With both iPhone and Android devices now featuring excellent cameras, most of us have the means to take photos any time we choose - and as a result document our lives more than ever before.
To a certain extent, improvements in smartphone camera technology have killed the need for a compact camera. That's great news for us consumers, because it's one fewer gadget to buy and carry, but what about prints?
It's great to be able to email photos straight from your phone or share on social media sites but - call us sentimental if you like - you just can't beat having your most memorable moments immortalised in physical, papery form. Luckily, that's easy when you know how…
Before we get on to printing apps and online wizardry, did you know that you can now simply walk into a Boots store and Bluetooth the photos you'd like printed across? All of the digital photo kiosks you find in store enable you to transfer your pictures to them wirelessly - just follow the super simple on-screen instructions.
Direct from phone to printer
Did you also know that you can print your photos directly from your phone to your printer? A bit like the digital photo kiosk, but without the need to leave home…
If you're an iPhone user, you should make the most of Apple's AirPrint. AirPrint gives you full-quality printed output without the need to download or install drivers - so is perfect for iPhones (and also iPads and iPods).
All iPhones (3G and later) come ready to use AirPrint - though you do need to have an AirPrint-compatible printer (all big manufacturers do them and they're surprisingly affordable, starting at around £45). From your camera roll, simply select the photo(s) to print, tap the printer icon, then select the AirPrint printer and number of copies required.
Google Cloud Print is another way you can print images directly from your phone (or any other Wi-Fi enabled device) to your printer, via a secure internet connection. There's a range of Google Cloud Print Ready printers on the market, which you'll need as well an app.
Cloud Print is the official Android app and, while there's no direct replacement for iOS, you can use the PrintCentral Pro app, which enables you to print to a number of services, including Google Cloud Print. One of the features we love on Google Cloud Print is that it facilitates letting others access your printer - imagine coming to home to a lovely print of your weekend away that a friend has sent to your printer!
Apps for snaps
There are some clever apps for both iPhones and Android phones that enable you to order prints directly from your handset. These services work on the proviso that you download their app, choose the photos you want printed from your phone, upload via the app then pay - and they post you out prints. Snail mail has never been so in vogue!
You'll notice that most of these services offer a couple of square print format options that have been optimised for Instagram, the incredibly popular image editing app via which you can take a snap with your mobile, then add one of many filters and effects to transform it into something special. If you haven't already got it, download it now and come over all hipster.
We love Printic - a US-based company offering free apps for both iPhone and Android. Choose Instagrammed or unedited photos from your phone, crop them, select your recipients - and Printic posts vintage-themed pictures in the mail a few days later.
Prints cost 99 cents - there's a minimum of three prints per order, but no shipping charges. This might sound expensive, but what you end up with are cool prints, which almost look like Polaroids. They're great for your very best shots or as a gift (you have the option of posting your prints to any address you like), because the quality is great and you can order just a few at a time.
The Fotobox printing app is also well worth checking out, though sadly it's only available for iPhone at the moment. There's a wealth of print sizes to choose from, ranging from standard 6x4s to Instagram 6x6es.
The more prints you order the better value this service gets - order 100 or more 6x4 prints and they'll cost 12p each, which is fabulous for such a convenient service. Postage is reasonable too.
And then there's Photobox, which also has an official app you can order prints with.
Whichever technology you choose to use for your prints, we hope you enjoy looking at them and displaying them offscreen.
- What to improve your smartphone photo skills? Read our tips and tricks.
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