This post was originally published November 10, 2015
It's that time of year! Whether it's prints, canvases, albums, or Christmas cards, we ALL have photos to print over the next few weeks, and we want them to look GREAT without breaking the bank.
If you're not ordering your cards and prints through a professional photographer this year, deciding where to print your gifts can be overwhelming. What's more, not all print labs are created equal, and rushing out to Walmart or uploading to Shutterfly is likely to leave you disappointed. This is because most of these "quick" labs don't calibrate their printing machines for color or image quality and they use lower quality paper, so the print won't look as good as the image file you sent them.
Luckily, I have two great recommendations on where to print your memories!
1. Mpix. I've loved Mpix for years, and used them exclusively for my personal prints before I opened my photography business. They're owned by Miller's Professional Imaging (the print lab I now use for 90% of my products), and hold the same high standards for color calibration and products. Unlike Miller's though, Mpix is available to anyone! Mpix prints start at 19¢, and 5x7s are $1.09 each. I always add the Lustre Coating for 44¢ more - it protects images from fingerprints gives a beautiful, professional sheen to the print. I've ordered canvas, metals, cards, and calendars from them, and I've never been disappointed. For black and white images I switch from their standard "E-Surface" paper to their "True Black & White" paper and it's gorgeous. They have a variety of beautiful holiday card designs to choose from and personalize to meet your family's needs. Make sure to allow them to color calibrate your images to their printer for the best results!
2. Artifact Uprising. I recently tried Artifact Uprising for the first time and was so totally blown away by their quality, I've decided to start offering some of their products. They're owned by VSCO, a company that sells editing software (some of which I use as part of my editing process for my images!). They even have a FREE app called VSCO Cam that will "film-ify" your iPhone photos, if you want to try something new! Yes, they come across a little hipstery, but their prints come on thick, textured paper with beautiful coloring, and I totally fell in love with them. I'm planning to try out their soft-cover photo books with my next order and will let you know if I decide to add it to my product list! Their holiday cards are simple, modern, and perfect. A set of 20 5x5 prints is priced at $19.99 through their website.
It's true that both of these options are slightly more expensive than going to the drugstore, but after spending your valuable time organizing your photos or choosing the perfect card layout, you deserve to have beautiful photos of your family to share. Once you try one of these print labs, I'd love to hear your opinion! Please comment on my Facebook page, this blog post, or send me an email to let me know what you think!
**For more information about the differences between CVS print labs to Walgreens, and everything in between, check out this blog post by Ohio photographer Corey Ann. The difference is stunning!