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Ink Cards is Perfect Blend of Digital and Print Sharing

Matthew Morse's picture
July 8, 2016 - 12:00pm

When considering various photography apps and services, it’s easy to put a strong emphasis on all things digital – editing, management, sharing, and publication. Often, this comes at the expense of more traditional print-based services, and this is unsurprising given how the digital medium has transformed over the past decade.

Customize card screen Ink Cards AppCustomizing a card with a photo taken in Bagan, Burma/Myanmar

While photography once revolved around prints and photo albums, today it’s much more about what’s on your computer, smartphone, or social network. But from time to time, a service comes along that merges these two worlds — print and digital — in a way that’s extremely useful and fun. That’s where Ink Cards (iTunes) (Android) comes in.

Ink Cards is a smartphone app that allows you to access all the photos in your phone’s library and use them to publish and mail postcards and greeting cards. The interface is seamless, quick, and fun – you can customize a card in just a few minutes. Once you’re finished, Ink Cards prints and mails the cards for you.

The service is great for use by just about anyone — friends and family members love getting personalized cards with photos of you and others featured on the cover. That said, the service is particularly suited to photographers, especially those who love to travel. To break into the first person, I’ve had many recipients thrilled to see my latest landscape photos arrive at their doorstep. Instagram and SMS are great, but there’s something about having a tangible card you can hold in your hand (and put on your refrigerator) that adds to the sharing experience.

Main screen of the Ink Cards App lets you choose the motif of your card

When you open the app, you’re given a long menu of various occasions, each of which contains a number of relevant card templates. Options include everything from “Thank You,” to “Birthday,” “Thinking of You,” “Traveling,” “Congratulations,” “Sorry,” a catch all “Any Occasion,” and many more. Seasonal categories like “Valentine’s Day” and “Christmas” are added and featured as well.

After selecting your motif, you’re presented with a variety of design templates based on that motif

Nearly all of the card templates are designed to accommodate a user-submitted photo, although more traditional, text-only cards are also offered. Many templates also have a handful of different color styles and allow you to customize the front with additional text.

Type out your message and get a preview of how the card will look. Note: this is the sample text that’s generated by Ink Cards; my messages actually sound nothing like this!

Flip it over, and you can type out a longer message to your recipient(s). When it comes time to send, you can send the same card to multiple recipients, so if you dread writing out a dozen postcards or holiday cards with the same message, you’re golden.

A landscape preview mode lets you inspect both sides close up

Naturally, you can use any photo that you’ve taken with your phone, as well as any photo taken with another camera that you’ve transferred to your phone. Personally, I’ll add any photos taken with my DSLR to an iCloud Photo Sharing folder after I’ve made any tweaks I want in my DAM, then add those to Ink.

Enter recipients (including multiple names and addresses) and Ink Cards will print, address, and mail the card(s) for you

Once submitted, you receive notifications when the card has been mailed, and again upon delivery. You can also opt into birthday and holiday reminders, if you want a nudge when it comes time to mail that birthday card to Aunt Clarice.

My favorite aspect is the ability to send cards from anywhere with an internet connection. You could be half the world away (as I was when I mailed several cards last year while traveling in Burma/Myanmar) and mail a custom card that gets there quickly and affordably; cards arrive in a few days and cost starts at US$1.99 to addresses within the United States or US$2.99 to anywhere else for a post card. Fancier, “greeting card” style options are available for an additional US$2.99. As a tool for sharing photos and experiences from afar, I can’t recommend Ink Cards too highly!


About the author, Matthew Morse:

Based in Washington, DC, I'm the operator of the travel photography blog The Prodigal Dog. I'm a digital strategist who has been an avid photo hobbyist for over 15 years. Hiking and traveling off the beaten path, landscapes, wildlife, and the occasional portrait are my preferred subjects. Always interested in the technology behind what makes this art form so great.

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