How to make a photo sharing app like instagram?

11 min read

If you are willing to build an app similar to Instagram, I would like to say you, that such an idea is a highly serious and massive project.

Photos have existed as an integral part of our everyday life since the 1850s till today. Related technologies have been evolving and advancing accordingly. From the Crimean war ?till 2018 they?ve been acting as one of the most powerful ways of capturing real-time vibes and emotions. Today. photos are a way to express many important for human things - artistic talent, excitement, etc. All of that became possible mostly due to the appearance of relevantly cheap portable cameras.

But as the smartphone industry came with advanced hi-tech devices, taking photos became an utterly popular and widespread process. The ?selfie? tendency eventually spawned a brand new title that created a huge buzz in the media - Instagram. The app was released in 2010 by the group of amateur entrepreneurs from California.

Today, it is the most popular photo-sharing app with impressive rates and numbers. For example, each month, Instagram accepts more than 350.000.000 new users, 2.000.000 likes, and over 65.000.000 new photos. Such an amazing success couldn?t stay unnoticed by startuppers, businessmen and developers, who are becoming more interested in the creation of a photo sharing app like Instagram.

Read also: Trends in Information Technology 2018

If you?re willing to build a solution similar to that ?monster? of a mobile app or even an Instagram clone app, know that this idea means a serious massive project, which requires a certain amount of passion and effort. It isn?t unreal to leverage, however. Also, many people consider trying to repeat Instagram?s success as an unreliable affair which only makes you lose money.

But let me give you an example: we have Whatsapp and Telegram. Both of them are very similar but are also as similarly extremely popular. So, similar ideas aren?t always unreliable. Moreover, people love seeing and touching new impressive pieces of tech what. Also, I?d like to mention monopolists that usually pose a threat to the free market and border an opportunity for other apps and extensions to develop.

So, it would be really nice to dilute the atmosphere of the stagnating app market with something new, related to photo sharing and rating. Perhaps, you know the history of Standard Oil and understand what I?m implying. Thus, in the article, I?d like to explain to you the basics and primary ideas on how to make an app like instagram.

How to make a photo sharing app like instagram?

Crucial steps before starting developing a photo sharing app?

If we are talking about the development of a photo app taking after a role model of Instagram or even a private photo sharing app, before starting to plan the whole process, certain preparational measures must be taken, such as the following:

1. Market analytics

One of the most vital basic processes that has to be conducted at the very beginning of the developmental process. Why is it so important? Firstly, you have to know exactly your basic competitors. Then, you have which features and special additions competitors? photo sharing solutions employ. You can adapt or combine their features in a new way.

The collection of related intelligence is crucial and in the case of success equals 30% of your own achievement. One of the most widespread ways to analyze the market is to employ App Market Analyzer. You can simply enter keywords related to your app and see rates of all the other related applications. According to that data, you can control and regulate the way in which you are willing to develop your extension.

2. Search for investors

For sure, a photo sharing app development cost is usually pretty high and frequently people aren?t able to fully finance it on their own. The best way to deal with this issue is finding an investor that is interested in your project and is able to cover respective expenses. Of course, you must share with them. But remember - one small sacrifice may eventually lead to enormous success.

3. Search for MVP developers

Quite obviously, you may not necessarily be an experienced programmer capable of developing an app for sharing photos similar to Instagram. So it is vital to find a good team of developers, which would be able to help you with that issue and create a high-quality product. However, search carefully, we?ll talk about it some more down below.

4. Development and launch of a marketing strategy

The advertisement is among vital factor in any type of business, especially, in the case of an app development. That is why it?s best to launch an advertising campaign several months before an app release and try to interest users with videos, notifications, and other promotional methods.

5. Addition of special features

There are certain unique features which attract people?s attention. One of the best examples could be Snapchat with its puppy and kitten faces for taking selfies and recording videos. It may be strange and even silly, but lots of people like such useless but entertaining features. Do not hesitate to include something similar in your apps.

6. Testing an app

This step is almost a holy commandment. You have to always test any finished products in order to avoid any felt failures later on.

If you follow these basic directions, you will be able to arrange the core steps of the development and establish your solution in the field of cyber construction as a competitive one.

How to make a photo sharing app like instagram? - 1

What makes Instagram so popular?

What does actually make Instagram so used by people all over the world? The answer is pretty simple - its efficiently developed design and features. This point may not be worthy of a separate paragraph but I want to make a strong emphasis on that moment. Your overall approach to features and design you are going to implement is crucial to the whole future fate of an application. So, I would like to give you several tips.

  • Implement a simple design;
  • Use as fewer colors as possible;
  • Do not include intrinsic shapes;
  • Make the interface user-friendly;
  • Make the interface utterly accessible. People are lazy, so try to act according to that axiom and the result may be pretty satisfactory.

As to features allowing to develop a photo sharing app that would really grab people?s attention, keep in mind the following software points:

  • Authorization (through email, phone number or Facebook);
  • Edition of your profile;
  • Messaging;
  • Timeline;
  • Customization of the photos;
  • Geolocation;
  • Feed;
  • Social features like connection to Facebook;
  • Opportunity to sign up for other profiles;
  • Advanced search;
  • Push notifications and other notifications

How to make a photo sharing app like instagram? - 2

Making an app like Instagram for Android

To develop a photo sharing app for Android and for iOS, you?ll need to employ different sets of tools and process approaches, individual for each platform. Let?s take a closer look at the basic means to build a photo application based on Android:

JDK. All the Android apps are based on Java, so for the successful building of your Android photo sharing app, the most essential tool will be the Java Development Kit. That is a set of the most essential libraries, tools, and extensions for developing Android-based software solutions. With its help, you can create your own new library of plugins and extensions for your future or existing solution. However, notice that your JDK has to include such things as:

  • Development tools;
  • Source Code;
  • Public JRE.

IDE. Integrated Development Environment is another important tool for the building process. It is a set of the most essential approaches and platforms for app programming. In addition to that software, you also have to connect Eclipse - an app from Google fully integrated with Android.

In order to create an app like instagram successfully, you have to test your product properly. AVD or Android Virtual Base is the best way to do that.

Making an app like Instagram for iOS

To be honest, the whole process is pretty similar to the development for the Android base. The list of tools is slightly different. The core tool you need here is XCODE. Each and every iOS app is based on this programming platform. However, it can be launched only on Apple devices, which means some additional expenditures.

Also, make sure to operate with the latest version of a platform in order to make your product backwards compatible with different machines and devices.

You will have to also efficiently use powers of the iOS Software Development Kit that allows integrating the app with iCloud and Touch ID, as well as of Objective C and Swift - iOS-dedicated programming languages.

Other additions like Textmate or JEdit will help you sort out and operate large arrays of code. Besides, vector graphics play an important role in the iOS development. So take care of Adobe Illustrator or CorelDRAW or Xara Designer for the improvement of an app and filling it with great shapes and colors. Finally, in order to later have an opportunity to promote and sell your app through App Store, you need to have a developer account of $99 per year, which actually isn?t so much for today.

Time management for photo sharing application development

From the highly important issue of time, it seems to be suitable to transfer to the question of prices. Of course, there could be an argument on which strategy to use, offshore or onshore. However, I always advise using an offshore strategy, due to the fact that it often requires a much smaller budget.

However, if we?re talking about how much it costs to build an iPhone app like instagram or the same for Android, the location of that offshore is crucially important. As for me, the best decision would be to choose some remote developing areas like India, Eastern Europe or Brazil.

For instance, in Brazil, the development of the discussed type of an app may cost from $20 to $60 per hour; in India, it is something between $10 and $50 per hour; while in Estonia or Ukraine, it may fluctuate between $40 and $90 per hour.

So, according to simple calculations, we have some total sums, which tell us that in India, the development of an app like Instagram for iOS will cost approximately $17.500, while Android app is somewhere at $16.000. On the other hand, in Estonia, it may cost $19.000 to make an Android app like Instagram and $23.000 for iOS. It is obviously much cheaper, than, for example, in Australia where the total sum will stand between $60.000 and $45.000.

Mentioning India, it is really essential to remember that this particular option might come out as an essential outsourcing drawback or even total failure. It is not a secret for anyone that in Asia, the quality of production of goods, doesn?t matter - an application, car or clothes, is pretty low. So think twice before deciding on employing an outsourcing company from India.

Furthermore, you could also face a pretty common there issue with scammers. Due to this, we advise you to focus your attention on more reliable Eastern European companies, and, especially, those situated in Ukraine.

How to make a photo sharing app like instagram? - 3

Promotion and monetization

The last but not least point in photo sharing application development is, for sure, the promotion of the completed app and the opportunity to make money on it. To start promoting your solution, first of all, you have to monitor and analyze your visitors according to their geolocation in order to see where exactly your app has the most popularity.

Secondly, you have to examine the user retention by the application rates and a number of those active users. Lastly, you also have to keep an eye on the involvement of users in the lifecycle of an app (feedback, reviews, ratings, shares). Only with such a sequence of actions, you?ll be able to collect the full proper intelligence, deal with any accompanying issues, and successfully promote the app.

That?s why it is also vital to add the SEO support to the price when signing a contract with the developmental company or hiring a separate team.

Then, monetization comes into play. There are three main approaches to making money on your application:

  1. Advertisement. Companies and corporations are willing to pay you in order to make their own profiles within your app (if it is popular enough) and launch their advertising campaigns within an application.
  2. In-app purchases. Here, you can unchain entirely your fantasy and introduce any extra opportunities and features you can imagine. The privileges and additional features can be paid for with either internal or external currency. It?s up to you to decide.
  3. Special offers for the active users. This type of monetization is also pretty reliable. You can reward users actively participating in the life of an app with privileges and special features available to other users only for money.


As you can see, the creation of an app like Instagram calls for much effort and passion for the business. However, the efficient mobile development strategies exist and are described pretty well online. There is a whole bunch of existing opportunities and so you are now able to say a new word in the field of the photo application development and create a competing force for Instagram. So, do not hesitate your capacities and ideas - rush into action and take the niche full on!

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