Online Photo Prints – the Easier Way to Print Your Photos

With the rising cost of photo printers and with the increasing demand for consumer digicams and DSLR cameras, a cost effective solution for photo printing needed to be addressed.

Thanks to the advancement of technology, online photo prints have become probably the most practical solution in photo printing. Let’s admit it. Quality photo printers are a bit expensive. If a hobbyist or photo enthusiast stores his images in his computer most of the time and only prints his photos when needed, buying a photo printer may not be a cost-effective move for him.

There are a lot of companies that service online photo prints nowadays. The process normally involves uploading your images, either in TIFF or JPEG format to a server that the online printing company has designated to you. Considering that images can tend to be large files, it is then advisable to use a high-speed or a broad band internet connection, especially if you need to upload several images to the photo printer server.

There are some factors to consider before uploading your images for printing. For one, DSLR cameras and point-and-shoot digital cameras have different aspect ratios. DSLRs usually have a 3:2 while the point-and-shoot types produce images on the 4:3 aspect ratio. It is for this reason that customers are advised to crop their images. When cropping though, it is best to make sure that images uploaded are at least 300 ppi (pixels per inch). Since the quality of the printing is also dependent on the resolution and the size of the printed photo, it is best to take note of the following: 1) for a 4×6 print, the image file should at least be 1200 x 1800 ppi, 2) for a 5×7 size, it should at least be 1500 x 2100 ppi, 3) for 8×10, at least 2400 x 3000 ppi.

Companies that offer online photo prints give competitive and very reasonable rates to consumers. On the average, a 4×6 print would only cost $0.10, which is still way cheaper than having to print using a home photo printer.

Nowadays, companies that service online photo prints provide easier ways for consumers to upload their image files. In most cases, they would still print whatever you send them. There are also some that offer a free image editing software so you can prepare and make adjustments to your images prior to uploading them to the photo printing server.

Tips for Saving Money on Your Online Photo Prints

Taking photos with your digital camera and viewing them on your computer screen is fun. Sometimes you’d like to make hardcopies of your photos. One of the easiest ways to print your photos is by using an online photo printing service. In this article we will give you some tips for saving money when using such services.

Most of the services work in the same way: once you uploaded your photos to the site you can choose which photos to print at what size what kind of paper and in how many copies. Printing and shipping prices vary between sites. There are a few ways in which you can save money on your printing orders:

  • Get free prints:

    Many printing services offer free prints for new customers. For example when registering with Shutterfly you will receive 15 free prints. Use this and get free prints from many sites. If every site gives you around 20 free prints you can register to ten sites and accumulate 200 free prints. One word of caution: most sites will provide you with free prints but will still charge you for shipping. Always make sure to compare the total cost to the alternative of printing on other sites. Sometimes free prints will be more expensive then non-free prints at another site just because of high shipping charges.

  • Use coupons:

    The competition among the printing sites is harsh. Some sites are trying to promote their services and provide discounts by using special coupon codes. Some of the coupons are publicly advertised but many are emailed by the sites only to its current customers for future orders. For example at the time of this writing Snapfish offered 20% off its photo balls prints. There are sites such as http://www.printrates.com that aggregate such coupons and let users post and look for coupons. A good advice is to always check for coupons before you order prints investing just a few minutes looking for coupons can save you 20% and more.

  • Refer friends:

    Some sites provide discounts or free prints to customers who refer new customers. If you like the service provided by a photo printing site simply let your friends know about it and ask them to mention you as a referrer if they decide to register and order prints from the site. In this way you can enjoy both helping your friends by recommending a good photo printing site and getting some discounts or free prints.

  • Do testing at home:

    If you order expensive prints like enlargements you can save some money by printing trial prints at home. For example if you are planning to print a 20X30 poster you can first print a low quality on your home printer. If the page size is more than what is supported by your printer you can print a few sections and tape them together. Then look at the poster to make sure it is worth printing try to make it as real as possible place the poster at the destined location and look at it from the distance you plan to look at it from. Make sure the resolution is good enough and that it looks as expected. If you’re happy with the results go ahead and order the print. Enlargements can cost tens of dollars, by printing a cheap version at home you can save the agony of spending that money just to find out the poster does not really fit or does not look good.

  • Aggregate orders:

    Printing a large quantity of photos is usually cheaper on a per photo calculation than printing small orders. Some sites provide discounts for large orders and some sites provide a fixed shipping cost that when spread over a large quantity of prints results in a cheaper shipping cost per photo. For these reason it is always better to aggregate your printing orders and to send one big order rather than a few small ones. For example if you have some photos to print but you also know that you will have more photos to print in a week from now and if you are not in a hurry to get your prints it would be cheaper to wait and send all photos together.

  • In conclusion there are many ways to save money when printing your photos. Prices change all the time make sure to shop around and to check the various sites. You can use comparison sites such as http://www.printrates.com before sending your photo printing order. Spending a few minutes before printing can save you some money.