Remember back in the day you’d flip through an old photo book? Those were the days. So evocative, so elegiac. So…1990s. Things have changed, naturally. We view our photos online now, most often on our “Facebook.” And oh the photos that emerge from the void of our collective pasts! My friend, for example, told me an old college pal posted some amazing photos of our crew, circa 1997, looking frumpy and nerdy and cool. And don’t get me wrong – looking at the picture on a computer is nice. But it’d be nicer to get a tangible copy of it, put it above my bed, create a shrine, etc. It’d be nice to have the option to touch it, smell it, feel it (though not necessarily taste it; I am open to suggestions, however.) Make worlds merge – the digital and the analog, y’know? Enter, stage left, FotoFriend.
By connecting with your Facebook account, Foto Friend lets you create beautiful photo products directly from your Facebook photos. Just go into your account, pick’em, and cool your heels for a spell; orders are shipped within two business days. And just to sweeten the deal, Foto Friend is giving away 100 free wallet-size prints with every order. There is no need to sign up with Foto Friend. Rather, you can just use your existing Facebook account and start printing immediately. Now, initially, some privacy concerns may arise, but Foto Friend is all over it: they do not store your Facebook account information. That stuff remains with Facebook and Foto Friend accesses it via Facebook’s Facebook Connect service. So rest assured: your photos from Daytona Beach 1999 won’t show up on some stranger’s key chain anytime soon.
What I like about this service is the diversity. In addition to traditional prints – lab-quality photos printed on high-end Kodak paper – you can also create:
- Sheets of 20 stickers! Each sticker is approximately the size of a matchbox. This could be a cool option for bands looking to promote themselves in every dingy dive bar bathroom in the US. Gross.
- Wallet-Sized Prints. Available in three different sizes and from a mere two cents (!) a photo.
- Custom Playing Cards (my favorite; see below.) Seems to me the only custom playing cards I see these days are pretty vulgar. Let’s think outside the box, people, ok? Foto Friend’s custom playing cards also come with a hard case – a nifty gift idea.
Foto Friend does a great job at aesthetically drawing the visitor onto the page. And its offerings – particularly the stickers and playing cards – seem pretty unique to me. From a first-time user perspective, I’d pass along the following comments that could take the navigational experience to the next level:
- I could have the key tagline – “Create real photos from your Facebook pictures with Foto Friend” be more prominent (perhaps on the right-hand of the screen, or below the Foto Friend logo on the top left?) Basically this tells me explicity what Foto Friend is, but when the screen changes – in the current version – you could miss it.
- I’d also have more in-depth chronological screenshots showing how the process actually unfolds. The upper-left corner of the How It Works page shows it, but I’d build it out to make it more robust. Just a succession of screen shots from Facebook itself.
Foto Friend also just launched a nifty photo editing competition. It’s a cool, collaborative idea, with a pretty compelling carrot attached: $500! Now, don’t get me wrong, we’re all artists here. We’re purists and are moved by our collective love of music, art, and…hmm…yeah…what’s it called? Oh yeah, poetry…and of course photography too. The contest is this: use Foto Friend’s editing tools to add effects, text, whatever, to your Facebook photos. The winning submission walks away with 500 cold ones (dollar bills, not Bud bottles.) The contest is open to anyone, and the entries must be submitted by June 30th. Better yet, you can enter as many photos as you’d like – just please keep it one a day. Show some self-control for a change.