I use a variety of photo printers for different needs, but one thing they all have in common is quality. I stopped using printers that offer freebies because I found the product became discounted as well. Also, these companies have attentive customer service, are willing to correct mistakes and work with the customer. I also appreciate that these service providers engage in their own creative endeavors: they interview photographers on their social media platforms, they host creative contests, and give useful advise regarding photography, editing and printing.
Some of the photo printers I use:
I used to print photos wherever was cheapest, but as my photography has improved I have become more selective with that process. I no longer go for the “100 free prints” deals. For one, I do not print that many photos. I try to select photos based on the stories I really want to tell. Being more selective means I only get photos printed a handful of times a year, give or take a few depending on special events and gifts. In general, I prefer to have variety and options, so printing photos is no different.
Mpix – a division of a professional printing lab with 3 facilities
What I order?: 4×6 photos, portraits or any other larger format photos
Mpix is a quality photo lab with great color technology and quality paper. They have periodic sales if you are an email subscriber. I have not had any printing issues, but they seem to have good customer service as well. I recently purchased one of their wall art products, a photo standout, which is a thick foam mounted photo. I was very happy with the quality. The shipping was fast and is reasonably priced.
For scrapbooking I especially love their 8×12 size which is unique on a page.
Please note: In the jellyfish photo above the colors are actually more vibrant in real life.
Persnickety Prints – a dynamic team with a variety of products targeting the digital designer/scrapbooker, based out of Utah
What I order?: digital layout prints (12×12 & 8.5×11), 4×6 & 4×4 photographic prints
I have used Persnickety Prints as my digital scrapbook layout printer for about 5 years. They appeal to the scrapbooker and take into account full bleed photos and true-to size printing. I am happy with their quality, reasonable and quick shipping, as well as periodic sales. They also offer some unique print sizes that appeal to scrapbookers, such as 6×12 or 6×8, that I would like to try. I enjoy their digital freebies and articles related to scrapbooking.
Social Print Studio – a small, innovative company of artists and engineers providing quality printing solutions and unique products, based out of San Francisco
What I order?: 4×4 square prints
Social Print Studio, formerly Prinstagram, is a grass-roots company that thrives on its unique and quality products. I tried them out very early on in February 2012 (they started in 2011) to get Instagram photos printed, which was one of the only square photo print solutions at the time. Since then, they have emerged with several new, edgy products. I mainly purchase my 4×4 square prints from them, which are printed on high quality paper with a matte finish. I have tried other resources for square prints, but have decided to stick with SPS for square prints. IMO the quality is superior to its competitors. And if you love a matte finish, you will not be disappointed.
Another fun product I purchased from SPS is the tinybook. It’s only 2 inches in size, but adorable and magnetic! They make great gifts.
Artifact Uprising – an environmentally responsible printer committed to the importance of archives based out of Denver, Colorado
What I order?: Photo Book
An eco-friendly printer with a personality of its own. I have yet to purchase regular prints from Artifact Uprising, but it is on my list. I did purchase my California trip album from them. A 166-page, with over 300 photos. The quality is superb and I was extremely happy with the layout. The interface to make the book is easy to learn and there were just enough edits to make without it being overwhelming. I was able to save my work and continually go back and add to it over a period of weeks.
There are some rustic gift options that have an earthy vibe.
4×4 Square Prints Comparison
Sometimes it’s good to see a side-by-side comparison to help you make a selection that fits your needs. Both Persnickety Prints and Social Print Studio offer a high quality print:
Social Print Studio’s square prints (left column) are slightly under the 4×4 size, offer a matte finish and a thicker quality paper.
Persnickety Prints’ square prints (right column) are true to 4×4 size, pictured here with a matte finish (they offer luster as well), and a quality paper.
The verdict….(in my opinion)
If you are more into quality photography and are mastering your manual exposure, get prints from Mpix.
If you are a scrapbooker, looking to print some digital or hybrid layouts, or are interested in a variety of sizes, print with Persnickety Prints.
Want quality square prints? Social Print Studio, hands down.
If you have a lot of photos to add to an album quickly and want something comprehensive with nostaligic quality, check out Artifact Uprising.
Any of these printers above will no doubt give you quality products at reasonable prices with shipping options that make sense.
I would love to hear your feedback: experiences with the companies above or any recommendations I may not have covered? Please share in the comments section.