Hey! If you're like me, you've got thousands of photos on your phone, camera, and computer. But let's be honest, sometimes they get stuck there and what good is a photo really if we aren't looking back on it and enjoying the memories documented within? There is so much good scientific data when it comes to reasons to print your photos. Photos can "bind" families and spark conversations. Looking at them can have a positive physiological effect and slow down the stress centers of our brains.

Often though, we get stuck in overwhelm when it comes to moving to the next step of actually printing our images. As a professional photographer, I've seen the good, the bad, and the downright ugly when it comes to print quality. So, let's dive into where you can print your photos, and what you should look out for to get the best value.

Understanding Print Quality

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of where to print, let's talk about what makes a great print. Three key factors determine print quality:

  1. Resolution: Higher resolution means more detail. Look for print services that offer at least 300 DPI (dots per inch) for crisp, clear images. Remember the days when digital photography was brand new and our images turned out super grainy? This was about low resolution. You'll also still achieve lower resolution when you zoom in on your camera phone and then click the photo rather than doing the opposite, take a photo further away and then crop or zoom in. So knowing how to work your phone or camera in the first place helps a lot with eventual print quality.
  2. Color Accuracy: The colors you see on your screen might not match the print. High-quality services will calibrate their printers to ensure accurate color reproduction. Professional photographers also calibrate their monitors and test their favorite printers.
  3. Paper Quality: Glossy, matte, and everything in between – the paper you choose affects the final look and feel. Professional-grade paper can make a world of difference.

Online Print Services

Artifact Uprising

This is the number one place I hear my clients use to print their images. Their offerings are great and they use the most beautiful papers. Their colors are excellent. They offer a wide range of products from standard prints to photo books and home decor items. They often run sales up to 20% off or you can use my personal 20% off code of: SOUNDROOTS15 at anytime.

Pros: Easy to use, frequent discounts, decent quality, color accuracy is great.

Cons: Slightly more expensive.


Shutterfly is a household name, and for good reason. They offer an even wider range of products from standard prints to photo books and home decor items. In my experience, the quality is not quite that of Artifact Uprising, yet they have HUGE discounts often, which makes it hard to pass up. If you pay extra for their higher quality paper and color printing, it's usually just fine. I prefer Shutterfly for albums and inexpensive gifts and avoid it for wall art and basic prints.

Pros: Easy to use, frequent large discounts.

Cons: Color accuracy can sometimes be off, gift items quality diminishes over time, longer turn around time.

In Store Print Services


For those quick prints you need in a pinch, Bartells is a solid choice. They offer same-day pickup and decent quality, but they might not meet the needs of a professional-grade project.

Pros: Convenient, fast, reasonably priced.

Cons: Inconsistent quality, limited options.

FedEx Office Print + Ship Center

Believe it or not, FedEx offers surprisingly decent print services. They are relatively quick and I like that they have a connection with Canva, which makes it super easy to print promotional materials directly from Canva's website. I tend not to use them for my high end photographic needs and instead more for promotional materials, yet I'm always pleased with the result. And the couple times that I wasn't, they were super easy to work with and helped fix any printing errors immediately.

Pros: Convenient, fast, reasonably priced, connected directly with Canva.

Cons: Limited options, clunky interface to order direct.

Small Business Printers like Sky Printing in West Seattle

The people at Sky Printing are amazing. They have translated orders for me into exactly what I wanted when I didn't have the words for it. They are super quick and reliable, yet definitely a bit more expensive than other places. If you need images quickly at a super high quality, then this is the place to go.

Pros: Good quality, supporting local small business, great customer support, fast turn around time.

Cons: Higher price, limited product range.

Printing Directly Through Your Photographer's Gallery

Many professional photographers offer direct printing services through client galleries. These galleries are often integrated with high-quality print labs, ensuring that your photos are printed exactly as the photographer intended. As a photographer, I can vouch for the convenience and quality this option provides. I work directly with White House Custom Color and absolutely trust their consistent quality.


  • Convenience: No need to upload your photos to a separate site. Simply select your favorites directly from the gallery provided by your photographer.
  • Quality Assurance: The photographer has likely chosen a trusted print lab with which they have a working relationship, ensuring that the prints match their professional standards.
  • Personalization: Photographers can often provide personalized recommendations on print sizes, paper types, and finishes that best suit your photos.


  • Cost: This convenience and quality can come at a slightly higher price point compared to some consumer-level print services because you are also paying a premium for a bit of your photographer's time and quality assurance.
  • Limited Promotions: Unlike large online retailers, there may be fewer discounts or promotions available.

It Really Comes Down to Quality, Value, and Time

When it comes to printing your photos, it’s all about finding the right balance between quality and value. For everyday prints, services like Bartells and Shutterfly offer a great mix of quality and affordability. For those special projects or professional needs, your local printer or Artifact Uprising are worth the extra investment. And for the ultimate in convenience and quality, consider printing directly through your photographer's client gallery.

And remember, no one says you have to choose just one! There is a time an place for each option and I often use a mix of each depending on the purpose of my prints. It is also nice to honor the phase of life you may be in. If you are extra short on time, perhaps with a newborn or with little ones in your home, you might choose to gift yourself the value of time and order directly through your photographer's printer. If you are a new empty nester with loads of extra time, consider using an option like Artifact Uprising or Shutterfly to DIY prints and products.