Printing Photos Online – Quality on a Budget

Since receiving our wedding photos, I’ve had a bit of a tough time choosing images to print as well as deciding how to display them. Having over 600 images to choose from makes it a daunting task, but it’s a good problem to have so I won’t complain. I’ve been slowly working toward making some decisions on the images that I’d like to have as artwork in our home. The first project that I decided on is in progress, and I thought I would share what I’ve learned about online printing options.

For this particular display, I had two specific images in mind, and knew I wanted to print them at a fairly large size. I love the artsy composition of these photos (no faces necessary), and thought they would look nice in our bedroom as a kind of showcase of our wedding day fashion. Because even though you only get to wear that wedding dress once, it doesn’t mean you can’t look at it daily!

I decided to go with standard photo prints in this instance, and I checked prices on a few different sites. Our photographer uses smugmug to host her online galleries, and they offer printing. She also highly recommended both Artifact Uprising and Mpix. I plan to use Artifact Uprising for a coffee table book and another wall display, and will share how those turn out once I get them completed. They don’t offer standard size photo paper prints, but they do have some cool options for square prints (instagram inspired?) as well as lovely gift options.

After some comparison and review research, I found that Mpix is by far the most affordable for professional quality prints. I’ve read several reviews on Shutterfly that indicate less than ideal quality (thin paper, inaccurate/washed out color, not as sharp), similar to what you might get at a photo kiosk at Walgreens. I suppose you get what you pay for, and Shutterfly is not even significantly cheaper as I was expecting. I have read some mixed reviews about Snapfish, which is even cheaper at 79¢ each for 5″x7″s. However, I was irritated to find that they make you register with an account to get to a full pricing page, so I honestly didn’t go further than that. Here is a pricing comparison to give you an idea. These prices are for a Standard Photographic finish – I chose to add the Lustre coating to my Mpix prints, which made them slightly more expensive than the Shutterfly and Snapfish options:


Knowing that I wanted a substantial print that will look great and will last for years, I was eager to try out Mpix. We first ordered some prints to give to family members for Christmas. We ordered these on the Fuji Pearl Paper (Glossy Metallic Finish), which is slightly more expensive than their standard “E-Surface Paper”. We also added the Lustre finish to these. To be honest, I wasn’t crazy about the metallic finish, so I probably will stick with the standard E-Surface in the future. We got (9) 5″x7″s and (4) 8″x10″s, and used their first time order promotion for free shipping (worth $12.95). Our total for the 13 prints was $31.13. Kind of hard to see, but here is the metallic.

Mpix Metallic Finish

I’ve gotten a few emails from Mpix since creating an account, offering promotional discounts. They were running a 50% off large prints promo, and I jumped on it to get started on this project. Since I only ordered (2) 11″x14″ prints, the promo only saved me $7.50 (the discount applies to the photo cost only, not the additional Lustre coating). But hey, a sale is a sale! I try not to pay full price for anything if I can help it. I went with the E-Surface Paper, plus Lustre finish, and my total with shipping was $18.41. The photos arrived quickly, within a couple of days. They are packaged well to protect them from any damage. The images look beautiful, and I am excited to get them framed and displayed!

Also… this (!!!) Happy Sunday!!

Rocky Mountain Bride Wyoming Spring 2015

Shared on: Work it Wednesday, Thrifty Thursday

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