We’re sure that by now that you’ve heard about VERO from your friends or you’ve seen thousands of join me on VERO posts on Instagram, but should you? Teaser: Yes, yes, you should, but know that it’s not perfect.
As we all know, Instagram is dead for photography. The platform that photographers built has become the Wish version of TikTok. Honestly, it’s rather painful to see the decline of the once excellent service. However, an Instagram contender has emerged from the ashes in the shape of VERO. Now, VERO isn’t new. The social platform has been around since 2015. However, its popularity has hit many peaks and valleys during this time.
After making many changes to the platform, VERO’s user interface and how it works, VERO feels complete, which is fortunate because hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of photographers are looking for a new platform to call home and settle down with. Thanks to a video from YouTube legend Peter McKinnon (and others), the app has taken off in the last two weeks or so. McKinnon’s public bashing of Instagram and praise for VERO has seen the app soar to new heights.
I downloaded VERO on my phone ages ago but never gave it much thought until recently. So, I have spent the last two weeks with VERO (you can find me here). I have been digging through the platform and have been finding out what makes it tick. I have to say, even after such a short time, VERO feels like home; however, it’s not without its problems. So, in this article, we’ll take a quick look at the good, the bad and everything in between so you can decide whether you want to try the service.
VERO — The good
Slick user interface
Right off the bat, you’ll see that VERO has a very slick user interface that’s intuitive and easy to navigate. Fire up the application, and you’re whisked away to your feed, which is in chronological order! Hallelujah!
Self-explanatory navigation controls are along the bottom, and a hamburger menu in the top left lets you access settings and your profile. At the top of the screen, you’ll find quick links to different categories of posts so you can browse what you want to see. You can pick up this application and be posting to it within minutes. The user interface (including the editing section) is a breath of fresh air, and those who are familiar with using hashtags to promote will feel right at home. Bravo VERO.
I think I can speak for the masses when I say advertising, in general, sucks. We get why it’s there; after all, while apps are free for us to use, they generate significant running costs for the app owners. However, there’s a right and a wrong way to implement ads. On Instagram, the ads were intrusive and killed the user experience.
I am pleased to say that VERO is ad-free. That’s right. You can scroll to your heart’s content, and you won’t be bugged with an ad after every post from a friend or follower. It makes VERO incredibly immersive.
Great sense of community
In the short time I have been using VERO, I’ve had more meaningful conversations, interactions and non-bot-generated comments on my images than on Instagram in many years. Everyone I have met on VERO (so far) has been very friendly. Leave a comment on a creator’s image, and they respond. This is how social media should be.
Another great feature that I love is that you can introduce other creators to your followers. If you come across a creator you like or who inspires you, you can make a dedicated post to introduce them to the VERO community. It’s a fantastic concept, and it’s one that I will be using more often in the future. Then there are community pages like VERO food photography communities, street photography communities and more. There’s something for everyone.
You can even use VERO to make calls and send messages to other members. It’s almost like having an app like WhatsApp built-in. And yes, messages are encrypted.
High-resolution images with no cropping
Instagram was notorious for making its users crop images. This meant you had to use third-party apps to force Instagram to show an uncropped image, or you had to make comprises. You don’t have to do either with VERO because the app does not crop your photos.
On top of this, the images you share are high resolution. So while photos in your feed might look a little soft, click the image, and it will pop up in all of its glory. You can then pinch to zoom in so that you can see all of the glorious details.
Dedicated VERO iPad and desktop apps
Releasing an iPad/tablet app is something Instagram has refused to do for years. Thankfully VERO saw this gap and made a killer dedicated tablet app. It’s just as slick as the phone app too. This is great because when I do edit my images, it’s usually on my iPad, so it’s nice to be able to share directly from that device.
There’s also a desktop application that, again, is fully featured. Apart from making calls, the desktop app lets you do everything else. So, for example, if you have an extensive library of images on your computer and don’t want to transfer them to your phone, you can upload the photos straight from your desktop.
VERO — The bad
There are many great things about VERO; however, there are a few bad things too.
One of the biggest problems with Instagram was the number of bot accounts on the platform. Now, the problem is not widespread on VERO by any means. However, in the time I have been using it, I have been approached by a few accounts that solicit X-rated material. Fortunately, reporting these accounts is easy, and VERO seems to react to the issues quickly. So, hopefully, bot accounts will be kept under control as the platform grows.
It’s a battery hog
Like most social media platforms, VERO is a battery hog. At least, this has been my experience while using it on my iPhone 11 Pro Max and my iPad. However, I cannot say whether or not the app is inefficient on Android devices. So, keep in mind that your battery will deplete quickly if you use the app a lot, which you will because VERO is pretty freaking awesome.
The follow/unfollow game is alive and well
The follow and unfollow nonsense is alive and well on VERO. Now, this isn’t the platform’s fault. This is just the game that many people play. However, I would like to see something implemented where if a member follows a user, they must follow the account for a set period. If a member is a repeat offender of following and unfollowing, perhaps their following privileges can be revoked for a while. Maybe I am just a grumpy old man? Still, I was hoping that a platform that prides itself on community would have tools in place to help stop this nonsense.
VERO — The unknowns
So, as you can see, VERO gets many things right. But, for me, there are just a few things that need to be looked into. First, I have to say that I genuinely feel at home on VERO. The applications are excellent, the user interface is slick, and the community is real and engaged. It’s a delight to share images on the platform, and it’s a delight to interact with others and see their work too. VERO is making all the right noises and moves, and I hope they continue to grow because the platform is a godsend for photographers. I do have a few concerns, though.
Currently, you’re not penalized for only posting images. I bring this up because I know a lot of creators feel shunned by Instagram for making them create videos to grow. My concern is that VERO also lets users post reviews about music, apps, books, movies, video games and more.
VERO is for more than photography
These features are fine. I have shared several posts in these categories. I think it’s a great feature, and, as of right now, it does not appear to have any negative impact on your reach if you don’t use these categories. Allowing posts like this is also probably a way for the platform to generate income. For example, a link to Apple Books appears in your post if you share a book review. I hope there are no future algorithm changes that make sharing these items mandatory to grow.
One of the best features of VERO is that there are no ads. As mentioned above, being able to scroll through your feed and not be blasted with ads is lovely. Again, though, we all know that as platforms grow and the need for monetization increases, the likelihood of ads increases.
I hope VERO stays true to itself and fights the money being waved in its face by companies. Time will tell, though. If ads appear, let’s hope they’re done tastefully. At this point, I’m happy with VERO and would gladly pay a small yearly fee to use it if it meant ads were kept at bay. Everyone is different, though. Having said all this, if you’re tired of Instagram and haven’t downloaded VERO (iOS and Android) yet, give it a try. I think you’ll find that it’s a place you’d like to call home for your images. If you download it, stop by and say hi. I’d love to meet you and see your work. Let us know about your VERO experience in the comment section below.