Where to get the cheapest prints from your digital pictures

picture of picturesMy wife is a scrapbook fiend, we likely print more pictures per year than many of you have in your entire life! Because of this addiction, we have spent a considerable amount of time looking at the various ways and places to get our pictures printed. We have explored printing photos at home as well as the more traditional avenue of getting prints at local stores and online vendors. While I was researching the cost per print of ordering for this post, my wife was able to rattle off the price for single, bulk, one hour and overnight processing of most of the local stores.

Let's take a look at the costs of getting your photos printed.

Do it at Home based on purchasing the ink and paper for at least 100 prints at a time.
  • Inkjet starting at 15 cents per print and $50 for a printer.
  • Dye sublimation starting at 28 cents per print and $150 for a printer.
Online or in store prints
  • Wal-Mart 1 hour: 19 cents per print, 15 cents per print for orders over 100.
  • Wal-Mart in-store pickup: 15 cents per print.
  • Meijer in store pickup: 25 cents per print.
  • Shutterfly.com: 15 cents per print, as low as 10 cents per print when you prepay for 600 prints.
  • Snapfish.com: 9 cents per print, as low as 8 cents when you prepay for 250 prints.
It's clear from the print pricing that using a prepaid plan at Shutterfly or Snapfish is likely to be the best deal even after you factor in shipping, which in most cases starts at 99 cents. As I mentioned we have looked into several ways of printing pictures and while we would enjoy the convenience of printing at home the time spent printing and dealing with yet another piece of hardware as well as the higher per print cost turned us off of the printers.

We normally go with Wal-Mart for the ease of a quick pickup at a reasonable cost, and the fact that we are a block away from Wal-Mart doesn't hurt. Even though I thought we knew about all of the options for getting photos printed, the prepaid plans are new to me and the low cost may get us to plan ahead and do our ordering exclusively through one of these vendors. Now if only I could find a good source for picking up scrapbook supplies in bulk.

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Thanks buddy, just what I was looking for. Without having to do the math myself. I wonder though, would it be a different result for larger prints? Like 8x10's and 5x7's? I know shutterfly goes from $0.15 for a 4x6 to $0.99 for just 1 extra inch on each side ( a 5x7) unless the companies that are selling the printer paper are doing the same thing, I have to imagine it might be a better deal for larger format prints at home, or at least narrow the gap...?
Thanks again for the questions of mine that you have already answered!

October 26 2012 at 12:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply