Finding the Best Online Digital Photo Printing Service

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When reviewing the best online photo printing services, important criteria is whether the site is easy to use, if it is flexible, what kind of creative choices do I have and are the products affordable. But there are so many photo companies on the web and prices and features vary widely, it can be confusing to know which one to use. Here is what to look for when choosing an online digital photo processor.


Increasingly, online photo services do much more than just photo processing. One can order a remarkable array of photo items, from photobooks to custom cards, blankets, mugs and so on. Shutterfly particularly excels at this and offers a vast range of customized photo gifts.

You will find that the best online digital photo printing services integrate social media into the mix. Several photo companies offer the capability of uploading images from social media sites like Facebook and web-based photo galleries for photo sharing. Some sites like Shutterfly and Kodak Gallery give users their own custom group websites.


You would be surprised at the different price structures among the various photo sites, so it is smart to look at a few. I've found regularly-priced 4x6 inch prints for 8 cents and I've seen them as high as 27 cents, which is quite a variation. Nonetheless, I've found it is usually less expensive that home printing, which can cost 27 to 50 cents a print, with variations in printer, ink and paper costs. With regard to online digital photo processors, you don't necessarily have to pay the most to get good quality. A number of online photo printing services, for example Snapfish, print high quality photos at a low price.


The better digital photo printing services will make prints that are a close match to the original digital images with bright color, avoid over or under saturation and are cropped as expected. Certain photo printing services, Kodak Gallery for instance, feature image optimization for proper exposure, real-life color and correct neutral areas. Most companies offer a choice of glossy or matte prints and use acid-free archival photo paper.

Many photo services allow the choice of either mail delivery or local pickup at a retail partner. Keep in mind that there is sometimes a variation in quality when picking up photos at a retail location because the photos are printed on site.

Online Photo Editing

You'll find that the majority of online photo services feature image editing of some kind. Several companies provide simple editing such as cropping and red eye removal, although a few sites have tools for adjusting color and saturation. If you think you will need to do more extensive editing, it is best to do that in a dedicated photo editing software program prior to uploading photos to an online photo service.

Online Photo Storage

You can usually get unlimited free online photo storage from most companies, although typically you have to make one or more purchases each calendar year to maintain it. One site that will store your images indefinitely without a minimum purchase is Shutterfly. Usually you can use your stored photos for making prints or photo products, but you can't download them in the original size; Kodak Gallery is one exception.

Choosing the best online photo printing service is not that hard once you decide on your key requirements, such as best price or the biggest photo gift selection. Luckily, you will find there are lots of great photo companies that will fit your needs.

Valerie Goettsch is publisher of the photo review site featuring reviews and tips on digital photo services, image editing software and digital cameras. To learn more about the best online photo printing services, click here.

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