Imagine an ordinary, sunny afternoon this past summer. While you’re at a barbeque, your friends are scattered around the city at beaches, ball games, and birthday parties. Over the course of the day, you might check Facebook, finding posts with pictures from your friends. But these photos aren’t just blurry, out of focus cell phone camera shots. Instead, each and every picture has captured the essence of each moment, whether it’s the gloom of an overcast beach or the joy of your friend’s niece’s birthday party. How do they do it? How has each of our friends with iPhones turned into potential award winning photographers?
This is what Instagram has done to an entire demographic of consumers. Instagram is no longer an application with a cult following, or a favorite of hipsters with too much money (the irony is obvious, I know.) Now nearly every iPhone owner is at least familiar with the free app — if not addicted. Instagram photos can be location based tagged by incorporation Foursquare’s API, and simultaneously shared to Flickr, Facebook, and/or Twitter. It even has its own public API, which has allowed dozens of other apps to provide detailed stats about your own use of Instagram, or use your photos in other unique ways around internet.
Some of the most cool and creative ways to use your Instagram photos, however, are by bringing them offline and into the real world. Here are 10 products you can create with your Instagram photos — and a few dollars, of course:
With Keepsy, Instagram users can make a photo book from your Instagram photo feed. For those who use Instagram to document an event (such as a wedding) or a series of events (like football season), creating a book of your photos could be an ideal alternative to scrapbooking (or it could even make an excellent gift). Keepsy also features the option to make calendars from your Instagram photoshop. The printed hardback books start at just $29.95 for 30 pages, which is much cheaper than a scrapbook would cost, and Keepsy calendars start at $19.95 with the option for 12 or 18 months.
A unique iPhone case can reveal ample details about the owner’s personality and interests — and that’s why Casetagram is perhaps my favorite cool product that uses Instagram photos. After logging in with Instagram, you can select the type of case (transparent or white) and the layout of photos on the case, which includes options that make a great gift any time of the year. The cost for the case is $34.95 and right now customers should expect a nine-day turnaround — which isn’t that bad, considering this is a completely customized, yet useful product.
Do your Instagram pictures look like they really should be award-winning? If your pictures are wall-art worthy — or perhaps your photos of the family are just better than what you have paid for elsewhere — CanvasPop can can turn your Instagram photos into 12×12 or 20″ x 20″ print gallery wrapped around a 1.5″ frame. For those who have a series of similar images, the effect of hanging several in a room could be stunning. Right now, Canvas Pop’s 12×12 mounted prints are priced at an introductory $29.95, which is pretty much a steal considering what the cost of printing and framing other images is elsewhere.
Though I love the ability to instantly store, tweet, share, and email photos and video I take from my iPhone, I still long for the days of being able to print them out automatically with a Polaroid camera. Though that “technology” still exists, there is something to be said for integrating old technology with new media. Instaprint bridges that gap with a box that instantly prints Instagram photos related to a specific event. The service, which is usually featured at exclusive and swanky events, was created by BreakfastNY. Each Instaprint box is set with a location or a specific hashtag, and any Instagram tagged with that location or hashtag will pop out of the Instaprint box, effectively giving you that Polaroid experience.
Prinstagram does just what it sounds like: prints your Instagram photos. The service can make an Instagram poster, which features between 50-400 of the photos you choose, arranged on a grid. Also available are miniprints (which look similar to Polaroids, but on card stock) and Instagram stickers, which could be a fun way to decorate your laptop or cubicle at the office. Prinstagram also can make a minibook or tinybook of your Instagram pictures, but the tinybook is almost *too* tiny — each picture is smaller than a thumbnail! The cost for Prinstagram products range from $10 — $25.
Whether you’re a DIY crafter, you love magnets, or are renovating a bathroom, you are likely obsessed with tile. Teeny Tile is a service that turns your Instagram photos into two-inch square ceramic tiles, which can be ideal for scrapbook projects, using on scrapbooking pages, or integrating into a remodel. They even come with adhesive magnets for those looking to, well, stick it to something. Each Teeny Tile is $3.99, making these thoughtful but affordable gifts for anyone with a budget.
Ever wanted to wear your Instagram photos? If you have a few Instagram photos of funny quotes, signs, or just of your best friend who is about to get married, you can now turn these pictures into the perfect shirt with Instamaker. The service offers the ability to create t-shirts featuring a mosaic of your Instagram pics (for that embarrassing bachelor or bachelorette party) or print the pictures onto a coffee mug or postcard. Instamaker is a fast and easy way to do what you could probably do on your own with Photoshop and a local store that prints pictures onto the same material, but definitely saves you all the extra time and hassle.
Calendagram is another one of my most favorite products that utilizes Instagram’s Public API. The service, which is actually a free iPhone/iPad app (plus the cost of the product itself), allows you to select 12 photos that are automatically inserted into the calendar, which is 8 x 16 and printed on high-quality heavy card stock. The calendar takes about 15 days from the time of order, so there’s still plenty of time to create a Calendagram before the new year starts — or gets well underway.
Being on vacation is fun, but being on vacation and being able to brag about your exotic adventures is even more fun — especially when you have personal photos to prove it. With Postagram, you can instantly send a postcard to anyone around the world of your Instagram images — even just seconds after you shoot the picture. Postagram is a free app that requires little setup. You can add recipients when you’re ready to send the picture, and even send a postcard to multiple people. Each postcard costs only $0.99 and is charged to the credit card you have on file when you set up the app.
There you have it: nine of the most cool and creative ways to use your Instagram photos. Yes, I know. We promised 10. That’s where you come in. What is your favorite product that uses the Instagram API to create something interesting? Let us know in the comments — and be sure to include a link so we can check it out!