It’s been a while since Instagram has catered specifically to photographers, yet it’s still one of the most popular social media platforms for sharing photos and videos. Due to the popularity of TikTok, Instagram has been promoting Reels from creators you follow, and even accounts you do not follow, in your feed rather than photos.
This has gotten lots of users fed up with using the service. There are plenty of Instagram alternatives, with VSCO being a great contender. Here are six reasons for photographers to switch from Instagram to VSCO.
1. Profile Layout
One thing that Instagram has kept for a long time is the three-photo-long grid on users’ profiles. Some people love this and are able to create beautiful-looking grids that stick to a certain color scheme, while others don’t really like the small, square preview of photos.
On VSCO, your profile is incredibly clean and professional. If you shoot photos in 2×3, you’ll be able to post that full-size image without being forced to crop it, which includes landscape images. The white background frames your photos, making them look like works of art.
VSCO has also paid a lot of attention to detail regarding user experience. A great example of this is the ability to zoom in on a photo without needing to hold it while pinching and zooming. The user profile has a much cleaner design as well with no story highlight bubbles or follower counts.
Check out our article for more reasons why VSCO is great for photographers.
2. VSCO Has an iPad App
Something that users have been asking for from Instagram for years is a high-resolution application designed for iPads and Android tablets. At the time of writing, Instagram’s iPad app is simply a blown-up version of the phone app, which looks awful.
Even though VSCO is a much younger company, they understand its users’ desires.
VSCO’s iPad app is beautiful; it has a built-in photo editor and browsing photos from creators you follow is a great experience. There are no ads throughout your feed, zooming in on photos is a breeze, and the VSCO app supports portrait and landscape mode to perfectly view every type of photo orientation.
Something that Instagram has been suffering from for years is a large number of bots and spam accounts. These accounts trick users into purchasing fake products and giving away their passwords, and they flood your direct messages and comment sections. Due to this, Instagram hasn’t felt much like a real community in a long time.
VSCO has a great way of fixing this; there is no comment section under images, and only mutual accounts who follow each other can send messages.
This is kind of a double-edged sword, though. On one hand, it’s a much nicer user experience to simply enjoy scrolling through photos and artwork, while on the other, it makes VSCO feel like a beautiful, solitary wasteland with no community aspect whatsoever.
VSCO has tried remedying this with a section of the app called Spaces, where you can create a shared gallery with other users you know on the platform. This is an interesting way to bring community into VSCO, but it’s currently locked behind its membership paywall, and most of your friends are not on VSCO (yet).
4. No Public Follower Count
The only person who can see your follower count is you, and that’s great for multiple reasons. First, it drastically decreases or eliminates spam accounts and bots that are used to simply grow your follower count with fake user profiles to make you look more professional.
The lack of a follower count also makes you look just as professional as another artist. If you’re showing your Instagram profile to a potential client, they may initially judge you based on your follower count versus another photographer they’re considering hiring with a much higher following. It’s an unfortunate truth artists must deal with in the age of social media.
The hidden follower count levels the playing field between you and another photographer, and is also better for your self-esteem. You won’t judge yourself for having fewer followers or think another photographer’s work is better simply because they have a much higher following.
5. Unique Photography Inspiration
VSCO attracts a large array of photographers, including those who shoot landscapes, cities, portraits, and wildlife, and use various types of cameras.
The photography you see on VSCO is very unique; users on the platform seem to treat their photos more like art than on Instagram, where you’ll find more of a mix of informational posts, news, Reels, life updates from users you follow, and possibly some artsy photography.
Those with artist’s block will find VSCO a breath of fresh air. You’ll be inspired to get out in the world and make everything you see look like a work of art. It’s the perfect opportunity to attempt different photography genres that you’ve never tried before.
6. Weekly Photo Challenges
To keep you inspired, VSCO has photo challenges every week on the Discover tab. These challenges will be shown at the top of the page with a hashtag. For example, if the photo challenge is #StreetViews, you can put that hashtag in the caption of your photo, and it will curate in that section with all the other photographers.
The #StreetViews challenge encourages you to get into the city, or simply around your local town, and shoot photos of cars, buildings, people, and other aspects of city life. It’s very interesting browsing through other users’ photos and really motivates you to shoot a different kind of photo every week.
This also gives more meaning to hashtags. Hashtags on Instagram are mainly used to promote your photos to as many parts of the social platform as possible so that it’s more likely people see your work. Hashtags on VSCO seem to be more genuine, making searching for posts on a certain subject more accurate.
There are more Instagram alternatives than just VSCO.
VSCO Is a Beautiful, Solitary Wasteland
It’s unfortunate that a lot of photographers haven’t heard of VSCO yet or think it’s an app marketed only for teenage girls. Flickr, 500px, and Vero are all great alternatives, but there’s something special about VSCO that can’t be replicated by another platform.
Despite it feeling fairly void of community with the lack of comments or likes, there are still lots of unique photographers on the platform who post daily and treat every photo like a piece of artwork. Instagram is still great at building a following, but for those that want to simply enjoy browsing photos in peace, VSCO is the perfect place to do so.
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