You have many options of where to print your photos. You can go to the local drug store, you can order from an online provider, you can use your inkjet printer, you can order your prints through me. I don’t care how you make your decision of where to print your photos, I just care that you print your photos.
Just six years ago, my wedding photos were delivered to me on a set of beautifully personalized compact disks. I remember putting them into the CD drive and one-by-one pouring over the photographs and re-living my wedding day with glorious detail.
Reality check: my current laptop doesn’t even have a CD drive.
Thankfully, my photos have been printed in an album and hang on my wall and, yes, are backed up in my cloud-based photo storage site. But if they weren’t my options for viewing my wedding photos would be wildly limited.
Technology has changed so much in six years that my disks are almost void. Combined with the fact that the first removable disks I remember (floppy!) are wildly unusable now, my personal passion now is to see photos printed. The digital backup is a wonderful luxury and allows us to preserve memories with greater confidence than ever, but the number of photos I’ve taken that I’ve never looked at again? There’s a lot.
Print your photos, people! Print the wedding album you’ve procrastinated on building, put photos in frames on your wall, create a memory book from that trip you just took, do something to save your photos a boring demise on a forgotten hard drive. =)
I ordered the same fourteen images from the most consumer print shops my Facebook community recommended to evaluate for quality, speed, and cost and now I can tell you where to print your photos: anywhere you want to except for Walmart.
Full disclosure: The last time I did this was eight years ago and the Walmart print job quality was so bad that I chose to not even print at Walmart on this test. Perhaps that’s skewing the results, but I have never seen a quality print from Walmart so I decided to not waste the pennies. Is that bias too strong? Possibly. Have I heard they’re trying harder for quality? Yes. Is it worth a test print? I really don’t think so.
Canadian friends need to notice that two of the print shops (namely: Snapfish and Mpix) I chose to not have deliver to my home in British Columbia. The shipping cost was prohibitively high so I had those two orders mailed to my sister and picked them up when I visited her at Christmas. Shipping timeline and cost is not going to be accurate for Canada.
Here’s what surprised me: other than minor discrepancies (the color of blue in the sky, for one) I was surprised to discover that I don’t have a clear winner in my test of consumer photo labs. I mean, I definitely have a preference how some labs treat blacks and how they autocorrect and what paper they used (this is my art we’re talking about!) but I can’t sit back and say there’s any I would discourage you to use nor do I see any that I would strongly encourage you to use.
(I also discovered its SUPER HARD to photograph prints of photos. Dude, the only thing harder for a photographer to photograph is her all-black cat. :-P)
So here’s what I suggest for you as your decide where to print your photos:
Look for Quality (paper and print job), and Clarity (of details – this is where Walmart especially failed me in the last test print), and Color (does the print look like the reality you remember?), and Customer Service (if there’s a problem, will they help you fix it?)
Then factor Price with Speed of delivery and variety of Options in paper and size and special requests.
But ultimately don’t stress it: just print your photos. Don’t let them die on a hard drive.
See these four prints? You can tell a difference between them, but none of them look bad. Fun fact, though: the AdoramaPix Deep Matte paper print of this particular photo made me literally gasp out loud at its beauty when I pulled it out of the packaging. That “WOW” factor is worth a lot for me so I’ll be back for more of that, for sure! (Psst. If you use AdoramaPix coupon code 2612158 you’ll get $5 off your first order! Full disclosure, I’ll get a credit toward my next purchase, too!)