How to Create a Social Photo-Sharing App Like Instagram or BeReal

How to Create a Social Photo-Sharing App Like Instagram or BeReal

08 March 2023 • 25 min read

Photo-sharing apps are among the most popular app types on the market today. While Instagram seems to be a leader in this segment, other unique solutions like BeReal are hot on its tail.

Since its launch in late 2019, BeReal has already been downloaded more than 53 million times, with almost 15 million downloads in September 2022 alone. Are you impressed by these remarkable stats? Get ready to become even more stunned.

According to Business of Apps, BeReal has about 10 million daily active users. But what is the secret of this social network’s popularity? Compared to other applications full of ads and overproduced photos, BeReal offers users an unfiltered look at their friends’ lives.

Instagram was among the pioneers of social photo-sharing apps, being created in 2010. Since then it has become the 8th most visited website in the world and the 4th most used social app. Meta states that Instagram has 1.386 billion active users daily and more than 2 billion monthly active users.

Do you want to learn how to create an app like BeReal? Or are you thinking about how to make a social media app like Instagram? Discover the features, technology stack, and approximate cost of developing such an application in our article. On top of that, get tips on how to make your social photo sharing app even better.

Softermii is a knowledgeable social media app development vendor with many years of technical expertise. Our projects, Parta, SoundIt and Scrollme, successfully attract millions of monthly active users. So be sure that you can also benefit from social photo-sharing app development. But let’s move on to today’s guide.

What Makes BeReal and Instagram Social Networking App So Special?


BeReal is an app that breaks the stereotypes of social media networks.

Founded by Alexis Barreyat, a former GoPro employee, and Kévin Perreau in December 2019, this platform invites users to post their unedited photos once a day randomly after receiving a corresponding push notification. Upon receiving the alert, the users have two minutes to show what they are up to.

Create an app like Bereal

According to the founders, BeReal is “a candid and fun place for people to share their lives with friends.” The application aims to make people feel good about themselves and their lives and stop comparing themselves to others.

Another characteristic of BeReal is that the user’s mobile device takes two photos simultaneously: on the main and front cameras. As a result, the users get something similar to a screenshot of a FaceTime call, though showing their selfies and surroundings. Moreover, the users can see their friends’ posts only once they publish their own.

Build an app like Bereal

Although BeReal is a photo-sharing app, like Instagram, these applications are complete opposites. Instagram may once have been like BeReal, conveying the same values ​​of sharing your real life with your friends. That’s not the case anymore.

On Instagram, users share their best photos and videos and generally publish only the outstanding moments of their lives. On the other hand, on BeReal, you can see your friend going to the grocery store or someone spending a whole day in bed watching a TV series.

Being able to peek into other people’s real lives makes BeReal so special. The number of this app’s daily users doesn’t stop growing, and the startup itself continues to attract investments. TechCrunch claims that BeReal has closed $60 billion in Series B funding.

It’s still unclear how big the BeReal will grow and how long its popularity will last. But looking at its current success, social photo-sharing app development makes a lot of sense.


Instagram is a pioneer among social media platforms that allows users to share their photos and videos with their followers. What makes Instagram special is its unique approach to visual storytelling and how it has revolutionized how people consume and interact with content.

Instagram provides a highly curated and visually appealing experience allowing users to share photos and videos that capture moments in their lives, allowing them to showcase their creative talents and passions to the world.

Make a social media app like Instagram

Another aspect that makes Instagram special is its user-friendly interface. The platform's simple and intuitive design makes it easy for users to navigate and discover new content. With features like Explore, users can easily find new accounts and content that aligns with their interests, making Instagram an excellent tool for exploring new communities and interests.

Instagram's engagement features also make it unique. Users can like, comment, and share posts, as well as follow other users, making it a highly interactive platform. Instagram's use of hashtags also makes it easier for users to find and connect with others who share similar interests.

Instagram's commitment to innovation has kept the platform fresh and exciting over the years. From the introduction of Instagram Stories to the recent launch of Reels, Instagram has continued to evolve and provide new ways for users to create and share content.

How to Make a Photo Sharing App Better Than BeReal?

The values ​​promoted by BeReal appeal to Generation Z and young adults in general. The app’s simplicity makes it even more likable. A person receives a notification, publishes a photo, and scrolls through their friends’ posts — for all this, no more than 10 minutes a day.

However, there is one drawback that goes against BeReal’s mission. The notification, stating the users have just 2 minutes to post a picture, remains even after the timer expires. If you missed the alert, you could take a photo at any other time. Moreover, the application allows you to delete a published post once and re-upload it. But what about an unfiltered life?

Of course, there are no filters in BeReal. Yet, there is an opportunity to take a photo at a more favorable moment, for example, not when you go for groceries but when you are in a fancy restaurant.

The main idea of ​​the application is to publish a photo at the same moment when a notification arrives. If you address this issue in your photo sharing app like Instagram or BeReal, it will fit the users’ expectations.

Key Features of a Social Photo-Sharing App Like BeReal and Instagram

Let’s break down BeReal into components to understand better how the application works. Using knowledge about the features of this social media platform, you can easily develop your own.

Login and Registration

The login and registration feature is necessary if you want to build an app like BeReal. In BeReal, the registration process is quite simple: the users must enter their names, phone numbers, and age. Optionally, users can set an avatar or specify their location.

Random Notifications

This feature of the BeReal social network makes it unique. If you aim to create a photo sharing app like this, you need to ensure not only the randomization of notifications but also its simultaneous sending to all users.

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Camera Access

Of course, you should ensure that your Bereal-like app asks permission to access the user’s camera. You should also add the feature of simultaneous picture-taking on the main and front cameras of the smartphone.


Discovery is a separate tab in the BeReal mobile app. By clicking on it, the users move to the feed, where they can view public posts of other users worldwide.

Send Comments

In BeReal, users can comment on their friends’ posts, so you should also implement such a feature in your application.

Send RealMojis

BeReal offers its own interpretation of emojis. It’s a feature that allows users to create emojis from their photos and send them as a reaction to friends’ posts.

Make an app like Bereal


Memories are a feature that evokes true nostalgia in BeReal users. It’s a calendar that can be made public for friends or left private, in which users can view all their published posts.

Bereal app development cost

Offer Challenges

In BeReal, the main challenge is instantly publishing a photo once a notification has been received. In your application, you can come up with other types of challenges for your users.

Widget Emojis

Another feature of BeReal is adding your friends’ RealMojis as a widget on your phone. Here’s exactly what it looks like:

Cost to build an app like Bereal

Simultaneous Posting

When users register in BeReal, they must specify their time zone. It’s necessary to synchronize all posts with other users worldwide. This feature guarantees that the user will publish his photos simultaneously as other users, regardless of the time zone and part of the world they live in.

Languages ​​Support

It’s another feature that would be handy in social photo-sharing app development. By adding support for multiple languages, you can attract more users from around the world.


Create an app like Instagram

If you want to create an app like Instagram, the first thing to consider is the Feed. The Instagram feed is the main screen where users can see posts from the accounts they follow. Throughout Instagram history, posts in Feed were either grouped chronologically or shown within the algorithm of the most liked following accounts.


The second most important part of the Instagram-like app to explore when you build an app like instagram is Instagram Stories. These are temporary posts that disappear after 24 hours. They can include photos, videos, text, and interactive features like polls and quizzes.


Reels is Instagram's short-form video feature, allowing users to create and share 15-second videos with music and other creative tools. they are shown on the user’s page in the special field.


Build an app like Instagram

The Explore page shows users content that Instagram thinks they will be interested in based on their activity on the app or their search history.


IGTV is a standalone app and a feature within Instagram that allows users to upload and watch longer videos.


Instagram Live lets users broadcast live video to their followers in real-time. Viewers can comment and interact with the broadcaster in real-time.

Direct Messaging

Instagram Direct is the platform's messaging feature that allows users to send private messages and photos to one another.


Hashtags are used to categorize content on Instagram and make it easier for users to find posts related to specific topics.

Additional Photo-Sharing App Feature Ideas

Although the concept of BeReal is unique, you want to avoid developing its complete clone. When making your photo or video-sharing app, you can add other features that BeReal does not have. You may get inspired by popular platforms like TikTok or Instagram or come up with a unique solution.

The choice of additional features in the photo-sharing app depends on your digital product’s key idea and mission. If BeReal is literally about being real, your app may focus on a different concept.

For example, if you do not concentrate on unretouched photos, you can add the following features:

Filters and Masks

This feature can be really fun for users. Pay specific attention to AR masks and VR technologies. It’s very relevant in light of the growing popularity of the Metaverse. We wrote about this in one of our articles on how to create a metaverse application.

Photo Editing

You can also integrate a photo editor into your app like Snapchat and Instagram did. Let your users adjust white balance, exposure, and more.

Here are some more ideas of functionality that you can add to a social photo-sharing application:


Make your application convenient for communication. You may need more than just a commenting feature to satisfy your users. So think about integrating the messenger.

Audio and Video Conferencing

You can also facilitate communication on your platform with audio and video calling features, such as those available on Instagram. You can learn more about this feature here.


Instagram Highlights allows users to save and categorize their expired Instagram Stories so that they can be viewed later by followers.


Instagram Shopping is a feature that allows businesses to tag products in their posts and for users to shop directly on the app or go directly to the shop’s page of the chosen product.


Instagram Insights provides users with data on their account's performance, including metrics on reach, engagement, and follower demographics.

Filters and Editing Tools

Instagram provides users with a variety of filters and editing tools to enhance their photos and videos before sharing them.

Creator Studio

Creator Studio is a dashboard that allows creators to manage their Instagram and Facebook accounts, access insights, and publish and schedule content.

BeReal Tech Stack Overview

To learn how to develop an app like BeReal, you also need to explore the tech stack of this application.

Here is what we know about the technologies on which BeReal is built, according to the company itself:

BeReal Backend Tech Stack

The backend of BeReal is responsible for storing, processing, and managing all the data and information generated by users on the platform. BeReal’s backend runs on the Google Cloud Platform.

At the core of BeReal's backend is a robust database management system that efficiently handles user profile information, user-generated content, and other relevant data. The backend is built on modern technologies and frameworks like Node.js, Kubernetes, Redis and PostgreSQL, which ensure that the platform can handle large volumes of data and traffic without compromising on speed and performance.

The backend also includes various APIs that enable communication between different components of the platform, such as the user interface and the database. These APIs are designed to be highly scalable and flexible, allowing BeReal to add new features and functionality seamlessly.

BeReal Front-End Tech Stack

The front-end of BeReal is the user-facing part of the social networking platform, where users interact with the platform's features and functionality. It includes various components like the user interface, user experience, and design, which are essential for providing a seamless and engaging experience for users.

The BeReal mobile applications, BeReal has separate solutions for iOS and Android. They are built using modern web technologies like Swift programming language and Kotling to create the apps, respectively, which enable the platform to deliver a fast, responsive, and intuitive user interface. The front-end also includes various features like user authentication, user profiles, search functionality, chat, and notifications, which enable users to connect and interact with other users easily. The company’s decision to build native apps for iOS and Android is great because it makes BeReal more responsive, reliable, and performant.

Instagram Tech Stack Overview

Though rather similar, those two apps are developed using different technologies. If uou decide to create a social media app like Instagram, consider using the following tech stack:

Instagram Backend Tech Stack

At the heart of the Instagram backend is a robust database management system that stores user profile information, images, videos, comments, and other relevant data. The backend is built on modern technologies and frameworks like Python, Django, Cassandra, Redis and PostgreSQL, which enable the platform to handle large volumes of data and traffic without compromising on speed and performance.

Create a social media app like Instagram

Instagram's backend also includes machine learning algorithms that help the platform detect and remove spam, fake accounts, and other malicious activities. Additionally, the backend is secured using industry-standard security protocols to ensure that user data is handled securely and confidentially.

Instagram Front-end Tech Stack

The user-facing component of Instagram is the front-end, where users engage with the app's features and functionality. It comprises several elements, including user interface, user experience, and design, all of which are vital for delivering an immersive and seamless experience to users.

The Instagram front-end is constructed using modern web technologies such as JavaScript, HTML, and CSS, enabling the app to provide a quick, responsive, and intuitive user interface. It also incorporates numerous features, including user authentication, profiles, newsfeed, search capability, direct messaging, and notifications, which facilitate easy connection and interaction between users.

The Instagram mobile tech stack includes React Native, a popular cross-platform mobile development framework that enables developers to build native mobile apps for both iOS and Android using a single codebase. Other technologies and frameworks used in the Instagram mobile tech stack include Objective-C, Redux, GraphQL, and Jest.

Overall, the Instagram front-end and mobile tech stack are designed to provide a seamless and engaging user experience that encourages users to connect with others and share their content on the platform. It is a critical component that enables Instagram to deliver a differentiated and value-driven social media experience to its users.

The Role of the Google Cloud Platform in the BeReal App

As we mentioned, you need to leverage cloud technologies, like Google Cloud, to make a photo-sharing app like BeReal. Why does this social media platform use this kind of tech?

According to the founder, Alexis Barreyat, he used Google Firebase to create a prototype of BeReal in 2019. For him, it was an opportunity to easily test the app’s concept’s viability and functionality.

Since BeReal is a startup, the founders didn’t have sufficient capital to deploy their infrastructure. That’s why they chose Google Cloud. For a startup, this is the ability to easily store, synchronize, and query data without the need for maintenance and with a high level of security.

Cloud technologies also helped speed up the deployment of BeReal, as well as in the effective scaling of the application.

Therefore, you should consider moving to the cloud to make an app like BeReal. Softermii has experts in these technologies, so be sure we can help.

How Much Does It Cost to Build an App Like BeReal or Instagram?

One more thing to consider is the BeReal app development cost. The price of such an application depends on the selected features, the chosen tech stack, and the hired team.

Typically, social media photo sharing app development requires the following experts:

  • Business analyst
  • UI/UX designer
  • Android or iOS developer
  • Backend developer
  • QA specialist
  • Project manager

It would also help if you ensured that the team has experience in social network design and development. Thus, you will make the dev process more efficient by optimizing the social media app development cost.

We’ve prepared a step-by-step cost and time breakdown of how to create a photo sharing app, and a table with the approximate development price:

Discovery & Research stage

Time: 280 hours

Cost: $11 200

If you’re wondering how to develop an app like BeReal, this should be your very first step. Our business analysts conduct market research, analyze customer expectations, and assess industry trends in the first phase. All this information serves as a basis for project budget calculation.

It’s also the time when our design team creates a prototype and a concept. When creating the platform’s UI and UX prototypes, our team assesses to what extent the technology stack, functions, and overall aesthetics meet the client's expectations.

Development stage

Time: 640 hours

Cost: $25 600

Our experts create an early version of the entire product based on the selected technology stack.

Testing and launching

Time: 240 hours

Cost: $9 600

The testing and launching stage is crucial when you decide to build a BeReal-like app. It is essential to collect user feedback about the product to improve the application's functionality, make it more user-friendly, and exclude bugs.

After all testing and bugs are fixed, your BeReal clone app is ready to go. Remember that any service needs support even after release to compete on the market successfully.

Writing technical documentation

Time: 40 hours

Cost: $1 600

It is the last step of developing an app like BeReal. It includes creating all the documentation for the application, particularly the product manual.

Let's summarize all of these in the table below:

Development Stages




Discovery & Research

280 hours

$11 200



640 hours

$25 600



240 hours

$9 600


Creating technical documentation

40 hours

$1 600


1 200 hours (5 month)

$48 800

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Note, that this is just an approximate cost breakdown and the final price of the photo sharing app may vary depending on the number of features, team composition, deadlines, etc. So, if you want a precise calculation of the cost to develop a photo-sharing app like Instagram or BeReal, contact us for a free quote.

Development Team to Create Your Social Photo-Sharing App

Softermii has profound expertise in social media app development. Our experts have already created apps similar to TikTok, Clubhouse, and Instagram.

We can become your photo sharing app development company as well. Make sure of our expertise by viewing our two successful case studies.


How to develop an app like Bereal

Parta is a social media app that is truly multi-purpose. Instead of using TikTok, Instagram, Clubhouse, or Twitch separately, you can simply install Parta.

This application combines numerous handy features. In particular, these are audio and video conferencing, AI-generated news feed, streaming, broadcasting, following, and more. A fast development process and a successful product launch are among our significant achievements in this project.


Make a photo sharing app

Scrollme is a social network that mainly focuses on video-sharing. It’s somewhat similar to TikTok and serves as a platform for self-expression.

In this application, our team has implemented a seamless video feed, video-sharing capabilities, private audio chat rooms, a high level of personalization, 3D avatars, and even cryptocurrency integration. Our efforts helped Scrollme get nearly two million monthly active users and over 1.3 billion video uploads.

You can also build similar applications relying on Softermii’s extensive expertise. Let’s start our cooperation and create a photo sharing app together.


Social media photo sharing app development

SoundIt is a revolutionary application that focuses on audio content, user experience and its interaction. The app allows users to earn using their creativity and build a network for their own brand.

Soundit is a decentralized mobile app that prioritizes audio content. It features audio creation, live streaming, live chat, a news feed, and advanced algorithms for user promotion. We leveraged TypeScript, CassandraDB, MySQL, Redis, Objective-C, Swift, and Agora to create this application.

Final Thoughts

BeReal is a photo-sharing app expanding at a breakneck pace. The number of its downloads is growing by several million every month! Obviously, in such conditions, anyone will want to build an app like BeReal.

Given the specific features associated with photo-sharing apps and the highly competitive social network niche, you need a reliable team to implement your ideas. Softermii provides top-notch mobile app development services in the social media field included. Just drop us a line, and we’ll build a social media app for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is BeReal’s revenue model?

If you’ve opened the BeReal app at least once, you’ve noticed that it doesn’t contain ads. In addition, it’s completely free. So how does the app make money? At the moment, BeReal receives funds purely from investments.

Could your team develop a social photo-sharing app like BeReal?

Yes, our team can provide such a service, as we already have relevant experience in social photo-sharing app development.

Is the process of developing an application like BeReal different from Instagram?

Although both applications allow photo-sharing, they are different. The development process will differ accordingly, as you must implement distinct app features.

Is the process of developing an application like BeReal different from Instagram?

Although both applications allow photo-sharing, they are different. The development process will differ accordingly, as you must implement distinct app features.

Is it better to build an MVP or an MLP for the first launch?

It is generally better to build an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) for the first launch instead of an MLP (Minimum Lovable Product). An MVP is a product with a basic set of features that are essential for solving the core problem or meeting the primary need of the target audience. It is designed to validate the idea and collect feedback from users to help improve and refine the product.

Therefore, it is often better to start with an MVP to get the product in the market quickly, validate the idea, and collect feedback from users, which can be used to improve the product and build an MLP later on.

How long does it take to create an app like Instagram?

The time required to create an app like Instagram can vary significantly based on several factors such as the number of features, the complexity of the app, the choice of the platform (web, mobile, iOS, Android), and the experience and skill level of the development team.

Generally, it takes several months to develop an app like Instagram, ranging from 6-12 months or more, depending on the factors mentioned above. A basic version of the app with fewer features may take less time, while a more complex version with more features could take longer.

The development process involves several stages, including ideation, design, development, testing, and deployment, with each stage taking different amounts of time depending on the app's complexity, requirements, the team composition and their level of skills. It is essential to work with an experienced and skilled development team to ensure the project is completed within a reasonable timeframe and budget.

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