With Instagram, any boring photo is only a crop, filter, and tilt-shift away from becoming a piece of art.
Some might argue that such laziness through filtering discourages true photographic creativity, but there's no denying the Internet's obsession with the photo social network. If anything, it's a satisfying break from Facebook.
Even though it's only available on the iPhone (for now), many businesses have cropped up to provide services that augment what Instagram offers. From Stitchtagram pillowcases to photo magnets, there's no shortage of Instagram paraphernalia.
As a person who appreciates the printed photograph, here's just one more: Instagram photo strips. Give them to your fellow Insta-addict, pass them out as party favors, or just revel in the beauty of your filtered iPhone photographs in a vintage photo strip form.
You will need:
- Two to three sheets of high-quality paper (like cardstock or photo paper)
- Color printer
- About 30 to 40 minutes
Step 1: First, create your photo strip template. Any photo-editing program will work, but I prefer Pixlr (it's free!). Go to Pixlr.com/editor/ and select "Create a new image." In the next window, replace "Untitled" with something like "Photo strip" and set the dimensions to 325x1,600 pixels. Your photo strip will fit up to five photos.
Step 2: Open a new tab and go to web.stagram.com, click "Login," and sign in with your Instagram username and password. Once you're logged in, you'll see a feed of your friends' most recent photos. You can also click your profile photo to view your own uploads, or browse around the site to view everyone else's. Take a look around and decide which photos you want on your photo strip(s).
Step 3: When you find a photo you like, right-click it and select "Copy image." Go back to Pixlr and hit Ctrl-V to paste. Repeat for all five photos, rearranging the images as you go. Keep the photos as centered with a little white space above and below each snapshot. You can use your keyboard's Right, Left, Up, and Down arrows to move the images with precision.
Step 4: When you're satisfied with the strip, go to File > Save, pick a location, and click "OK."
Open a word processor (like Microsoft Word or Google Docs) and drag the file into a new document. Resize the strip so it fits on the page and add any other strips you create in Pixlr.
Step 5: When all the strips are resized in the document, print it out, and patiently cut out the strips. In less than an hour, I was able to make about 10 different photo strips.
Some fun ideas for your photo strips:
- Use these personalized photo strips as wedding or party favors.
- For the last photo on a strip, paste in a customized QR code that leads to your Web site, Instagram gallery, or anywhere else on the Web. Creating a QR code only takes a couple minutes.
- Punch a hole in a photo strip, tie it to to a birthday (or Valentine's Day!) present, and use it as a gift tag.
- This almost goes without saying, but any photos (not just Instagrams) can be used for this DIY.