Photographs deserve to exist as more than just digital pixels, but despite how easy it is to order a print online or in-store, getting a good quality result isn’t always guaranteed. When moving from digital to print, a photo can take on weird colors, lose detail, gain unexpected borders, and more. So what’s the best place to print photos online? We’ve rounded up the options from personal experience, pro photographer recommendations, and web reviews to put together our seven favorite photo printers, from online to in-person.
Best fast online photo printer: Snapfish
If you’re looking for a photo product from calendars to pillow cases, chances are, Snapfish has it. Snapfish is a quick, simple consumer option for printing out snapshots at affordable prices. In many categories, Snapfish is more affordable than its main competition, Shutterfly. For example, a 4 x 6 print starts at 9 cents instead of 14 cents. While Snapfish won’t get you the same quality as the pricier professional printing options, its prints are solid compared to other similarly priced competitors. Plus, partnerships with Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens lets you pick up your orders from those retailers.
Along with its web platform, the Snapfish app makes it easy to order from a smartphone — and offers 100 free prints for a month per year. It’s only open to U.S. residents and you still have to pay shipping and taxes, but the ease of using the app and the price are tough to beat.
Shutterfly may be a bit pricier than Snapfish, but it’s not to be overlooked. Chances are, you can probably find a coupon for Shutterfly. Like Snapfish, Shutterfly has a mobile app. The perk of the Shutterfly app isn’t free prints though — it’s free, unlimited cloud storage for your photos. That’s a big plus for casual photographers who need to back up their files, since paid cloud storage options get pretty pricey.
Best place to pick up your prints in-person: CVS
In-person photo kiosks are quick and convenient, but they are often inconsistent since there are a number of different factors that affect print quality. One drugstore or superstore may have solid print quality, while the same store by the same name in the next town over may not. We have had some success at one drugstore, only to get 5 x 7s printed on 8 x 10 sheets (and having to dig out the scissors to cut them out manually) at another.
While the quality can vary from location to location, CVS is perhaps the most consistent. Printing at the chain’s Kodak kiosks is quick for consumers who just can’t wait a few days for an online order. Ordering is also fairly simple, though photo printing kiosks aren’t without glitches. Photo quality won’t match up to professional printers, but CVS appears to have the fewest complaints for inaccurate colors and fuzzy images. Expect to pay 29 cents for one print. Note: You can also send prints to CVS from your smartphone via the CVS or Snapfish apps.
Best professional photo lab: Mpix
Mpix offers high-quality photos printed in the U.S. that are ready for delivery in 24 hours. The image quality from Mpix is much higher than what you’d get from a drugstore, superstore, or consumer online print shop, and its lab techs check every photo by hand. Mpix offers three different paper options and prints start at 19 cents.
Runner-up: Nations Photo Lab
Nations Photo Lab may have slightly longer processing times (up to two days for prints), but it has an excellent customer service team — in our experience, the company was quick to offer a reprint or refund when an order didn’t turn out as expected. Nations offers pro-level quality, even though you don’t have to be a professional shooter to place an order, and its online platform is easy to use. Compared to Mpix, its product range is a bit wider, including custom wood or metal USB drives for delivering digital files, but, again, its processing is a bit slower.
Best fine art photo printer: WhiteWall
Pro-level prints not enough? Germany’s WhiteWall is a photo lab that only produces gallery-quality products, and it has launched a U.S.-based facility for even more efficient service. While it is more expensive than other options, WhiteWall offers a higher level of quality. The company offers a full range products, from standard photo paper, to canvas, to acrylic and metal prints.
Runner-up: Pro DPI
Pro DPI is known for its high-end prints and is often commended for the image sharpness as well as color accuracy. Pro DPI gives photographers a choice in photo paper, including both Fuji and Kodak options. Prices for a simple 4 x 6 range from 10 to 15 cents.
From quick snapshots to gallery quality wall art, there’s a print lab that can meet your needs. However, if you want even more control, you might want to try printing your photos at home.