The ultimate guide to printing out your photos

Monday, 26 June, 2017

How many new pictures do you think you’ll take this year? According to an estimate by Mylio.com, it’ll probably be somewhere around 3,650. You heard that right – 3,650. How are you going to print out all of those pictures without breaking the bank? Well, we’ve got the answer.

Here at Yours.co, we are passionate about helping people keep their memories safe. In order to save you time (and money), we’ve created this guide to help you understand the best (and cheapest) ways to print your photos.

Let’s start with the basics:

Sizing

Print photo sizes typically rage anywhere from 2”x3” (wallet size) to 20”x30”. Some companies offer more options than others, but almost everyone uses these standard sizes: 4”x4”, 4”x5.3”, 4”x6”, 5”x7”, 8”x8”, and 8”x10”.

Here is a quick comparison:

Obviously, the smaller the photo, the cheaper it’s going to be. Some stores charge less per print if you buy at higher quantities.

According to the Walmart Photo Center, photos that are 4”x5.3” are called “true digital prints” because they stay “true to the 4:3 aspect ratio used by most digital cameras … the entire image is printed with no cropping.”

Square-sized prints, like the 4”x4” or 8”x8”, are great for printing your Instagram pictures. (If the photo printing company doesn’t allow you to connect to your Instagram account, you can use services like Dinsta to download all of your images.)

If you want to get creative, you don’t have to stick to the standard photo sizes. A company called Odd Prints allows you upload your photos, select any size you want (up to 18”×4” and 12”×8”), and they’ll send you your prints ready to cut.

Pro tip: Not sure what size to choose? The average size for photo albums is 4”x6”. Those are typically pretty cheap to print out as well.

Finishes

Photo printing companies offer a variety of finishes (basically the type of paper you would like your photos printed on). The type of finish you choose affects the color, vividness and contrast. The most common finishes are matte and glossy. High-end printers offer more variety, including: metallic, luster (or lustre), silk, deep matte or pearl.

Here is a quick breakdown of the three most popular finishes:

Glossy

Matte

Metallic

Texture Smooth, shiny, reflective surface Smooth, textured surface Glossy
Colors Vibrant, bright Low contrast Intense, striking
Noise Crisp, sharp images. Shows more detail. Image may look slightly grainy. Images are sharp and clean.
Pros Excellent clarity. Does not look textured when scanned. Great for frames. Harder to get scratched. Doesn’t glare. Fingerprints don’t show. Metallic look. Extremely durable. Three-dimensional, modern look.
Cons Highly reflective. Susceptible to finger prints and smudges. Attracts dust. Most likely to stick to a glass frame. Less detail. Colors are more subdued. Difficult to frame. Easy-to-see fingerprints. Works better for some photos than others.
Best Use A good choice for detailed prints. The good choice for black and white prints and photos that are regularly handled. A good choice for visually interesting photos with bright colors and depth, such as outdoor shots.

Here is what they look like:

The best way to decide what type of finish to select is by determining how you want to use your photos. For example, if you are planning on framing your pictures, you probably don’t want to choose glossy, because they’ll have too much glare and stick to the glass.

Pro tip: When in doubt, go with matte. It’s a pretty safe bet in most cases.  

Textures

If you want to get really fancy, high-end photo companies also allow you to select a texture as well. Adding texture to your photos enhances the dimension and makes your photos look more professional. The most common textures include: canvas, pebble, and linen.

If you want to learn more about the different types of textures, Miller’s Professional Imaging provides some great examples.

Pro tip: One reason why photographers press textures into their prints is to make it harder for people to scan and reproduce their photos without permission. If you’re worried about copyright issues, this is a great option.

Photo Prints

If you do a quick Google search for “print photos,” you’ll find a ton of different printing options. There are plenty of companies to choose from, but finding the right one usually depends on (1) what type of prints you want, (2) how fast you need them, and (3) how much you want to pay for them.

In-Store Prints

If you need your photos quickly, the best option is to use a 1-hour photo or same day pickup service from a local store, such as: Walmart, Costco, CVS, Walgreens or Target. Some of these companies have in-store kiosks that you can use to upload your photos, or you can go online, upload your files, and order your prints from home.

If you’re comparing prices, Walmart photos tend to be cheaper than all the other stores (by just a few cents). If you’re looking to save a few bucks, you probably want to go with them.

Pro tip: Sometimes the cost per prints is different, depending on how you upload or ship them. At Walmart, the cheapest option is to upload photos online and have them ship them to your house.

Prints

Don’t want to make a trip to the store? No problem. There are plenty of online-only photo printing companies that offer beautiful prints shipped straight to you home.

Here are just a few of the top rated:

Snapfish

Amazon

Persnickety

Prices vary from site to site, but both Snapfish and Amazon are both really cheap (their photos start at $0.09/each).

If you’re using an unknown site, one thing you’ll want to watch out for is steep shipping costs. Sometimes companies will offer great deals on photos or even give them to you for free, but then they’ll charge $15+ to mail it to you (*cough* Artifact Uprising *cough*). Which, sadly enough, basically means you’re not getting anything for free.

Some online photo printing companies also offer other fun options for printing your photos, such as: collages, posters, calendars, post cards, magnets, etc. These can make for fun gifts for friends and family.

Pro tip: Use coupon codes! There are plenty of them out there. A quick search on Retail Me Not or Coupons.com could save you a lot of money.

High-Quality Prints

If you’re looking for more options (finishes, textures, canvas, mounting, custom framing, etc.), or you just want professional quality, then you should use a high-end printer. It’s a great investment if you want to display nice pictures in your home.

Here are a couple companies that you might want to check out:

Bay Photo Lab

Image By: Max Seigal

Posted by Bay Photo Lab on Friday, May 27, 2016

Miller’s Professional Imaging

Nations Photo Lab

Pro tip: If you’re worried about the cost, check out sites like Groupon for special deals. Sometimes they offer up to 90% off canvases and other professional printing services.

Photo Books

One of the most popular ways to print photos is in a photo book. It’s a great way to skip the hassle of photo albums and keep your photos organized and easy to access. Photo books range from super nice (and expensive) to simple (and cheap) – depending on where you buy from.

Photo books can be an expensive headache if you don’t go about it in the right way. The last thing you want to do is spend hours and hours creating one only to find out that it’s going to cost you $200 to print. (Been there, done that.)

Here are two of the best affordable, “design your own” photo book sites:

Shutterfly

Happy Sunday! Create some sunny (and sandy) memories. 🏖

A post shared by Shutterfly (@shutterfly) on

Mixbook

✨✌🏻Fridays are for dreamers.

A post shared by Mixbook (@mixbook) on

You can either chose from an existing theme or template, or create your book from scratch. It’s easy to upload your photos to the site and add fun elements to the pages to make them look beautiful. These are definitely more time consuming to make, but they turn out great.

Here are the two of the cheapest, easy-to-use photo book sites:

Chatbooks

All you have to do is set up an account, connect to either Facebook or Instagram, and then let Chatbooks do the rest of the work. They will automatically create a photo book for you every time you add 60 photos. The best part? They only cost $8 (with free shipping).

Google Photos

If you’re already using Google Photos to store you’re photos, then this is a great option. Simply go to this link, choose a book type, select the pictures you want to use, make any additional edits, and then click on the shopping cart to check out. They cheapest book starts at $9.99 and goes from there.

Pro tip: These sites typically have great deals around holidays such as Christmas, Black Friday, or Mother’s Day. If you’ve created a large book, and you know it’s going to be expensive, you might want to wait for a good deal.

To learn more about Yours.co, click here. Happy printing!

Tricks for freeing up space on your iPhone

Friday, 16 June, 2017

There is seriously nothing worse than trying to download a new app or take a picture and have one of these notifications pop up:

Running out of space on your phone is not only inconvenient, it’s a huge pain. You should never have to worry about whether or not you have enough room. If you are constantly running into problems, here are a few tips on how to free up space on your iPhone:

1. Delete your messages.

Did you know that your phone saves every message that you have ever sent or received? Not just the text – photos and videos as well. If you’re a big texter, that’s bound to take up a whole lot of space.

Luckily, you have options. You can either go through your messages manually and delete them. (Just swipe left for the “delete” button.) Or, you can change your settings, so that your phone no longer saves messages indefinitely. Go to Settings > Messages > Message History. From there you can select the date range (30 days, 1 year, Forever) that you would like to hold on to messages.

Be aware – once you turn off “Forever” you will lose all of your current text messages that are older than the new period you selected.

2. Clear your cache.

This next trick probably won’t clear out a ton of space, but it might be enough to give you some temporary relief. One of the simplest things you can do is clear your web browsing history and data. Just go to Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data.

3. Purge your apps.

If you haven’t ever used it, then you’re probably not going to use it. If you are an app junkie, you should probably go through all of them and delete the ones that you aren’t useful to you. Apps take up a lot of space and data, and so deleting a handful of them off your phone could free up a lot of space.

You can find out which apps are taking up the most room by going into Settings > General > Storage & iCloud Usage > Manage Storage.

4. Use a professional service.

Yes, professional phone cleaning services actually exist. If you want an in-depth scrubbing, PhoneClean by iMobie will do it for you. Their product scans through your phone, detects junk, and cleans it out. It’s safe and confidential, so you don’t need to worry about having your data compromised.

5. Get rid of old podcasts.

Do you subscribe to podcasts? If you’re not careful, those can add up quickly. Just a few, long podcasts can take up 100+ MB of data. If you haven’t done so already, make sure that the “Delete Played Episodes” button is marked in your settings. That way, once you’re finished listening, you don’t have to remember to go back and delete the podcast off of your phone.

If you have podcasts downloaded that you don’t want to listen to, just swipe left and click “Delete” to remove them.

6. Archive your photos.

If you’re anything like the average cell phone user, you probably have thousand and thousands of photos saved on your phone that you’ve never really done anything with (other than posting them on Facebook). If you’re serious about cleaning up space on your phone, you should probably consider moving them to a different location.

One of the easiest things you can do is transfer them over to the cloud. But if you want to ensure that your data will be protected – and never lost – you should consider achieving them, so that you have a permanent copy. Yours.co is a subscription service that will automatically archive all of your photos onto discs each month and mail them to you, so that you never have to worry about losing a photo again. Click here to learn more.

5 things you didn’t know you could do with Google Photos

Tuesday, 13 June, 2017

Do you use Google Photos? If not, you’re missing out. With over 500 million monthly active users, Google Photos is one of the best ways to store and organize your photos online. They have a lot of great features and services that most people don’t even know are available. Here are just a few:

1. Make movies, collages and animations.

The Assistant tool will automatically create GIFs and movies for you using photos that were taken at a similar time or place – for example, if you go on a trip. It’s a great way to share special memories with your friends and family.

If you turn on your notifications, it will email you around relevant holidays to see if you would like to make an event-specific slideshow. For example, on Mother’s Day, it may ask you if you want to make movie for your wife or mom using your photos. All you have to do is use the facial recognition tool to select pictures of who you want featured in the video, and Google Photos will do the rest.

If you are interested in making your own animations, movies or collages simply select the Assistant tool, and the process is pretty simple from there.

2. Order a photo book.

If you don’t want to spend hours creating an expensive photo albulm, then Google Photos is the answer for you. Their product allows you to quickly create an inexpensive photo book, so you can enjoy your pictures in print. There are two options: A 7-inch softcover book ($9.99 for 20 pages, $0.35/additional pages), or a 9-inch hardcover book ($19.99 for 20 pages, $0.65/additional pages).

They make the process about as easy as it can get. Simply select the photos that you would like to include, add a title and hit “checkout”. If you start making a book, but don’t have enough time to finish it, you can always save it as a draft and come back to it later.

3. Search for just about anything.

One of the most powerful tools on Google Photos is their search feature. They make it easy to filter by category or object. Their facial recognition technology is a great way to find pictures of a specific individual. Instead of spending hours organizing your images into folders, you can just upload them all at once and then use the search bar to help you find images quickly and efficiently. You can even search by emoji:

4. Edit your photos.

The Google Photos app allows you to quickly edit your photos from your phone. Select the photo you want to edit, and then click on the pencil icon near the bottom of your screen. From here, you can choose to filter, crop, change the lighting or fix the coloring. At any time during the editing process, you can touch and hold the photo to view the original image.

Once you’ve adjusted the photo to your liking, make sure to click “save” before exiting.

The original photo will still remain in your Google Photo library, so if you decide you don’t like the edited version, you still have the unedited copy.

5. Get a permanent copy using Yours.co.

Still nervous about losing your photos even though you’ve backed them up online? You can connect your Google Photos account to Yours.co and receive an archive of all your photos in the mail each month.

Yours.co uses high-quality archiving discs (called MDISCs) that stay good for up to 1,000 years. The disc’s core is made up of a stone-like, carbon compound – so it’s basically like engraving your photos into stone. The disc is unaffected by extreme temperatures, humidity and light. In fact, you can even bake it in a lasagna and it will still stay good (not sure how the lasagna will taste…).

If the cloud goes down, or you decide to delete your Google Photos account, you’ll have a permanent copy of all your files. To learn more about Yours.co, visit our website.

How long can data be stored on a USB flash drive?

Monday, 5 June, 2017

No matter what you call them – memory sticks, thumb drives, flash memory, pen drives, jump drives – USB flash drives are excellent devices for storing and transferring data from one device to another.

Not only are they portable, but they can hold up to 512 GB of data (if you’re willing to drop a couple hundred dollars).

USB flash drives are great for short-term storage, but they aren’t designed to store data for longer than approximately 5-10 years.

According to a tech expert at the New York Times, “The memory cells used in flash drives do eventually wear out, but this is typically caused by the number of times data is written to the memory — as opposed to the physical age of the drive itself.”

In other words, the more you use your flash drive, the faster it will degrade. Experts at Flashbay estimate that most flash drives, “can withstand between 10,000 to 100,000 write/erase cycles, depending on the memory technology used.”

The longevity of a USB flash drive also depends on the type. Some brands are better than others. SanDisk and Samsung USB flash drives are often listed as some of the best on the market. (Check out TechRadar’s list of “The best USB flash drives 2017.”)

In order to prolong the life of your flash drive, make sure to protect it from dust, extreme temperatures and water. It also helps to eject them properly before you remove them from your computer.

Because flash drives are so small, they are easier to lose, so make sure to store your USB flash drives in areas where they won’t accidentally get lost, damaged or thrown into a washing machine.

When a USB does not work properly, data is easily lost or corrupted. You’ll want to replace your flash drives on a regular basis.

If you are looking for a long-term data storage solution, consider archiving your data using Yours.co. The discs stay good for up to 1,000 years, ensuring that your memories will stay safe for many decades to come.