Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Documented Life - Groovebook vs Postal Pix vs Prinstagram

I take a lot of pictures over the course of a month. A bunch wind up on Instagram, but many, many more just sit on my phone, being erratically uploaded by various apps that are supposed to automatically back up my photos (that's a different post for another day!), and I get tired of a) sorting through them all the time, and b) letting them take up space on my phone that I could be using to take more pictures. I'm a visual person--I need more space for more pictures, and the iPhone doesn't allow for expansion of memory!

And then I found that there are nifty new businesses that let you print the pictures right from your phone! There's, of course, ones from Walgreens and Walmart that let you pick the pictures up in-store, and those are fine, but I wanted special photo-printing, and I especially wanted photo-printing for Instagram because I really like the old-style photo thing. I save most of my doctored pics as squares, anyway, so why not print them that way?

Here's the three I've tried out:



Stats:
  • Set up like a subscription: you automatically pay the same low fee every month, and as long as you upload your pictures, they send you a book of the ones you want.
Pros:
  • 2.99/mo is by far the best price, whether you're going to print just once or every month, like I tend to do.
  • Pictures are pretty clear, and all well-printed; I think the difference in the quality is in how sharp / high-rez the original picture was, and that difference would apply to ANY printing method because it can't be helped.
  • 100 pictures! And they don't care if it's 100 individual or 100 copies of one picture, as long as there's 100 total prints to fill your book.
  • Automatic payments, so you don't have to worry about forgetting to pay.
  • Reminds you to upload a few days before your monthly deadline, which is the anniversary of whatever day you signed up.
  • Supposedly easy to cancel; I haven't yet, because I'm liking it.
  • Free app.
Cons:
  • The paper is thin, only a little thicker than regular printer paper, and not as thick as even cardstock or a regularly-printed picture.
  • Some cropping issues--minor, though; they just sort of trimmed the top and bottom frames off the square pictures, but didn't force them into the standard 4x6 shape or anything.
  • My first book took three weeks to get to me; I don't know if that's because of a delay in the printing, or if it was because of the CRAZY WEATHER that keeps delaying everything, but it was almost time to upload my new pictures the day I got the first order.
  • App is really simple. This might be a pro for you, but for me it was a little annoying; it exists basically only to upload the photos you'll need. And I don't know if it's changed, but when I had my Android phone last year, it did not work at all on Android; iPhone app is fine.



Stats:
  • Set up like pay-by-print--you only buy what you want.
Pros:
  • Variety of sizes, from little 2x2 up to much bigger sizes, including aluminum prints, mouse-pads and iPhone cases. Prices Vary: see below.
  • Very nice app, well designed and pretty. Simple to use.
  • Fairly good prices.
  • Got here quicker than I was expecting.
  • Very good print quality, with a good fidelity to how I edited the pics to look on my phone.
  • No weird cropping on the square pics; I haven't tried the regular rectangular ones.
  • A nice semi-gloss finish.
  • Very very nice.
Cons:
  • If you're buying lots of pics, it can get expensive.
  • Prices vary based on how many you order, as far as I can tell, and that means it's hard to tell exactly what each pic will cost.
  • Shipping is not included.




Stats:

  • Order-in-batches for a set cost, quantity varying by size: 24 medium squares for $12, 48 little bitty ones for $15, plus photo-strips, frames, books, posters, business cards, calendars, some other stuff.
Pros:
  • Very nice prints. I ordered the little ones, as you can see in the second pic there, because they were the right size for my calendar; the bigger ones would be perfect for Project Life or something like it.
  • Came fast enough, well packaged, with great design.
  • App is free and well designed.
  • Lots of variety of prints.
  • Matte finish is really nice and silky, and cardstock is good and steady.
Cons:
  • Shipping is not included; they ship flatrate, so it's never any cheaper than almost-6$.
  • Can get expensive if you're printing regularly.
  • Finish doesn't like washi-tape; several of these little guys fell off the calendar over the weeks and months after I hung them.

Overall, I like them all. I'm keeping Groovebook for daily-style printing, and I think I'll use PostalPix for most of my fancy printing because I can order just a few of them if I need to, and shipping is less, but I'd totally go with Printstagram if I had more money!

Do you guys use photo-printing apps? Which ones? What are their pros and cons?
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