I’m addicted to taking photos. I have been, ever since I got my first camera, back in the late 80s. It was a dark-blue-coloured Kodak, long and flat, and I loved it. I took it on every trip and on every night out, and captured a few very carefully chosen moments. Only a few, because of course there was no such thing as deleting photos or taking ten shots at a time – every photo had to be developed and paid for. I remember the excitement of going back into the shop to collect my developed photos, opening the envelope and pulling them out, going through them – quickly first, then back over again, much more slowly. There were always some with red-eye, and some that were blurred, and many with ghostly pale faces too close to the flash (or maybe just badly applied school-girl make-up). But no matter how bad the quality, they were all printed, and they were all carefully archived in photo albums.
And of course, that’s the big trade-off today. We have perfect photos – the same shot is taken over and over until it’s just right, and lesser quality snaps are discarded. But most of those perfect photos sit on phones and on laptops and in clouds, never crystallised into something that can slot into a photo album.
My kids love going through old photo albums, and I try to print off a big batch of random photos once a year, to add to the albums. But I’ve had less and less time to do that recently, and the various methods of getting them out of my phone and onto the machine thingies (I’m sure there’s a technical term) in my local photo shop are cumbersome and off-putting.
So when I was asked to review Foto Store, a photo printing app that allows you to order prints directly from your photos on your phone, I was very interested. Apart from anything else, it would force me to do some long over-due printing. Foto Store is a fully Irish operation with the technology and printing produced in Ireland – it’s run by Kildare couple Paddy and Emily McDonald, and Emily’s dad Les Caprani. The app is free, and you can use it to print photos from iPhone, iPad and Android, as well as lap top and desk top.
The process is very simple. You download the free app from here and sign up – you’ll need to give your details when you register for the first time.
Then open the app, and choose from where you want to print your photos – camera roll, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Viber or anywhere else you happen to share and save photos.
You touch each one you’d like to print, and then submit your order – that’s it!
I ordered on a Friday and my photos arrived on Monday morning – impressive! For that alone, I’m a convert to online photo printing.
And they were perfect – exactly as they looked onscreen on my phone, and the quality was every bit as good as in my local camera shop. I really, really like the Foto Store app and will definitely use it every few months now to print a season’s worth of photos. I particularly like that the idea for the app came from Emily McDonald – a busy mum of two who got fed up with existing photo printing websites.
I’m delighted to have tried Foto Store – it will be a new impetus to develop photos and have something to put in an album. Or at least in the big box with all the other loose photos… babysteps.
I often read articles that tell us to stop photographing everything and pay attention to real life instead. I think we can do both. When I look at the photos above, I’ll remember autumn 2015 – the leaf kicking, the birthday girl, the cowboy costume everyone tried, the hill walk, the pier walk, and some more leaf kicking. I’m in awe of people who remember every outing and every day and every detail, but I’m not one of them – I need my prompts.
*Competition closed – winner: Gillian Rapple*
I was given a promotional code to try out Foto Store printing for free – if you’d like to have fifty free prints, just comment below this post or on Facebook, or share on Twitter (don’t forget to tag me! @office_mum) and I’ll draw one winner next Thursday (12h Nov) – good luck and happy snapping!