Ideas to get the images off of your computer and into your hands...
I'm going to start by saying this post is 100% my own opinion based on my experiences and is in no way sponsored by the brands mentioned (though, if they want to sponsor me, I'm all for it!). There are endless options for prints or albums, so in short, I encourage you to find one that works for your needs and use it. I'm only going to talk about labs and options that are available to everyone...meaning, you don't need a tax id for your photography business to get an account. Guys, there are TONS of super fancy places out there, but I'm a normal person and not here to sell you on "heirloom" albums or wall are, okay?
Let's start here. Remember when the only way to see your images from your film camera was to send it to a lab for printing? I mean, unless you had access to a darkroom, that was the option. We sparingly took photos - holidays or birthdays, travelling, big moments of life - because one roll was 24 or 36 images and it cost real money to see the pictures. And the prints? 4x6...large prints were super special and reserved for real art, haha.
But it's now 2021, and we have endless print labs and options available - plug in your phone or a memory card at your neighborhood pharmacy or Target or Walmart, even Costco (which I've never used but actually gets some okay reviews on quality and color...) and you can have prints in hand in a matter of minutes. If this is the only option available to you, meaning, if you need a picture tomorrow for a school project for your precious child who knew about this need last week but only mentioned it 2 minutes before bed, then by all means, use these places. If you have a few days to get prints, read on.
My go-to for prints before starting this business was (is) mpix. They have good quality prints at normal prices and ship pretty fast which is kind of a must for my need for instant gratification. They also offer tons of sizes and different finishes (I might blog about that another time). They have an ap - because who doesn't? So the process from mobile device to paper is extra simple. If you want to do things on your computer, you can go online and access your Facebook or Instagram images, as well as images on your computer or even GoogleDrive, OneDrive, or DropBox. THE FUTURE IS NOW, FRIENDS.
Some tips for printing mobile images - your fancy new iphone or pixel might take "the best pictures ever" but sometimes after downloading and uploading and editing them (might do a post at some point about this, too), their quality can be impacted and it might not be a great idea to try to blow them up super huge for a behind-the-sofa wall hanging. Just keep this in mind. Mpix will tell you if the resolution doesn't work with the print size you selected - you can still print it, but trust their word that the image quality will be sacrificed if they give you the warning. (I'm pretty certain other places like Shutterfly will do this as well). Heed their warning unless you're going for some artsy creative vibe with your wall art.
Once you get the prints, frame them, hang them on the wall of your cubicle, or mail them to your grandmother. LOOK AT THE THINGS YOU'VE DONE THAT MADE YOU THINK "I WANT TO REMEMBER THIS MOMENT FOREVER". Don't lose them to the phone black hole. Also, consider options of printing them on a mounting of some sort - take things up a notch, so to speak, and display your art in a new way.
ALBUMS AND BOOKS:
This is what started my whole soapbox post on printing your images. If you went on a super fancy vacation to Bora Bora and you took 1,000 pictures on your phone, what are you going to show for it in five years? Or maybe you just had an epic family day picking strawberries with your little ones and then let them cool off in a mountain lake? You can print the pictures out and shove them into a photo album, or you can put them into an album and have it printed and bound and be all fancy like (without trying too hard). Either way, kudos to you for printing them out!
My go-to here again is mpix. I fell in love with their Premium Panoramic albums years ago and never looked back.
Shutterfly offers some super basic book options. I've used them a few times many years ago as they are economical and get the job done. They also offer to make your album for you, and while I've never done this, it seems kind of like a dream...send in images, give a sense of your style, and they'll send you a proof in a few days. From there, you either make some changes or order it up. If you've tried this, let me know your thoughts because it seems perfect for busy parents (aren't we all) who have young kids and work full time while trying to start a photography business (just me?).
The options are endless! From your gallery with me, you can order canvas wraps, framed images, metal prints, greeting cards...and that's just directly from your gallery! You can look at so many other sites for prints on wood or linen, different textures of paper, or even economical options (my current favorite for quick prints from phone snaps is mixtiles.com). Our home walls display everything from custom framed and matted prints to Parabo Press cardstock prints on mini clipboards. The idea is so simple - print out the images that bring you joy. To show your children their own faces through different stages...big and small moments. To show and remember your family bond, the family trip, the time your child lost the first tooth. Rotate the images often, because (hopefully) there are so many to choose from you couldn't possible display them all at the same time.
Maybe consider it a New Year's goal - get the images off of your computer and phone and into the hands of you and your loved ones. You can do this! I'm happy to help if you need any advice or direction!