SUBURBURBAN AMERICA USED to contain one 1-hour photo lab per five hundred citizens. Strip mall parking lots were dotted with little kiosks like pepper on a bad streak. When digital cameras appeared, film no longer had to be developed. We lost the option of printing photos when those kiosks abruptly disappeared.
Even though developing film isn’t common nowadays, the desire to have a photograph as an object hasn’t diminished. These days, instead of 1-hour photo booths photographic prints there are endless online printing services, which produce much better results than the kiosks ever did. However, some of them are incredibly poor at printing.
We gathered a collection of photos designed to test color, tonal range, blacks, whites, and more, and sent them off to nearly a dozen printing services to avoid prints of your kids with orange skin against green skies (yes, that happened in one test). Print your photos at these places.
The Top Services for Photographic Prints
Here are the top 3 services of photographic prints that you can avail from different website with reasonable price range. Let’s have a look.
Mpix – Good for Most of the people
Having kids meant I wanted them to inherit a shoebox full of faded family photos, like me. When I bought a film camera, I decided the film was too expensive, so I sold it and bought a DSLR instead. Mpix became my printing software of choice. My prints are always excellent. Miller’s Professional Imaging (a pro-only printing service) has spawned MPix, and the quality shows.
A variety of paper options are available from Mpix, which prints on Kodak Endura paper. I tested the E-surface, which rendered extremely accurate colors and rich deep blacks. Over time, it holds up well; images I printed in 2013 look exactly as they did when I got them.
Although it’s not the cheapest service, Mpix often has sales. In most cases, I recommend waiting until prices drop before printing something unless it is a gift and you need it now.
Printique – Best for Photo Nerds
I chose Adorama’s Printique service, formerly Adoramapix, because it produced the highest quality prints in my tests. Making the decision between Printique and Mpix was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. Ultimately, I chose Mpix because of free shipping and frequent sales, though if the quality is your only concern, Printique wins by a hair. You have a range of paper options, and they’re listed by their real names, such as Kodak Endura or Fujifilm Matte. Additionally, I like the option to print the date and file name on the back of each image
Similarly, Printique is a little more expensive, but you get much better prints for the money. The paper I chose is Kodak Endura Luster (which is also what Mpix uses). The colours are very true to life, with good shadows and highlight details, and the blacks are rich.
Adding photos to Printique is another highlight. You can import pictures from nearly anywhere, including Lightroom, Flickr, Instagram, Google Photos, Facebook, and Dropbox.
Snapfish – Best for a Good Budget
Snapfish is a great option if you don’t want to spend a lot of money but still want good-looking prints. Although Snap fish’s prints don’t measure up to our top picks in terms of quality, it’s less expensive and the results aren’t bad either.
Alternatively, you can upload images directly from your computer, smartphone, or social media account (Facebook, Instagram, Google Photos, or Flickr). The web interface is straightforward, though as with most cheaper services, you will be constantly upsold books, mugs, etc.
The quality of Snap fish’s prints surprised me considering its low price. My experience with them was better than with several other services (not reviewed here) that charged more than double.