Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Review: Lifecake Private Photo Sharing App

For every one image of my girl's chubby little chops that I put on Instagram, there are at least a hundred other I don't share with the world, for many reasons. I don't share nudes, so bath pictures are out, as are potty pictures (yes, already! That's another story) and anything with real mess in the background (stylised mess is a different thing and you know it!), pictures with other people's children in...the list goes on. More than anything though, I am well aware that my 4k Instagram followers don't need or want to see every single one of her funny little faces. My mum, on the other hand, is a different story.

So, my phone's "storage almost full" message is something I've just learnt to work around, but aside from sending the odd picture to family members over whatsapp, most of the images that I've taken of her have been for our eyes only, and to be honest, even though it takes much better images, because nobody sees them, I rarely get the big camera out. Until now.

Lifelike got in touch and invited me to try out their platform and print service, it's owned by photography giants Canon and is a secure photo sharing and baby timeline app that stores your images at full resolution, meaning that they can be downloaded in a printable size by family and friends. You choose who to invite so only approved family members have the key to download images or have them printed straight from the app. Anyone else whose mum has printed out screen grabs from their Instagram stories (including captions) and wonders why it looks fuzzy? Storage is free up to 10gb (keep reading for an extra 10gb code), after this they do charge a subscription fee of £27 per year for unlimited storage. To give you an idea of what 10gb feels like, I've uploaded 197 photos from a DSLR and I still have 97% of space remaining. Not too shabby.

I downloaded the app and logged in on my mac too, you can drag and drop from the camera memory card directly into Lifelike, and if you have the date set up correctly on your camera (kicking myself here), it automatically organises them chronologically, creating a timeline of your little one's life. If you have more than one child, it sorts them by child too. As you upload there is an option to give your images a title and edit the date too. As soon as they've uploaded, they appear on your mobile and anyone else who has installed the app. You can choose whether a notification lets you know that a new image has been added. Mine are firmly off. Nanny's notifications are firmly on!

To invite your chosen few (or many) to view your child's timeline, the app asks for their email address, they use this to download the app and create a secure sign in, then they're free to like and comment on the images. I find that I'm very much praise driven, once I start getting swooning comments from the grandparents, I start taking more pictures. My camera is getting much more use since Lifecake entered the scene.

There is a print shop connected where you can make photo books, calendars, prints and other photo gifts easily because your photos are already there (you can also download them if you want to get them printed elsewhere). Anyone that's been invited into the fold can make their own too. I chose to get A1 prints made with images from the same session because I wanted to keep the colours calm and consistent, I uploaded new images of G and asked my Mum and Dad to 'heart' their favourites so that I could make them a (not so secret now) Christmas surprise.  There isn't an option to have a single image printed at the A1 size but I wanted big impact so I chose the squares print. It was easy to pop the images into each slot and move them around until they felt right. The print fit perfectly into the Ikea standard frame, I stuck it over the mount using glue dots. The prints were good quality and came rolled in a tube on a semi gloss paper. I also ordered a mug but I'm not so happy with the quality on that one, I think I made a mistake using an image with lots of background blur.  I'll live and learn.

So what did I think? I love the app, it's easy to use and encourages me to use my real camera to capture her growing up rather than the easy option iPhone, it's great for sharing images with family without inundating them with email zip files (which they wouldn't know how to open anyway) and my Mum is thrilled that she has G's life from the start on her phone incase she needs to show anyone pictures of her treasured granddaughter. The print shop was very easy to use, although I would have liked more flexibility on the poster print options. The largest single shot is A4 and I'd like to be able to print a single shot up to A1 size.

I hope you'll download the app and give it a whirl, I'd love to know what you think! Oh, and Lifecake have offered an extra 10GB of storage and 25% off phonebooks when you use the code 'nicolafriend'. You're welcome!

Disclosure: Lifecake supplied me with some print credit so that I could create an honest review of their services.


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