Smartphone cameras these days are good. Really good. So, it’s no surprise that photography apps are everywhere.
You’ve got your titans, like Instagram and VSCO, but there are several smaller players out there trying to gain recognition as well. One, in particular, caught my eye recently — an app called ‘ViewBug.’ To set itself apart, ViewBug incorporated tutorials and contests into the heart of its photo-sharing platform.
ViewBug’s home page is split into ‘Following’ and ‘Discover.’ Like other apps, Following is a feed of photographers you’ve followed mixed in with suggestions from ViewBug based on who you’ve followed. You can like and comment on photos, as well as share them. However, ViewBug also lets you see details, like which camera was used to take the picture, the aperture, exposure, focal length and ISO.
There’s also a star button that lets you give awards to photos, like ‘Superb Composition’ or ‘Outstanding Creativity,’ among others. It’s a better way of providing feedback to photographers about their photos than just telling them you liked it.
However, the Discover feed is where things get really interesting. Discover is all about inspiring you and teaching you. To kick things off, there’s a section of tutorials and collections from the community. This includes things like tips for capturing moving water or collections of black and white photos.
Discover also has editor-curated galleries highlighting specific styles, like action shots or landscapes, as well as suggested photographers and a ‘For You’ section designed to inspire you.
Contests, prizes and more
ViewBug also offers a Contests page where you can participate in and vote on contests. There are different themes, like food photos, as well as options like ‘Image of the Month.’ Some competitions even have prizes, like cameras or drones.
Currently, ViewBug is running a ‘Canada’ themed contest. Users can share their best pictures of Canada, and the winner gets a Tamron AF 18-200mm F/3.5-6.3 lens. You can learn more about that specific contest here.
While ViewBug isn’t based in Canada, a spokesperson told me that Canadians form the app’s third-largest user base.
Finally, ViewBug offers several options for getting your photos onto the platform. You can upload photos through your phone or the website on your computer. You can also take pictures directly in the app, or connect ViewBug to your Instagram to share images between the services.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a platform to help you improve your photography skills while also sharing your work — and earning rewards and prizes for it — ViewBug is an excellent platform.
Additionally, ViewBug offers several subscriptions for premium features. Premium costs $6.17 per month with annual billing, and unlocks unlimited photo uploads, extra contests, removes adds, lets you add a watermark to photos and more.
Pro is $10.33 CAD, billed annually and gives you access to your own website to showcase your photos, more contest entries and the option to sell your images. Finally, Pro+ — currently on sale for $9.42 billed annually — offers a free domain for your website, 40 custom Lightroom presets, better account stats and a 15 percent discount on Adobe’s Creative Cloud plan. You can learn more about the subscriptions here.