Glass is a return to the simplicity of Instagram circa 2012. It’s a social network specially tailored for looking at and posting beautiful photography. I have a thing for niche social networks, I guess.
I was an early adopter of Instagram, which initially was a picture-first social network. It’s lost focus in the years since, getting crowded with Stories, Reels, shopping and countless more half-baked features that don’t make sense. I now avoid it at all costs.
You don’t need to be a professional photographer to use it — although you do need $30/year.
Glass, a social network for photographers
You open Glass to your following feed. You see all the recent shots from people you follow chronologically, full-screen. You can swipe to see who took and when. Tap to see the details.
You can see the nerdy picture metadata like the camera and lens used, the focal length, aperture and shutter speed. You can comment and “appreciate” a photo, but the number of total likes are private to the user.
Search by category and camera
In the Search field, you can find users and see curated highlights from the team behind the scenes.
There aren’t hashtags on Glass, but you can mark a photo in up to three predefined categories — abstract, architecture, family, film, landscape, minimal, portrait, still life, street, typography, vehicle, wedding, etc. — and you can browse the latest posts in each category. New ones are added regularly; there’s a new Fall category at the time of writing.
You can also look up pictures from a specific camera or smartphone. You can see all the best pictures on the new iPhone 15 Pro Max, or what people are up to with the old iPhone 4. If you’re in the market for a full-size camera, you can check out the best example shots.
Post your best shots
I upload all my best pictures to Glass. My iPhone is my only decent camera, but that doesn’t stop me. It’s a lot of fun!
I’ve recently started taking pictures again with my Sony Mavica, an ancient digital camera that saves incredibly low resolution shots to a 3.5-inch floppy disk. Bizarrely, I think I’m the first person to upload pictures to Glass shot on a Sony Mavica.
While the Glass social network is subscription-only, you can still make your profile public. Here’s mine! That means you can use your profile as an online portfolio.
A subscription social network?
Yes, this is a social network with a subscription of $5/month or $30/year. Building an online service costs a lot of money — and the folks behind glass aren’t seeking any venture capital funding or investment. They’re not trying to be the Next Big Thing.
That means the cost is passed onto the users, it also means Glass is a premium experience with no data tracking, no ads, no push for engagement.
If you truly care about photography, and you miss the Instagram of yore, it’s a no-brainer. I mean, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to what you paid for your camera and your iPhone.
Where to download: App Store