Monday, May 6, 2013

Instagram Printing Adventures

As you know, I print most of my photos at home.  I do this because it’s very convenient.  When I want to scrapbook or do Project Life, I don’t want to have to think about whether I had sent a photo to get printed or not.  All my photos are in my Lightroom catalog and it’s easy to just go in and print what I need.  My printer at home is the Canon Pixma MG5320 and I adore the quality of prints I get on it.  (The new model that’s out now is the Canon Pixma MG6320.)  Almost all the photos you see on my scrapbook pages and Project Life are printed at home.  Except for those that were printed at Persnickety Prints.

Photos printed at home this weekend.

Photos printed at Persnickety Prints.

I love printing at home and I love printing at Persnickety. 

Then a few weeks ago, I got an email from Costco Photo Center telling me that they now print Instagram photos.  I was excited because our local Costco does a pretty good job.  I used them a bit in 2011 for my Project Life.  And you can just log in to Costco Photo Center online and log in to your Instagram account and it will retrieve all your Instagram photos.  So I did that.  Then I went to order the photos and guess what?  They don’t print square photos.  So all the square Instagram photos got cropped to 4x6, which means some major parts of the photo got cropped off.  I thought to myself… Surely this is a mistake on my part?  Maybe I don’t know how to order these online?  Why would they offer Instagram printing if they can’t offer a square photo?  So I went online to get live chat help with the Costco Photo Center.  Here’s how it went.


So until Costco decides to get serious about REALLY printing square photos, I won’t be using them for Instagram!  So I told this story to my Facebook friends and a couple of them said Walgreens now prints Instagram photos, square ones even!  So I downloaded the Walgreens app to my iPhone and was able to choose immediately which photos to print.  I was able to use a coupon inside the app to get a discount.  And the photos were ready to pick up in an hour.

I went that same day after work and picked up my Instagram prints at Walgreens.

I found out that if you don’t choose which print finish you want inside the Walgreens app on the iPhone, the default finish is luster.  I didn’t see any options inside the app to choose glossy.  This is what the luster finish surface looks like.

And because of the bleed allowance issue, the edges of your Instagram print will be somewhat unevenly cut off.  That’s fine if your Instagram photos don’t have frames.  But if you have a frame around it, some parts will be cut off and it looks stupid.


The Walgreens 4x4 Instagram prints cost 39 cents each to print (regular price without coupons), which is significantly more than printing a regular 4x6 photo for 19 cents. 

The prints are on regular photo paper and are thin compared to the Instagram Polaroids that I got printed at Persnickety Prints.  Those were 45 cents each but were on matte or glossy heavy cardstock. 

My conclusion for now?  I still LOVE printing at home and the instant gratification of immediately holding the photos in my hands and heading off to my craft studio to scrapbook.  My home printer prints such high quality photos that there are only a couple of circumstances in which I feel it would be worth sending the photos out to print somewhere else.  First is if I’m doing a big project and have to print off a big batch of photos.  I would print the regular 4x6s at Costco.  Second is if I want the high-quality thick awesome paper from Persnickety Prints.  Perhaps Costco will eventually be able to print real square Instagram photos.  For now, it is a joke.

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