This isn’t going to follow our typical format for software reviews; it’s going to just be an overview of the Grainery app. Grainery has been gaining a lot of traction in the film community, and we’ve been beta testing it for a while. That testing is almost complete, and we’ll be doing a full review later on. If you’re a film photographer who misses the old Instagram and authenticity, then you’re going to want to check this out.
Grainery works pretty simply. They’re a social service website with an app still in development as of writing this article. You make a profile, and then start uploading film photos. When you upload a photo, you’re supposed to say what camera was used, what lens, and what film. Then you can add things like the location, tags, and a caption. You’ll see that some people have uploaded images shot with digital cameras, but digital isn’t allowed. (I’ve flagged those photos to be reported.) The Grainery app is going to be up to the community to keep it just for film photographers.
Your feed is presented chronologically and the images are displayed in a big, beautiful way. Couple that with all the EXIF data around the photo, the photographer, and more, and you’ve got something film photographers will really like.
The community seems to really like Kodak Portra so far. Photos shot on that film are most popular. But because the community is still small, interactivity is mostly non-existent. My most popular work is on VSCO and I get tons of engagement there: far more than on Instagram. When all my film photo friends can get on Grainery, I think things will be different.
On Grainery, you can leave comments, save images, and heart them. I don’t see many comments so far, even on the most popular photos. You can’t directly message users just yet (or if you can, I haven’t figured it out). However, their profiles can have things like their website and all.
Their explore tab is pretty fascinating as you can find people, sort by what’s hot, search film types, and much more. Seriously, this is a film geek’s dream.
Overall, Grainery is shaping up to be something really cool and fun. I think film photographers will like it. But, it has a ways to go. They’re still working on development and there’s a premium subscription that you can have too to support the app. This, obviously, is for folks who are small-business minded and care about communities. As the Editor in Chief of this blog, that’s right up my alley.
I truly wish Grainery well. I hope the community finds a way to keep itself moderated and to weed out folks who come just to be influencers, bring people to their OnlyFans, and lie about the types of photos they’re shooting. We don’t want to see your photo shot on a Sony camera with an Agfa preset. We want to see real film. There are enough platforms for photographers to go to and ruin just to game an algorithm. I sincerely hope that Grainery doesn’t become just that. I hope it remains a safe space for film photographers.