I give my clients a print release so that they are able to print wherever and whenever they want. I want them to put their pictures all over their house. I want them to show their friends, I want them to put the pictures on Facebook, I want them to make photo books and give them to relatives as gifts. I want them to be able to re-print them years down the road. Yeah- I took the picture and it’s my work and it belongs to me….but I take pictures to make people happy and to give them something that they can keep and admire for the rest of their lives. Below is a bunch of information that I thought could be helpful when you go to print your pictures.
This is probably the area that photographers struggle with the most when it comes to allowing clients to print their pictures on their own. There are things called “color profiles” and not everyone and every thing uses the same one. Even computer monitors vary drastically. Ever see a picture on a photographers facebook page and think, “those colors just don’t look right…why did she make it so blue or why did she make it so orange??”…well that’s probably because her computer monitor is calibrated differently than yours. Same can be said for photo printers. Drug store photo printing is perhaps the worst. They typically go bare minimum, cheapest route to print your pictures. Every now and then you might get lucky and get a decent print, but for the most part you don’t. The colors and contrast, more often than not, are WAY off and look terrible. All of this combined together is what turns photographers away from allowing you to print your own photos. Having our work, that we worked so hard, out there on display after being printed by a terrible printer is our worst nightmare. There are SO many sources out there these days for printing, so whether they like it or not, allowing clients to print their own photos is the direction the world is rapidly moving towards. This also means that more and more printing places are going to keep popping up online. Although I can’t survey and test out every single printer for you, I have compiled a list of online printers that have always produced quality images for me. Prices vary so you will have to look through them and see which one fits you best, but I trust all of these printers.
Now, I know everyone loves a good online discount photo printer and will use them regardless of my warnings, ha! So, here is a list of ones that can, in my opinion, provide semi decent prints. I’ve found that it’s best to prepare yourself for the color to be a bit off and then be pleasantly surprised, ha!
Now I’m going to go even lower….Groupon….haha! My family actually prints off of Groupon quite a bit. Having a photographer in the family means you have A TON of pictures and you can quickly spend a fortune on prints if you’re not careful. So we have tested out a few online printers that use Groupon to sell heavily discounted photo products and we’ve actually found a few that do a good job. You have to read all your fine print very carefully with Groupon. Sometimes they’ll get you with sneaking in outrageous shipping charges that you don’t know about until the very end and sometimes they’ll get you by only allowing you to enter one coupon code a time. But one good thing about all these sources is that they want you to be happy with your product. So if something looks odd, just let them know and they will walk you through getting a new one. Usually it means cutting out a small section of the defective canvas and sending them a picture of it (to verify that you are destroying it and not cheating the system), but it’s nice to know that if there’s a problem, even if it’s your fault, they will get it fixed for you. To search for these specific printers on Groupon, just type their names into Groupons search bar.
Canvas on Demand– Canvas on Demand is overall pretty good. They’re color can be a bit off sometimes, but overall good. This is a site that does NOT allow you to combine coupon codes. This means that if you by 3 16×20 canvas Groupons, you will have to place 3 separate orders, which means 3 separate shipping costs. Sometimes they offer deals on Groupon that include shipping, so look for those. Even with having to place 3 separate orders and pay shipping 3 separate times, it’s typically still cheaper to go with the Groupon deal vs. a non-heavily discounted source.
Simply Canvas Prints– Similar to Canvas on Demand, this printer does not accept multiple coupon codes. They do offer quite a few Groupons that include shipping though, so definitely look for those. Simple Canvas Prints quality is pretty good and they’re shipping is super fast! Customer service is great as well.
Fabness- Unlike the other two, Fabness will accept multiple coupon codes, but they don’t make it very clear how to do it. All you have to do is enter them all at the same time, but separate each one with a comma. Fabness print quality is decent, but sometimes the contrast can be a bit off. Overall- they’re pretty good.
There is no shortage of fun products out these days. Not only can you do prints or wrapped canvases, you can now also do metal, wood, acrylic, wall clings, etc. The possibilities within each of those categories are abundant. SO many options! You can also do all sorts of photo books, boxes, banners, playing cards, tags, calendars, buttons, dog tags and on and on. Definitelyclick around on those different sites and see what you like. The gift possibilities are endless, ha! Here are some of my favorites:
Gallery Blocks- Nations Photo Lab: If you can, imagine a wooden box with a wooden lid. A Gallery Block would be the lid part. It’s built like a wrapped canvas, but a little less bulky. Similar to the wrapped canvas, they’re super easy to hang. They provide a bit more of a sleek look over the wrapped canvas. The colors pop and there is somewhat of matte finish to them. Shockingly, they are cheaper than a wrapped canvas!
Wood Print Wraps- Nations Photo Lab: Now, you would think these would be the same thing as a Gallery Block, but they’re not. These images are printed directly onto maple wood, without the use of white ink, so the wood grain really shows through. The woodgrain showing through gives you an entirely different look and I love it! Definitely check these out! Another group that does these wood prints is a place called PhotoBarn. They actually have quite a few options for wood products and they run some really good sales as well as Groupons. They are another great option and i think they are actually a bit cheaper.
Framers- Mpix: These are just kind of a fun little alternative. You can do fun “frames” without the actual heavy frame. They’re cheap, can easily be hung with foam adhesive stickers and come in all different colors & patterns. I think these are excellent for the kiddos rooms!
Wall Clings: These are super fun for the right occasion. They are made out of an almost vinyl like material that has a light, easy-to-clean adhesive on the back so that you can attach them to almost any surfaces.
FUN TIP: This is something that my family and I have discovered as an inexpensive alternative to wrapped canvases. We use Nations Photo Lab for this technique, but you could also use Mpix. They just don’t have as many mounting options as Nations Photo Lab does. You order a print and add it to your cart. Once it’s in your cart, you can select “mounting” and it will show you all your different options. You can do any of them, but we’ve found the 1/2″ Gatorboard looks nice and is light weight. Which means you can hang it up with 3M Command Strips. In my family, this is our favorite way to do big cluster collages in our homes. It’s inexpensive so you don’t feel bad when you move things around or take out pictures, it’s easy to hang and adjust throughout the years and the mounted prints can be popped into frames later if need be. Research it and see what you think is best for you, but we love it!