When did Instagram become a synonym for photography? I’m asking, because I love photography, but I don’t do so well on Instagram. I can see its charm, I really can, and I thoroughly enjoy browsing other people’s beautiful photos, but as for me, most of the really nice photos I’ve taken reside safely on my computer’s hard drive, never to be seen by anyone. The lucky ones got published on Facebook, and the less lucky ones got uploaded to Dropbox to be shared with a specific audience.
The opposite is also true, and even more common: all your really good photos are stuck on Instagram, and aside from your group of followers, no one’s ever going to see them. They’re stuck somewhere on Facebook’s cloud, or if you’ve backed up your Instagram account, on your computer, and that’s the end of that.
Enter Instantgram. Instantgram is one of the dozens of services that print your Instagram photos for you. What makes Instantgram different? Well, it’s the one I tested, to start with, and it’s also pretty darn good, so I don’t see much reason to look elsewhere. Unlike Stickygram, an awesome similar service I tested last year, Instantgram is not just about magnets, but it lets you print out actual photos (remember those?) in two different sizes, which you can hang around the house, give out to friends, or keep in an album, for old times’ sake.
Sounds interesting? Read on to find out how you can grab an exclusive discount code for Instantgram!
Ordering Your Prints/Magnets
Instantgram has been developed in Turkey, and when I first tested the website to make my order, many aspects of the site were still in Turkish. This has now been fixed, but just in case you are from Turkey, you can easily view the entire website in your native language.
Instantgram offers three different products, each available for $17 with free worldwide shipping: a sheet of nine 2×2 (5×5 cm) magnets, a set of twenty-four 4×4 (10×10 cm) squares, and a set of forty-eight 2.5×2.5 (6.3×6.3 cm) squares, also called mini-squares.
To start the ordering process, you’re going to have to log in using your Instagram account, and grant Instantgram basic access to your photos. Unfortunately, there’s no way to make one order from several accounts, so if, like me, you want to use more than one, you’re going to have to make several orders. All my prints arrived together even though I made two separate orders, so in the end it didn’t matter much.
After connecting your Instagram account and choosing a product (magnets, squares, or mini-squares), you’re ready to select your photos. The selection process is simple enough, but it’s important to note that the system will not alert you immediately if you go over the allotted number of photos for your chosen product. If you don’t manually count as you go, you can easily select 10 photos for magnets instead of 9, and only find out when you scroll back up. Even then, you get no warning until you click to go to the next stage, and the one you get is pretty vague.
While selecting photos, it’s easy to see which ones are already included, and how many copies you’re getting of each. To add more than one copy of a photo, hover over it and click the arrows to adjust the number of copies. Click the X to remove the photo from the prints.
The thing I really liked about Instantgram is that is shows you exactly what you can expect from each photo, custom frame and all. Instantgram adds a thin white frame to all your photos, but lets you see exactly what it’s going to look like with the frame your photo already has. As you can see, photos that already have a frame get a double frame, but at least you know it’s coming.
Once you’re all set, click the “Next/Review” button to review your order and make sure you have what you want. Instantgram will show thumbnails of all your chosen photos, duplicating those you wanted more than one of.
If you’re happy, add the order to the cart. If you’re not, you can go back and change things around until you are. The cart itself is the website’s weakest point, with a collection of different-colored elements that look like they’ve been thrown together by accident. Design aside, though, the cart is clear enough, showing you your total, letting you duplicate your order, edit it, or delete it.
As you go through the different steps of the order, you’ll notice that Instantgram has an interesting loading screen, turning your entire screen black with the word “Loading…” flashing quickly from side to side. I would have prefered the page to just load, without the flashing animation, but I guess it’s a matter of personal preference.
All that’s left to do now is to enter your information, pay, and wait for your package to arrive! Instantgram payments are done through PayPal, so you can either use a credit card to pay, or your PayPal balance, if you have one.
I received my order in a battered paper envelope, which, by the time I got my hands on it, was torn in several places. The wear was apparent on the boxes inside as well, but luckily, the prints themselves were not affected. Although Turkey and Israel are pretty close, it seems that the package went through quite an ordeal getting here, which I blame entirely on the post offices along the way.
I made the order on April 28, a Sunday, and it arrived at my local post office exactly 10 days later, on May 8.
Inside the envelope, each product was packed separately, in its own little cardboard box. The packaging is beautiful, although it was kind of battered, and comes with multiple notes saying “thank you” in no less than 28 languages.
Unlike Stickygram magnets, which come in a sheet you need to separate yourself, Instantgram magnets come in a little box, already separated and ready to stick on your fridge.
The printing quality is excellent, and while the magnets are not very strong, they’ll do for holding a paper or two (especially if used together). Besides, their real job is to make your fridge more beautiful, and they deliver at that.
The mini-squares were my favorite type of Instantgram print, printed on sturdy photo paper with a nice matte finish. The colors in the photos are excellent, and the print quality is better than I expected. All in all, I was pleasantly surprised by these, and definitely plan to do something creative with them on my apartment’s wall.
The bigger prints, the squares, are printed in the same quality on the same kind of paper, and with their more traditional size, can be used like any printed photo. With these, the built-in Instagram frames, if you used any, are the least apparent, and take up the least amount of printed space around your photos.
If you want to get really creative, you can order both sizes of photos. Here is what they look like side by side. This can also help you understand the differece in sizes.
Is It Worth It?
In one word, yes. Especially the mini-squares, which I absolutely loved. If I’m allowed more than one word, I’d say that for magnets, you can find better prices, such as on Stickygram, which offers almost identical magnets for $3 less. For prints. Instangram is not the cheapest option either, and you can find similar prints for $12 on places such as Printstagr.am, or a sheet of 140 prints for $23 on the similarly named Printsgram (I love how original these names are!).
However, Instantgram now officially has the MakeUseOf seal of approval. The printing quality is excellent, the interface is simple enough, and chances are you’re going to be very happy with what you get.
Get A Discount!
We’ve managed to get hold of 10 discount codes for Instantgram, three will give the holder 35% off, and seven will give you 10% off your order. Want one? All you have to do is share this post on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, and leave a comment below saying you’ve done so! We’ll contact ten lucky readers and give them a code.
Do you like this trend of Instagram printing? Have you had a good or bad experience with any specific service? Share your stories in the comments!