In this age of sharing images via email, social media and text messages, one form of photo communication has sadly been left behind. It is something we all used to look forward to getting from anyone who was traveling. I’m speaking of the humble postcard.
Be it a trip as mundane as a work conference in Kansas City or as exotic as a trek through the Amazon rainforest, getting a postcard in the mail was something that we all looked forward to from friends and family. Even today, if I want to make my grandmother happy, sending even the cheesiest of postcards will bring a smile and a thank you. Perhaps more surprisingly, my kids go completely nuts when someone sends them a postcard. At 6 and 8, they both already have email addresses, but the postcards all go right up on the wall above their beds.
But what if we could merge the old-school and the new-school? What if, instead of relying on the spinning metal rack of cards at a roadside diner or airport giftshop, you could easily send a postcard of an image you took yourself? Through the magic of smartphone apps, doing so is far easier than you might expect.
Putting them to the test
I tried out five different postcard apps on an iPhone 5s: Touchnote, Postcard, Ink, Postagram and Snapshot Postcard. All of the apps are free and charge only for sending cards. I sent myself three postcards from each app using the same three images. One of the images was taken with a DSLR and another with a Micro Four Thirds camera, then transferred to my iPhone. The third image was a photo taken with the iPhone’s rear-facing camera. The data regarding pricing was reported by the app companies themselves. I did my best to make it clear what the costs would be for both US and International users. If the company reported specific non-US pricing, it is listed. But if they did not, pricing will be in whatever your local exchange rate is from USD.
Usable worldwide: Yes
Cardstock: 110 lb glossy
Additional products: Greeting cards
As with all of these apps, Touchnote has iOS and Android versions. What is unique is that it also has a web interface so you can order while at your desk. This is actually surprisingly handy if you intend to send non-phone images regularly. Full-bleed, white border, square or 1-6 multi image layouts are available. Images can be cropped, zoomed and rotated within the app. In addition to traditional messages on the back of the postcard, Touchnote allows you to add up to a 33 character caption on the front side as well. There is a confirmation email after you send a card and you can see (as well as copy for future use) all of your past sent cards in a nice timeline view.
Postcard by PrintMe
Usable worldwide: Yes
Cardstock: 300 gr/qm (aprox 110 lb) luster
Additional products: Greeting cards, photo books, calendars
Postcard by PrintMe aims to be more of a ‘photo products’ app than the others in this article. That said, its postcard options are plenty strong on their own. Full-bleed, white border, and multi-image layouts are available, as well as many ‘occasion/holiday’ designs. The image can be zoomed and cropped, but not rotated.
Rare in these apps is Postcard’s ability to change the font for your message on the back. Sadly, there is no drop-down list, you just have to keep pressing the ‘font’ button over and over. Still, it is one of the only apps that give you any font option at all. Much cooler is the ‘signature’ box option which allows you to sign your name on-screen and have it print on the card. Finally, though I did not test it, Postcard offers the option to pick up folded greeting cards, but not postcards, next-day at Walgreens locations.