Nations Photo Lab Photo Printing review: Quality and variety rules

Nations Photo Lab Photo Printing
(Image: © Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

Nations Photo Lab offers a huge variety of stellar quality photos and photo products. You'll have to deal with an annoying photo book platform, however. Still, Nations Photo Lab is one of the best online photo printing services, even if you just use an iPhone. This company makes some of the best photo cards and I ordered my quarantine holiday cards here.

The Good

  • Excellent quality
  • Huge selection
  • Two-sided cards with no logo
  • Free shipping over $49

The Bad

  • Annoying photo book creation platform
  • Poster print shipped in a tube

Professionals quality

Nations Photo Lab Photo Printing review: Features

Nations Photo Lab Photo Printing

Nations Photo Lab Photo Printing (Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

Nations Photo Lab has a classy, appealing website. The focus is on professional quality as well as innovative photo prints and photo products. I've seen some items for sale here that I haven't seen other places, such as USB drives and magazine covers. I ordered four 4x6 prints, an 8x10 print, a 20x30 print, eight wallet prints, 25 cards (the minimum order), and a photo book. All of the professional engagement photos you see in my order were taken by JMS Imagery.

My prints all came out great, both color and black and white. I especially loved the 20x30 even though it came rolled in a tube. I placed heavy books on the corners overnight but the edges are still a bit curled. They'll settle down eventually. Nations Photo Lab automatically color corrects some photos by default unless you uncheck the box. You can choose different finishes for many of your prints: glossy, metallic, linen, or lustre. I chose the lustre finish for all of mine, which looks so upscale even though it's the same price as the glossy finish. I ordered the die-cut wallet photos, which means they are pre-cut, so you just pop them out.

I did not find this site to be the easiest or best photo book maker, but I was happy with the book itself once it arrived. When you upload your photos and choose your book style, your photos are automatically placed into the book. I didn't want them placed the way the computer did it, so I had to remove each photo manually and put it back in the way I wanted. This makes no sense to me. If there's a better way to do it, I couldn't figure it out. At any rate, all was forgiven when the photo book arrived, because it looks great. I just got a little cheapie, but you can also order upscale leather-bound wedding albums with thick lay-flat pages.

Quality and variety rule the day with Nations Photo Lab.

The photo cards are stunning. They are printed on card stock, which means you can print on both sides. Nations Photo Lab did not put its logo on the back of the cards, which I very much appreciate. The envelopes are plain white paper. These may be the nicest photo cards at this price point I've seen. They were less than $1 apiece; the minimum order is 25.

I can't say Nations Photo Lab is the cheapest photo printing site I've found, but their prices, particularly on books and cards, are pretty similar to most of the others. The photo prints are a bit more expensive, but worthwhile if you're ordering large or expensive prints. They do offer free shipping on orders over $49. Even on smaller orders, the shipping isn't very expensive. If you happen to live near Hunt Valley, MD, you can pick your order up in-store. Turnaround time on my order was pretty fast. There does seem to be some kind of deal or promo code going on all of the time; if you're looking to order something pricey you might wait until that item goes on sale.

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Print size rangeFrom mini wallets to 30x45
Photo booksYes
Variety of photo products availableHuge
Free shippingYes, on orders over $49
Cloud storageYes, but limitations unclear
Shipping timeAbout one week
Auto-cropYes, but you'll be prompted to adjust
Photo correctionsAuto color correction on some items
Option to pick up locallyOnly at their location in Hunt Valley, MD
Upload photos from other websitesNo
All items arrived undamagedYes
Photo qualityOutstanding
iOS appNo

Quality and variety

Nations Photo Lab Photo Printing review: What I like

The sheer quantity of photo products, gifts, and print sizes was just stunning. I was also impressed by the high quality of each and every item I ordered. I also like that shipping isn't crazy expensive like it is on some other sites, it's even free on orders over $49.

Nations Photo Lab Photo Printing

Nations Photo Lab Photo Printing (Image credit: Karen S. Freeman / iMore)

Photo book madness

Nations Photo Lab Photo Printing review: What I don't like

Making a photo book is time-consuming under the best of circumstances, it makes me crazy when websites use a photo book platform that makes it more difficult like Nations Photo Lab. It's too bad because the book itself is lovely.

Those darn tubes do a number on 20x30 prints. It takes days laying flat with heavy items on top to get the curl out of the edges when posters are shipped in a tube. Still, that's what most companies do.

Quality plus variety

Nations Photo Lab Photo Printing review: Bottom line

Despite the headache induced while making my photo book and the curled edges of the 20x30 print, I found Nations Photo Lab to be a good experience overall. The website feels very fancy; as you're placing your order you feel like your pictures must be very special. There is a huge variety of photo prints and products you can order, including many ideas you've probably never thought of. Most importantly, the quality of each and every item met or exceeded my expectations. I especially love the photo cards, which were printed on two sides with no logo on the back.

See at Nations Photo Lab

Karen S Freeman

Karen is a contributor to as a writer and co-host of the iMore Show. She’s been writing about Apple since 2010 with a year-long break to work at an Apple Store as a product specialist. She's also a contributor at TechRadar and Tom's Guide. Before joining iMore in 2018, Karen wrote for Macworld, CNET, AppAdvice, and WatchAware. She’s an early adopter who used to wait in long lines on release days before pre-ordering made things much easier. Karen is also a part-time teacher and occasional movie extra. She loves to spend time with her family, travel the world, and is always looking for portable tech and accessories so she can work from anywhere.