PL Tuesday Tutorial: Printing Photos From Your Phone

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Owning a smart phone really changed my habit of taking photos to document all sorts of things I see and experience. From the first mobile phone given to me with a built-in camera, until my first iPhone, I always had a lot of photos on my camera roll. Digital cameras and smart phones with cameras have really made it so easy to take photos, and delete afterwards. One thing I always hear is that “the best camera is the one you have with you.” I always remember this as I go about my life each day, because seriously, am I not going to take a photo with my phone just because I don’t have my big dSLR with me? No way.

Now, I am 100% guilty of still having too many photos on my phone. Since I actively started putting together my Project Life album, I’ve made a conscious effort to print most of the photos I take, whether taken using my “big camera” (i currently use a Canon 60D) or my iPhone. The latter is what I use often, so today I’m sharing how I print photos from my phone.

USING PICFRAME
I am a big fan of the PicFrame app and I’ve been using it to create collages that I want to post on Instagram or Facebook, as well as prepare photos taken with my iPhone for printing. This is not a free app, but the $0.99 price tag is a steal for all the options available.

For Android users, it’s also available at the Google Play Store, but I haven’t tried downloading and using it yet on this OS.

There are other apps, so If you have other existing photo collage apps, make sure that there is a 3:2 ratio option. MY PERSONAL PREFERENCE IS PAYING FOR APPS IF IT MEANS MY SAVED IMAGES WON’T HAVE A WATERMARK FROM THE APP, AND/OR NO ANNOYING ADS POP-UP ON MY SCREEN WHILE IN THE MIDDLE OF CREATING A LAYOUT.

Before I go any further, here’s a little background information on photo printing. Hopefully it will help you understand better why some photos print perfectly with zero to minimal cropping, and why others end up looking stretched or too small.

WHAT IS ASPECT RATIO & WHY SHOULD YOU CARE?
Aspect ratio is the relationship between the height and width of a photo. There is math involved in computing the aspect ratio but we don’t really need to involve ourselves in that. The most common is 3:2, (based on the ratio of 35mm film). Other common aspect ratios are 4:3, 16:9, 1:1.

It’s good to understand aspect ratio because we use a lot of printed photos in our memory-keeping hobby. When photos have an aspect ratio of 3:2, it will be easy to have photos printed in the common photo sizes (such as 2×3, 4×6, 8×12, etc) without the image getting cropped or cut off unexpectedly. Photos with a 3:2 aspect ratio may also be cropped in order to print in other sizes such as 5×7, 8×10.

I checked the aspect ratio for Apple devices:  3:2 (iPhone 4s and older, iPod Touch 4g and older), 16:9 (iPhone 5, 5C, 5S, 6, 6+, iPod Touch 5g), 4:3 (iPads) (source)

I am highlighting the 3:2 aspect ratio and 4×6 photo print size because 4×6 the latter is the common print size, and the base photo size we use in the pocket scrapbooking system.

IF YOU WANT more iN-DEPTH INFORMATION on ASPECT RATIO, HERE ARE SOME REFERENCES: (1), (2), (3).

Moving on, let’s get back to using the PicFrame app. Once you have the app installed on your phone, open it to begin:

STEP 1: CHANGE THE ASPECT RATIO
I repeat: the common size for printing photos is 4×6 (4R) and it is the base size for photos when using the pocket scrapbooking system. Pocket page protectors are usually 4×6 or 4×3 in size.

PicFrame’s default option is 1:1, which means the resulting collage will be in square format. This is useful if you just want to post it on Instagram, but what if you want to print the photo?

Tap/click on 1:1 and a drop-down menu will appear. Choose 3:2 aspect ratio.

PICFRAME1

 

STEP TWO: CHOOSE YOUR LAYOUT
Once you’ve chosen the 3:2 aspect ratio, you will notice that when you tap on a frame option/layout, the base collage is rectangular in shape.

PICFRAME2

STEP THREE: CHOOSE PHOTOS
Next, you may take a photo or choose photos from your camera roll by tapping on each grey space. A menu will appear and you can make your choice from there. Once chosen, the

Depending on your chosen frame/layout, you may choose from one to as many as nine photos at one time. The app will auto fill the spaces, so if you want a specific photo to be in a specific spot, you may select one photo at a time.

PICFRAME3

STEP FOUR: MAKE SOME ADJUSTMENTS (optional)
I do most of my photo editing (if needed) on a separate app. PicFrame allows users to make some adjustments after you drop each photo in the corresponding grey space. I usually make these minor adjustments:

Adjust borders – users may adjust width, color, and even pattern of the borders.

Adjust photos – I usually either rotate, zoom in or out as needed

PICFRAME4

STEP FIVE: SAVE or EXPORT YOUR PHOTOS
Once you’re satisfied with what you came up with, it’s time to save your photos. PicFrame has several options. My default choice is SAVE, which means what I just made gets saved to the Camera Roll on my phone.

PICFRAME5bTake note of the image resolution options at the bottom of the screen. The highest option is 3264 x 2176. I usually choose 2400 x 1600 so the file won’t be too big. I usually print photos in 4×6 size and the resolution is good enough for the print size.

Another option is to save by exporting, or sending to e-mail. I like to choose ‘Actual Size’ so the image is of the highest possible quality. If the image to be printed has a low-resolution and size, it will not produce a good-quality print especially when you try to print a larger size-version of the original file (example: source file is low-res, so best print quality is a maximum size of 2×3, but you want to print 4×6. It will not product a good image.)

PICFRAME6For me, the e-mail method works best if you only have a small quantity of photos to print. Otherwise, it might be better to just save and copy the collages/layout to your computer when you transfer files from your phone.

STEP SIX: TRANSFER PHOTOS
Each person has a different method of transferring photos from their phone to computer, hard drive, and/or online storage/cloud account (iCloud, Dropbox, etc.)

I probably need to refine my process, but what has worked for me is my regular transferring of photos from my phone to my computer via iPhoto. Any collages/layouts I made using PicFrame is then copied to a separate folder marked for printing.

STEP SEVEN: PRINT!
I like having printing options, and I’m sure most of you feel the same way. Printing at home can be the most convenient, because you can choose your files at your leisure, and also not get paranoid about strangers seeing your photos (when processed at a photo lab).

I used to have bulk of my photos printed at a photo lab, but now I do most of my printing at home. Once I was able to source photo paper that I liked locally, I just invested in several packs so I have a ready supply.

As for the printer itself, I recently purchased my own Canon Pixma inkjet printer.

At our September workshop, Canon gave our team and the workshop participants a catalog listing the current Pixma models available in the Philippine market. They have many options that will fit your needs, and your budget.

FOR REFERENCE, HERE’S A PAGE FROM THEIR CATALOG (CLICK TO VIEW LARGER)
SINGLE FUNCTION PRINTERS
CanonPixma-1AS YOU CAN SEE, FOR PHP 1,895 YOU CAN OWN A PIXMA PRINTER!

 

ALL-IN ONE PRINTERS
CanonPixma-2A CLOSER LOOK AT LEFT SIDE OF THE CATALOG:

CanonPixma-2b

Bonus: if you own a printer that can print via wifi connectivity
I also own a Canon Selphy CP-900 printer, which requires a wifi access point (or connect through the ad hoc connectivity of the printer itself). With it, I can print directly from my phone by simply opening the Canon iEPP app and choosing the photos I want to print from there. There is a newer model, the CP-901, which apparently doesn’t need require a wifi access point.

Should you decide to purchase one, take note that you can only use the Canon ink and paper pack manufactured specifically for the Selphy line. the paper size is 4×6, excluding the two perforated edges; it’s what most scrapbook users refer to as  “not a true 4×6” since it’s a few centimeters smaller than the standard 4×6. i personally am not bothered by it because when i need to print photos right away, it’s very helpful + one of my goals in my project life albums is always “done is better than perfect.”

There are also some models of Canon Pixma printers with wifi options. Here’s a closer look at available wireless models :

CanonPixma-2c

I’ve yet to try printing over wifi on my new printer, but according to the catalog I can use the PIXMA Printing Solutions app (as seen below). Can’t wait to try and share my experience.

CanonPixma-3

Let me know if this tutorial was helpful. If you have any other questions, comments or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below.

 

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