From family vacations and birthday dinners, to your nieces or nephews graduation or the first tooth your eldest child lost, the way you keep and share memories is through photos. Today, with smartphones constantly in our hands, we snap a picture at any opportunity, but often leave those memories in our phone’s photo library.
Printing your pictures is the key to keeping those memories alive, as nothing matches the feeling of rummaging through family pictures days, weeks, or years down the line. Not sure which printing service to use? We break down the most important criteria you should consider when looking to get loads of family pictures printed.
For the Creative Family
There are many options when it comes to photo printing. While some prefer original photos on regular paper and dabble between glossy or matte, other would prefer to jazz up their photos with filters, edits, or even put their photo on a coaster. If this sounds like you, Postal Pix will please your photo desires. The service offers some fun options, like a grid of nine 2-by-2 photos that you can cut apart and share, and the option to have your photos fused to a piece of aluminum. The photos look really cool and come with double-sided tape to stick to a wall, or magnets for the fridge.
If you want to do more than just print your photos or place a few of them on creative materials, try going for a book. Both Blurb and Mosaic are solid options. Blurb makes it super simple to make a book, a task that many people dread post-trip. All you have to do is choose 20 pictures, and they’re automatically laid out for you. You can change the order and choose an image as a front cover. Note that though it’s simple to do, your options are limited, as you can only select pictures from your smartphone’s camera roll, compared to other services which allow you to grab pictures from online albums or your social media profiles. But for a true photo book masterpiece, Mosaic is your winner. The service helps you create gorgeous books that are of the highest quality. Its books are printed on smooth paper that have thick, linen covers that are really nice to hold. The books also have an artsy mosaic photo collage on the cover and photos can be taken from any of your social media profiles, like Facebook and Instagram. Mosaic also has a daughter company, Mixbook, which was founded in 2006 and specializes in photo books, photo cards, scrapbooks, yearbooks and calendars — anything you could want to share your memories and show them off.
For the High Quality Only Family
If picture clarity and overall image resolution is of the utmost importance to you, it’s best you go with a service that is known for its printing. Mpix offers extremely high-quality photos that are printed in the US, and all pictures have a guarantee that they will be ready for pickup in 24 hours. The image quality is much higher than other services or than what you’d get if you printed your pictures at a drugstore or superstore, so much so that the service representatives check every photo by hand to ensure the best quality. Another high-end printing service that’s known for its picture quality is Pro DPI. This images are known for being sharp as a knife, and reviews of the service often mention color accuracy.
For the Mobile Family
Like all families, yours is probably a busy one. Whether running from a soccer game to pick up dinner, or picking up the dry cleaning, life is a rush. Not surprisingly, printing photos is probably the last thing on your mind. But with Shutterfly, printing your pictures is super simple and can be done from almost anywhere. The mobile app is one of the best available — well designed, and like the service’s name, pictures can be sent to printing on the go. You can sign in from anywhere, easily select photos from your phone or social media accounts, and finalize the order in minutes. Your pictures get sent directly to your house, so there’s no out-of-the way pick up to fit in.
Another app for busy families on the go, is Kicksend, which is a cross between a photo-sharing social network, and a photo printing service. We like it because it is flexible and simple-to-use. Signing in and creating an account, something that’s both time consuming and annoying, isn’t needed to order prints. All you have to do is open the app and click on “order photo prints as guest” and then click “prints for myself.” You’ll be prompted to select a pickup option, where a few popular drugstores are listed. If you prefer, you can also have the pictures sent to your home, and free shipping is offered for 10 prints or more. The downside with Kicksend is that its photo quality isn’t the highest, with slightly off highlights, skin tones and tints.
If you’re a photographer and have pictures in varied formats, it’s important to choose a site that will accept those formats. One site in particular that supports uncommon files is Adorama. It lets you upload pictures including TIFF files, so that you don’t need to convert the file before uploading them to the site — a big time saver for hardcore photographers.
For the Budget Conscious Family
While there are a lot of great options out there, not every one comes with a hefty price tag. Some options have great features, without the price tag.
Snapfish, for example, has free apps for both iOS and Android that let you easily put together your pictures, and order them to a partner store, like Walgreens. You sign up for a Snapfish account – which immediately grants you 20 free prints if you sign up over the web and not via the app – and then order. There are often sales, such as the “Get 100 4”x6” prints for $1” and other regular discounts. Generally, the most popular 4”x6” prints start at 9c each, and you can choose between glossy and matte finishes, as well as where you want to pick up your prints (CVS, Walgreens, etc.). There are also great deals on canvas prints, gifts, cards and calendars.
Another option for the budget-conscious family is Nations Photo Lab. Awarded "Best Online Print Service" by New York Times company “The Wirecutter,” they too offer deals and discounts online, as well as more professional paper options. Quality is a major selling point, and while delivery takes 1-2 business days, prints will last for 100 years in a normal home, and 200 years in dark storage.
No matter what the occasion or budget, memories are priceless, and there is something to be found for every type of family and requirement. Keep snapping away, and proudly display your treasured family photos.