Sign In

Photo Printing Services: The Price of Your Pictures

Published
By , dealnews contributor

A lot of people thought that digital photography would make physical photographs obsolete. But it seems people still want photos to hold onto, to press into a scrapbook, or to stuff in a shoebox. In fact, the competition between photo printing services is so fierce that vendors, from pharmacy chain stores to exclusively online picture services, are vying for your business. And they're doing so with enticing promotions.

But after those freebies, which printing services are actually the cheapest and best quality? This week, we look at what six photo printing services offer. To keep our price comparison consistent, we're comparing the price of in-store pickup (where available) on orders of 4x6" prints. (Note that in some cases opting for shipping lowers the cost of prints, which is noted underneath applicable entries.)

Before we dive into the 1s and 0s of digital photography printing, we'd like to note that since we live in the day and age of connectivity, unless otherwise noted, these photo printing services are capable to link with other online photo storage sites like Facebook and Flickr. As a consumer, it's also important to consider online photo printing services extras: online album sharing, editing tools, high-resolution downloads, and unlimited online storage. These additional services can be helpful in deciding which photo service you're going to use and for what purpose.


Walgreens
Deal: 50 4x6" prints for $5 via coupon code "4X6PRNT" (expires January 28)
Everyday Price: $0.19 per print*; $9.50 for 50
Shipping: Free in-store pickup

Black and White: While a drug store is more of a pharmacy than a photo lab, Walgreens does provide a variety of printing services from wallet sized prints ($0.99 for a sheet of four), to posters (from $9.99) and enlargements (varies). What's more, order online and opt for your prints to be shipped, and you can choose between a glossy or a matte. finish. Or opt for in-store pickup and you can have your prints ready in one hour from any of your nearby Walgreens.

*If you choose to have your prints shipped, the cost drops to $0.12/print. However, shipping adds $3.47, which makes a 50-print order just three cents less overall than pickup.


Walmart
Deal: $0.13 per print via 1-hour in-store pickup
Everyday Price: From $0.15 per print*; from $7.50 for 50
Shipping: Free in-store pickup

Black and White: Walmart uses Fujicolor Crystal Archive Paper and gives its customers the option of glossy or matte prints available for in-store pickup. Customized 12-month wall calendars ($15), faux canvas prints ($22.96), and 8x11" cloth cover photo books ($18.96) are also available same-day at Walmart. However when the aforementioned Rollback deal expires, Walmart charges $0.19 per print for their 1-hour service, costing a total of $9.50 for 50 4x6" prints.

*If you choose to have your prints shipped, the cost drops to $0.09/print. However, shipping adds $2.50, which makes a 50-print order $7.00.


Mpix
Deal: N/A
Everyday Price: From $0.19 per print; from $9.50 for 50
Shipping: From $3 s&h

Black and White: Choose from E-Surface (Matte), Metallic, or True Black & White Paper. While offering a variety of post-production photography services (mounting, framing, and retouching), Mpix received poor reviews from consumers for its lack of online editing tools. It's also surprising that for an online-only service, the site lacks the ability to connect with Facebook and other online photo storage sites. However, they do offer retouching, which most other services don't.


Picaboo
Deal: None for prints, but save up to 40% on photo books, cards, calendars, and collage posters via coupon code "WINTER40" (expires January 31; click the "Specials" tab for details)
Everyday Price: $0.15 per print; $7.50 for 50
Shipping: From $3.49 s&h

Black and White: Picaboo receives high marks for its card and photo book design editors and the variety of photo products it offers: photo panels (from $14.99), customizable tri-sided photo cards (from $2.49), and more. However, if you're seeking out straight photo prints, Picaboo does not supply information on printing paper or available finishes, which, for the discerning customer is too important information to omit. What's more, there is no in-store pickup option.


Snapfish
Deal: 20 4x6" prints for free for new customers; free shipping on orders over $40 via coupon code "FSJAN40" (expires January 31); 30% off with free shipping on photo books via coupon code "BOOKHUGS" (expires January 31)
Everyday Price: $0.19 per print*; $9.50 for 50
Shipping: Free in-store pickup

Black and White: Snapfish is owned by HP and uses their "top quality" paper for printing. Customers' choice of glossy- or matte-finished 4x6" prints can be shipped, or picked up in-store at Walgreens, Walmart, Meijer or Duane Reade the same day.

*If you choose to have your prints shipped, the cost drops to $0.09/print. However, shipping adds $3.44, which makes a 50-print order $7.94.


Shutterfly
Deal: 50 4x6" prints for free for new customers; $10 off orders of $10 or more via coupon code "HAIR10" (expires February 1); free shipping on orders over $30 via coupon code "SHIP30" (expires February 1)
Everyday Price: $0.19 per print*; $9.50 for 50
Shipping: Free in-store pickup

Black and White: Shutterfly uses Fuji Crystal Archive paper, and lets customers select from glossy and matte finishes at no extra cost with pickup options available at local Walgreens, CVS, and Target. However, Shutterfly, while it offers its own online photo album and sharing capabilities, does not link with Facebook.

*If you choose to have your prints shipped, the cost drops to $0.15/print. However, shipping adds $3.99, which makes a 50-print order $11.49.


Which Service is Worth a Thousand... Pictures?
Many of the places included here offer comparable photo quality, making price, customer service, and ease-of-use online among the deciding factors. Snapfish's in-store pickup print prices are competitive, and coupled with overall superb site flexibility, we smile on Snapfish.

But we wouldn't consider any of these services losers. Shutterfly's award of Best Website Photo Book from Good Housekeeping is not to be overlooked. Picaboo goes the distance in its site design and stand-alone app. Mpix's ability to offer retouching is exceptional. Walgreens offers incredible convenience and equal pricing, whether you decide to have your photos shipped or to pick them up in-store. And Walmart's printing prices are always one of the lowest we see. Stacking up these printing pros and cons, perhaps the best idea is to mix it up: Consider signing up for your free account with several sites to take advantage of specials and sales. Then, sign up with us for an email alert to find out where you can find a deal on any of these photo printing services.

Front page photo credit: Home Movie Depot


Lou Carlozo is a dealnews contributing writer. He covers personal finance for Reuters Wealth, and was most recently the managing editor of WalletPop.com, and before that a veteran columnist at the Chicago Tribune. Follow him on Twitter — @LouCarlozo63. You can also sign up for an email alert for all dealnews features.
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
You might also like
1 comment
salemdoc
costco is $0.13, and the last time I had a quantity it was 10 cents if more than 500. Excellent quality.
Many of the other sites have periodic sales.
Leave a comment! or Register