I take lots of photos with my smartphone, but am in the dark about how to actually get prints if I want to have one forever. Can you help with some guidance and suggestions?
The evolution of photography is rather fascinating. We’ve gone from glass plates and alchemist-level chemical print making to instant cameras that could only produce one print per picture to film rolls to digital where everything’s just a file full of pixels. Viewing photos has changed commensurately too and now our TVs and “digital" picture frames can show hundreds of images, not just one.
But there’s something about the crisp, beautiful permanence of an actual printed photograph that makes it a valuable keepsake. Your question is spot on, though: how do you take photos with your phone and get prints from them?
One way is to have an actual photo printer. There are dozens and dozens of options from companies like Epson (Model XP-440 shown below), Canon and HP, and many let you send prints wirelessly, directly from your phone. But be warned, it’s a fair bit of fiddling to get them to deliver great results. Oh, and the cost of all those inks!
Fortunately, photography stores and services have taken up the challenge and you can grab apps for your phone from a wide range of companies to choose, upload and order physical prints. If you have a cloud backup system for your photos (iCloud on Mac, Google Photos on Android are the most common) you can also print directly from those collections too.
Boulder, Colorado-based Mike’s Camera, for example, has a very convenient photo print ordering system that lets you tap directly into your online photo archive for image selection. Don’t use the cloud? You can upload them too and, as a bonus, if your digital photos make it to your computer, the Web interface is much easier to use than the mobile one!
This still leaves you doing all the work, of course, which is where a new photo print subscription service that Google is testing with some of its Google Photos users is pretty fantastic. It’ll use AI to go through all the photos you’ve taken in a given month and choose the ten best to print and send to you – automatically! – as 4×6 prints.
Better yet, you can choose what kind of photos you’d prefer, with three categories: Mostly people and pets, Mostly landscapes or A little bit of everything.
The test program will mail you the 10 4×6 matte prints, each with a traditional 1/8" white border, in a cardboard envelope every thirty days for $7.99/month. That’s a respectable $0.79/print which is a bit high for a 4×6 but the convenience is fantastic. And there’s nothing stopping you from having those ten mailed each month to grandma too (though you really have to trust the AI to pick the best at that point!)
Lots of interesting options. Now give a few of them a try and see which works best for you!
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