Saturday, August 05, 2017

Options for printing picture

When I started out writing a post this morning for today it was on a completely different topic but as the day progressed my thoughts and energy was consumed by a lack of options for printing pictures. You know the one hour kind that was part of growing up and pretty much most of adult life until recently.

We used to get films printed at our local grocery stores and then at some point the service and quality of grocery store prints got so bad that we started using mail service. I forget the name of the company but it was Oregon based and had most beautiful metallic and pearl paper print options. The best thing about them was that they stored the digital version of the film on their web server so that you could order prints from them or even share them electronically. As digital cameras became more popular, the film processing and the uniqueness of storing film digitally wasn't a unique feature at all. Needless to say the company went under… 

So in the recent times, I have been using three services for my basic picture printing needs. 

I used to have extensive albums on Costco but since their servers were hacked a couple of years ago and the website was closed for quite some time, I stopped maintaining my albums on their site and now I just upload the pictures that I need printed. Because of their limited hours they aren't a good option but if I can plan in advance it works out pretty well. 
The other option that I use very regularly is Shutterfly but they become expensive with 2-day shipping so I usually use their standard shipping which including printing times can be upto two weeks delivery from when you place the order. I get a lot of my photo books done from them and print pictures for scrapbooking when I know well in advance. 
For my quick picture needs I used to rely very heavily on Walgreens but based on my past four experiences with them and three different locations, I'm loosing faith in their ability to continue doing a good job. I dropped off a disposal camera with them and since they now process film remotely it will take them 4-6 weeks to get my pictures back. Since I was not in a hurry I went with it but what concerns me most is their one hour print service that they advertise so much and then don't deliver on it. Sometimes I get the message that my pictures are printed and they are actually not done when I go to pick them up. Or sometimes they ignore orders all together. One time a store clerk changed the aspect ratio on my print and when the well edited pictures came out wonky he said who gets 4x6 pictures anymore, its all 4x5.5 these days with digital prints. Mmm… well I do print it 4x6 specially when I said so on my internet order. The other time I placed an internet order to print a picture collage on poster board for a friend and when I went to pick it up on my way to her home, my order wasn't ready although I got the email confirmation that it was ready to be picked up. Worse still they couldn't print it right away and asked me to return in an hour. Guess what, I ended up taking wine and flowers for my friend that night. And today was another one of those times when my prints and enlargements weren't ready. Luckily the store manager was proficient and printed out the entire order in 15 minutes which was wonderful except that the family waited in the car for all that time and our carryout pizza got cold in the meanwhile.  

That leads me to ask the question, where are we headed when it comes to printing pictures. Is a home printer our best bet or are there services out their that can still do the job for us.

1 comment:

  1. I would have recommended Costco, so no help there. White House Custom Color does a good job here - I assume they ship. National Camera does a good job too. There have to be similar shops there that the pros use that aren't terribly expensive. As for me, I send out 4x6s, but print anything larger myself. I get good results from both my ancient all-purpose ink jet and my starting-to-become-ancient dedicated Canon printer. The Canon is big, but even that is pretty cheap, but printing isn't a quick process either and ink is super expensive - unless you are showing your work, printing probably doesn't make sense.