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Where to get photos printed
I like Bay Photo and WHCC, while NYT loves Nation's
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Arthur asks: “Do I remember correctly that you send all your prints out? I’ve printed at home with a large format Canon and send out to MPIX also. I’m wanting to get back to having some prints…and the cost of the ink as listed even on Amazon was astronomical, even before paper. What other print services have you had satisfactory done by?”
First of all, thanks for asking about prints. There’s nothing greater than visiting people at their homes and seeing photos on the wall and mantle. Sadly, the digital age has reduced most of us to showing off way too many images on a 6 inch smartphone screen, and let’s face it—everything looks so much better blown up on paper, the bigger the better.!
If we’re not making prints, we’re not leaving anything behind to the next generation. We’ve got to keep filling those mantles, right?
Yes, you can buy a big time Epson or Canon printer like Arthur and pay a fortune in ink costs, or use one of the many labs available for high-quality photo prints that should last years. I know many photographers swear by the print at home method, for more control (akin to working in the darkroom years ago) but I prefer to let the pros do it. They make better prints than I do.
I use the labs that work with pro photographers, and that would be Santa Cruz, California based Bay Photo and White House Custom Colour from Minneapolis. I’ve been working with both for years and couldn’t be happier with their results.
The two issues are good color reproduction, packaging that doesn’t destroy the print and high shipping costs.
MPIX is actually the consumer name for the Miller’s Photo lab, which has been serving pros for years, and all the prints and products sent out to both pros and non-pros come from the same lab. MPIX’s quality is great, prices reasonable, but beware the shipping charges, which are hefty. (As much as $10 for two 8x10 prints, if you don’t meet the $35 threshold for free shipping.)
The lab most consumers probably know is Shutterfly, which makes decent prints and photo books at higher advertised prices than competitors, but with a caveat. They seem to always be having a sale. (Shipping is also hefty here, with $6.48 for the same 2 8x10s if you don’t order during a free shipping sale.)
As far as print pricing, know that fees are all over the map, so check out the price comparisons below for an 8x10 print:
Bay Photo: $3.55
Nation’s Photo lab: $3
Both the New York Times and PC Mag recently chose Nation’s Photo Lab as the top pick, with PC praising its colors, packaging and service. “For both professionals and picky consumers who don't mind paying just a little more for better quality than you get with budget-minded services.”
I haven’t tried Nation’s before, but in the research for this piece, and reading the NYT and PC Mag, I’m happy to give them a try and see how they compare to WHCC and Bay Photo. So stay tuned for that.
In trying out the consumer services, again, know that they all have frequent sales, so if you don’t like the price today, you may like it tomorrow. And offers to check them out. Nation’s has a 25% off deal if you agree to accept texts and e-mails from the company, MPIX is offering a flat 30% offer on everything (as of this writing), Shutterfly claims 50% off “almost everything” through Sunday, and Bay Photo offes 30% to new customers. And on and on it goes.
When signing up for accounts with WHCC and Bay Photo, both ask for pro credentials, but if you don’t have them, just say you’re a photographer and leave it at that. As far as Walgreen’s and CVS, they have little in-store kiosks that let you beam photos from your phone and make instant prints. And they’re pretty good.
Give them a try and let me know what you think!
We fly home today from Atlanta after 24 days on the road and I can’t wait to fill you in with multiple #PhotowalksTV episodes. There may be a new one as soon as tomorow, so stay tuned.
Reminder: Manhattan Beach Photo class Thursday
We’re back to live learning Thursday, 10/26 at the Manhattan Beach Pier at 5 p.m. I’ll show some of my favorite hidden camera tricks to level up your photo skills that Apple and Samsung have never bothered telling you about. And then we’ll walk in and around the Pier so you can try out some of those new tips.
Thanks as always for reading, watching and listening.