Free, you say?

Hmmm, we shall have to see about that :) 

As some of you will have noticed (if you follow me on twitter, facebook or G+) I got myself a little freebie today, that was/is genuinely free. Now that's something which doesn't happen often. I'm going to assume it's a "UK only" thing but you may find in other countries you could get similar. Sorry, you want to know what I'm talking about? So do I half the time :) :) 

I'm talking about photographs. Do you remember the days when you had to put film in your camera and how rich/poor you were determined on how many rolls of film you could afford? The 2 usual prints were 24 or 36. I remember saving extra hard when I went to America with my Mum back in 1996 so that we could have buy 36 - between us we had 4 rolls of film (all we could afford). Then once you'd taken your photo's you had to make sure you didn't leave the negatives on the roll exposed (or you'd lose the image) and you had no idea exactly how your photograph was going to come out - if indeed it even did. You also had the extra expense of getting the photographs developed (here we used to mainly use a company that you posted your film to who then exposed them and sent them back). Once they arrived you hoped you had your photo's and not that of some random stranger  - luckily we never had any other than our own but I know a few people who ended up with other peoples; we also only ever had one roll not arrive at all. The first thing you would do when taking them out of the package was not to look at the images themselves, but to scour them all for the little stickers that often appeared; these let you know the image wasn't good enough. The reason could be a blurred image, finger print across the image or just a really bad photograph was taken in the first place. That is the true beauty of digital cameras in this day and age. You see what you've photographed immediately and if it's no good you hit "delete" and take another. You can snap off 100 photo's in less than 20 seconds if the subject your taking is likely to move or alter before you get the chance to check it. With so many you are bound to get one that's ok. There's none of this 24 or 36 malarky; my memory card holds 2500 photo's if I keep them as a jpg at 20mp - less if I work with them in the raw setting (I don't tend to use that much though). Digital is so much better in so many ways... except... 

How often do any of us actually print out the photo's we've taken? Back in the day every single image would have been printed. Now? I probably print less than 1% of all the photo's I take. In this day and age our photo's are stored on computers, clouds and shared online - this is great and means that we can offer up the images we're taking to millions of people at any one time (they also get to choose whether they look at them whereas back in the day people would get their friends round to show off their photo's whether their friends wanted to see them, or not. These days we have digital frames (I have a great one that holds 500 images and changes every 5 minutes) but sometimes it's nice to hold a photo in your hand. To feel the paper, check out the glossy finish before placing that photo in a leather bound album with others for you to view at a later date, or to pop them in a frame and hang just that one image on the wall. Besides, I love having photo's up that remind me of particular days, times, events (I wish we'd had a digital camera back when my Lovely Nanny and Dad were still alive for I have so few photo's of them both. That's why when I saw an avert for a company that will print up to 500 photo's for you each year (45 per month) for FREE I thought I had to give it a try. Actually, my first thought was "where's the catch?"

I did a bit of research, read the reviews (over 1300 reviews in the App Store about them and all of those reviews had 5 stars) and I figured I had nothing to lose, so I downloaded the app. Doing so I got offered free delivery on my first order, but I could only order a maximum of 10 images for that. As a trial anyway, I was more than happy with that. The wall behind the computer at work where I sit is boring; a creamy coloured paint that expands 8ft to my left, 3 feet to my right and 6ft above me. A while back I printed out 3 photo's at home (I was testing my new printer at the time) so I brought those to work and popped them on the wall just to brighten it up a bit. With that wall in mind I chose my 10 free photo's. Images which remind me of a great holiday and day trip; one of my dog (who is so hard to photograph as she runs away the minute you pick up a camera) one from my first proper night shoot, a couple from a visit to a safari park that I was proud of. I filled in my details, clicked the "place order" button and waited. Just 5 days later a package arrived with my 10 photographs and I have to say I'm mighty impressed. The paper they're printed on is not as thick as the printer paper I buy to print myself, but what do you want when they are free? The quality of the printing though is perfect and while they are glossy they're not in-your-face gloss. I'm really very pleased with them and am now going to sort out some more. I have a very happy looking wall in front of me that makes me smile each time I look up and it's nice to have a bit of colour. I do believe I shall give the company a 5* review myself. I've also seen (from a little leaflet they put in with the photo's) that they do a 7x5 photobook free each month also. Holds only 20 photo's but I think it could be fun to get one for my niece as she is 18 in June. I reckon she'd love a photo book full of 20 photo's of me for her big day 😂😂😂😂 Of course, another option is to work out a photo diary of the road trip and get each day printed at a time; it would mean getting them done over the course of a year but I reckon it would be worth it in the long run :)