Chatbooks and Instagram
 Here are some of our recent chatbooks that we received

Here are some of our recent chatbooks that we received

Chatbooks are a great way to document your everyday moments...

Once in a while we like to highlight great new technologies, finds, and products that we like, and so this post is all about a creative concept that we are excited about. 

We are all in a hurry, yet along our journey a lot of us make time to post to Instagram or other social media sites. Sometimes we are sharing our travels, other times our loved ones, funny things we come across, the beauty of life, or we are downright marketing a company. Regardless of our angle we don't often think a lot about these small moments in the long run. In fact, there is an entire movement in the opposite direction with apps like Snapchat for instance where it's here today, gone tomorrow. Or sometimes gone in a flash.

Instagram is unique in that we can peruse our past and keep special moments and memories close to us on the go. However, we can never be too sure of our digital future. As time goes on, formats change, companies go out of business, and ideas fall out of favor sometimes whether we like it or not.

As photographers and artists, we are big on the idea of printing our life's moments creatively. No matter how cool a technology is, print is the one thing that will stay around for generations to observe and enjoy. Today, to some degree, we are all artists and creators. The incredible quality of imagery that can be created on mobile devices these days is exciting. As professionals we have backup systems for both our personal and client imagery. Yet, many non-professionals somehow end up losing their photographs to the digital changes at some point whether its from upgrading a phone, or from a hard drive failure, etc...

Poking around Instagram this week I happened to notice an app called Chatbooks. Ironically, Jennifer and I have had our share of conversations about printing our personal posts, but hadn't come across a service that was simple, and creative as of yet. As part of our holiday present to one another I took the liberty of trying out Chatbooks, and this is my experience...

 Within seconds Chatbooks organized all of our instagram photographs by date and created volumes

Within seconds Chatbooks organized all of our instagram photographs by date and created volumes

Chatbooks is an app which connects to your Instagram account. While I haven't done this, I believe you can also connect your Facebook and other social media accounts to the app if you prefer. I decided to stick with Instagram for my initial test. Within a few seconds the app took all of my current and past Instagram images, organized them by date, placed all of the post text under each photograph and laid out 10 books each with 60 photographs. It gave me the ability to peruse each volume and remove images that I preferred not to have in the books as well. I could also choose a cover image for each book. The process couldn't be any simpler. 

Normally I would have printed just one book to test the print quality because I am a stickler when it comes to color, and the overall look of print. But, then I noticed that the cost of each soft cover book was merely $8.00. So, I went all in and printed all 10 volumes that the app had designed for me.

It was a several of days before Christmas, so I knew there was no chance I would receive them prior to the holiday. But, even with the holiday rush in full swing, the books did arrive just after Christmas to our surprise. 

The books were very well printed and bound, and the quality of the paper and print was very pleasing especially considering the cost of each book. Chatbooks is a service and app that we will surely continue to use to document our everyday moments and life story in print. When the moments count most hire a professional photographer. But, don't discount the beautiful moments you capture yourself in between as life is too precious to miss out on this opportunity especially when it's so easy and affordable as well.

 The text of our instagram photographs were all below the images automatically, and the chatbooks print quality was lovely.

The text of our instagram photographs were all below the images automatically, and the chatbooks print quality was lovely.


Charles Maring is a photographer and filmmaker at Maring Visuals, and a co-host / creator of the Together In Style talk show.