During the holidays, I came across an Instagram sponsored post for a printing company called Parabo Press that offered 25 free 5″x5″ prints + cost of shipping ($8). The advertisement suggested printing photos from Instagram, and it seemed like a good idea to print some of my favorite images from my Instagram feed, so I gave it a whirl and ordered a batch.
The ordering process was very simple. As of now, they only take orders through their Android or iOS apps. You upload the image files you want, and they go ahead and print it. No quality control – as in, the app will not notify you if it thinks that your images are too low-resolution to look good as prints.
*When I’ve ordered from professional photo lab websites in the past, they will hesitate to let your orders go through if the image files were not up to the printing standards.
A few days go by and I received my order delivered to my front door.
I truly like the size of these prints. They’re not too big that they can be awkward to place around the apartment, but they’re also not too small to be disregarded as something unimportant. I want them to stand out, either by themselves or in a cluster, and the 5″x5″ size really works.
Parabo Press also seems to really cater towards Instagram images, and the square format, of course, is what Instagram is all about. Or at least, before Facebook bought it and allowed the traditional formats. I’m a fan of the square formats, especially for printing photos specifically used for Instagram, and the white borders really help give the prints a way to be easily propped for decor without needing a physical frame of some sort.
According to their website, their paper is made of extra thick matte paper, and thick enough to prop or pin anywhere. This is my favorite part of these prints as the thickness and the texture of the paper makes the photographs feel luxurious and important. The paper is also the biggest difference between printing with Parabo and printing at your local drugstore.
Sometimes, the printer prints the colors differently than what you see on your monitor. Thankfully, I didn’t see any issues on these prints – they look just like how they were presented in my Instagram feed. All is good in this department!
My biggest peeve in these prints, and possibly the sole reason I will not be ordering from Parabo Press again is the print quality. Like I mentioned before, they heavily promote themselves as an Instagram-oriented printing company. If you check any product pages on their website, you’ll see the words “Great for Instagram” listed as a reason to purchase their products.
They currently only take orders through their Android and iOS app and not through their website, which somewhat forced me to only send orders taken through my iPhone 5s. Yes, I could have emailed 25 high-resolution image files that I took with my dslr onto my phone, but that would have been a pain in the butt.
Super sad to say, however, that the resolution is not the greatest on Instagram images, and it’s magnified when you print them. So many of my images came out way too pixelated and not in the least bit attractive.
If you don’t look closely, yes they can pass as a nice photo to hang on your wall. But I am a photographer and have had my fair share of well-printed images, and I have to say that these do not impress.
I might try printing with them again once they start accepting orders through their website versus their app, because then, I might have a chance to see what the print quality is with a high-resolution image file. But if you plan on printing your instagram images, I would be cautious and lower expectations.