There has been much consternation recently over the fact that Instagram has changed their terms and conditions to mean that they can do pretty much what they like with your photographs. If you're not sure what Instagram is, they say this on their website: "It’s a fast, beautiful and fun way to share your photos with friends and family.Snap a picture, choose a filter to transform its look and feel, then post to Instagram. Share to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr too – it's as easy as pie. It's photo sharing, reinvented. Oh yeah, did we mention it’s free?"
That last point is an important one. It's *free*. We're currently a long way from the point where lots of stuff didn't cost anything to use - we all have to pay, in one way or another. Remember - if you can't see the commodity, you are the commodity. Now, what Instagram has actually done is clarify their existing terms and conditions a little bit. The ones that people signed up to read:
"By displaying or publishing ("posting") any Content on or through the Instagram Services, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, worldwide, limited license to use, modify, delete from, add to, publicly perform, publicly display, reproduce and translate such Content, including without limitation distributing part or all of the Site in any media formats through any media channels, except Content not shared publicly ("private") will not be distributed outside the Instagram Services."
So basically they could do pretty much whatever they wanted to anyway. The real change is the fact that they can now use your images to create adverts, thus sharing your images - which you pretty much want shared anyway - with a wider group of people. So yes, they may actually be profiting in some way from your photographs by sharing them with a wider audience. You are getting access to a useful, free service. What they're actually doing is aligning themselves with their new owner, Facebook. Facebook has a condition, which relates to Sponsored Stories, that says the same thing. If you're already a Facebook user, you've already agreed to Facebook being able use your stuff this way.
Instagram has clarified the situation though (and I'd agree that initially they were a bit dense in not having realised what a fire storm they'd create) by saying that they're not going to be selling your photographs. There's a nice article in the Telegraph that goes into detail on this issue. What I find more interesting is the whole spat with Twitter, in that Instagram has stopped allowing images to be shared via the microblogging site. That flags up a whole lot of issues between Twitter and Facebook that we need to watch.
If it was me, and I had an Instagram account, I wouldn't be closing it, if for no other reason than it's incredibly unlikely any photograph of mine would be used in a different way. And if it was - then I'd regard it as pretty fair payment to use an excellent service free of charge. However, if you still don't like the idea, try these alternatives:
Camera Awesome "Camera Awesome takes your photos to the next level by shooting faassst and taking sharper, better-exposed shots. Make your memories come alive with stunning professional effects. 0-Tap sharing on the sites you love."
EyeEm "Take beautiful photos with 14 real-time filters and share them in your social networks."
Flickr which is my preferred choice and always has been.
Hipster "Using Hipster you are able to create and send beautiful photographic postcards. Your postcards will be composed of a photo, text, location, and more, which will provide a window into what you are currently experiencing."
Path "Path is the personal social network that is the best way to share life and stay connected with family and friends. By focusing on beautiful design and experience, Path is 5-star rated and loved by millions of people."
Pixlr-o-matic "This fun and simple darkroom app makes it easy to add an effect, overlay and border to get that retro, grunge, clean or stylish look, all in just three simple steps. And with more options than any other photo app, you will never be out of new styles."
Snapseed "Anyone can enhance, transform, and share their photos with ease using incredibly advanced features from the leader in digital photography software. Built-in Google+ capabilities make it even more powerful to share your images with your friends and family."
Streamzoo "There's a filter and border combination for your every mood, and with so many other awesome editing options, Streamzoo is the only photo app you need in your toolbox. And once you're done, share your photo in one shot with your friends and family on both Streamzoo and your favorite social networks."
Tadaa "Tried a ton of photo apps both free and paid and this trumps all! Better than Instagram, download it, you won't regret it."