France's DarQRoom brings high quality Instagram printing to Europe, finally!


Last week, Nantes-based DarQRoom became Europe’s first company to offer high-quality Instagram prints. The company – which positions itself as an alternative to stock photo sites like Fotolia – provides photographers an online gallery from which users can order high-quality prints.

In many ways comparable to the printing services provided by companies like US-based Canvaspop, DarQRoom offers a wider variety of professional paper, canvas and frame varieties to choose from. Darqroom also offers professional printing directly from Flickr and Facebook and plans to add additional social/photo platforms – such as Picasa or Path – to its service later this year.

Europe, meet Instagram.

It seems as though Europe is finally waking up to Instagram, who officially released its API in February 2011 (1 year ago). While there are numerous printing services in the US that offer printing from Instagram, including Printstagram, Instamaker,  Sincerely’s Postagram and even Instaprint – an instant printer that can be hired for events – Europe has definitely been slow to join in.

London’s MintDigital launched Stickygram to turn Instagram photos into magnets. But for anyone that wants a non-magnetic print on this side of the Atlantic, DarQRoom is the first company to serve the European market. (From what I understand, London’s Prinsta does not actually print anything…) Sure there are US printing companies like Blurb that service the European market, but it’s nice to finally see actual European companies catching on to Instagram, too.
DarQRoom founder Thierry Férey said that the reason the company made the decision to offer Instagram printing is also largely because of Instagram’s social element. Instagram – which reached the million-user milestone in less than 3 months – was elected Apple’s app of the year in 2011 and is rumored to be hitting Android very soon.

Instegration: Instagram’s API beyond printing.

Aside from printing, other European platforms could also benefit from Instagram’s API. In the US, companies like Foodspotting, Flipboard, Dropbox and more have been using Instagram’s API in their apps and web services. For example, French Foodspotting rival Food Reporter could clearly benefit from Instagram’s API in a similar way. As Mashable founder Pete Cashmore recently wrote, the social web is becoming increasingly visual over time – which is why European companies that deal with user-generated photo content may want to look to follow in DarQRoom’s lead. That said, there are a handful of Europe-based companies currently using Instagram’s API, like photo-sharing apps Teleportd and Sharypic.