Digital cameras: Choosing the best photo printing service Five top tips for cheap photo prints

A little shopping around can go a long way to save you money when you get your photos printed - If you're printing 50 or more pictures the most expensive photo processing services can cost more than twice as much as the cheapest. 

Our top tips can help you get the best bang for your buck out of photo printing services. 

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1 Get free photos online

Some online photo processors offer a number of introductory prints for free. For example, in April 2010, Photobox, was offering 40 free prints to new customers. 

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 taking advantage of every offer of free prints around.

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. 

Bonusprint, for example, charges 10p per print for up to 99 prints, but only 7p per print for 100-199 prints and 5p per print for 200-plus. Strange as it may seem, this pricing system means that you can get 200 prints for just £10 - only 10p more in total than if you ordered 99 prints.

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. However, we've found this may not be the case. 

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.

4 Patience pays off with high-street photo processors

If you prefer to get your photos printed on the high street, choosing a 24-hour or longer turnaround tends to be much cheaper than a one-hour service. 

When we checked the price of printing 100 photos on the high street in April 2010, one processor charged just £7 for its 24-hour service – a saving of £14 on its £21 one-hour service.

5 Invest in pre-paid photo print credits

Some online photo processors let you buy pre-paid print credits – this will lower the cost per print but means you don't have to print all your photos in one go. Prepaid photo print credits might be a good option if you regularly process small batches of images. 

However, it does mean you have to invest a larger sum upfront, which you won't get back if you don't get round to having enough photos printed - and some credits have an expiry date (Mypix credits have a 12-month time limit, for example). 

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