Getting Instagrammed Moments on Paper

 

In a previous blog post, we featured a mobile app that would allow you to print directly from your phone to your Canon printer. But what if you don't have a Canon device and you want to get photos from the popular smartphone app Instagram printed? Thankfully, in the increasingly mobile-centric world, you don't have to look too hard to find the perfect option-- Printstagram. Offered on both your smartphone and your web browser, the service allows you to transform any Instagrammed moment into a fully realized physical object.  With mobile cameras becoming increasingly better at taking high resolution photos, this is a perfect option for amateurs and pros alike to capture the moments traditional photography cannot.

How does Printstagram work?

If you're accessing Printstagram though your web browser, simply go to the main page and click the desired type of printing you want. When you click 'Buy Now', it will prompt you to log-in to Instagram with your username and password. After that, you're free to select the photos you want and within 14 business days, Prinstagram will ship the products to you.

For those with a smartphone running Apple iOS, you can download Printsagram's "Print Studio" app for free. By downloading the app, you'll be able to automatically synch your Instagram photos through your camera and order prints on the go.

What sizes of prints do they offer?

Printstagram is thankfully able to offer a wide variety of sizes. The smallest are the mini stickers, which measure less than 1 square inch and cost $10 for 252 total stickers. Individual prints can range considerably, including more expensive options like the 8x8 inch framed print for $60. For those who want high gloss options, Printstagram also offers posters up to 28x30 inches, which can be comprised of up to 512 different Instagram photos.

What occasions is Printstagram good for?

Every occasion. Really! You can use Prinstagram to get photos or posters to decorate your desk, an empty wall, or a refrigerator. But the prints also make great gifts! For instance, you can create a calendar that includes 365 different prints, making it a great way to show a loved one the photos that matter most to you. You can also create mini prints, which measure approximately 8.5x5.5 centimeters, making them perfect to slip into your cards during the next holiday season.

How long do the prints last?

Though it might depend on the type of print and exposure to light, all of the prints are produced with premium photo paper or card stock with glossy or matte finishes that help preserve shelf life. The posters are also printed on a special thick Fuji Crystal Archive paper, preventing the wear and tear that might easily come with posters. Needless to say, you want to go back to Printstagram to get new prints made every month.

If you use your phone primarily to take pictures, or want to be able to capture those on-the-go moments without having to worry about lugging around a bulky camera, Printstagram is the perfect option for getting mobile photos from Instagram available in physical form. Whether you're keeping them to yourself, or sharing them with others, no moment is a bad moment to hand out these printed memories. However, if you are too impatient to wait 14 days to get prints, now's the time to stock up on ink cartridges to do it yourself.

No matter how you plan on printing life's special moments, please share some of your favorite photographed moments below!

 

Spring Cleaning For Your Electronics

spring cleaningMarch 20th marked the beginning of spring and, for many, the annual spring cleaning ritual. While most focus on cleaning out the car, tossing excess clutter, and carefully scrubbing every surface free of dust and dirt, most neglect one of the most important electronic devices-- the printer. Though it's difficult to tell just how dirty a printer might have gotten during the winter months, it's important to remove any excess grime and test how the printer is working to ensure the highest quality experience. Failing to clean out your printer can result in poor printing quality, especially for photographs or color printing.

Before printing, check your printer manual or contact your manufacturer for best cleaning practices.

Every printer, like every floor or counter, is designed differently and thus requires specific care. Whether you have an inkjet, laser or solid ink printer, your manufacturer knows the best ways to avoid damaging the delicate (and essential) components of your printer.

Always make sure your printer is off and fully unplugged.

Ensuring your printer is not connected to any power source eliminates the risk of electrical shock. At the same time, by allowing the machine's internal components to power down, you prevent potential burns to yourself, as components in laser printers can get especially hot.

Never directly spray any type of cleaning solution onto your printer.

Though you should check with your printer to see if there are particular solvents you can use to clean the exterior (body) of the printer, it's never a good idea to spray anything onto your printer. Moisture accumulating in any component of the printer can cause irreparable damage. A dry, lint-free cloth is recommended, though many companies now make electronics wipes for your printer's body.

Avoid cleaning internal components unless you have experience.

You can, and should, examine ink cartridges to ensure there is no spilled ink, leaks, or other debris that has collected. However, avoid unscrewing components or touchings parts (including the feed rollers) as these can be permanently damaged. Certain models have self-cleaning mechanisms that can save you the hassle of wondering which components to touch (or not).

Don't forget to print a test page at the end of the process.

When you've finished your cleaning process, be sure to print a test page. If it's been several months since you've last used your printer, inks can settle, adversely affecting print quality. If the ink isn't moving properly through your printer, these inconsistencies will show up, especially during color printing. If you are satisfied with the results, you've successfully cleaned your printer! If you are experiencing ghosting you may have a part that is defective; otherwise consult your manufacturer's website or contact an electronics specialist.

You might be ready for a printer change, so don't forget to recycle.

You might be feeling like it's time to get an upgraded printer or find one best designed for your needs. If that's the case, don't forget to recycle your electronics. Adding them to a landfill only increases the risk of environmental contamination from ink and other printer components. Best Buy is one of the retailers that offers a national recycling program and if you have 8+ empty cartridges that need to be recycled, we have a free recycling program that includes a prepaid return shipping label.

 

As always, spring is the best time to replenish those depleted ink cartridges! Feel free to share some of your favorite cleaning tips for electronics below or ask any questions if you're looking for that perfect new printer this spring.

Maximizing Your Home Photography Printing

inkjet photo printerAs digital cameras are now the preferred method for taking photographs, the business of photographic printing at home has grown. Often times, however, many who get home printers aren't aware of which printers are best to buy, the cost involved with printing photographs at home, and other important information on the subject. We wanted to provide that information both for those amateur enthusiasts and devoted pros. 

An easy place to start looking for photo-based printers is by browsing through technology blogs' best-of lists. For instance, CNET has a list of the best inkjet printers for photography. Inkjet pinters are preferred because they tend to save ink over laser printers, are more compact, and use technology where tiny ink droplets create a higher quality image. When considering specific inkjet models, it's a good idea to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much do I want to spend? Inkjet models can range from $160 to almost $500 depending on the features and manufacturer.
  • How big are my photos going to be? For images larger than 8 x 10 inches, you'll need to consult a professional printer. For those smaller sized photos, home printing can save a few cents per photo, and a lot of added convenience. This review of printing 4 x 6 inch prints showed the reduction in cost at home.
  • What else do I need my printer to do? While this seems like a no brainer, many neglect to consider everything they use their printer for. If you're looking for copy or fax ability, and to be able to print higher volumes in black and white, a multi-purpose inkjet is your best bet.
  • How much does the ink itself cost? Many don't take into account the cost of color ink, which can run $20-$50 per cartridge, depending on the model. Visit our website to do cost comparisons, and to find potential deals by buying ink cartridge packages for multi-cartridge printing.

Once you have considered the right model, it's important to consider if you want to do photo-editing. While most computers have basic image editing capabilities (including cropping, changing saturation or sharpness, and resizing), for those who need more advanced image-editing capabilities, you'll need to consider additional software. The most popular software is Adobe Photoshop, which costs $699. However, if you're not familiar with this software, it may require books or online courses to become familiar with all of the features, so it is only recommended for those devoted pros.

It's also important to be aware of two things while using these home inkjet printers. When printing with a high-gloss photo paper, you will need to give your prints time to dry, otherwise your image will smudge. While the ink cartridges sometimes clog, especially after periods where they haven't been used for a long time, they can be fixed easily, and many resources are available online to guide you through that process.

Now that you know the many advantages, minor disadvantages, and other considerations when choosing photographic printing at home, you're ready to go out and record those special moments you want to remember forever! Feel free to share your favorite photos or other home printing tips below.

How Printing Can Be Green

It's no surprise to most that home or office printing is not friendly to the environment. Beyond the obvious amount of paper waste, many types of printers use complex internal printing mechanisms and ink cartridges that produce a lot of added waste. As the two groups forming the Environment Industry Associations report, every year 300 million empty cartridges get added into the waste stream. Because it takes 1 gallon of oil to produce a single ink cartridge, the environmental impact is enormous.

eco-friendly

However, with advances made to printer quality, recycling, and awareness over printing practices, your printing experience doesn't have to wreck the environment in the process. Printing green also has an added benefit--efficiency. With more efficient practices, you'll save yourself money in the process. The following tips are intended to be starting points for thinking about what impact your home or office practices have.

  • Print double-sided on post-consumer recycled paper. It seems like a no-brainer to print on both sides of a sheet of paper, but surprisingly few people do it. By using double-sided printing, you instantly reduce your paper waste by half. At the same time, it's important to find post-consumer recycled paper, meaning the paper is made of recycled pulp from other consumer products. Many stores like Staples or Office Max will have Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) labels to indicate these practices have been verified.
  • Print on the lowest quality ink setting, except in necessary occasions. Factory printer settings typically aren't set up for the lowest quality ink setting, but unless you are printing professional color documents or photographs, there is no need to print outside of the 'draft' setting. You can significantly reduce how quickly you use up the existing ink in your cartridge.
  • When shopping for a new printer, consider ENERGY STAR labels and intended usage. Like the FSC labeling paper products, ENERGY STAR labels consumer and professional electronics and appliances on how effectively they use energy. When shopping, be sure to look for the distinct light blue logo. Thinking about intended use is a good consideration when making a printer purchase. One of the first questions to ask is, "Do I need to print only in black and white or color?" Monochrome printers use only one ink cartridge, reducing waste, whereas color printers can have four or more separate cartridges that can increase waste.
  • Recycle your cartridges! This is the single most effective way of reducing cartridge waste. When throwing out a cartridge in the trash, it'll likely end up spending decades in a landfill. With increasingly sophisticated methods for repurposing old cartridges, there is really no reason not to. Earth911 even has a search for companies that re-purpose cartridges by city.
  • Ask yourself, "Do I really need to print this?" While we are an ink and toner business, we also want to make sure you're printing only what you need. With new digital systems for reading, signing, and storing documents, printing out items, especially related to work, may not be necessary. Consider synching email, documents, photographs, or other items to your smartphone, tablet, or reading device to save on printing output.
  • Finally, and perhaps easiest of all, power off and unplug your printer when not in use. Unless you expect a busy day of high-use printing, having a printer on and/or plugged in uses a lot of residual energy. This will help reduce your monthly electric bill as well.

Though these are just some of the tips we have for printing in a more eco and wallet friendly way, there are many other tips we haven't included. Leave your favorite green printing trick below.

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