Earlier this year I became one of many to purchase an instant camera, specifically the Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 (review soon). They were everywhere! For the first time at festivals along with iPhones in the air, there was also the unmistakable click and whirr of the instant camera, taking Instagram to a whole new level. I love my instant camera but I didn’t love the cost of the film or my poor ability to capture a great shot. I’d say that around 50% of the pictures I took were keepers with most not turning out to be the candid snap of my dreams, but instead an under-exposed blur. On Amazon, Instax mini film sells for £15 for 20 shots! That works out at 75p an image! And when, like me, you have a 50% success rate that soon doubles to £1.50 a picture.
One day a passing remark from my dad about using the ‘brilliant camera on my smartphone and the household printer’ got me thinking. There surely must be an app out there for printing photos from your smartphone. CORRECT! A quick search led me to LALALAB. Admittedly not the most relevant or catchy of names but the app and website design was clear, functional and modern which soon had me hooked. Not to mention the cute things that also came in the envelope like an origami swan and mini scratch card to win free prints.
- Choose your product:
From calendars to magnets, posters to canvas this website has you covered for a multitude of printing options. Try the LALAbox for a cute keepsake or the photo-book to map a specific event or occasion. There is even a framing option!
2. Choose your print style:
I wanted something that looked like a polaroid so opted for the ‘Vintage Print’ design. However, there is also the ‘Classic Print’ which is an Instagram square shaped image or the ‘Regular Print’ which is the rectangular style image that you used to get from old disposable cameras. If you wanted larger versions of these there is also an option for that.
3. Upload your pictures:
For the easiest upload, I like to use the app straight from my smartphone. However, if you have images saved on your computer it’s also available in a web page format (as shown below). Simply select the images you want to print and it’s as easy as that. Beware that there is a small postage charge, I think it was £1.69, so it’s best to print in batches to minimise the impact of this. Also keep an eye out for free postage codes and deals on their website.
4. Edit your images:
If you’re after filters, stickers or advanced brightness and contrast adjustments then do this on Instagram or another app BEFORE uploading to LALALAB. The editing section of this app is based primarily on the print and not the image. For example changing the colour of the border and adding text to the polaroid. This is one section that I believe could be dramatically improved by LALALAB. If they could incorporate an Instagram style editing section before completion to allow you to touch up your images before moving to the printing stage then that would be perfect. Just saying. Here’s an example of what you can do:
5. Details and Payment:
Once you’re happy with your prints it’s a simple checkout process and hey presto your prints will be with you typically within 3-5days!
At 29p per print this is working out dramatically cheaper than Instax film, even incorporating delivery charges. For example 10 print’s at 29p = £2.90. If you then add £1.69 then your total cost for 10 print’s is £4.59 or 46p an image. Bear in mind that these are also larger images than most polaroid film. Of course the quality of the image is limited to the camera that took it but with most smartphone cameras coming in at between 8 and 12 megapixels this isn’t an issue.
Now this hasn’t got the same charm as a polaroid and is no way trying to replace it, the imperfections are often what makes a polaroid image so special and the ability to edit an image removes the character to some extent. But if you just want a hard copy image instead of a digital copy then this is a far more economical option. I still love my Instax mini, and I still use him for special occasions, but I make sure to take some pictures on other devices too as a back-up for a more clean and polished finish that I can add effects to.
To experience LALALAB for yourself head over to their website or download their app at http://www.lalalab.com/ and if you use the code PGB10NFE you’ll get 12 free prints! (and I get some too yay!)