Monday, May 06, 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.
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Photos printed at Persnickety Prints.
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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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. 
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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.

20 comments:

  1. LOL I love your convo with Costco! LOL

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    1. I know, right? Kind of humorous but sad at the same time.

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  2. Thanks for sharing your experiences with so valuable. Many times I crop my square instagrams to a 3.3x3.5 and then place it on a 4x6 then upload to Costco that way. I wish they would make their processing more compatible with the sqaure rage.

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  3. yes...LOL at the convo!
    Good to know about Walgreens. I had just heard about it today and thought I'd try it, but I think I'll just do an order from Persnickity instead!

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  4. Thanks for the research and info. I love the snap shot of your conversation with Costco.

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  5. Wow, talk about how silly it is to claim to print instagram photos but not square - I mean, that is just bizarre! Who thought of that in their company? LOL! I agree that I love printing at home - at least on demand unless I need a huge batch. It's the instant gratification!

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  6. I don't do instagram but I was stunned that Costco would advertise this type of photo printing and then only print them out 4x6, someone needs to wake up over there! Thanks for your input, great post.

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  7. Hey Christine,
    I'm really considering getting a printer and printing from home. I was wondering how the cost of a print at home compares with a print from Costco or Walgreens. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Laura! I've never really calculated the cost of printing at home. It would be difficult to calculate, since I don't just print photos on this printer, I print everything else too. Also, the different colors of ink run out at different times, so it would be very hard to keep track of the cost of everything versus how many photos have been printed. It probably costs more to print at home, but I would definitely pay more for the convenience and control. My photos turn out exactly how I want them, whenever I want. My printer actually can print photos straight from my iPhone, wirelessly.

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    2. I've made some numbers- it's waaaay more expensive to print at home- around 260 dollars a year on ink alone but considering how much control you get I think it's the best option. I don't see why I should pay Costco even 4 bucks to get substandard prints. Persnickety is the way to go.

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  8. Don't you just hate it when you think you've found a great poduct (i.e. Instgram printing via Costco) only to be let down by the functionality?!?!? I mean, who would want rectangular Instragram pics??? Crazy situation, but kinda funny from a reader's POV.

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  9. This is pretty ridiculous that costco would advertise that, but maybe they'll wise up soon enough! I print all my photos at home because it is just so much easier + I love my printer. If I did order prints though I think I would just use photoshop to make them into the correct sizes myself, i.e. make a 4x6 canvas with a 3.9x3.9 instagram print + a white border + some room on one side for journaling. If you have the photos printed like that you end up with a white part that is glossy photo paper which I just love writing on [or typing some journaling before printing!]. Of course, I do this at home, but it could work just as well if you're ordering prints!

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    1. Hi Linda - I think the whole point of ordering Instagram photos is the convenience factor. The Instagram photos are in my IG account. Costco could connect to my account and get the photos without me having to do anything to them. If I have to go through gyrations like opening up PS and saving to a 4x6 canvas, then I might as well just print it at home, since my printer is just 2 feet from my computer.

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    2. I so totally agree! Thank you SO MUCH for writing this. I always print at home after I had a similar experience with Duane Reade printing 2 years ago- I can't believe Costco didn't research the subject and correct the problem.

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  10. I have printed at postal pix before and liked them.

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  11. I've actually wished instagram wasn't square many times because it cuts off parts of a photo I want to post! :(

    LOVE the walgreens app by the way for refilling rx. You can scan the barcode from the bottle and within a few clicks the refill is sent to the pharmacy! Probably more useful for those of us on a ton of drugs :)

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  12. I've used Postsl Prints and hated the prints- total waste of money- they were dark and all the skin tones were deep magenta. I will be trying Persnickety next and would love to try Origami but they are too expensive. I want true 1 hour square prints- in different sizes. Till the print machines at the box stores get reprogrammed I guess I'll be printing at home.

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  13. Thanks for sharing! That really makes no sense at all, Cosco! Have you ever heard of snastagram? It's probably the easiest (and cheapest) way to print instagram photos. They offer free shipping on all prints too!

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  14. Hey, My name is Laura and I blog about tips for displaying printed Instagram photos at printicular.com/printing-instagram. Thanks for sharing this, how disappointing that your Instagram photos weren't in 4x4, that's just bizarre.
    I have had a look at a few of your scrapbooks that you create and I want to let you know I love your layout ideas! I love looking around and seeing the crafty ways that people display their Instagram photos. Thank you for sharing and thank you for the inspiration!

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  15. I just got back from a trip where I took A LOT of IG photos and although I usually print at home, I was hoping for an easy way to print the square photos as actual 4x4 squares. I found this blog through a Google search and just wanted to say thanks for saving me some hassle! I love Persnickety but dang it would cost me a ton to print all of my trip photos... and they have the white border, which I was hoping to avoid (although I often use frames, so the uneven frames from Walgreens makes me CRAY, so the white border is preferable I guess). I think I'll end up printing them at home on my Epson PictureMate. I can deselect "fit to print area" so they'll stay square, and deselect "borderless" so they'll have a small white border and keep their frames. I'd love to not have the white borders, but it's not worth the time to put each photo into PSE onto a 4x6 canvas with *just enough* extra space around it.... Sigh. Maybe someday one of these companies will figure it out! :) Thanks again for your post!

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