Q+A: Where should I print my photos?

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When I’m faced with too many options, I usually shut down and just choose something at random, or force someone else make the decision for me. If you’re like me, this may happen to you after you’ve received your photos and are ready to order those prints!

From local stores like Walmart and Walgreens, to online printing companies like Shutterfly or Snapfish, there is a plethora of options waiting for you to choose from when printing your photos. Then once you add in professional printing companies, like MPix Pro, the options multiply. I’ve used all of these companies and then some. I’ve also noticed a difference in the printing results.

It’s disappointing when the pictures I’ve received look different than they do on the computer. And while sometimes it may be the computer calibration, it’s usually the printing company. I’m probably not the only one who has made the mistake of choosing the wrong printing company either. So this is where this post was born. My job doesn’t stop after I email you the gallery and download links. I want to make sure you love your prints as much as your digital photos, and I hope this post will help you make the right choice the next time you order prints. 🙂

I went on a mission to order the same print from multiple printing companies so I could find out who would produce the most accurate print. The results? Just keep on reading.

First of all, this is the photo how it renders on a computer screen:

I ordered prints from the following companies on March 8th. All the companies said I could expect my photos within 7-10 days. I was also going to test Snapfish, but when I started to order prints from them I found out they actually use either Walmart or Walgreens to print their photos. Since I was testing both of those, the results would not have been any different from Snapfish. So if you use Snapfish, keep in mind that you are basically picking between Walmart and Walgreens.

Price: $0.09/print
Speed of delivery: 8 days
I do have an issue with Walmart, because they are the only printing company I’ve come in contact with (so far) that has given every one of my clients a hard time picking up their prints without a signed waiver from me.
Walmart brightens every one of their images. The exposure and skin tones are too bright, compared with the original image. The subjects skin looks completely white, and you can tell from the original above, there were some nice skin tones and color.

Price: $0.12/print
Speed of delivery: 5 days
Walgreens adds contrast, and brightness to the image. The skin tones are also desaturated, causing the subjects to appear paler than they are. (And who wants that??) Walgreens also adds a bit more green to the image than there is on the original file.

Price: $0.15/print
Speed of delivery: 6 days
Slowly getting a bit closer to the original image, but Shutterfly’s printers add more red to the skin tones than are actually present.

Price: $.29/print
Speed of delivery: 2 days (I did pay a little extra for Standard shipping so I would get the photos faster, but you can use Economy and get a cheaper price if you are willing to wait a little longer!)
These photos came much closer to what the photo looked like when I took it. The skin tones are perfect. Not too much red, not too much green. The photos look soft, not too much contrast, and the perfect exposure. The image is also much clearer. Of course, they are the most expensive prints. But we recognize that higher prices means more value. It’s why people are willing to spend twice as much for name brands. Because we can trust in the product and we know it will work.

You can see the difference best when we lay them all out side by side. The order from top to bottom is:
Walmart, Walgreens, Shutterfly, MPix, and original photo as it shows on my laptop.


I also printed another photo to use as an example, so you can see the difference aren’t just in this one picture!

If there’s another printing company you’d like me to compare, let me know! I can get a test photo ordered and compare it to the companies we’ve looked at today and send you a personal email with the comparisons!

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