How many new pictures do you think you’ll take this year? According to an estimate by Mylio.com, it’ll probably be somewhere around 3,650. You heard that right – 3,650. How are you going to print out all of those pictures without breaking the bank? Well, we’ve got the answer.
Here at Yours.co, we are passionate about helping people keep their memories safe. In order to save you time (and money), we’ve created this guide to help you understand the best (and cheapest) ways to print your photos.
Let’s start with the basics:
Print photo sizes typically rage anywhere from 2”x3” (wallet size) to 20”x30”. Some companies offer more options than others, but almost everyone uses these standard sizes: 4”x4”, 4”x5.3”, 4”x6”, 5”x7”, 8”x8”, and 8”x10”.
Here is a quick comparison:
Obviously, the smaller the photo, the cheaper it’s going to be. Some stores charge less per print if you buy at higher quantities.
According to the Walmart Photo Center, photos that are 4”x5.3” are called “true digital prints” because they stay “true to the 4:3 aspect ratio used by most digital cameras … the entire image is printed with no cropping.”
Square-sized prints, like the 4”x4” or 8”x8”, are great for printing your Instagram pictures. (If the photo printing company doesn’t allow you to connect to your Instagram account, you can use services like Dinsta to download all of your images.)
If you want to get creative, you don’t have to stick to the standard photo sizes. A company called Odd Prints allows you upload your photos, select any size you want (up to 18”×4” and 12”×8”), and they’ll send you your prints ready to cut.
Pro tip: Not sure what size to choose? The average size for photo albums is 4”x6”. Those are typically pretty cheap to print out as well.
Photo printing companies offer a variety of finishes (basically the type of paper you would like your photos printed on). The type of finish you choose affects the color, vividness and contrast. The most common finishes are matte and glossy. High-end printers offer more variety, including: metallic, luster (or lustre), silk, deep matte or pearl.
Here is a quick breakdown of the three most popular finishes:
|Texture||Smooth, shiny, reflective surface||Smooth, textured surface||Glossy|
|Colors||Vibrant, bright||Low contrast||Intense, striking|
|Noise||Crisp, sharp images. Shows more detail.||Image may look slightly grainy.||Images are sharp and clean.|
|Pros||Excellent clarity. Does not look textured when scanned.||Great for frames. Harder to get scratched. Doesn’t glare. Fingerprints don’t show.||Metallic look. Extremely durable. Three-dimensional, modern look.|
|Cons||Highly reflective. Susceptible to finger prints and smudges. Attracts dust. Most likely to stick to a glass frame.||Less detail. Colors are more subdued.||Difficult to frame. Easy-to-see fingerprints. Works better for some photos than others.|
|Best Use||A good choice for detailed prints.||The good choice for black and white prints and photos that are regularly handled.||A good choice for visually interesting photos with bright colors and depth, such as outdoor shots.|
Here is what they look like:
The best way to decide what type of finish to select is by determining how you want to use your photos. For example, if you are planning on framing your pictures, you probably don’t want to choose glossy, because they’ll have too much glare and stick to the glass.
Pro tip: When in doubt, go with matte. It’s a pretty safe bet in most cases.
If you want to get really fancy, high-end photo companies also allow you to select a texture as well. Adding texture to your photos enhances the dimension and makes your photos look more professional. The most common textures include: canvas, pebble, and linen.
If you want to learn more about the different types of textures, Miller’s Professional Imaging provides some great examples.
Pro tip: One reason why photographers press textures into their prints is to make it harder for people to scan and reproduce their photos without permission. If you’re worried about copyright issues, this is a great option.
If you do a quick Google search for “print photos,” you’ll find a ton of different printing options. There are plenty of companies to choose from, but finding the right one usually depends on (1) what type of prints you want, (2) how fast you need them, and (3) how much you want to pay for them.
If you need your photos quickly, the best option is to use a 1-hour photo or same day pickup service from a local store, such as: Walmart, Costco, CVS, Walgreens or Target. Some of these companies have in-store kiosks that you can use to upload your photos, or you can go online, upload your files, and order your prints from home.
If you’re comparing prices, Walmart photos tend to be cheaper than all the other stores (by just a few cents). If you’re looking to save a few bucks, you probably want to go with them.
Pro tip: Sometimes the cost per prints is different, depending on how you upload or ship them. At Walmart, the cheapest option is to upload photos online and have them ship them to your house.
Don’t want to make a trip to the store? No problem. There are plenty of online-only photo printing companies that offer beautiful prints shipped straight to you home.
Here are just a few of the top rated:
Prices vary from site to site, but both Snapfish and Amazon are both really cheap (their photos start at $0.09/each).
If you’re using an unknown site, one thing you’ll want to watch out for is steep shipping costs. Sometimes companies will offer great deals on photos or even give them to you for free, but then they’ll charge $15+ to mail it to you (*cough* Artifact Uprising *cough*). Which, sadly enough, basically means you’re not getting anything for free.
Some online photo printing companies also offer other fun options for printing your photos, such as: collages, posters, calendars, post cards, magnets, etc. These can make for fun gifts for friends and family.
If you’re looking for more options (finishes, textures, canvas, mounting, custom framing, etc.), or you just want professional quality, then you should use a high-end printer. It’s a great investment if you want to display nice pictures in your home.
Here are a couple companies that you might want to check out:
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Pro tip: If you’re worried about the cost, check out sites like Groupon for special deals. Sometimes they offer up to 90% off canvases and other professional printing services.
One of the most popular ways to print photos is in a photo book. It’s a great way to skip the hassle of photo albums and keep your photos organized and easy to access. Photo books range from super nice (and expensive) to simple (and cheap) – depending on where you buy from.
Photo books can be an expensive headache if you don’t go about it in the right way. The last thing you want to do is spend hours and hours creating one only to find out that it’s going to cost you $200 to print. (Been there, done that.)
Here are two of the best affordable, “design your own” photo book sites:
You can either chose from an existing theme or template, or create your book from scratch. It’s easy to upload your photos to the site and add fun elements to the pages to make them look beautiful. These are definitely more time consuming to make, but they turn out great.
Here are the two of the cheapest, easy-to-use photo book sites:
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All you have to do is set up an account, connect to either Facebook or Instagram, and then let Chatbooks do the rest of the work. They will automatically create a photo book for you every time you add 60 photos. The best part? They only cost $8 (with free shipping).
If you’re already using Google Photos to store you’re photos, then this is a great option. Simply go to this link, choose a book type, select the pictures you want to use, make any additional edits, and then click on the shopping cart to check out. They cheapest book starts at $9.99 and goes from there.
Pro tip: These sites typically have great deals around holidays such as Christmas, Black Friday, or Mother’s Day. If you’ve created a large book, and you know it’s going to be expensive, you might want to wait for a good deal.
To learn more about Yours.co, click here. Happy printing!