Free Your Photos from Instagram (and Make them into Gifts)

Not one to frame

Photos IRL

Your photos aren’t doing your grandpa any good on Instagram. At least a few of those shots deserve to see life on the outside, and a host of cool companies want to help you make that a reality.

By the way, photo books, prints, and frames make great gifts. Check out some great options.

Prints! Prints! Prints!
Prints are, of course, the most traditional way to go if you want to touch and see your photos, but you certainly don’t have to go the one-hour photo route anymore. For simple printing in limited sizes, go with PostalPix (download the app here).

For a little more quality control try MPIX, an old-school, professional photo printer which also offers an easy-to-use app.

You’ll have to file this one under photos just for you, but Flag will print and ship 20 images a month for free with targeted ads on the back of each photo.

If you’ve got printed pictures you’d like to digitize, the recently released GoogleScan is the way to go. The mobile app actually takes multiple photos of prints at different angles and stitches the photo together without the glare that’s so common with pictures of printed photos.

Books! Books! Books!
Photo albums make a great gift, but today there’s no reason to have to go through the trouble of slapping prints on sticky sheets and covering them with clear plastic. Chatbooks, the startup that syncs with your Instagram or Facebook feed and automatically ships you photo books for around $8, has new holiday books. A festive, 30-page hardcover photo book goes for about $15.


Blurb offers similar photo books that are a bit complicated to create but more customizable–the company gives different paper stock and layout options. Hardcover books with Blurb start at around $29.

The photo books at Artifact Uprising are artsy with textured covers and recycled paper.

The Instagram Friendly Book is $18 and might take a few minutes to organize, but the final product is more personal than other alternatives.

Gifts! Gifts! Gifts!
Want to print a panoramic photo on a metal sheet ($85), frame a ‘gram in reclaimed Santa Cruz barn wood ($30), or create a photo strip of some of your favorite shots ($10)? Quirky California-based company Social Print Studio has all of these gifts available, along with your standard prints, calendars, and stickers. Download the company’s app here.

framing instagram pictures

Got a photo that’s really a work of art? CanvasPop specializes in putting Instagram images on canvas for around $40. You can sign on to Instagram through their site to purchase.

Casetify will put your photos on a cell phone case (or iPad cover, or MacBook sleeve, or even an Apple Watch band) for $40 and up.

The Postagram app from Sincerely will help you create on postcards of your Instagrams. You can mail them through the app for about 99 cents.

Just this one awesome frame!
Digital photo frames have come a long way in just a few years. And Aura Frames Digital Frame, offers tons of features that earlier digital frames were missing. The high-resolution frame easily connects to an app to load photos. That app nixes any shots that are too dark, blurry, low-res or where subjects have red-eye. Your images also go through the company’s nudity filter, just in case you accidently throw an inappropriate photo on the app. By the way, they’re also hiring for six jobs in San Francisco and New York.

aura frame