Digital cameras: Choosing the best photo printing service

  • High street or online photo processing - which is best?
  • Top tips for getting cheap photo prints
  • Make sure your photos are good enough to frame

Choosing a good high street or online photo printing service can give better results and prove cheaper than printing pictures yourself. We've broken down the pros and cons of online versus high street photo processors to help you decide which method to use. 

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Online vs high street photo printing

Online photo printing

  • It's convenient Online photo processors, such as Photobox, Bonusprint and Pixum, let you order photo prints from the comfort of your own home and deliver straight to your door. 
  • It's cheapest for multiple prints Online photo processors are often the cheapest option for getting large numbers of photos printed. 
  • It takes time Because they're sent by post, the fastest typical turnaround for online processing services is two working days - and delivery can take up to a week. 

High street photo printing

  • You get your photo printed quickly High street shops, such as Boots and Jessops, will produce your photos within an hour. Just bring your digital camera’s memory card and you’ll be able to print the images in the store. 
  • It's easier for the less technologically-minded If you choose a service that lets you simply hand over the memory card, you're spared the trouble of uploading the photos yourself. 
  • It's not as convenient as online You'll have to make at least two trips to the high street processing store - depending on the speed of the service you choose, this could be the same day or a day or more later. 

Three top tips for cheap photo prints

If you'd prefer to invest in your own printer so you can print photos in the comfort of your own phone, use our Which? printers reviews to choose a printer with a good score for running costs. 

1. Get free photos online 

Some online photo processors offer a number of introductory prints for free or at a big discount. You'll still need to pay postage costs, but this will be a fraction of the cost of getting the photos printed normally - and there's nothing to stop you from taking advantage of every free offer available. 

2. Buy photo prints in bulk 

Rather than printing a few photos every time, if you can bear to wait, save them up and print lots at once. Typically, the more you print, the cheaper the price per print. Photobox, for example, charges 12p per print for up to 199 prints and 5p per print for 500-plus. 

3. Online photo development isn't always cheapest 

It's easy to assume that getting your photos printed using an online processor would always be cheaper than the high street. For a handful of prints - 10 or less, say - you may be better off hitting the high street as the postage costs of getting a few photos processed online can bump prices up significantly. Choosing a 24-hour or longer turnaround tends to be much cheaper than a one-hour service.

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