Snapbucket by Photobucket.com icon

Snapbucket (Free) by Photobucket.com seems to be trying to take on Instagram with a similar sort of service. The website, Photobucket, has actually been around since before Instagram, but with their snappy new app, they’re more directly competing.

Snapbucket by Photobucket.com screenshot

Photobucket is a photo sharing website like Flickr or Picasa, but until this month, it was just a way to share photos. Snapbucket changes all that. It’s a free app, it has tons of fabulous effects and filters, and it makes altering and sharing photos fun and easy.

First, you’ll need to start a Photobucket account. It’s free, of course, and it can be done right within in the app. Then take or upload a photo, and start playing! Across the bottom you’ll see Sets, Filters, Effects, Vignettes, Frames, and Reset. We’ll come back to Sets in a moment. So, tap Filters and you’ll see about a dozen different filters you can try, such as Bronze Tint, Grainy, Retro, and Outline. Pick whichever one you like. If you’re finished right there, tap Save Snap. If you want to start over, tap Reset.

But if you’re like me, you’ll want to do more to your photo. Tap Effects. Here you’ll see about a dozen varieties of light leaks and bokeh effects. Tap any you like to add to the filter you already have in place. Do the same with Vignettes and Frames. Once you have everything layered up just the way you like it, you can “Tap to Save this Set”. Give it a name, and now that particular combination of Filter, Effect, Vignette, and Frame is saved in your Sets for you to use on other photos. There are also several pre-selected Sets for you to try, such as Lomo, 30’s, and Sunrise.

When you’re done with your photo, tap Save Snap, give it a name and a place, and it will save to your Photobucket. You also have the option of sharing to Facebook, Twitter, and email. The picture will automatically save to your camera roll as well.

With all the different ways you can mix and match your filters, effects, vignettes, and frames, you will literally never run out of stuff to do to your photos. So how does it compare to Instagram?

Instagram is more community-focussed. Instagram is all about interacting with other iPhoneographers. There are a limited number of Instagram filters you can apply (although updates continue add more) and you can’t mix and match your effects unless you reload the photo over and over. Also, Instagram photos are square – this is a quirk that some people love while others find limiting. Snapbucket has the photo-sharing via Photobucket, but it’s not quite the social network that Instagram is. However, it definitely has the upper hand with filters/effects, and no limitation on photo shape. So my recommendation? Get them both! They really are different, and they’re both free.