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Where should I print my pictures?

I get asked this question alot.

My answer:  It depends on what you’re using the pictures for.

I know most professional photographers will say to only get your photos printed at a professional lab.  The only time I disagree with this, is based on your answer to the question, “What are you using the pictures for?”

If I am printing pictures 5×7 or smaller and they are intended for an album, like Project Life, I print my photos at Costco.

I did a test print of several different photos at four different printing labs:  Costco, Walmart, Walgreens, and a professional lab.  The photos at Walgreens turned out a little green because I forgot to uncheck the “auto-correct” button on their site (I always recommend turning OFF the auto-correct).  The quality of the 4 different places was comparable but the coloring and “brightness” of each photo varied a bit.  The key is to do a test print first and make sure you like the “look” of the printers there.  It’s hard to see a comparison accurately over a computer screen since all monitors show colors differently.  But this gives you an idea of how the photos can look a little different from place to place.
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Keep in mind when printing anywhere, what you see on your screen isn’t necessarily what you get from the printer (unless your monitor is calibrated to that specific printer).  I have learned that Costco prints tend to be a little “dark”.  So before I send them to Costco I lighten them up a little (bump up the exposure) through some editing software.  All of the photos in this wall collage I did are from Costco.

OR I print my 4×6 photos at York Photo online.  If you google “free 4×6 prints” a code for 100 free prints to york photo should pop up.  You can use that the first time you order prints from them.  They also have sales on their prints all the time so I have a folder on my desktop with pictures I want to print and I wait until there is a sale and then send a batch of those pictures in to be printed.

If I am printing bigger than 5×7 or printing anything large that will be hung on my walls, I use Pixels Foto and Frame (for the Utah readers, it’s on 90th S. and State Street in Sandy) or Persnickety Prints (in Orem, Utah)–Persnickety also ships for a flat rate and their customer service is unbeatable.  Online I use Persnickety Prints or Mpix.  These are all professional printing labs with affordable prices.

I use Persnickety for regular prints (they’ll do custom sizes which I love to do) and I also use them for matboard prints like this one:

Mpix has a bunch of novelty photo items like calendars and photo books and cards along with regular prints.  I also use them for printing stickers and business cards.

 

Any photos I print I use a matte or lustre finish instead of glossy.  Makes them look better in my opinion.

 

If you have never printed somewhere before and don’t know what the prints will end up looking like, just send a few photos to be printed.  Then if you like how they look, you can send a bigger batch for prints.

 

I have been using Persnickety Prints the most lately.  They do printing for Instagram pics (square photos) as well as Project Life album sizes (3×4’s).   I also love their polaroid type prints and various sizes of square prints.  They specialize in 12×12 prints (that work great with the Project Life app) and they make 5×5 mini photo books that work perfect with Instagram prints or as a custom book.

 

For some ideas on an incredibly easy way to document your family story, check out the Project Life App.  It’s “scrapbook” cheating in the palm of your hand.

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And for ideas on how to display photos in your home, you can check out several ideas of Wall Displays using photos here.  And for even more, you can follow my Pinterest board “Photo display ideas”.

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  • […] stop with just taking the photos. Be sure to PRINT THEM. What good are photos if they just stay on our  phones, cameras, or computer and no one gets to […]ReplyCancel

  • Elise nicholes

    have you ever used Nichols photography Salt Lake City?ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Elise, I’ve never printed there. Anytime I try out a new print place, I send an 8×10 photo first before doing any sort of big/expensive print job to make sure I like them and know what to expect. If you’re thinking of using them, just send in a small job first and see what it looks like. Price and customer service are huge for me. I really like Pixels on 90th and State if you’re up in that area.ReplyCancel

  • Rachelle

    I was wondering what editing software you would recommend using for pictures? I currently have a Canon Rebel t5i with a 50mm f1.4 lens. Although the aperture is amazing, i still don’t find my pictures looking like they’re “professional” pictures. The pictures still look pretty dark and when I try to edit it using the editing apps on my phone, it seems like they completely wash out the pictures. what would you recommend?ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Rachelle,

      I personally use Adobe Bridge. It’s an extension of Photoshop. It’s kind of similar to lightroom as well. When I edit photos, I almost always “brighten” them using an exposure slider (so I let more light in). Dark photos are a problem for most photos. If you lighten them a little and add a little contrast it makes a HUGE difference and makes the photos look more professional.
      The other key is to shoot in manual mode. you have far more control that way! I don’t teach manual mode through my site but I can give you some great recommendations to learn if you want!ReplyCancel

  • Geanete

    Oh my goodness…the photos of your children (I’m assuming 🙂 in the window are beautiful! And your son & husband on the wakeboard, is it? Phenomenal! Way to capture the not-so-ordinary-ness of everyday life!
    Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Catie

    What are your thoughts of using Snapfish to print or make photo books?ReplyCancel

    • ltross17

      Hi Catie,

      I’ve never used snapfish for printing books but from my experience with other photobook printing companies, they’re all pretty comparable.ReplyCancel

  • Debi

    I absolutely love where I get my pics printed it’s called freeprints you get 90 free 4×6 printed an just pay shipping an handling which has never been more than 9.99 a month use my invite code for more discoubts dbaker175ReplyCancel

  • I’m goint to recommend PhotoBox. The products are great and the recently got first place in a test made by Dansih media.ReplyCancel

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