the wonderful world of veena.

19 December 2013

retail review: printstagram.

I've been on a huge "I want to print pictures" kick for the last few weeks. I've always loved taking pictures, and I'm pretty sure I single-handedly kept the photo department at the Walgreen's on the corner of McLean and Union in business during my undergrad years. Depending on the time of year, I sometimes printed two or three rolls of film a week. That's right, you heard me correctly.

But then everything went digital. I got a digital camera for Christmas one year, and although I continued printing pictures through my graduation from uni, I slowly tapered off after that. I printed photos when I returned from my initial stint in Bangalore and put those into albums, and then I printed a few after Jagan and Maeve's wedding, but I'm pretty sure that was the last time. Their wedding was in December 2006.

So for the last 7 years I have been accumulating thousands upon thousands of pictures on various hard drives, but I've not printed any. Not even thought about it, really. It never crossed my mind while I was living in India, and I was only ever in the States for a short period of time, so it wasn't high on my priority list.

But in the last 7 months, I've been noticing more and more that all the pictures I have up in my room - and I have a lot - date from 2004 and before, with the single exception being a photograph of Lindsay, Miriam, Ashley, and myself taken at Lindsay's wedding in 2009. And if I'm being honest, I think someone else printed it - my guess is Ashley - and sent it to me, and I put it in a frame. Otherwise everything is from undergrad or before.

Don't get me wrong, I love all those pictures. I love looking at them and remembering the occasions on which they were taken, be it orientations or trips to Jamaica or proms or date parties or weddings or random nights where fun adventures happened. My photographs are the road maps of my life, and if you travel through them you'll meet all the wonderful people who have populated my life.

In order for that road map to be complete, I have been feeling the need for more recent pictures. I knew it would take me a while to sort through all the pictures on my hard drive to choose ones for printing [it's taken me a week so far, and I still have 1,300 potential pictures. eeks], so in the meantime I thought I would print some of the pictures from my phone.

I've been using Instagram [@vrangaswami, if you want to follow me] for the last few years, and I've really liked how some of my pictures have turned out. It's been a great way to grab some quick shots while I've been out-and-about, so I decided to print some of those pictures to tide me over for a while.

I had heard about Printstagram a few months ago and really liked the idea of a tear-off calendar using your Instagram pictures, but I didn't have enough to print a calendar for next year. Instead, I opted for the 4x4 square prints that they offer. It's $12 for 24 prints, and I chose 72 pictures to print. Perhaps a little excessive, but shipping is a flat $7 no matter what you order, so I figured I'd get my money's worth.

The site automatically accesses your Instagram account online, so you can choose which pictures you want to print directly from your browser. I had an idea of most of the ones I wanted to print, so it didn't take me too long. Once I placed the order, it took about a week for them to be delivered via FedEx. My only complaint about the delivery was that it required a signature or a note on the door with instructions to leave the package. It wasn't necessarily a hindrance but more of an irritant. I've been ordering stuff online for years, and I've never once had to sign for a delivery. It was just weird.

But the product itself was great. The quality of both the prints and the paper are really good, and I love how compact they are. I'm really happy with how they turned out, and it's so nice to have new pictures for the first time in so many years. I got so excited that I decided I wanted to hang them in my room, so I bought a 16x20 poster frame, chose 20 prints, and arranged them chronologically [that's my OCD rearing it's pretty head], and pasted them onto the insert using double-sided scrapbooking tape; now I just have to figure out where I want to hang it.

Below are some pictures showing how they turned out. The first 5 are just them piled on my bed, and the last one is a shot of how the collage turned out.

Thank you, Printstagram, for my awesome new pictures.

[this is not a sponsored post; I don't do that sort of thing, but I do like sharing any products that I really like]

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