Best Photo Printing

Best Online Photo Printing Services iMore 2019

If you're looking for the best online photo printing service, you've come to the right place. I placed orders on a dozen different photo websites and reviewed each one individually. From each website, I ordered 4x6 prints in both color and black and white, wallet photos, an 8x10 print, a 20x30 print, a photo book, and the minimum order of cards. All of the professional engagement photos you see in my orders were taken by JMS Imagery. I tried to order the least expensive version of each item, though it's not always easy to shop by price. In this article, I summarize my results, so you can have an easier time choosing where to buy your next set of photos, photo books, cards, or other photo products. While none of the services I tested were bad, my favorite online photo printing service was Printique(formerly AdoramaPix), for its superior quality and attention to detail.

Best Overall: Printique

AdoramaPix

I struggled with which website to put in the top spot because other sites do have better prices and a larger variety of photo products you can order. Ultimately, I decided to go with quality above all else. This is the site I will be using for my own most precious memories going forward. I might use cheaper sites for basic prints, but when quality matters most, it will be Printique (formerly known as AdoramaPix.)

Printique is laser-focused on a handful of products: prints, wall decor, photo books, albums, calendars, and cards. Within each category, you'll find a huge variety of options. The website is easy to use, and orders arrive well-packaged. Printique was one of only two websites I tried that didn't send my 20x30 print in a tube (which always results in curled edges.)

There are three mobile apps if you prefer to upload and place orders on your iPhone or iPad. The quality of Printique's prints and photo products is outstanding. I especially loved the photo book and the photo card, both of which clearly stood out from the pack in quality. Take a closer look at Printique in my full review.

Pros:

  • Excellent quality
  • Even basic photo book exceeded expectations
  • An incredible variety of photo book and print options
  • Great packaging prevents damage and curling
  • Easy to navigate website
  • Special service for pros
  • Card stock photo card printed on both sides, no logo, fancy envelope

Cons:

  • Not a huge variety of photo gifts outside of prints and books
  • Not the cheapest option

Best Overall

Printique

Quality first

The quality of Printique's prints and photo products is outstanding. The photo book and the photo card particularly stood out from the pack in quality.

Best All-Around: Snapfish

Snapfish

If you think that "Best All-Around" sounds an awful lot like "Best Overall," you're correct. I had a tough time choosing which one to put in the top spot, so I hedged a bit. Snapfish does offer quite a few items and a huge variety of photo gifts that Printique does not. Snapfish's prices are consistently better than Printique's, plus you have the option to pick up certain items at CVS, Walgreens, or Walmart. While the quality isn't quite as exceptional on certain items, Snapfish will satisfy just about everyone.

Snapfish's quality is great, prices are reasonable, and the website is easy to use. The selection of photo prints and gifts that Snapfish offers is enormous. I make a lot of photo books and their platform to make books is nicely done. The free, unlimited storage is a nice touch, as is the Snapfish app that lets you place orders and get additional deals.

The packaging was sufficient to prevent damage, though you will get your posters rolled in a tube. While the photocard was beautifully printed on both sides, it does have a Snapfish logo on the back. These are tiny complaints in the scheme of things. Snapfish is an online photo service I can unreservedly recommend to anyone. Read more about Snapfish Photo Printing in my full review.

Pros:

  • Free, unlimited photo storage
  • Great quality
  • Huge variety of print sizes and photo items
  • Easy photo book creation
  • So many photo book options
  • Reasonable prices

Cons:

  • Poster arrived curled

Best All-Around

Snapfish

Crowd-pleaser

Snapfish's quality is great, prices are reasonable, and the website is easy to use. Snapfish offers an enormous selection of photo prints and products.

Second Best All-Around: Shutterfly

Shutterfly

I placed Shutterfly second to Snapfish by the tiniest hair. Truly, they are both excellent photo printing services. Snapfish's prices on most items are slightly less than Shutterfly's, but both offer so many deals and promo codes that original prices don't matter much. I was also more pleased with my cards at Snapfish.

They were printed on card stock so both sides could be printed, while Shutterfly's cards were on photo paper. My 8x10 photo looks slightly blurry, but that may have been due to my photography skills. These are tiny quibbles, only because I needed a tie-breaker.

I've actually been using Shutterfly in my personal life for over a decade. I trust Shutterfly with my family's precious memories. Shutterfly is the keeper of my children's childhood. I've ordered hundreds of prints, books, and gifts from Shutterfly over the years. I've never been disappointed. There are always deals and promo codes, and in fact, you can use three at a time on Shutterfly. Using the iOS app entitles you to extra freebies. Read more about Shutterfly in my full review.

Pros:

  • Easy website to navigate
  • iOS app
  • Fair prices (with frequent sales/coupons)
  • Enormous selection
  • High quality
  • Free unlimited photo storage

Cons:

  • Poster arrived curled

Second Best All-Around

Shutterfly

Another fantastic choice

Shutterfly is similar to Snapfish if slightly more expensive. It has an easy-to-use website and a huge selection of quality prints and photo products.

Best Storage: Amazon

Amazon photo

You must be an Amazon Prime member to take advantage of everything Amazon Photo Printing has to offer. Amazon's big draw is the Amazon Photos app. Once set up, it will automatically back up all of your photos, and up to 5GB of video, for free, forever. You can go ahead and delete them off of your iPhone; Amazon has you covered.

Amazon also offers a wide selection of photo prints and products at reasonable prices. Shipping is free for Prime members, which is an unusual feature among photo print services. Despite the less-than-perfect packaging and lack of some types of photo items, Amazon Photo Printing is a great service to keep in mind for your storage and printing needs.

I was impressed by the customer service, which offered to refund or replace my photo that arrived slightly bent. It's easy to order from a huge selection of photo prints and other photo gifts; you can even do it right from your phone. Learn more about Amazon Photo Printing in my review.

Pros:

  • Free, unlimited, full-resolution photo storage
  • Free video storage up to 5 GB
  • The app can upload photos automatically from your phone
  • Storage is searchable, no tags needed
  • Excellent quality photos
  • Huge variety of photos and photo gifts
  • Free shipping for Prime members

Cons:

  • One photo arrived bent (though customer service immediately offered a refund or replacement)
  • Large logo on the back of the card
  • Poster ships in a tube, resulting in rolled edges

Best Storage

Amazon

Members only

Amazon Prime members can take advantage of Amazon's photo printing services, free shipping, and free, unlimited, and automatic photo storage.

Most Extensive: CVS

CVS photo

CVS offers way beyond the standard set of photo services. Yes, you can get prints ranging from mini-wallets to 20x30, photo books ranging from cheapie pocket-sized book to a premium leather-bound lay-flat album, cards, and all manner of photo gifts. You can even pick up some of these items at your local CVS the same day. But CVS is unusual in that they also offer passport photos, copy/print services, film developing, and home video transfer to DVD or digital.

One aspect of my order really disappointed me, however. The theme I chose for my photo book, which consisted of decorative quotes and flair, either didn't show up at all over the background or covered up important parts of my photos.

I'm generally pretty careful when I create photo books, but these aspects of the theme weren't apparent to me when I made this one. You can read my review of CVS Photo Printing to learn more.

Pros:

  • Extensive photo services
  • Same-day pickup for some items
  • Print quality is good
  • Decent prices and frequent discounts
  • Easy to use website

Cons:

  • Some problems with the book design
  • Poster arrived rolled

Most Extensive

CVS

Beyond

CVS stands out for its huge variety of products and services, including passport photos, copy/printing, film developing, and digital media transfer.

Best Drugstore: Walgreens

Walgreens photo

No place is perfect, but Walgreens does a ton of photo printing services, and they seem to do everything well. Unlike most photo printing services, Walgreens also offers digital media transfer, passport photos, and film developing. The website and photo book creation platform are well-done. The quality of the items I ordered was great, and shipping was pretty fast. Same-day pickup at your local Walgreens is available for particular items.

If you prefer to deal with a brick-and-mortar store, I thought Walgreens offered the best quality of all the drugstores and big box stores. Walgreens also has one of the better websites for when you do order online, plus a Walgreens app where you can order photos as well as manage prescriptions and other drugstore stuff. Read more about Walgreens Photo Printing in my full review.

Pros:

  • Quality prints and products
  • Easy to place orders
  • Huge array of products and services
  • Fast shipping

Cons:

  • Poster ships in a tube, causing rolled edges

Best Drugstore

Walgreens

So many choices

Walgreens offers just about everything you'd want in a photo printing service and probably some things you hadn't thought of.

Best Value: Walmart

Walmart photo

It may not come as a surprise that Walmart had the best prices overall. If you're not looking to make a photo book, I can recommend Walmart for just about all of your other printing needs. The overall quality is good, though not quite as good as some others.

Their prices are on par or less than most other places. Plus, there are always promo codes and deals going on. While the shipping isn't super fast, it is free on orders over $35 and cheap for smaller orders, which is unusual. You can also pick up some items in-store the same day you order them.

The fact that you can order just one card at a low price is quite unusual. Keep in mind that cards are printed on photo paper, so you cannot print on the back of the card. The photo book platform is too frustrating to recommend using, but if you want to go for it anyway, the quality of the book is decent. Read more about Walmart Photo Printing in my review.

Pros:

  • Nice quality prints
  • Bargain prices
  • Sufficient packaging to avoid damage
  • Huge variety of photo prints and products
  • No minimum quantity card order

Cons:

  • Creating a photo book is frustrating
  • Poster shipped in a tube, so it arrives with rolled edges

Best Value

Walmart

Bargain prices

If you can deal with the confusing photo book creation platform, Walmart can fulfill your photo printing needs for less.

Made For iOS: FreePrints

FreePrints photo

FreePrints online photo printing service is utterly unlike the others out there. It has an interesting model that offers tons of freebies; you only pay for shipping and extras. It's a better photo printing service in some ways and worse in others, but it might be your perfect fit if you're the target audience.

You get up to 85 4x6 prints, a 5x7 softcover 20-page photo book, and an 8x8 photo tile for free every month, but there is no commitment. This isn't a bad deal, even if you do pay to ship each freebie, which ranges from $2 to $10. You can certainly upgrade your order to more or larger or more premium options; you just pay for the upgrades.

One example I could see being the target demographic is a busy parent. You could start a monthly collection, document your baby's first year, or, perhaps order yearly or just occasionally. The entire FreePrints universe is made for iOS; you couldn't order from a computer if you tried. For anyone who needs to take care of their photo needs on the go, FreePrints presents an interesting option. Read more about FreePrints Photo Printing in my review.

Pros:

  • Like a subscription box, but free and no commitment
  • Pay shipping only for 85 4x6 prints, one photo book, and one photo tile each month
  • Great quality
  • Easy-to-use apps
  • Pull photos from your phone or many other spots

Cons:

  • Limited variety of photo products available
  • 8x10 photo arrived bent
  • 20x30 photo rolled in a tube

Made For iOS

FreePrints

Monthly "freebies"

Order up to 85 4x6 prints, a 5x7 softcover 20-page photo book, and an 8x8 photo tile for free every month from your phone, just pay shipping.

And the rest

I would not say that "the rest" are worse than the ones mentioned above; they just didn't stand out from the pack. I was happy overall with the quality of every order from every printing service, despite some annoying photo book creation platforms and some curled edges on the big print. Here's a quick rundown of the other photo printing services I tested.

Nations Photo Lab Photo Printing is one of my very favorites in terms of quality, especially for the two-sided, no-logo photo card. But the annoying photo book platform and the rolled edges of the 20x30 print kept it out of the top spot.

Mpix Photo Printing is another of the top-quality printing services, and the packaging was incredible. Mpix was one of just two sites that packed the 20x30 flat. But Mpix's website kept "eating" my photos, and the photo book creation tool was frustrating.

Mixbook Photo Printing is yet another of the extremely high-quality photo printers, with a rare two-sided, no-logo, and no-minimum order photo card. However, the photo book creation platform was frustrating. The 20x30 was not only rolled into a tube, but it kept its tightly rolled shape even after being weighed down flat overnight.

Costco Photo Printing offers an enormous selection of photo services, and prices are fair. Photo cards are especially cheap, but only if you're ordering in packs of 50. There are additional services in-store only, such as photo restoration. You must be a Costco member to print your photos and everything else there.

Bottom line

Quality-wise, all of the photo printing services I tested ranged from great to superlative. There wasn't a dud in the bunch. If you haven't tried Printique, go for it, especially if you have a special event you're ordering photos or photo products for. While Printique doesn't offer the same variety of photo products that most of the others do, the quality is unmatched.

I particularly loved my photo book, which was a cheaper "soft cover," and yet it was thick, durable archival paper. I also loved the photo card, which was printed on both sides, had no tacky logo, and came with a more upscale envelope. Printique was one of only two photo printing services that ships their large format prints in a flat box, so the poster arrived in perfect condition, perfectly flat. Printique even has special services for professional photographers.

If you want the best combination of price, convenience, quality, and variety, Snapfish wins by a hair. Seriously, it's just a hair. The website is easy to use, the variety of photo gifts available is staggering, the prices are fair, and promo codes are plentiful. Download the app for extra freebies. You can store your photos on Snapfish and/or upload your photos from various social media and photo sites. If you don't want to pay for or wait for shipping, you can pick up certain items at your several local drugstores.

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