When I was a little one (not that I'm very much bigger now, but never mind), every time that I dropped a roll of film into the chemists to be developed, I would be engulfed by anticipation. How would my photos come out? Were they as good as I'd hoped? How many had I screwed up this time around? And of course, it was easy: drop in the film, leave your name, turn up the next day, and pay your fee. Now, I sepnd hours piddling about uploading the images that I want printed to whichever site is currently in my favour, I piddle about some more resizing them, I piddle about paying for them and sorting the delivery address, and then I have to wait for them. Some of the romance has gone, knowing what will be coming through the letterbox. Instagic is aiming to restore some of that romance and anticipation when awaiting the arrival of prints, starting with your Instagram feed.
You pay a monthly subscription fee of $9.99. Instagic picks the ten best photos from your Instagram feed each month, prints them in 4×4 format, and sends them to you wherever you are in the world.
The Instagic elves select the best photos from the previous month, to keep things current. They take into consideration the creative and technical make-up of your photos and how you've used filters, as well as the social feedback that your shots have accumulated. Don't worry if you've been low on photographic inspiration for four weeks, they'll have a peek back into the archives and pick some of your better, previously unprinted images, to make up the numbers.
There's no option to pay a one-off fee (although I think that could be a winner) for someone who doesn't feel that they warrant a monthly subscription, but existing subscribers can add one-offs to 'top up' their subscriptions if they've had a prolific month. The Instagic team is considering a range of other subscription packages, too. Ten seemed to be the 'magic number' for prints and Instagram felt like the right platform to start their venture, but there are plans to branch out to other subscription levels and different platforms, for example Flickr and Facebook.
I can understand how some people might feel a bit uneasy leaving algorithmic elves to choose their 'best' photos each month, but I'm rather charmed by the surprise of the concept. And I certainly appreciate not having to wade through the rigmarole of sending images for printing. Instagic could be onto something here.