Monday, August 6, 2012

Printstagram

I often get questions of how I print my instagram photos. Since my instagram account is linked with my flickr, I can download the photos from flickr's site. Then I made an 8 x 12 blank document in photoshop and bring in all the pictures I want to print. I can get eight 4x4 inch pictures on an 8x12. Then I upload them to cvs or costco photo services and they are ready in an hour. All I have to do then is cut them out. It's pretty easy and very cheap, under $2 for an 8x12 photo. Someone on instagram recommended printstagram to me. I checked out their site and was very interested in some of their products. So I placed an order. Right after I placed my order I received an email that said:
"Please remember, We have a strange approach to order fulfillment and we take it slow to make sure everything is printed with high quality and attention to detail. It can take between 2-5 weeks for products to arrive, especially for international orders."
That's fine but I think would have been better if they mentioned that before the order was placed. About a month later, a package arrived from China. I think the package being sent from China had a lot more to do with how long it took then their attention to detail. This tiny book, for example, is very poorly printed. I was confused by this because the smaller a photo should be, the clearer it should look. I've only experienced pixelated photos when they have to be enlarged past normal sizes.
Another thing about the tiny books is that you can't pick out the order in which the photos are placed. Some pairings work well, like the one above, but it's confusing especially when different travel pictures are grouped together.
The last thing I have to say about these tiny books is that their pages are sticky. You can see that there is dirt and dust and lint stuck to this. Stickiness drives me insane so that in addition to the poor print quality made me not so happy with these tiny books. Yes these mini books are cute and affordable but if I had known about their stickiness and poor print quality I would have definitely skipped them.
A cool thing about printstagram is that you can also get prints of your "liked" photographs. These are 4x4. I do like how the photos are matte because glossy pictures never look right. Again, some of the print quality was questionable.
The mini prints are the only part of my order that I was truly happy with. They are a great size, the color is spot on, and I didn't come across any fuzzy printing.
An order of mini prints is 48 pictures so I got to get some to give as gifts. These are some cute shots that Katie took of her boys.
I ordered some of these mini prints for my fridge too.
My hand for scale, to give you an idea of their size.
The mini prints also fit perfectly in a card for mailing.
In my order I got 3 mini books, 48 mini prints, and 24 4x4s. Unless I hear about some different printing methods, I would only reorder mini prints.
I hope you find my honest opinion useful.
all photos by Margaret Haas.

13 comments:

  1. I am so glad you posted this! I reeeeally wanted to try that company, but I read somewhere on the site (after a lot of reading) about the 6-week shipping time and didn't want to wait so long. I love those little books, but I hate that you can't decide which pics go in each book (I wanted to do one of just pictures of my cat & mail it to my husband at work but it proved impossible since you have no control over it)...good to know I'm not missing out on anything.

    I've been using Postal Pix and have found the quality to be nice and the shipping super-speedy!

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation i'll try out postal pix.

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  2. Totally agree with your review - I ordered the tiny books last year to give as stocking stuffers to family members and had many of the same thoughts about the product quality. I find it odd that they don't mention how they are printed overseas or state outright how long it takes. I'm sure more competitors will surface since Instagram is growing in popularity.

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    1. I've only heard about a few others, I hope there will be honest reviews because I do like some of the products offered- like magnets.

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  3. Margaret, thank you for this blog post. Everyone here at Social Print Studios really appreciates the time you've put into it. I want you to know I've taken notes on this post to improve our service, overall product and client experience. We've changed our shipping to FedEx. Now we're shipping worldwide within a weeks time. Some orders can show up in 3 days! We're changing our information so that the purchaser knows all of the details about their purchase before pulling the trigger. The email you receive after you purchase will include a tracking number. We now source our printing from within the United States for some of our products. Some of them are printed right from our office! We are going to implement an "order" option to the books and posters as soon as we can, probably within a few months. I understand you're not happy with the quality / dpi of the smaller images. Instagram photos look best when shot from iPhone4 or imported from an SLR. I'm going to investigate this quality issue. Also, we'll implement a "satisfaction guarantee" policy. I hope this is as helpful for you as it is with me.
    My sincerest regards,
    Thomas

    Social Print Studio
    Thomas@socialprintstudio.com
    @socialps
    http://printstagr.am

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    1. Thanks for your response. A guarantee would be great. All my photos on instagram are taken with my iphone 4 and I've not had any other issues with them printing blurry. Best of luck.

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  4. when you say "you can also get prints of your "liked" photographs" do you mean you can get prints of other people's photos that you've liked? that's a massive breach of copyright! very concerning if that is true!

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    1. Yes that's what I mean. When you sign up for instagram you agree to their terms of use which basically state "we can do whatever we want with your photos." That includes allowing printstagram (and others) to download and print pictures. I don't really see it as a breach of copyright because I only printed my friend's/family photos and I'm not reselling them or claiming them as my own. It's not really a big deal.

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    2. sure your motives were harmless but others may not be. i contacted printstagram and they claimed it was not possible. so you were definitely able to print "liked" photos? i just want to clarify.

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  5. You should check out Prinstabooks.com. They print 4x4" photo books and 4x4 prints. Seem pretty fast and provide free shipping.

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  6. Check out my Instagram video art project! www.vimeo.com/ryanchesney/enjoythejourney

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  7. I agree with this review. I was surprised that the package arrived from Taiwan. No doubt this is why it takes so long to produce the photos (I got simple 4x4 photos, not books) and not because of any attention to detail. Also, the photos I printed were all black and white, but they came out with shades of blue and pink. Not good.

    These guys have a pretty website and they say the right things, but are extremely misleading. Do not use Printstagram unless print quality is unimportant to you.

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