been thinking about the new Instagram Terms and Conditions released yesterday.
The bottom line is, they are now a $1Billion company and so do have to make money. With some form of advertising being how most “free” internet platforms do this, we should really have expected to see advertising appear. However, the updated Terms & Conditions seemed to imply that they are not taking that route, they were taking the route of turning the site into a big stock library (it would immediately become the biggest). Since the outrage and press coverage Kevin Systrom (co-founder, Instagram) issued a statement that basically said “bad wording, we are not going to sell your images to 3rd parties for adverts”.
The other issue is that you, the photographer is liable for any damages or problems that may occur should one of your images containing someone or something that does not want (or cannot) be used in an advert be used in this way. Add to this the fact that Instagram reserve the right not to tell you how and where they are using your images and we are getting into a very difficult area.
So the question is, with wording like that and such a major error, can we really trust them?
I use Instagram (i have even posted a few images here), I have a few followers and quite like how it works and what it does but its not perfect. Having read through the statement I am not sure I am still that keen. So yesterday I took a little time out to look at a couple of alternatives and compare.
1. Instagram (Ignoring the terms).
Ive been using this for over two years; I know it inside out and I like the fact that it can post to my Tumblr, My Twitter and Facebook as well as it’s own site all from a single window after the photo is created. (I don’t post to my Flickr although it can). I tend to use it out and about, on walks and as part of my everyday life (just like everybody else).
I know the filters and the effects, using just two of the filters probably 90% of the time (X-Pro II and Lo-Fi) and knowing them so well, I can take shots that I know will look good with those filters before I press the button.
I have a real issue with the app though – speed! I hate the fact that when you start the app it refreshes its feed, checks for new photos and comments. By the time it has done this and I have been able to select the camera, the moment is gone. Yes – I know I can select the iPhone camera and then process that shot and its probably quicker.
This is so close to Instagram in the way it works, the way the picture is taken, the filter applied and then shared that the transition would be so simple. I like the way the images can be titled and the way the sharing works. The only thing missing is the tilt-shift option. However – I just don’t like the filters. I don’t like how the images look.
If you are thinking of leaving Instagram and want a direct replacement, Eyeem might be a good place to start looking.
I have been using this app on my iPad for a while, it’s not part of my main workflow but I do use it in combination with images from the X100 sometimes but this was the first time I tried the iPhone version.
Again it can share to twitter and Facebook easily but not Tumblr (which is annoying). As it does not monitor any feeds it has a fast start up and within 2 ‘clicks’ it’s ready to take images. As for filters, it is very powerful, able to create many looks with filters, basic image editing and cropping as well as the tilt-shift and focus filters that are so popular (and trendy) right now. The problem is that the image stream created by it will lose it’s simple conformity – with Instagram it’s immediately obvious it’s an Instagram image, with Speedseed it’s not. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I’m not sure right now.
There is one other worry with this app. It’s now owned by Google and what are their plans for it? Will we soon see a mandatory Google account requirement?
You can read more about Snapseed here.
To be honest – I have none. I have downloaded all my Instagram images from my account and will close it shortly (the bottom line is they have lost my trust). If you want to download all you images, this is where you need to head.
What will i use? Probably Snapseed although I am worried I will spend to long on the processing of each image and loose the Instant from the Insta…
There are of course other apps including Flickr (but as I said, I dont want to post iPhone images on that stream).
I’ll end on what may well be the last photo I take of Worthing Beach with Instagram.