Whether you use your phone camera more than your regular camera these days (like I do!), or you only take the occasional phone photo, chances are you've relied on your phone to capture at least one memory recently.
One of the most frequent questions I get from phoneographers is, "How do I get prints from the photos on my phone?"
There are several different ways I get prints from my phone pics, but the most recent addition to the phone photo printing scene is the newly improved, free Kodak Gallery app, available for both iPhone and Android.
Here's what I like about this app:
1. I can access all the photos I've ever uploaded from either the app or the website. No more trying to remember if I took a particular pic with my phone or Canon, and having to hunt on two devices for it.
2. It's really easy to create and add to folders on the Kodak site, from my phone, which makes photo organization a breeze.
3. Even if I plan to print at home or with another service, I can still upload to Kodak for organization/storage. It's a good backup, just in case I have some sort of catastrophic phone (or computer) crash.
4. I can pick up my prints in an hour from Target or CVS! This is great for those inevitable times when my printer runs out of ink right before a big deadline. Additionally, I pay at the store, so no need for the extra step of entering credit card information.
What I don't like:
1. The bulk of my phone prints are 4x4, and the Kodak Gallery app currently has no 4x4 option to accomodate square phtoos. The help feature within the app is misleading, because the instructions for maintaining photo size without cropping can only be followed on the website. It took an order of incorrectly cropped prints and a chat with customer service to figure this out. You can upload 4x4 photos from your phone, but if you don't want them stretched/cropped to fit the 4x6 format you must add them to your cart from the website, click on "zoom and crop" for each individual photo, then check the "show entire image" box for each and every one. Seriously. What a pain.
The Kodak Gallery customer service rep told me that they recognize the popularity of Hipstamatic and Instagram and are working on making the 4x4 option available in a future app update, but they don't have a specific release date for this yet.
2. I prefer a matte finish on my prints, and matte is not available with same-day pickup at CVS or Target. This means that I either have to have the prints shipped from the site (and pay shipping) to get my matte finish, or be desperate enough (ie, out of ink, deadline looming) to choose glossy prints.
Another caveat: If you're in a big hurry to get your pics, be aware that the actual turnaround time may vary from the advertised one hour, depending on the printing load and staffing of your particular store, and the size of your order. When I uploaded a test batch of prints to my local CVS at 10am on a weekday, my confirmation email said my prints would be ready at 1pm. This isn't Kodak's fault of course, and had I chosen another store or day, the timeframe may have been different. In fact, on a different day at the same store, I received a notification that my prints were ready just 15 minutes after submitting my order, which is crazy-fast.
Bottom line: My initial excitement at the notion of being able to upload my phone pictures for same day pickup at a local store was dampened by the shortcomings of the Kodak Gallery app and in-store paper options. Uncropped square prints and a matte finish are pretty much dealbreakers for me.
For square-format photos, I still prefer the superior quality and matte finish of the square prints at PostalPix. However, the ease of organization and inexpensive on-demand printing from Kodak are features that I will probably make use of from time to time. And as much as PostalPix excels for square photos, they don't offer a "no cropping" option for their rectangular prints. The sensor size on a phone camera means cropping always occurs on my 4x6 photos unless I format them with a time-consuming workaround. So in the event that I have a lot of rectangular phone pictures to print, ordering online from Kodak Gallery might make sense for me.
Interested in learning more about making the most of your phone photos, from capturing to editing to printing to scrapbooking? Sign up for my Phoneography 101 class at Timeless Treasures in Rancho Santa Margarita, Saturday, May 19 from 4 - 5:30pm. Cost: $15. Call (949) 888-7151 to register. This class features lecture-style instruction, followed by a hands-on photo walk to try out what you've learned.