As far as apps go, I unabashedly love Instagram. But when I go to an event — a wedding, our Re/code conferences, or a vacation — I take multiple smartphone photos at the same event, and sharing four or five or 17 photos to Instagram at once is overkill. Sharing photos to Facebook is another story: It’s easy enough to create albums, but there isn’t anything remotely artistic about them.
So lately I’ve been using Storehouse.
Storehouse is an app that takes your digital photos and videos and turns them into a “story” in an immersive, vertical format. You can import these media assets from a number of sources and add text to your piece. Once your Storehouse story is published to the app, you can then share your work with a number of social media outlets.
Launched earlier this year, Storehouse is free to download and use, but currently only available on iPad, iPhone and the Web. An Android mobile app is in the works, though the company hasn’t said exactly when this will become available.
There are, of course, other apps out there that will take your digital photos and/or video clips and turn them into more of a narrative. Animoto and Magisto are two (read Walt Mossberg’s column on these here). Google+ Stories, which my colleague Katie Boehret reviewed, does this, too. There was another app, called Qwiki, that would assemble your photos into short music videos, but that was acquired and shut down. There are probably plenty of others that I’m missing.
Storehouse is slightly different because of the layout it creates with your digital images. It’s not just a video, and it’s not a digital representation of a photo album. It’s a vertical, scrolling format that normally might require some expertise in website building or multimedia.
It’s an ideal format for photo essays. Another popular use case for Storehouse is DIY stories. These normally might take hours to produce and edit. With Storehouse, you can import a series of short video clips demonstrating how to do something — like how to make eggnog — and include stills and text as well.
Will I use Storehouse as frequently as I use Instagram? Likely not, because it’s still more involved. But, like Instagram, it’s a fun app to use because it lends itself to easily sharing your photos and videos, and to browsing endlessly through other people’s stories.
To create a story in Storehouse, you tap on the virtual camera button at the bottom of the app, grant the app access to your iPhone or iPad’s camera roll and begin the import process. In addition to pulling photos or video clips from your camera roll, you can import media from Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr and Lightroom. (The best way to import videos from other apps not named here, like Hyperlapse or Vine, is simply to save those videos to your camera roll.)
You can include up to 50 pieces of media per story, with video clips capping off at 30 seconds. After all of your initial photos or videos are selected and imported, Storehouse presents you with a template you can edit. It auto-picks a cover photo, which you can change by tapping on a small pencil icon. You can resize or reorder the other photos by pressing and dragging, and you can add headers, captions or quotes in between the pieces of media.
Then you hit “publish,” and that’s it: You’ve published a story to Storehouse. From there, you can share it to Facebook and Twitter, send it via message or email, or copy and paste a link to your story, which others can see whether they’ve downloaded Storehouse or not. Storehouse will also generate an embed code for your story, but you can only grab this embed code from the Web, not on mobile.
There are some obvious missing features in Storehouse, but it’s likely that only multimedia gurus will miss them. For example, you can’t edit photos (aside from resizing) within the app, and you can’t add any kind of post-production audio to your story. So your story can include audio if you’ve added it beforehand to the video clips you’re planning to use, but there’s no way to add a music track or a voice track to an already-created Storehouse story.
And stories are, by default, public once you publish them. The company has said it is working on building more privacy features into the app.
That’s the content-creation side of Storehouse. The other part of Storehouse is exploring other users’ stories. First, you can follow friends and other users much in the way you would on Twitter. You can also heart or “re-publish” their stories, just like retweeting. And you can comment on their stories.
The shared content on Storehouse is pretty wide-ranging, and you can search for topics of interest using keywords or hashtags. Some journalists are using Storehouse to show protests related to Ferguson or the death of Eric Garner in New York. Photographers are using it for photo essays. Fashion brands like Alice + Olivia are using Storehouse to show behind-the-scenes images from photo shoots.
As I mentioned earlier, there are DIY videos galore — a recipe for lobster rolls, how to decorate a baby’s nursery, how to make a dog’s birthday cake. Some travel-focused stories include cool time-lapse videos. My favorite Storehouse story to date is this one.
If you’re looking for a rich alternative to the normal batch of photo-and-video-sharing apps, Storehouse is worth trying.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.