Online photo printing vs home printing: which is better for you?

In the digital age, we not only have a plethora of options and devices for taking and sharing photos, but also more convenient choices than ever for printing them.

If we want to try to do this, several paths are available to us: printing at home via an office printer; upload files to an online portal which then processes and sends the impressions to us; or walking into our local camera shop or mini lab with our smartphone or memory card and choosing instant or next day prints, depending on how many images we’re looking to print at once.

Another option is to download an app that allows us to place an order online and then ‘click and collect’ from our local store – enjoying the convenience of online ordering while supporting the beleaguered high street at the same time. . In practice, we might like to mix and match and use a combination of all of the above, depending on how fast we want our prints or how many images we’re looking to print.

Here, however, we keep things simple with just two choices, and consider whether printing at home or ordering prints online will be the best option for you. Below, we outline the pros — and point out any cons — of each.

Best Photo Printing Services

(Image credit: future)

online photo printing

Online photo printing seems, in most cases, to be the most convenient option. We simply open an account with the relevant supplier, upload a batch of photos, choose the print size we want, submit our order, pay, and then wait for the hard copy results to appear in the mail. This can be next day, several days or a week later, depending on the delivery option chosen – a faster turnaround is usually charged at a higher price, unless a special promotion is run for this time by the supplier.

Line printing also tends to be the smartest option when we want to print an entire batch or a large group of images in one. Nobody wants to rely on their office printer to print 100 images at once – especially given the high price of home printer ink, which allows the printer to be sold at a relatively low price in the first place. . Conversely, printing just one or two images with an online provider tends to be proportionally more expensive per shot than printing an entire load at once. Especially when adding postage on top.

Thus, online printing proves to be both more practical and more economical when we have a lot of images to print at once – or, alternatively, when we want to create a photo book containing several images. Online is also a good option if we want to do something other than the standard 6×4 inch or A4 print at home – for example, have our images enlarged into a canvas wall, printed on a T-shirt, turned into a key-ring or printed on a mug – the market says personalized “photo gift”.

How can I print high quality photos at home?

(Image credit: Getty)

Home printing

When photographers want to maintain direct control over the look, feel, color, detail and overall quality of their photo prints, nothing beats printing at home or self-printing. Typically, most of us will do this in 6×4 inch or A4 size. However, it can also be the most expensive, not to mention labor-intensive, route to making a print.

Where home printing is an asset, however, it’s on those occasions when we just want to print out an image or two – for a college or homework project perhaps, or as a keepsake for a visiting friend – and we don’t want to wait. That’s when it’s time to put our print-at-home option back on the table.

Avid and professional photographers wanting to produce larger prints and maintain convenient control throughout the process will also favor the home or studio printing route. However, professionals will also be able to offset the extra time and expense with what they charge their clients for said prints – unlike the typical home printer among us.

More difficult to recreate at home are a photo book or personalized photo gifts like a canvas, a T-shirt or even a coffee mug with our image. Yes, there are media kits that will allow us to produce a transfer ourselves on our home printer, but for more ambitious reproductions we will need outside help from a contractor who has the machinery to produce and deliver. the merchandise. . In this case, online photo printing and suppliers that offer a very wide range of custom photo printing options and services.

In short, home printing is great when you want fast, low-volume printing.

A family sitting around a photo album, looking at prints from one of the best photo printing services

(Image credit: Getty)

Online photo printing vs home printing: Verdict

As we have pointed out above, and as we hope has become clear, these are really horses for the courts and we should not be asking for a binary choice to be made between the impression at home and online printing, when both have their own advantages. There are inevitably occasions when printing at home is the quickest and most convenient solution. At other times, especially for bulk orders, the online printing option is a cheaper and more convenient alternative.

So do as we did and use these two convenient ways to get high-quality photo prints that will preserve our memories for a lifetime.

Liked it? If you’re also considering upgrading your camera, we suggest you check out our guide to the best mirrorless camera, best DSLR and best compact camera.

Elaine F. Brim