How To | Printing Your Instagrams

In one of my episodes of Scrapbook Soup that will be coming soon to PBS (more on that tomorrow!), I promised that I would share here on Scrapbook Update how I get my Instagrams off of my phone and into print form.

So let’s get started! With the right tools, it is surprisingly easy and fast. (After I show you my process, I’ll discuss a few alternatives).

Method 1: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

I use Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom software for managing and editing all of my photos, and my iPhone and Instagram photos are no different. The current version is Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5, but I am using version 3 at the moment. There is an initial investment in purchasing the software (currently priced at about $149) but it is not necessary to upgrade very often and upgrades are much more affordable (about $79). Unlike programs like Photoshop Elements, Lightroom is designed specifically for managing, editing and printing photos, so the workflow is much smoother than in PSE. I’m on a Mac but Lightroom is available on both Windows or Mac machines.

To get my photos off of my phone, I just plug my phone into my computer and then open Lightroom.

The next step is to select “Import Photos” from the “File” menu.

Lightroom 1

That brings up the Import screen, where I can click on the “iPhone” listing in the left column to search my phone for photos that haven’t yet been imported into the Lightroom catalog.


After a few moments it displays thumbnails of all the new photos that it found, like these three Instagrams I’d created playing with my photo library on my phone. Each photo has a check box next to it – I can uncheck anything I don’t want to import (like the photos I take in parking garages to remember where I parked!) I can also use the settings on the right side to choose where to put the photos when they are transferred from the device to my computer.

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 10.36.58 PM

After the import is complete, Lightroom displays a library window that shows just the images from that import, which allows tagging, editing, and printing of photos.

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 10.37.23 PM

From there, I can just print using Lightroom’s normal process. All I have to do is make sure that in the print screen, the “zoom to fill” box isn’t checked. That way it will default to printing the entire photo on my chosen media. I have Lightroom set up to default to 4×6 paper, which means that I get a 4×4 print that I have to trim a bit extra off of each end.

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 9.51.47 PM

There are also sliders in the print menu that I can adjust if I’d like the finished print to be smaller than 4×4 (such as 3×3).

Then I just hit “print” and trim the extra white space off! All done!

Method 2: Photo Transfer WiFi

Hate having to plug in your iPhone to get your photos off of it? The “Photo Transfer Wifi” App ($2.99) will let you transfer your photo library off of your phone via WiFi! (A simple app called Photo Transfer App is available for Android.)

All you need is for your computer and your iPhone to be logged on the same WiFi network. Open the app on your phone. Then in your web browser, open the web address provided in the app. Follow the onscreen instructions, enter the password in your browser provided in your phone app’s settings, and you have access to all your photos to download.

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 8.47.46 PM

Method 3: Use Your Computer’s Built-In Software

If you don’t like the idea of using Adobe Lightroom or the Wifi app, Apple has great tutorials up on their website about how to use built-in software in Windows and Mac OS X to import your photos.

Professionally Printing Your Instagrams

Since Instagrams are not a standard print form factor, printing them through a standard photo printing service usually means opening them in photo editing software and inserting them in the middle of a blank standard sized canvas.

But there is an easier way!

Persnickety Prints – a favorite online photo store of many scrapbookers – offers Instagram printing service! They offer Instagrams from 2×2 up to 5×5 in size, faux polaroid prints, and even Instagram collage posters. They also offer instantly created books of your Instagram prints. These services (and many others) have made them a favorite of many, many scrapbookers.

So, there you have it…several options for transferring your Instagram photos and printing them! Happy Snapping!

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9 Responses to How To | Printing Your Instagrams

  1. Tracey October 8, 2013 at 7:42 am #

    Great tutorial! I totally use the parking garage location photo trick, too. 🙂 Recenty, I actually ended up LOVING one of my parking garage photos, because the garage had big, bold, yellow numbers, and I was able to use the photograph of the number 3 in a layout. So funny!

  2. Scrappin2boys October 8, 2013 at 10:07 am #

    It sounds like Lightroom and PSE are very similar. What is the difference?

    • Nancy Nally October 8, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

      Lightroom and PSE are sister programs from Adobe that actually work together. Photoshop Elements is primarily a graphic design program intended to create digital design (not work with photos), although it has a somewhat inelegant module that will allow you to organize photos. It is my program of choice for digital scrapbooking – it can use templates, and digital brushes, and all of those other digital tools. PSE’s menus have a few built-in tools that are tailored for photos but they are basic and you have to do most of the stuff by kind of forcing the program to do it. It’s not really native.

      On the other hand, Lightroom is designed as a tool just for photographers to do nothing but work on photos – organize, edit, and print. So all of the tools are tailored towards those functions. With only a click or two, you can adjust white balance, crop, adjust grain, add flash, adjust contrast, change exposure, remove lens vignetting…and the best part is that all of the things you do are “non-destructive” edits. The original picture stays untouched and Lightroom saves a library data file that saves the instructions for the edits that you created, and uses that to work from when you work on the photo or print. At any time you can start from scratch, or go back and adjust something slightly differently without starting over. You can easily create two different versions of a photo (for instance, a vertical and horizontal crop of it) by creating a virtual copy to work on.

      Lightroom is also great for resizing and reformatting photos. Say you took photos at an event and now you want to post them online on your blog. But they are all 10 MB RAW files, way too large to post, and there’s 25 of them! In PSE, you’d have to open them one at a time and resize them and save them as a JPG. But you can go into Lightroom’s Library window, select all the photos you want to post, and then use the export function with a few clicks to tell Lightroom to export them all to a new folder as 1000 pixel wide JPGs (or whatever setting you select). It takes literally 10 seconds to set up, and then you can walk away for a minute or two while the computer does the crunching, and then wham! You have a folder full of JPG files perfect for posting.

      Lightroom is really good about being able to do the same thing to a large group of photos. Say you took photos at a party and it was really dark, so they all need to be lightened a few stops and color corrected for the horrible flash. You can set up a pre-set with a couple of clicks, and then tell Lightroom to apply it to a whole group of pictures, instead of having to make the adjustment to each individual picture!

      For people worried about intellectual property theft online, Lightroom also has tools built in for easily watermarking your images.

      I also love the tagging/filtering features. It’s easy to apply tags in bulk to photos in Lightroom, and then you can filter your library to show all the photos that only have certain tags, even from certain dates (beach, Bridget, filtered from the July 2013 library, for instance, to find a certain photo you know you took).

      I could go on and on, but I am a huge believer that if you take a lot of photos – especially with an SLR – that Lightroom is a must for you to be able to utilize them to the fullest. I highly recommend going on the Adobe website and watching some of their Lightroom videos that intro how to work with it. It’s a very powerful way to manage your photos. As an amateur, there are some features in it that of course I will likely never use, but even using it on a basic level I get so much out of it.

  3. Maryellen October 8, 2013 at 11:49 am #

    As a MAC user, I too would like to understand the differences between Lightroom and PSE. What about iphoto and Lightroom? Can Lightroom be used for digital scrapbooking also? Thanks for the great tutorial.

    • Nancy Nally October 8, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

      Lightroom cannot be used for digital scrapbooking. You need PSE for that. Lightroom will ONLY edit photos. In fact, you can connect Lightroom and PSE so that for instance, you can edit a photo in Lightroom, then open your edited photo into PSE, put a digital brush on it, and then take it back into Lightroom for more editing or for printing. I do that frequently.

      iPhoto is a much simpler version of Lightroom. I of course have it on my Mac but choose not to use it after giving it a brief try before I bought Lightroom. I feel it makes it impossible to use your photos for much of anything besides social media or printing – it doesn’t integrate with PSE, and it buries your photos in your hard drive in impossible to find locations so if you need to access them anywhere besides iPhoto you can’t find them. Lightroom arranges them nicely in folders by year/month/day (or however else you tell it to do it), so you can find things no matter what program you are using. Also, iPhoto’s editing is more basic than Lightroom. Apple has a more advanced program called Aperture that is supposed to compete with Lightroom but I haven’t tried it.

  4. Laura October 9, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    You left out Free Prints (Photo Affections) app where you receive 85 free 4×6 prints every month and you only pay the shipping. Other sizes are available but you have to pay for them (the cost is minimal)

  5. Gab October 9, 2013 at 11:45 pm #

    Thanks Nancy!

  6. stampartiste October 11, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Thank you for this in-depth analysis of Lightroom, Nancy. I always thought the program was much more expensive than ~$150. I have been using PSE since I first bought PSE4 and now I’m up to PSE10. Could you stand a couple of more questions? Is the tagging of pictures in Lightroom the same as in PSE? Is there an Organizer in Lightroom? Can you tell me briefly how it is better? You’ve really perked up my interest in trying Lightroom. My understanding about PSE is that if you download a newer trial version, you can’t revert back to your older version. If I downloaded Lightroom, would the same thing happen to my not being able to revert back to PSE10, or are these two wholly separate programs in Adobe’s view? Thank you SO much!

    • Nancy Nally October 11, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

      Lightroom used to be way more expensive but Adobe has cut the price recently to make it way more affordable.

      Lightroom basically IS nothing but a giant organizer window, and then you click tabs on that sidebar to be able to do select which function you want to be operating in (library, edit, print, etc) in the organizer. It’s been awhile since I’ve tagged in PSE but from what I remember it’s very similar, but much easier to do large batches of pictures. The Lightroom organizer is way more efficient and you can actually edit your photos right IN the organizer window, flip back and forth between photos while you are editing. None of this pick a photo, edit it, save it, start another one stuff. You can look at one photo, make adjustments to it in the sidebar next to it, then click on another one in the navigator at the bottom, and make adjustments to it. No need to save, or load and exit files. Also, in PSE, when you make edits, it is hard to undo the one you did three steps ago without destroying the stuff you did since then. But in LR, since it’s all done through sliders and settings that you can adjust, you just go to the setting that you want to change and click to make changes to just that item – nothing else is touched.

      I have way more success editing in LR than I ever did in PSE, and I also find that it’s much faster to edit in LR.

      Lightroom and PSE are two totally separate programs so downloading a trial of LR won’t affect your PSE at all. If you do decide to try out LR, don’t freak out by complex it seems…learn a few basic functions first, and then as you go learn what more of the functions do!

      Glad I can help!

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