Print your Phone pictures

10:14 AM

I first published this blog post in 2015 and decided to republish it in view of what is to come on the blog in a few days. Since I was already at it, I added a bit more to it. When I wrote it back in the day I was still the owner of just a regular, very utilitarian HP printer with all the drawbacks it has when it comes to printing pictures (hint, they dont stand the test of time). 
I have since then become the proud owner of a Canon Selphy printer which has changed how I view my phone pictures and preserving memories in general. 

I am still strongly in favour of you guys not letting your picture pile up in your dropbox or phone until you forget they even exist. And know that there is still more than one way to get them printed as I explain below:

How to print your phone pictures

Do you remember leafing through photo albums as a child? I certainly do.

I also remember how my dad would save all the developped pictures in their envelopes and then sit down with an empty photo album on a rainy weekend to fill it.
He would sift through all the pictures we took on whatever trip we went to, select the best ones, arrange them on the page and when satisfied, paste them with these special stick on angles.
Once he was done, he would caption them in a neat handwriting and put the album on the shelf for us to leaf through whenever we felt like revisiting memories. 

The real irony, is that back then, picture taking was more expensive than it is now. I remember using my pocket money to buy rolls to put in the camera my parents got me for my 10th birthday. Then it was a whole thing deciding what was really worthy of taking a picture of, and try really hard not to mess it up. We had no way of knowing how a picture would turn out until we had the film developped.Process that would have me spend another chunk of my allowances as well.

Nowadays, you can click as many pictures as you want, without having to worry about spending money on bad snaps (bless the "Delete"option).
With camera phones, it is even easier, the camera is always there. Snap your food, take selfies, make faces, take snaps of your feet (my dad would cringe at the idea of wasting one exposure doing that) click away.

Yet, almost none of these make it to print. NONE

Come on, fess up, you made a face at the idea of printing a phone picture. At the most you will print one or two from your point and shoot or DSLR camera. But all these candid phone pictures? Nah!

you can print your phone picture at home and frame them.

After all, they are...well you know...PHONE pictures (say it out loud with a mock expression of contempt mixed with disgust).

That picture above was taken with my phone. It was even edited on my phone to give it a pretty filter. I printed it at home on my HP printer with photo paper. How about that?
Recently, I gave you all a few tips to take great pictures with your phone. Now why on earth would you keep all these great snaps on said phone for the rest of eternity (or Dropbox)?

Phones nowadays come with high enough resolution cameras that you no longer can say that pictures will end up being low resolution on paper.

Here is how you can print phone picture at home on an all purpose inkjet colour printer:

- Directly from your phone if it is set up to do so, or from an app that connects to your printer.

- If you have a HP printer like me, you can send them to the special address you probably set up along with the printer. (I never bothered with that, but yes it is possible)

- Or, you can send the picture to dropbox and access it from your desktop to print it (this is what I do)

The only drawback of printing at home is that depending your printer, you may end up with a picture that will fade over time. Which is fine if you plan to just display it around your home for a short time.

But, if you really really care about a picture, you have other options available, here they are:

Have them professionally printed

In India, you can take them to your local photographer and order a print in any size you want, and even have them frame it. It's affordable, and fast, you usually have it within the hour. And yes, you can go and have just that one picture printed. They don't mind.
If you don't feel like facing your local photographer. Or, if you live in a country where photographers won't print just one or two prints without costing you a fortune, there are many ways to order prints online. There are even websites that will print your Instagram pictures straight from your Instagram account.

Invest in a compact photo printer

If you are going to print your picture regularly (and you TOTALLY should) I suggest you invest in either a quality laser printer (very expensive) or a Compact photo printer (affordable and easy to use).

The advantage of compact printers is that they take very little space, are easy to use and are specifically designed to print pictures, which means they do a specialised task and do it much better than your typical utilitarian all purpose home printer. For a start, you won't have the problem of colour fading over time.
I myself made the best purchase of 2016 treating myself to a Canon Selphy printer, you can read my complete review about it in this blog post.
The direct competitor of that brand is the Epson Picturemate, a lot pricier than the Selphy, but a notch above when it comes to colour rendering it is preferred by professional photographers that do a lot of printing on the go (at special events and photo-booths).

All in all, there are no excuses not to print your phone pictures, in fact not doing so would be quite a shame. So get printing already!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links, if you purchase anything, I get paid a commission. 

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  1. This reminds me .... I have to sift through thousands of photos and pick the best to print.

    You are right, Cyn, Those days, taking photos, getting them developed and printed was quite an effort. But because of the effort we took, we cherished the few photos we managed to take.

    Now, we just clicking away at random. Many of them tend to be repeats of one another. The only good thing is that each of those seemingly countless photos take you back in time. More frames, more memories.

    1. My grandma has always been a photo taking fanatic. It was not unusual for her to come back from a trip and end up having 5-6 rolls of 36 exposure to develop. My dad always thought her mom was a bit crazy because inevitably, half of the pictures would be food buffet pics on the cruise she went on. The exact thing most people would think twice about photographing back in those days and that we pretty much all have done at one point or another with digital photography.

      Growing I don't rememember us havinga lot of pictures of us eating or doing casual things when on vacation because picture taking was such a big deal. It was something we did save for monuments, landscape and yes an occasional picture of us posing very stiffly in front of something picture worthy.

      I remember starting to snap all kind of goofy picture with my camera when I was a teenager, as a sign of rebellion and also because for the first time ever we had the option to mail our rolls in prepaid enveloppes to an industrial film developper and we would get them back in the mail a week later. The price went from about one Swiss frank a picture to about 20 cents, this was HUGE.

      In many ways, digital photos make for far better memories because we are less afraid of taking a picture such as the kids eating exotic food, or a sandcastle or whatnot.

    2. Anonymous12:11 PM

      I still have the photo album of my parent's marriage tucked away somewhere. There is something about black and white photos, they make everyone look beautiful and the sharpness is amazing and that goes for almost all black and white pictures. Normal people look like movie stars. We did not have a camera because it was expensive so the most of the photos were by photographers who are found at tourist spots. One photo has little me with my family, standing petrified, looking down at the water, while the waves washed our feet. It was my first experience of sea at Puri in Orissa and boy, I was scared. Our visits were few, my father managed to fit in a religious tour with our visits to the grandmother, so very few photographs of that time.

      Colour photos came very late, when we thought that we got to have a camera since everyone else has one. Earlier, colour photos used very bright colours which eventually turned brownish dark after some time. The black and white photos though have stood the test of time.

      With camera phones, I have found that we click too many pictures, which we do not need. We always keep them handy to show them to someone or share on the facebook. The result is most of them never get deleted and slow down the phone. It is like we have got into the habit of hoarding pictures.

      I am specially having problems with downloading pictures from my Samsung phone. I think it needs some special app, which I have not yet been able to find. I want to clear my phone and download all the pics but no luck so far.


    3. I think the thing about black pictures keeping better than the color film rolls has to do with the developing process, if I remember correctly, the quality prints were the results of metals such as silver used in the developing used during the process. Color pictures used dyes and chemicals that used to turn with time with exposure to air and light. This air oxidation problem still persist with ink-jet printers today, but not with laser and thermal ribbon printing.

      Black and white pictures still have their use today, even in digital photography, for example when you have a shot that is looking very busy due to a lot of secondary elements and clashing colours, turning it into a black and white picture can help refocus the attention on the main subject.

      Good news on the app front for your phone, there are quite a few that allows you to move your phone picture to a "cloud storage" and then be accessed from anywhere.
      I used Dropbox the most, in fact it is setup on my phone in such a way that all my camera phone pictures are automatically copied to my dropbox account right after I took them.
      That way I can delete the one on my phone and it's still there in my Dropbox account.

      I can also view that dropbox account from my iPad or my laptop. This is how I get a lot of the pictures I took with my Phone edited on my laptop with Photoshop before posting them on the blog.

      If you don't like Dropbox, you can set up your phone to back up your pictures to your Google account, and they will go straight to "Google Photo", or you can send the one you care about directly either to Google Photo yourself, or Google Drive.

      My phone also comes with a micro SD card, and I made sure to set up my phone to send every pictures I take straight to that card instead of the internal memory, this way it doesn't slow my phone down by hogging space in the internal storage. If your phone has that option take advantage of it.

      And of course, print the ones that are great and matter, make a photo album of them and delete them from the phone :-)


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