I get asked all the time where the best place to print photos is. My answer is that it depends. Where did you get the photos (are these cell phone shots or professionally edited files?). What do you plan to do with the prints? Are you creating wall art or printing some 4×6’s to hang from your daughter’s string lights? And most importantly, are you more concerned with quality or cost?
When you want the best
Let’s say that you recently had a professional photo session and purchased some digital files and you’re looking for the BEST quality prints you can get. Your best bet in this case is to order through your photographer. Yes, even if you bought the digitals. Professional photographers are able to order through high end labs that specialize in fine art prints that aren’t even available to consumers. They are incredible. If your concern is ending up with something beautiful, luxurious and archival to display, fine art prints are the way to go. If quality is important to you you’ll fall in love with them. Additionally, I can’t stress enough the importance of professionally edited photos being printed through a professional lab. If you want the colors to look the way that the artist intended them to it’s always best to print through the artist.
Visit this page for more information on fine art prints and to see some examples.
When cost is your main concern
Let’s say cost is your main concern when looking for the best place to print photos. When it comes to professionally edited images, ask your photographer which lab they recommend. Many photographers have their monitors calibrated to a specific lab or can at least point you in the right direction so that your prints end up looking like they should. If you used a photographer who doesn’t offer printing services or if you’re printing photos from your own camera you can still get some decent looking regular prints through online labs such as Mpix, Artifact Uprising, or Nations. These labs are cost friendly and available to consumers. I would recommend avoiding chain store labs such as Walgreens, Costco and Walmart unless you are in a hurry to get your prints and aren’t overly concerned with quality or color accuracy.
You don’t know what you don’t know
In my experience, the reason that most people want digital files from their photo sessions, and the reason they print through chain labs, is simply because it’s what they’ve always done. Like anything else, you don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t know it exists!
When people hear that I am a full service photographer they initially assume it’s because I’m trying to sell them prints to make more money. They also assume that they could get the same prints themselves if they had the digital files. For my business, neither assumption would be correct. I sell prints and help people decide what to do with the images from their session as a service to my customers. I do it because I’m in love with fine art prints and I want to share their beauty with others who don’t have access to them. Most importantly, I am a full service photographer because I feel strongly about the importance of printing our memories. Of that tangible, visual reminder of our reasons why as a daily presence in our lives.
You don’t have to do it all
When it comes to the best place to print photos, the most important thing is that you’re actually printing them! I know from years of experience and client feedback that most people never get around to printing their photos on their own. They may have the best of intentions, but printing photos inevitably become a back burner item on the to do list. This is another reason why I offer printing services. I’m all about making things easy and stress free. And making sure my customers end up with beautiful quality products.
My soundest advice when it comes to printing, or anything else for that matter, is to let the professionals do what they do best. As a person who spent years trying to be and do everything, I can tell you that it feels sooo good just to hand some things off. knowing that they’ll be done well and in a timely matter. But if you’re set on doing it yourself, make sure you hold yourself accountable to doing it!
Are you a photographer who’s curious about what a full service business model looks like? I offer one on one coaching and mentoring. Let’s talk!