Do-it-yourself photo printing may sound good, but when you account for paper and ink costs it can be rather expensive and results may be iffy. With the abundance of online photo printing companies it’s really not hard to get low-cost prints and, I’ve found, at surprisingly good quality. While for the most part many of us are sharing our photos in online albums and social sites, and we may not be printing as many as we used to, we still want to get a good deal when we make prints. You can get very good 4×6 prints for under 10 cent each and 8×10 enlargements for under three bucks.
Just because you don’t want to pay a lot for your prints doesn’t mean quality has to suffer. You want your photos to come out crisp and sharp with vivid, true to life colors. A good photo service will clean up your images to make the colors look better, improve the contrast and fix other image flaws such as red-eye, sharpness, bad pixels and exposure issues. Most companies use archival quality inks and acid-free photo paper that will last for up to 200 years.
An interesting thing I’ve learned about digital photo services is that you don’t necessarily “get what you pay for” in terms of quality. The prices for everyday prints (as opposed to more expensive, professional studio type prints) runs the gamut from 8 cents to 29 cents or more per 4×6 print. Snapfish has one of the lowest print prices, yet they are very highly reviewed here on this site and by a number of respected photo review sites for producing high quality prints at just 9 cents per print.
Popular Sites for Inexpensive Prints
My number one choice for low cost prints has to be Snapfish.com . At 9 cents a print every day, they are a bargain. They also have a pre-paid print plan of 250 prints for $19.99. Prints I’ve made with Snapfish come out with vivid color and they do a good overall job of fixing contrast issues on some of my pictures. Also, cropping was minimal and you can adjust the cropping area on each print if you wish. You can order your prints delivered to your home or opt for in-store pick-up at your local Walgreens or Walmart (at the store price). I also like their awesome Photo & Video Organizer which enables you to upload photos from your computer as well as right from Facebook and Flickr. You can use this organizer to view and arrange your photos, add captions, share via email or social sites, create an animated slideshow set to music called a Snapshow, tag images and more, all for free.
York Photo offers low priced prints, only 8 cents each, the site is easy to use and you can even send in film for developing. Their upload process is very easy and there is a great variety of sharing options as well via Quickshare and Autoshare features. Prints are very good quality with vibrant colors. Prints are available by mail only, there is no option for in-store pickup.
Walmart Photo Center
Walmart Photo Center has a well-rounded feature-set and also offers some great prices – 4×6 prints are 9 cents shipped to your home, 15 cents for in-store pick-up and 19 cents for 1-hour service. It’s definitely the most convenient online photo printing service as far as delivery options go, although uploading photos isn’t quite as fast as Snapfish or Shutterfly. The Walmart Photo Center offers online photo editing tools to enhance and correct your photos and gives you a variety of photo sharing options via social media such as Facebook and via email. They are a good all-around choice for cheap prints that won’t disappoint.
Every Tuesday and Wednesday RitzPix.com offers 3½x5″ digital prints for just 6 cents each. This size makes a great quality print from your cell phone camera and you can even send them from your phone directly to Ritzpix. In general, I prefer the 4×6 size, but this is a great option to have available. If you order standard 4×6 prints by mail they are 11 cents and for in-store pickup they jump to between 19 and 27 cents each depending on how many you order. Ritzpiz has some great online editing tools to enhance your images and the print quality is good but not great. They seemed a bit washed out compared to Snapfish but not terrible. I would rank them somewhere in the middle on quality.
Compare Prices of Top Rated Online Photo Services
Print prices can get a bit tricky to compare because prices vary depending on whether you have your prints mailed to you, which usually offers the cheapest per print cost, versus picking them up in-store. You may need to do a little math to see which way you will come out ahead: do you go with a cheap photo print cost but pay shipping fees or go with a higher print charge but free in-store pickup? It often depends on how many prints you want to make.
Except where noted, the chart below shows prices for prints by mail, not including shipping charges.
|Online Photo Service||4×6 prints||New Members Free prints||Pre-paid 4×6 Prints||5×7 Prints||8×10 prints||20X30 Poster||16X20 Canvas||Prints Shipping & Handling|
|Snapfish||$0.09||50 Free||250 for $19.99||$0.79||$2.99||$19.99||$79.99||.99 for 1-5, $0.49 6-195|
|Walmart Photo Center||$0.09 mail, $0.15 in store, $0.19 1hr||n/a||n/a||$0.58||$2.84||$18.86||$69.96||$1.15 (free if shipped to store)|
|RitzPix||$0.11||20 free||150 for $13.50||$0.99||$3.99||$29.99||$89.99||$1.99|
|Kodak Gallery||$0.15||50 free||n/a||$0.99||$3.89||$22.99||$89.99||$1.79|
|Shutterfly||$0.15||50 free||200 for $20||$0.99||$3.99||$22.99||$89.99||$1.79 1-9; $1.99 10-19|
|Costco||$0.13 mail or pickup||n/a||n/a||$0.39||$1.49||$8.99||$44.99||1-5: $1.99, + .29 for each add 10|
|Walgreens||$0.12 mail $0.19 pickup||n/a||n/a||$1.59||$2.99||$22.99||$79.99||.99 for 1-5, $0.49 6-195|
|York Photo||$0.08||20 free||n/a||$0.79||$2.99||$13.99||$79.99||.99 for 1-5, $0.49 6-195|
*Prices same for site to store and home delivery
Sure, sharing photos on social sites or web galleries is getting more popular, but sometimes you want prints to hold in your hand and show off face-to-face. You’ll find the sources listed above offer a variety of options from cheap photo prints delivered to your home to reasonably priced prints for in-store pick-up that you’ll be happy to display.