I posted here a while back about my enthusiasm for instagrams, and mobile phone photography in general. I decided to try out a few of the services I mentioned in that post, because I felt like I needed to do go some way towards creating something tangible out of all of those throwaway images I have amassed.
Here is the first set of instagrams I received from firebox. I was impressed with the service and speed of delivery. The prints have a nice matt finish. They don’t really look or feel like Polaroids, but I guess they are more inspired by Polaroids. They are fun and come in a sweet little pack with a free pen. I’ll definitely use the service again. I think it cost £9.99 for 12 prints, which isn’t too bad, but delivery was another £3-4 on top of that.
In contrast, I wasn’t so impressed with the postagram service. I ordered a couple of postcards back in March just to see what they were like; one to me and one to my mum’s address. They didn’t show up and I forgot about them. Then I re-ordered them a few weeks ago and they both turned up last week! I’m not sure if mum has got hers yet, though.
I found the website fairly unhelpful in terms of customer service. It was near impossible to find out how to contact someone about the missing postagrams and all I was able to do was re-order (which I had to pay for). I wasn’t that impressed with the size of the image or the quality either (you can pop it out of the postcard), and adding text to the card was difficult. I spent a long time trying to align the words properly and they still came out wrong. I had had an idea to do a little project with some postagrams, but I think I will use the firebox prints instead for this.
The final service I signed up for was instacanvas. Again, I like the idea of it – being able to order canvas prints of your and others’ instagrams from an ‘artists’ website sounds quite cool – but the website is lacking in content and style. It’s easy enough to sign up and navigate (though you have to wait a few weeks for your site to open), but there are pages which aren’t ready yet (like the stats page) and it doesn’t look particularly polished. It feels like a site which is very much a work in progress. To me it seems that there is a lot of hype around these new instagram services and not much (at least yet) to offer.
You can advertise your page with one of their buttons (see my widget on the right hand side under the main blog page) but these don’t look particularly, well, appealing in my opinion. Your photos upload directly from instagram and you can pick and choose which ones go into your gallery, which I like, but in reality what happens is people upload much better images they have taken with their SLRs (probably) to instagram from their computer via their iPhones after they have worked on them in Photoshop or whatever, so you see a lot of images (not all) which really couldn’t have been taken with instagram because they are beyond the capability of instagram, which is fine, of course, but then I wonder what the point of the instagram feed is at all. Most people don’t use the filters (they do have a feeling of uniformity to them), and there are other apps which have better filters and functionality out there. Instagram is starting to feel quite gimmicky; a vehicle for exposure as opposed to a ‘proper’ camera app.
(I know, I know I raved about it before, but hey, I admit I am a fickle creature…)
I haven’t ordered an instacanvas yet so I can’t comment on their quality. I will, but they are quite expensive, and at the moment we can’t hang things on our walls so I’m going to wait until we move.
I really wanted to try the postalpix service, which looks great, but sadly they are not operational as yet in the UK. I hope they get their acts together soon and offer a service to us UK customers as I really like the look of their square prints. Meanwhile, if anyone can recommend to me another service which can produce nice square format prints directly from your phone and/or computer I would love to hear about it!
Anyway, that’s it, for now! I have some ideas floating around of things to do with some of these prints. I will update more soon!
© Emily Hughes and searchingtosee, 2012