We asked you to show us how Holland rocks, and you responded!
Launched to celebrate the last Queen’s Day and the inauguration of King Willem-Alexander, PastBook invited local Dutch and Expats to contribute and share their memories into an all-inclusive collaborative photobook, as a gift for the new King.
PastBook is pleased to present the We Love Holland book, filled with your best moments and stories from Queen’s Day celebrations and beyond.
The collaborative project provided an opportunity for individuals to contribute to their unique perspective into an overall narrative. In particular, it reached out to Expats through project partners Dutch News, I Am Expat, English Breakfast Radio and Expatica NL to be involved as an integral part of the Dutch community.
The final book tells the story of a multi-faceted nation, each photo revealing a glimpse of the culture, imagination, joy and quirky sense of humour that we associate with being Dutch!
Here are just some of the wonderful contributions included in the book:
Above all, it shows how people from all over the world unite and embrace their love of this small but endearing country, and how the memories have touched our lives.
This special edition book will be printed in high quality hard copy, and presented to King Willem-Alexander on behalf of all his citizens, a time-capsule of a moment in history.
A PDF e-book is available to download as a keepsake and to share with friends, just visit http://bit.ly/welovehollandpb and click the download button. If you wish to purchase a printed copy to keep, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
All participants will receive a 25% discount voucher available on any PastBook order, to create their own personal story.
Thank you Holland, and can’t wait for next year to do it all over again!
PastBook are big fans of Instagramers, the passionate photo-loving community with representative groups all around the world. Through this network of creatives, you can learn tips to improve your skills, attend Instameets, enter competitions, and discover exciting new users to follow.
We were honoured to be able to interview Philippe Gonzalez (@PhilGonzalez) about his insights into Instagram and looking back over the past couple of years since founding this amazing community in January 2011. Here’s what he had to say:
Q1. How often to you look back over your Instagram photos, and what are your impressions when you do? Are you surprised at how many you have taken, or the places you have been?
I do not really look back over my Instagram pics very often. I do it when I need to send a pic for an interview like this one and want to look for my favorite ones… What astonishes me is how few pics I uploaded these last months! At the beginning of my Instagram addiction, I used to post one or two pics a day. Now it´s one or two posts a week. The explanation is easy. I spend much more time publishing on my @igers accounts and promoting the Instagramers community development than my own stream contribution. Another thing that surprises me is that I suddenly switched to Hipstamatic Black and White pics a year or so ago, after a long period of HDR… I paint on canvas in black and white for years now, that is probably the reason.
Q2. Can you share with us some of your favourite IG photographs you have taken, and the story or memory behind them?
The most important pics that come to my mind are very different really. One of them is probably The Christ of Corcovado in the top of the hills of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We climbed very late to the hill and the Sky was cloudy. It was complicated to do black and white pics with Hipstamatic (my fav photo app) as it gives a darken effect… And it was already quite late. But suddenly the sun appeared for a few minutes and I took the chance to shoot a few pics of the counterlit image of the Christ and tiny people visiting the monument. A strange atmosphere.
Q3. Previously you have stated that “one of your favourite things to do is to look at the first pictures posted by some of the most regular and recognised users today.” Certainly the arrival of Instagram presented new creative opportunities and constraints to photographers, and started a new wave of mobile photography.
Yes. I used to do it but now the streams of the users are much too deep and to go to the beginning can take a lot of time. However when they are brand new, I always try to understand their evolution on the app. Most of the time, like me, they switched several times from one style to another. It´s true that my blogger´s editor side drives me to discover new people on Instagram everyday. And it´s really interesting as I open my eyes to new trends… people using Instagram to promote their photographies or their sculptures or their poetry… Instagram gives so many opportunities!
Can you provide some examples of how Instagram has developed or evolved users’ style of photography to this mobile application?
Q4. Some people use Instagram as a way of story telling, like in street photography. At times it can even be a form of photojournalism. In your opinion, who are some of the best story-tellers in the Igers community, or some interesting examples?
It would be unfair to rank who are the best story tellers as we are millions and I haven’t got the possibility to know them all. However I will talk about some people I follow who have a special tooth in the story telling in very different ways.
@cachafaz An Argentinian guy living in Austin who gives an opportunity to homeless people to express themselves on Instagram. @olaquerompe Alessandra writes beautiful poetry, reflection and words below her pics… Usually sea at sunset. Beautiful pictures. @Osnuflaz tells stories… Funny stories of a T-Rex lost in our modern times!
Q5. Finally, have you ever printed your photos from Instagram, for yourself or for someone else? What do you like about seeing a photo in printed format, compared to digital format?
As you know, we love hearing from our users and if you write to us, you will always receive a personal reply.
We take your feedback very seriously, and these latest new features and updates have been designed in response to the most popular requests.
We think you’ll be really pleased with the improved functionality! Take a look at the changes here:
The customization toolbar layout at the top of the screen has been redesigned for ease of use and clear navigation, it is divided into categories:
- Customize the Book Title
- Turn your profile photo on or off
- Choose your theme from 3 different professionally designed templates
- Choose your colour-set, which varies for each theme
- Ability to turn on and off your Titles, Dates, Likes and Comments individually
- If you are connected using Facebook, you can choose to crop images to square format or retain original layout as portrait and landscape
REMOVE & RESTORE PHOTOS
- Now when you remove photos, they will be kept in the ‘Removed Items’ bar at the bottom of the screen, so that if you change your mind you can ‘restore’ back to the original page.
EXPAND & MINIMISE PHOTOS
- If you remove one photo from a page, the remaining photo can be ‘expanded’ to fill the page for added impact. Don’t like it? Minimise it back!
So what do you think of the new features? And what would you like to see in our next update?
Tell us in the comments below and help shape the future of PastBook!
The Netherlands is a beautiful country full of laid-back friendly people, but once a year the entire nation goes completely wild and conservatism is thrown out the canal boat window.
This day is called Queen’s Day or Koninginnedag, a proud national celebration of not just the Queen’s (symbolic) birthday, but of everything Dutch as the locals take to the streets and paint the town orange. The spectacle will be doubled in 2013, as Queen Beatrix officially abdicates after 33 years for the inauguration of King Willem-Alexander in a historic event.
PastBook is lucky to be based in Amsterdam in the centre of all the activity. As our special contribution, PastBook is launching the first collaborative photobook made by complete strangers, the “We Love Holland” PastBook.
With its web platform, PastBook invites you to contribute the best moments and most awesome pictures of Queen’s Day into one combined story book, to show the world how to party like the Dutch! Crazy, outrageous, hilarious, fun… sexy? Even that!
This event provides a unique opportunity for local Dutch, expats and visitors from around the world to unite and publicly share their love of this quirky, orange, flat country. The photobook will be printed in high quality and displayed online at PastBook.com and its partners DutchNews.nl, Iamexpat.nl, Expatica.com and English Breakfast Radio for the world to share.
Most importantly, the printed photobook will be handed over to the King himself, as a gift from his citizens to commemorate the event!
All the best memories captured into a book, forming a time-capsule of Royal history that will last forever.
Be part of the story! Here’s how you can join in:
The “We Love Holland” PastBook will be open for contributions until the 10th of May 2013. The best 10 entries will also be rewarded with a personal PastBook.
What do you love about Holland? Upload your best photo and share with us now!
We recently launched our new release of PastBook, using feedback and comments from YOU, our loyal fans.
The release is packed with great new features to improve your experience, including:
- A stylish minimal theme, with plain Black and White colour sets.
- Ability to turn comments, likes, titles and dates on or off individually.
- Option to include a profile photo on the cover.
- Pagination for quick and easy browsing.
- Enhanced sharing experience and improved video quality and lots more!
Take a look at our video tutorial, for a quick introduction and tour of the new features.
What do you think of the new features? Do you have some ideas on how we can improve PastBook? Please share them in the comments below.
This rapid growth is testimony to its huge popularity and affinity with users. The platform is simple to use, instantly social, conveniently mobile and fun to create and explore. Add a dash of nostalgia and retro-cool, and you have won over hobbyists and professionals alike!
If you are new to Instagram and learning the ropes, here are a few tips across a broad range of topics to help you make the most of your experience.
1. Editing Photos
Instagram comes bundled with a number of free built-in filters and basic editing tools, with the most interesting being an adjustable tilt-shift effect to create focus. These are a great start to begin with, but if you want to explore more advanced editing tools, there are a plethora of compatible applications available.
Some of our favourite examples are:
- Wood Camera features an expansive suite of lenses and textures, and you can save photos offline if they are personal
- Camera+ is a powerful and popular editing tool, especially for adjusting lighting and clarity levels for crisp sharp images.
– Picfx offers over 100 fun effects and 13 different styles including bokeh, and you can layer effects for added impact.
2. Combining photos
If you have taken a series of photos that make sense as a collection, or want to further push the creative boundaries, you may want to consider combining the photos. Instagram itself does not offer functionality, but here are a few applications that do:
- Diptic offers 165 layouts to position your photos, and you can customize the frame look and dimensions.
– Photoshake! also enables you to arrange collages on your own, but comes with a fun feature where you can shake your device for a random collage.
For the dedicated smartphone photographer, you can invest in some specialist add-ons which can fit in your pocket to go wherever you do!
- Magnetic snap-on lenses are compact and convenient to use, with a wide range of effects available including fisheye, telephoto, and macro, wide angle, even panoramic. Popular brands and stores include Photojojo, Olloclip, and Kogeto.
– Portable smartphone tripods enable steady shots and are particularly helpful for low-light and night shots. Popular models include Joby Gorilla Mobile with flexible legs to wrap around anything, and Gary Fong’s Flip-Cage which is a case, mount and tripod in one, and the newly released SlingShot which easily fits all brands of smartphone.
– Waterproof cases are essential if you dare to take your smartphone camera underwater. They range from simple zip-lock bags like Bubble Shield, to vacuum sealed cases like DryCase, and even the Tat7 Scuba Case for instagramming at 30m deep!
The simplest way to connect with other Instagram users is to add #hashtags to your photos to best describe the content. This allows others to find and ‘like’ or comment on your photo, and for you to browse topics that interest you. Some good references on hashtag use include:
- Best Practices Guide on Instagram
– This handy Cheat Sheet explains what some commonly used hashtags mean
– Online communities have even been formed around popular hashtags, such as TagitJJ.com formed around #jj via @joshjohnson. They host daily challenges and provides tips, discussions, reviews, news and more to their 300,000+ followers.
5. Join an Instagramers group
A great way to indulge your passion for Instagram and to network with fellow addicts is to join your local Instagramers (Igers) group. There are over 330 groups worldwide, and if your city isn’t featured, you can apply to start one!
Igers groups organise events, competitions and most commonly, InstaMeets, where you can meet the person behind the screen-name and share tips or ideas, or participate in a photo-walk.
6. View by Location
Several apps have appeared to offer photo viewing by location, which can be a pleasant way to learn more about what’s happening in your neighbourhood or in other parts of the world.
- Instamap is an app available on mobile and ipad enabling you to browse Instagram photos by location on a map. You can subscribe to geographical locations, venues, users or tags and see the photos as they get posted.
– InstaEarth also offers viewing via location but is available to browse on computer. Search photos by location, by user or by tag and also find photos taken near you
7. Viewing Online
Instagram is predominantly a mobile focused interface, though it does have some online presence through its blog and a recently updated viewing feed. The functions available are still limited, but fortunately there are excellent third-party web apps which allow you to continue your passion while surfing the net at home (or, at work… *cough*)
Our favourite viewer is Webstagram, one of the original and most popular web-based Instagram apps with lots of options to explore random images, search for specific hashtags or users, and like or comment on photos. Bonus features include seeing hottest 100 hashtags, most popular filters, and a forum and personal messaging for added communication.
8. As a Background
The square format of Instagram photos lends itself very well to grid-style presentations. These apps turn your photos into colourful mosaic backgrounds to brighten your day:
- InstaWallpaper is a versatile online site which generates wallpapers to suit your phone, ipad, laptop or any other screen device. Not only can you create using your own photos, but of other public users, by tags, or by set categories. Choose the layout, spacing and colour, and download instantly for free
– Screenstagram is an Instagram-driven screen saver, which pulls photos from the ‘popular’ feed in Instagram, or you can log in to use photos from your feed and people you follow
9. Printing your photos
There will come a time when you are so pleased with your Instagram photos that you want to present them in the physical world. A selection of fun products available include:
- PastBook is a fast, convenient and ridiculously good-looking way to print your Instagram photos in a soft or hard-cover book for you to share with family and friends. You can choose a timeframe to select your images, for example by month or year, or for the duration of a holiday or event. Purchase includes free delivery worldwide.
– Instacanvas allows you to print your images on quality stretched canvas, or framed posters, desktop prisms, and even iphone covers. Best of all, there is the ability to sell your photos to others as products or buy a photo you really love. In this manner, you can also browse and discover new Instagram accounts to follow
– Stickygram converts your favourite images into fun magnets to adorn your fridge. There are nine to a sheet, and you can also buy gift certificates
10. Our final tip is to backup your Instagram photos on a regular basis, just to be safe. An easy and frictionless way to do this is via PastBook’s Instaback service, which downloads all your Instagram photos and emails a link to your handy zip file, for free.
Try it now!
You’ve been living abroad for months, even years…
When was the last time you spoke to your family back home?
How do you share your journey with them?
How do you capture all your travel memories and magic moments to remember and relive another time?
Online albums on Facebook or Instagram are great for sharing and connecting around the world, but there is something special about enjoying a tangible, physical photo album to flip through on the sofa, or share with family and friends offline who may not be so techno savvy. (My mother for one does not use the computer at all!) And let’s be honest… Facebook does not display your photos in the most attractive way, and it is hard to get a sense of storyline on Instagram. Sometimes you need more, and a printed photobook may be just the solution.
PastBook makes it easy, fast and affordable to print your holiday photos, by sourcing content already uploaded on Facebook or Instagram (including captions, likes and comments) and automatically laying out into a beautiful professionally designed book template. With just a few clicks, you can download a free PDF of your book and share it online, or order a hardcopy delivered to anywhere in the world.
This makes PastBook the perfect gift to send to family back home to share your journey, or to your travel companions as a memento of the good times. Remember how much you enjoy receiving a postcard in the mail with a personal message? PastBook albums are like postcards x 1000!
You can even create your album on the move using your mobile phone or tablet, while sitting in a café, or on a train trip between countries, or waiting for your visa at the embassy!
A recent survey by a UK travel agency* revealed that while travellers take on average 300 photos during their trip, only 3% ever make it to print. This may be a combination of lack of time, patience, or affordability and a rise in social networking. Now with PastBook there are no excuses – you can create and order a book in under a minute!
So what are you waiting for? Your travel photos are worth it, and so is your family :)
Are you often stressing about what to give your friend or loved one on their birthday, anniversary or other special occasion? You want to give them something meaningful, which they can keep for a lifetime, but you can’t quite think of the perfect gift…
The gift of a personal photo book, filled with special moments and shared memories is the ideal solution in these situations. It’s versatile as it suits many occasions including mother’s/father’s day, weddings or engagements, even graduations or farewells! People love seeing the thought and effort that was put into their gift.
There are two options for making a photo book, the old-fashioned way or digital way, or even a mix of both! Here we explore the benefits of each option:
MANUAL PHOTO BOOK
The good old-fashioned manual photo book offers unlimited flexibility to personalise and be creative, but you will need to allow for some time and effort. In terms of materials, you’ll need to buy an empty photo album or blank book, printed photos and collect some additional decorations or bits and pieces.
Depending on the situation, a simple book focusing on the photos may suffice, or you may want to go the way of a highly decorated book. To spruce up your book, you can use virtually anything that lays flat! This is the part where you can be as creative as you want. Some ideas are ticket stubs, pressed flowers, leaves, maps, postcards, stickers, ribbons, stamps, random scraps of paper and glitter.
It’s also helpful to include dates of the photos, and if you wish, headings or comments. You can include anecdotes like ‘Remember when’, ‘How we met’, ‘Our funniest moment’, ‘First day of school,’ or ‘When we went to’. If you’re feeling ultra creative you can even include sketches, write poems, or if it’s for a grandparent or parent, add footprints or handprints of your kids.
How much effort you put into the album is up to you, but ultimately it will be rewarded when they receive their beautiful handmade album!
DIGITAL/PRINTED PHOTO BOOK
These days, technology has made it simpler to create a photo album that is highly personalised and just as attractive as if you had made it the old-fashioned way.
This is where PastBook comes in to save you time!
To make a PastBook gift-worthy photo album all you’ll need is a Facebook or Instagram account, a bit of creativity and just a few minutes!
Firstly, PastBook is configured with Facebook and Instagram, allowing you to use photos that are already online. You can arrange the photos how you like, deleting ones you don’t want to be included. The dates and headings of the photos, as well as comments and likes are included. You can also upload your sketches and poems to Facebook or Instagram, and use them as part of your album.
The next step is to choose a beautiful theme, and voila! Your photo album is complete in just a few clicks.
Once your PastBook is printed and delivered to your door, you’re free to personalise your album. If you want to retain a crafty feel, you have the option of manually adding stickers, souvenirs and drawings to your PastBook.
Another advantage of PastBook is that it is more streamlined than old-fashioned photo albums. You can fit more photos into a smaller book, which saves much needed space on your bookshelf. With a PastBook you also eliminate the risk of photos becoming unstuck and falling out. PastBook is made for long term keeps! It is truly something your loved one can enjoy for years to come.
So what type of photo album would you prefer – An old fashioned album or a PastBook?
Check out PastBook now, it’s easy and free to try!
Congratulations to our Birthday Memory Competition winners! Our overall winner is Mary Daniel (Instagram account @mardanial09), with a photo of her beautiful niece at her first birthday. Mary wins a PastBook t-shirt for her niece and her very own PastBook. The next ten best photos also receive their very own PastBook!
Have a look at all the cute photos from our winners in our Public PastBook:
Congratulations to all our winners! Check out their instagram accounts here
With the rise of China, the perception of Chinese brands is fast changing. Where ten years ago, one would struggle to think of a Chinese brand, today companies like Hisense and Huawei are gaining world wide recognition and are comparable with their international counterparts.
This is also true in the social media arena, where Chinese companies have stepped up to fill the void of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram whose access has been blocked in the country. While Instagram isn’t blocked in China, its future in the country is uncertain, due to Facebook’s ownership of the photo-sharing application.
Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter is one of the success stories. Sina Weibo literally translates to ‘New Wave microblog’. The social network was launched in 2009, and had 368 million registered users as of mid 2012. Twitter on the other hand, was launched in 2006 and had 500 million registered users as of 2012. Due to the large Chinese market, Weibo’s growth has been more rapid than Twitter’s and celebrities and businesses have started to realise the potential in having a Weibo account.
To date, celebrities like Justin Bieber, Paris Hilton, Tom Cruise and Emma Watson have Weibo accounts. Adidas, Unilever and Louis Vuitton are amongst the companies who are using Weibo to reach the Chinese market.
Weibo is essentially a combination of Twitter and Facebook, allowing users to post 140 Chinese character messages, as well as post emoticons, pictures, videos and polls. There is also a chat feature, similar to Facebook chat.
Celebrities have a dedicated page called ‘Hall of Fame’ and are categorised into entertainment, sport, finance, tech and so on. Weibo may initially look quite confusing (mainly due to the language) but all posts are categorised making it relatively easy to find what you’re looking for.
The obvious downside of Weibo is the significant censorship of posts by the government. But as someone replied to Tom Cruise when he questioned the Weibo community about posting etiquette: “Dear Mr. Cruise, As for posting etiquette, I don’t think you should have to worry about that. As long as you don’t post anything offensive religiously, politically, culturally :) Welcome to Weibo”.
Check out some celebrity and company Weibo accounts here:
Tom Cruise: http://weibo.com/officialtomcruise
Justin Bieber: http://www.weibo.com/justinbiebercn
Adam Levine: http://www.weibo.com/adamlevinecn
Louis Vuitton: http://e.weibo.com/1836003984/app_3653572426
Know of any other celebrities with a Weibo account? Tell us in the comments below!
For current Weibo users, would you like to see PastBook connected with Weibo, so that you can print your Weibo photos and memories into a customer made photo album?
What other social networks would you like to see PastBook configured with?