First things first. Do you own the rights to your pictures? You will need a photography release form stating that you have full rights and ownership of your pictures. If you have questions about your release form, please ask your photographer. Also, find out how big you can print out your digital images. Are you only limited to 4x6s or can you get them larger?
There are two places that I love to print pictures. One online and one local…
I tested out the same pictures and sizes with various companies and these two places offered the best quality. Many popular places like Snapfish, Shutterfly, and Walgreens were extremely disappointing. The highlights on the pictures were blown out and the blacks, shadows, and contrast were all over the place. My pictures did not look like they should. Maybe I received a bad batch and maybe you have had better luck than me. Either way I do not recommend using them due to the poor quality.
This is not an advertisement on these two companies. I do not receive anything from them. But I do wish that someone from these companies reads this and gives me some promo codes that I can pass on to you. Quality is what is most important to me when printing your images and these two places are the best for quality and value. I hope these reviews help someone!
I have used Mike's Camera ever since I moved to Colorado when I print locally. Their online ordering process is good but not great. To me it seems a little outdated and not as user friendly as Mpix.
Process: Below is an image that I took. The entire image is within those 4x6 dimensions. Let's say you want to print a 5x7 image, I highlighted (looks green) the area that will be printed out. The top stip of the image will be cut off because it falls outside of the 5x7 dimensions. If you decide to have that printed as an 8x10, more of the image will be cut off, as you can see. Between the red dots is where the 8x10 dimensions fall.
Type of finishes: After you select the closest store to you will be asked about print sizes and finishes. Mikes camera offers a "Matte Finish" and a "Glossy Finish". They also offer a not so typical "Metallic Finish".
Cropping: If you select images that are outside of the traditional 4x6 dimensions (5x7s, 8x10s, etc.) you will be asked "how you would like your photos to be cropped?". ALWAYS ALWAYS select manual crop. Part of your image will be cut off so YOU need to be sure what part of that image will be cropped off. Read more about cropping below.
Cost (at time of review): 4x6 (.19), 5x7 (1.79), 8x10 (5.49), view full price list here. You don't pay for shipping cost but you do pay for sales tax. When you print out a medium batch of pictures from Mike's Camera and other online companies I found that the total price is about the same when you factor in shipping and taxes.
Conclusion: Their prices might seem a little high when you compare them to online printing companies but you can't beat the quality. They don't have an option to "do not color correct" and it shows a little. The pictures are not exactly in the color they should be but it's very subtle. Overall it's the best local option and they easily beat out most online options when it comes to quality.
I have used Mpix for 10 years and they are always great to respond if I have any issues. Mainly bent images due to shipping. Their online ordering is very user friendly and probably the best that I have used.
Process: Log in to your account, create an album and upload the photos you want to print. Your images will automatically be uploaded in full resolution. Click on "Order Prints", select the pictures and sizes you want printed.
Cropping: If you select images that are outside of the traditional 4x6 dimensions (5x7s, 8x10s, etc.) you will be asked "Approve Crop" or "Edit Crop". ALWAYS ALWAYS select "Edit Crop". Part of your image will be cut off so YOU need to be sure what part of that image will be cropped off. Read more about cropping below.
Type of finishes: After you approve your crops you will be asked about finishes. Mpix only offers a "Matte Finish" (they call it a E-Surface). They don't have a "Glossy Finish". They do offer a "Fuji Pearl" which is more like a metallic finish. They also have a "True Black & White" both of those finishes cost extra.
Cost (at time of review): 4x6 (.29), 5x7 (1.09), 8x10 (2.09), view full price list here. Their prices competitive to other online printing companies but they have the best quality. Shipping cost are low and there is no sales tax.
At Checkout: This is the most important and best part! When you checkout you will have the option of "do not color correct". Please check this box! This means that they won't color process the pictures. When you print pictures with other companies they will automatically "process" your images. I'm not sure if it's a person or a computer but I already did that job (hopefully a good job) and gave you your pictures just how they should look. No one should process these images any further.
Conclusion: I have used them for 10 years for a good reason. They offer the best value and quality. I have tried other online companies but they don't compare. No contest!
When a picture is taken, for the most part, it is registered in a 4-inches by 6-inches format. This makes printing easy for everyone. You can print our your images without having to worry about cutting some parts of your photograph. When you decide to print a 5x7, 8x10, or anything outside of the original 4x6 format, then you will cut off some of your photograph because it is no longer within the original dimensions. This is something you have to think about before printing something outside those dimensions.
Below is an image that I took. The entire image is within those 4x6 dimensions. Let's say you want to print a 5x7 or an 8x10. I cropped the image to fit those dimensions to show you how much of it will be cropped off. You can easily see that when you print out an 8x10 more of your image will be cropped off.
Most places will give you the option to see the image before it is printed, if it falls outside of the original 4x6 dimensions. This will allow you to choose what part of the image you want to cut off. I hope this helps anyone looking to print images outside of the 4x6 dimensions.
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