Why You Might Want to Try These Instagram Alternatives

Instagram's no longer about photo sharing

Key Takeaways

  • Instagram will be moving away from photo-sharing to focus on creators, video, shopping, and messaging.
  • It’s a move that will likely help the social platform keep pace with popular competitors like TikTok and YouTube.
  • Experts say photographers will continue to have options for photo-sharing on the app and on alternative platforms.
Someone using a smartphone on a tripod stabilizer to take photos.

Xuanua Han / Getty Images

Following Instagram’s announcement last week that the app would be moving away from photo-sharing, some photographers have been left wondering where they stand—but content experts say they have plenty of options.

Although the upcoming changes aren’t exactly shocking—the platform has been working to find new ways to incorporate retail, video, and more for years—the deliberate shift away from photos may require users to change their ways.

"The platform is going to continue to evolve," Austen Tosone, a professional fashion and beauty content creator and blogger based in New York City, told Lifewire by phone. "If creators want to stand out and make the platform work for them, it is in their interest to adapt as well."

Keeping Up With the Competition

Tosone said Instagram’s shift toward entertainment is likely an effort to keep up with competitors like TikTok and YouTube, a point Adam Mosseri alluded to in his video announcement.

"[Instagram] obviously sees threats from different platforms and comes out with an alternative," Tosone said. "IGTV was meant to compete with YouTube; I think that reels obviously were meant to compete with TikTok; stories basically overtook Snapchat."

Although she’s optimistic about some of the platform’s upcoming features, Tosone expressed reservations about the company’s patterns of adopting other platforms’ features and its dominance.

"I think that it is interesting because, in one way, you could look at it as, 'Well, these are the trends, this is what people like now, so of course we’re going to adapt to them,'" Tosone said. "But also, when you’re a company with all of the resources and power of Instagram, it can definitely feel a little bit unoriginal in that sense."

"The platform is going to continue to evolve. If creators want to stand out and make the platform work for them, it is in their interest to adapt as well."

Photographers May Have to Refocus

One way photographers can stay relevant amid the changes without leaving the platform, Tosone said, is to make slight adjustments to the content they’re posting and its format.

For photographers planning to remain on Instagram, Tostone suggested utilizing the app’s Reels features to create short videos showcasing photos using apps like InShot or adding text overlays to images with Canva.

"If photographers want to take it a step further on Instagram, one easy thing to do would be to show the behind-the-scenes and the process," Tosone said.

Finding Other Alternatives

Although Instagram will likely still be a popular place to share photos despite the upcoming changes, Tosone says diversifying platforms could be a smart move for photographers.

"This isn't to say that photos won’t still perform well on Instagram," Tosone said. "But if the platform is telling you that they're going in a different direction and really shaping their whole mindset around that, it’s obviously worth noting."

As an alternative, Tosone recommended photographers use Pinterest to share their work, in particular, due to the longevity of each post over time.

Someone taking pictures of the London skyline at sunset with a smart phone.

Alexander Spatari / Getty Images

"If you think about the lifespan of your content on Instagram, for example, most of that content really doesn't get discovered or get any play in the algorithm after 24 to 48 hours," Tosone said.

Due to Instagram’s lack of search capabilities, Tosone said content is often lost on the platform after that time. On Pinterest, though, it continues to be discovered over time through the platform’s search capabilities.

"The nice thing about Pinterest is that I find content, in particular, has a much longer lifespan; between at least three to four months," Tosone said.

Another alternative, according to Tosone, is to start an SEO-optimized blog using a platform like WordPress or Squarespace. In addition to customization options, she said the longevity of blog posts in search engines can give your content visibility for years.

Even if photographers choose to remain on Instagram, Tosone said it’s still important to share content across multiple platforms.

"It is really important for all creators to not just have that one platform that they post to," Tosone said. "Having a searchable platform, like either a blog or a YouTube channel, is kind of amazing, and being able to supplement that content and post on whatever other platforms you're interested in is probably the ideal mix of things."

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