Photo Know How: Find the Photo Printing Service for You

by Lori Anderson
Photo Know How: Find the Photo Printing Service for You

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Welcome to the Creating Keepsakes magazine podcast! We bring you cool ideas & easy solutions for scrapbooking your memories.

I'm Lori Anderson, online managing editor for Creating Keepsakes scrapbook magazine. Today we're going to talk about finding the right photo printing service for you.


But first, this podcast is sponsored by Club CK, a dynamic online community where scrapbookers flock for creative inspiration. Share your scrapbook layouts, participate in fun challenges and contests, and learn cool scrapbooking tips today at

And now, let's talk photo printing services.

When scrapbooking your favorite memories, you want to use the highest quality (and most budget-friendly) printed photos possible to showcase your memories. The photo printing option you choose can make a big difference in achieving this. . Three ways to print photos are: 1) through an online printing service, 2) using a local photo printing shop, or 3) on your a personal photo printer. Here are six things to consider when choosing the option that's best for you.     

1. Quality

Because photo printing services use different  printers and products, their photo quality may differ. Do your research to know which one will give you the highest quality photo prints for your scrapbooks. Ask other friends or family members about their experiences with different services. Three questions to ask are:

     1.      Did the photos come out grainy or discolored, or were the images sharp and pristine?

     2.      Did the quality of the photos vary based on whether they had a matte or glossy finish or was the quality the same with either finish?

     3.      Did the quality of the photos vary based on the print size or did all sizes print the same quality?

The same questions should be asked when deciding on a photo printer for home. 

2. Size

Which size prints are you looking for? Most companies offer the most common printing sizes, such as 4" x 6", and 5" x 7", but some have as many as thirty or more size choices. A few companies, such as and Shutterfly, provide photos in a 12" x 12" scrapbook layout size. To print custom photo sizes at home, a personal photo printer is a great option.

3. Finishes

Decide what type of photo finish you prefer, then make sure the company you select provides that finish. Most services provide a glossy or matte finish, but some offer metallic, luster, canvas, or custom finishes, which could add fun effects to your layouts. If you're choosing a personal printer, find out what type of photo printing paper is compatible with each option. If you like to print photos on non-traditional surfaces, choose a photo printer that allows you to do so.    

4. Photo-editing

If you'd like to do a little editing on your photos before printing them, consider a company that offers photo-editing options such as red-eye reduction, cropping, borders, photo captioning, or even professional retouching. These services are very helpful for those not already using a separate photo-editing software program, or who want to quickly correct a photo before ordering prints.    

5. Cost

Deciding on a price range is important when choosing the right photo-printing option for you. Determine your price range, and select accordingly. Some companies offer discount coupons, or offer  specials and coupons through their e-newsletters. If you print a high volume of photos, consider companies that offer bulk discounts. When ordering prints online, remember to take the cost of shipping into account as well. And when choosing a photo printer, don't forget to calculate the cost of regular ink and paper refills as well as long-term maintenance costs.    

6. Delivery Time

If you're impatient to see and scrap those photos, choose a photo service that ships or has prints ready the same day.  Local stores with one-hour photo printing services are best for I-need-it-yesterday photos, and many shops have online photo download services with same-day pickup. You can also print your photos anytime on your own printer. But if you can wait a little while, then many online services can get photos to your door in just a few days.

There you have it: six things to consider when choosing the right photo-printing option for you. Whether you choose a local or online photo printing service or print them on a photo printer at home depends on your needs. But whichever you choose, be sure to scrapbook those photos to preserve the stories behind them for you and your loved ones to enjoy.  

That's all for today. Visit us online at for more scrapbooking tips & solutions or to subscribe to our magazine. And be sure to visit our sponsor site, to gather with other scrapbookers for even more creative inspiration.

If you have a question or a topic you'd like us to cover on the Creating Keepsakes podcast, email us at

And remember: when you scrapbook, you're not only sharing your story, you're creating keepsakes.


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