I was nine months pregnant with my daughter, eager to meet her, and excited to capture our many moments together. Little did I know this would be the beginning of a photo addiction I can’t contain. My iPhone 3 didn’t have video capabilities built in, so I used an app called Qik to capture some of her first moments on video. It quickly filled up, and began to run slow. Before I knew it, it was time to upgrade because my phone was running out of space for my photo-load. Fast forward two years, several phones, hundreds of videos, and thousands of photos later. The iPhone is still my favorite phone for photo and video capturing. Each time I got a new one, my photos automatically appeared in my new camera roll like they had been there all along. It was fantastic. But eventually I ran into a problem.
I didn’t like having to physically connect my phone. And ever since my computer AND backup harddrive crash of 2012, I’m extremely picky about how I organize and backup my photos. I import and save my images by year -> month -> event and beyond. So I don’t connect my phone to my computer anymore, and I no longer use iPhoto.
But after hoarding all of my images and video on my phone, I got the dreaded message “Usage Full.” I couldn’t take another picture, and if you know me, you know we can’t have that.
If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve run into a similar problem. So many pictures, all on my phone. It’s sad but I had never printed an image from my iPhone. I only collected them in my digital space. I wanted to find a way to easily backup my photos, as well as a way to have a physical copies of the images with me.
I did a lot of research and I think I’ve found the best way to backup & print all of your iPhone photos. Back up, easily for free, and print them out for pennies.
Backing up virtually
Google Plus (Update 10/22/15: Now called Google Photos). It’s an underrated social media site, sure, but I LOVE it for cloud storage. I hear a lot of buzz about Dropbox, and I have it too, but I keep coming back to Google Plus, and here’s why:
1. It’s free, and you get 15GB (Update- Unlimited backups of high res (not full-sized) files of storage. Dropbox only gives you a few GBs to start and I have over 4GB worth of pictures/ videos on my phone today (this is after deleting 1800 photos). I also tend to reserve Dropbox for temporary large file sharing and professional work since I don’t pay for the premium service. Google Plus is a great value.
2. It automatically backs up ALL of my photos, whether or not the app is open, if I’m connected to wifi or 3G. Other apps either need to be opened while it’s trying to upload, or I have to physically select which photos I want. I don’t want that extra step. Out of sight, out of mind, done and done.
3. All of my photos are organized in my mobile album, by date. The other day BabyCenter asked to use a photo I had posted on Instagram in a banner, but they needed the original (non-square) version. It was easy to scroll down my album to the time frame I took the photo, pinpoint, and download it.
4. You can delete off your phone, it stays in you online album. Some cloud services copy your drive exactly, so if you delete the original, it deletes the copy. Google Plus doesn’t do that.
5. Automatically backs up video as well.
A couple other nice things to note: You can set your albums privacy settings. And if you want to download several or all of your files at once, to save to your computer or an external drive, you can easily do that with a few clicks.
One other quirky thing I just realized… If you’re like me and take a burst of photos (5 or more) in a series, and don’t have the heart to delete any of them, Google Plus automatically makes an extra moving gif image and saves it to your album. Like this:
AND (one more sorta-creepy fact) it automatically edits photos together so if you have a series of people smiling and not smiling, it “photoshops” them together to make a “best of smiles” photo. I just noticed this today!
I had 2400 photos on my phone, I backed them all up to Google Plus, and I have a zipped copy saved to an external hard drive. It’s easy to continue to select the ones I want from Google Plus and download them to my computer all at once for an additional copy on my local drive.
Now I wanted to have an additional hard copy of the images to enjoy in-hand. This brings me to my next phase of backup.
Printing my images.
Most of my 2400 photos were similar photos taken 5 or 6 different ways. If I want to print one of each of those, that’s 400 prints.
I’m not sure if you’ve looked lately, but that’s not cheap. These are iPhone photos I sometimes take in the dark, or with the help of a mirror. They’re not edited or anything I’m dying to display. I just wanted decent prints taken from my phone I could throw in a box so the kids and I can thumb through for fun.
I downloaded a Shutterfly app and saw a sale for 50% off 4×6 prints. So instead of their regular price of $.14/ picture they were $.07/ picture. Sweet! And after spending $30 you get free shipping. I hand-selected about 400 photos to print then added them to my cart. ERROR. I can only upload 250 from the mobile app. This meant no free shipping for me as I couldn’t hit the $30 mark. By placing two orders I’d have to pay a $11 shipping fee twice and it would have cost me about $50 total.
Online, I could fit all of the items in my cart (no limit), but the 50% off rate didn’t apply! GAH! I was so frustrated. Back to the drawing board.
I decided the easiest way to figure out the best deal was to add in the cost of photos plus shipping and divide it out too see how much it costs per photo.
I ran into similar issues with other cheap printing companies, price per picture from $.19 up to $.27! Not a lot for a few photos, but a bid deal when you’re purging nearly 400!
I turned to Twitter in my haste and a friend told me she uses GrooveBook. I did some background research and decided this is exactly what I was looking for. Here’s why:
1. Solely for iPhone photos. That’s what I’m looking for. But you can save other photos to your iPhone and print those too.
2. Cheap. For $2.99 you get 100 photos shipped to you for free. Or 100 free photos shipped to you for $2.99… However you want to look at it. And I got my first book free by using a coupon. (They’ve since sent me a coupon code you can use to get one for free: ‘BABYMAKINGGROOVE’)
3. No limit. If you want an extra book before your month is up you can order another one, still for just $2.99. So I ordered 3, 100-page books for $6 (cause I got my first book free). That’s less than $.02 a photo.
4. The photos are organized neatly in a simple flip photo book with perforated pages, so you can pull them out to hang on the fridge, frame, scrapbook, whatever.
5. Each page has a date stamp on the perforated tab left behind. Cool if you want to remember when it was taken for journaling or whatnot.
A couple other things to note. The photo quality isn’t terrible like I expected. They’re all on glossy photo paper, and some of the high-quality images I had saved to my camera roll (not taken on my iPhone) came out very nicely. Ones taken with my frontal camera are definitely more grainy, but I think that has to do with pixels. It is a subscription model, so you have to sign up and it’ll automatically bill you $2.99/month, but you can cancel it at any time.
If you take tons of photos on your phone, like I do, it’s perfect because throughout the month I upload the photos I want next, and on my deadline it orders it to print and automatically mails it to me. If you upload less than 100 photos, you’ll get duplicates to give you an even 100 number. Eventually I’ll probably use this to print extra cheap copies of my pregnancy journal and 365 images that the kids can thumb through. I’m more delicate with my expensive books.
It doesn’t hurt to try, especially since you can get the first one free. Use code ‘BABYMAKINGGROOVE’.
Finally I have photos that were trapped on my phone for years. My daughter giggled looking through my first Groovebook. “Mommy, look, there’s Baby Ty!”
“No sweetie, that’s you!”
Saving, printing, and de-hoarding my phone has been three years in the making. Now we can finally enjoy them together. Better late than never!
I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!