How and Where to Print Pictures

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I often receive questions from readers and friends asking where I print my family photos and my client images, so I thought it was worth writing up a post all about that information for the momma’s out there, as well as the professional photographers. I’m bringing back Photo Tip Tuesday in full force, my friends, expect to see SOMETHING photography related each Tuesday, and if not, feel free to send me angry emails, that may help.  Some weeks I’ll write to the pro photogs, others will be relatable to everyone. I just decided I need to dip back into my roots, and I made a really long list of things to share, so stay tuned!

Where to print photos for the professional and consumer (mom's!) as well as albums and books

There are a bajillion options out there when it comes to printing pictures, but I thought it’d be worth it to mention what I do. I print at different places for different reasons, and I’m working hard at doing something tangible with all of the digital images collected from having a camera at my fingertips 24/7.

I’m pretty sure everyone takes LOTS of pictures these days, and you may often share them to social media, then that’s it.  I don’t want my precious memories forgotten, so I’m trying to DO SOMETHING with them as I go. It’s quite the undertaking, but worth the time and money investment.

First, I’ll talk to the regular ‘ole people out there wanting to print digital images. Photographers, just hold on a minute.

1-Quick Photo Books-I love both Chatbooks and Blurb books for 2 different reasons.

  • Chatbooks: I have used chatbooks the past year to print my phone pictures. It’s easy and automatic if you link to an instagram account, which I have a private family account I post my favorite family images. I know have nearly 30 books and my kids LOVE looking through them, which makes ME happy! If you use the code: CAPTURING551 then your first book will be FREE (in the ongoing series) to try it out!  These are smaller, 6×6 inches, with 60 pages. It’s an automatic thing on instagram, and I know they have new features now, be sure to check it out! (I put the pencil in for size reference below)Tips for How to print pictures, including to make chatbooks from instagram photos
  • Blurb Books:  Though I miss scrapbooking and tangible images, I’ve got to do quick and easy, so I’ve made a bunch of photo books lately. Last year, I shared a post all about tips to make a family photo session album.  I’ve mostly made books like this for family picture sessions, but I’ve also made a few for family vacations. You just upload everything from that trip or session, and plug them into a book format. I choose to print these 8.5×11, but there are other sizing options. CREATE your blurb book HERE!Family Photo Album tips for printing pictures

2. Consumer photo printing–My favorite is printing photos as Sam’s Club for all of my family needs. It’s inexpensive and easy, and it’s what I’ve used for years. Costco is also fine, but my location no longer has one hour, and I was already a customer at Sam’s previously. I also love Sam’s Club because it is matte, and that is my favorite. The BIG thing I have to remember when I order at Sam’s Club is to put a CHECK MARK next to the box that says DO NOT AUTO CORRECT because then a machine is deciding how to print the image, and I want it to print exactly as I have edited it. I notice it changing the color and quality a LOT when I forgot to check that. I wish is was automatic that that was checked, but I think a lot of people mistakenly thing that’s better and it is NOT! I gave images to my friend to print for her Christmas card, and she was afraid to tell me for a while that they all looked like ghosts. She just assumed I took bad pictures, when it was the lab that messed up. That made me sad because she still paid for all of those, but didn’t send them out. Agh! That is the risk you take with printing at labs like that. I pay about $8 for a 16×20 and $2 for 8×10.

3. Professional photo printing–I have several pro labs that I like, and for client images, I ALWAYS use a pro lab because the quality and paper is better quality. I do up-charge on this service, most photographers up-charge but at least 5 times their cost, if not more. One thing I loved about a pro lab early on, is that they often will print my studio name on the back of the image, which boosted my professionalism by ten fold. At least I thought so. KRISTEN DUKE PHOTOGRAPHY on the back, love that. I generally pay $5 for an 8×10 and $20 for a 16×20 (for reference from the consumer printing above) but I charge $75-100 for a 16×20, which I have mounted on a hard board, which keeps it from getting messed up via rolling or bending.

  • I use White House Custom Color (WHCC) for a lot of my needs. I love the different paper options (though I don’t generally use anything but standard, some photogs use a linen or pebble texture to give a different look). I also love that their lab is in Texas, and if I order before 11am on a weekday, I get it the next day with UPS without a shipping fee. Fast is nice. It’s technically a free 2 days service, but because I am close to my lab, I get it next day.
  • I also use Black River Imaging for the many different card options, also great photo and gift ideas. I also order metallic photo prints which I made a DIY photo display in my home with them.

They both have great customer service, and you have to register with an account before purchasing, not just anyone can order, they take a Tax ID when setting up the account. They will do color correcting for a fee, which I’ve done a few times, and individuals are taking time to make it perfect, unlike a machines auto correct.

Both have canvas, cards, magnets, buttons, framing, books, and lots of other random photo usage ideas.

Any questions? I’d love to hear anything additional, and I’ll answer in the comments, or share your favorite way to print your family photos and memories!

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Want more photo tips? I’ve got lots! Whether you have or starting a business or a mama creating family memories, check out all that I’ve shared to help you out!

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Comments

  1. Neat that you’re going to be doing Photography Tip Tuesday. The last time around, I was just barely beginning with photography. I’m still just a hobby photographer having fun, but have learned a lot the past few years! I’m sure I’ll be reading your photography tips differently now!

  2. Amanda Christensen says:

    Any tips on printing photos from Instagram that I can put into a pocket album? I would love to print them in 2×2 and 4×4 size, but I have no idea how or where to get this done!

  3. So excited you are doing this! I need to get back to taking pictures regularly. I loved your “Say No to Auto” class and want to learn more!

  4. Any chance you’d have a 2nd or 3rd recommendation for consumer printing just for those of us that don’t have a Sams Club in town (or the horror, right?). I live in Boise, Idaho, so it’s not the hicks. We do have most retailers like Walmart, Rite Aid, Walgreens, etc (no CVS though). Do you like any of the affordable consumer photo printing options that are online? I’ve tried Shutterfly and wasn’t happy at all with the coloring for prints, but was happy overall with the quality of their photobooks.

    Thanks!

  5. I’ve worked in pro photo labs a lot and I have a suggest for getting good results. Do you have a local lab in town or near by? If so, try them out. Get to know them and let them know what you like. Most lab techs are highly trained and are better at color balance and density corrections than the average person because that’s what they do all day long! They can help you with color correcting so you don’t have to do all the computer work yourself. A good lab is not running anything on auto At my lab we don’t ever run anybody’s work on auto. Every single shot is individually judged. If we do a job with “no corrections” we do this after we create a custom profile for the customer so they get exactly what they see on their screen.

    Finding and getting to know a talented person who can print for you is the best way to get the quality you want. Even if you are working with Costco try to get to know a technician and work just with them.

    Hope this helps!

  6. Just curious, why do you prefer matte finish on your photo’s to glossy?