Is Vero the new Instagram? Judging by the avalanche of photographers that have abandoned Meta's social media app in favor of the new kid on the block,
Instagram is no longer a platform for photography. We've all known this for some time, but it was made official a year ago when company head Adam Mosseri declared, "We are no longer a photo-sharing app." Instead, it has become a knock-off TikTok, a second-rate BeReal, geared towards Reels and videos and selling things and, essentially, anything that isn't a still photograph.
The problem was, there was nowhere to go until now. Well, that's not really true…
What is Vero?
Vero was established in 2015 as an alternative to the likes of Instagram, but the problem was it was really similar to Instagram, which already existed and wasn't yet a total mess. So it was there all along, just waiting for Meta to spectacularly fumble the ball.
It came to prominence in recent years for two reasons. Users first tried to migrate to the platform following the Cambridge Analytica data scandal enveloping Facebook and Instagram.
It was also the social platform chiefly responsible for the #releasethesnydercut hastag that ultimately pressured Warner Bros to release Zack Snyder's Justice League. The director, who is friends with Vero creator Ayman Hariri, used Vero as his primary platform and released all manner of behind the scenes images and info from the suppressed version of his superhero epic, generating a grassroots movement.
Snyder wasn't alone in his support of Vero, which became a favored hub among filmmakers thanks to its suite of features that focused on users and content, rather than ads and algorithms. However, much like Vimeo to YouTube, it remained a distant second to the likes of Instagram… until now.
5 reasons photographers are joining Vero
Everyone from GQ and James Bond photographer Greg Williams to Canon ambassador and YouTube king Peter McKinnon has been moving over to Vero, disillusioned with the video-oriented disdain that the platform has show to photographers who made the app what it is today.
So exactly why have photographers been abandoning Instagram in favor of Vero? Here are the five main reasons:
1) No resolution or ratio restrictions
As photographers, two things are extremely painful about using Instagram: 1) having your images crunched down to small, low-resolution files, and 2) having to crop vertical images or use external apps to make them fit.
This isn't the case on Vero, which doesn't insist that uploads conform to an aspect ratio and also enables you to open the original high-resolution version of any given file, whether it's a still or a video. So finally you can zoom in, pixel peep, and generally see images in their full glory on your phone.
2) No algorithm
That's right. No more having to guess what the mysterious Instagram algorithm wants. No more having to post only the content that you think will be favored by it. No more having to sift through endless spam and sponsorships and suggestions just to see the odd posts by your friends that have been buried out of sight.
Vero doesn't have an algorithm, it has a chronological feed. What's more, you can filter the feed so that you only see the kind of content you want. Only want to see photos, or music, or links that people have shared? Now you're no longer at the mercy of what some money motivated AI wants to show you – you're in control.
3) No ads
No advertisements? No problem! Say goodbye to endless ads for sketchy products that wouldn't even appear on a late-night cable infomercial, or phone games promoted with fake footage.
Vero runs an ad-free feed, which in conjunction with the lack of algorithm means that you will actually see the content shared by people you follow – not content that advertisers pay to pollute your timeline.
This comes with a caveat, though; while there are no plans at present, Vero may at some stage introduce a subscription fee. However, the app previously promised that anyone who signs up will be considered "founding members" and will continue to enjoy free access, even if a sub comes into play.
4) Links in captions
Sharing a link on Instagram is a huge pain in the backside. You either have to create a story with a URL sticker, or do the awful "link in bio" thing where you can only have one link at any given time. Either way, it's clunky and completely unhelpful.
Once again Vero answers our prayers, as you can add a hyperlink in the caption of any post – meaning your followers can tap and see your off-app content without having to jump through hoops. You can even have a link as a post, where it imports the header image and blurb from the source (much like when you share a link on Facebook).
5) Desktop app
You now how Instagram doesn't give a damn about anyone who might want to use the service on a computer? How the browser version is barely serviceable, and Meta could never be bothered to make something proper for the desktop? Vero has an actual desktop app, that's actually optimized for those who use the service with a keyboard and a large screen.
This is a transformative experience, taking the service from a purely second screen interaction to something that not only accompanies you on a desktop, but in a way that actually accommodates desktop tech. No more squinting at trailers or images on a tiny screen; now you can interact with and explore them in their full glory.