The Printing Experiment

So…you just spent a lot of money getting your photos done and purchased the digital images…now what? Well let me tell you the two most common questions and answers between myself and clients in regards to printing.

Q: Why would I purchase digital images instead of just ordering prints?

A: When purchasing digital copies you have access to ALL of your images at anytime and can print them as many times as you would like and wherever you like.

Q: Where is the best place to print my digital images?

A: In the past I have been telling everyone… through my website or a professional photo lab.  Would you like to know if this is the best place? Keep reading to find out the results…


When purchasing digital images I allow my clients to still buy prints from me but give them a discounted rate. The reason being that I still want to give them the opportunity to get the best quality images and have options for enlargements. If a client chooses to print somewhere else to get more bang for their buck I want them to be knowledgable about what to expect.

I give you……“The Printing Experiment”

I have taken one 4″x6″ image and printed it at several different developers and professional photo labs and scanned them without alteration. These places are available to everyone but I want to make sure my clients know the most similar look to your digital images.

Exhibit A: A full view of the 4×6 print of the lovely Audrey. You’ll notice that the contrast is darker than others in some of the options.

Exhibit B: When you get closer to the image you’ll notice a slight difference in the printing quality.


Pricing and Finishes:

Walmart This print cost a total of $0.20 (MI tax included) and has a Matte finish.

Walgreens This image cost $0.29

Costco Image cost $0.36 (MI tax included) Membership Required

MPIX Professional Printing  $0.29 I include a Lustre coating to avoid finger prints total $0.78 for print + $3.95 shipping.

Unit Prints affiliated with Color Inc Pro Lab. Printed on Fuji Professional Paper. $0.33 + Tax and shipping $5.95


So let me ask you… Did this experiment help your decision? Please comment below.

Disclaimer: Photo Labs calibrate their printers hourly to make sure their ink gives you the right color while 1 hour photo type places do it on a daily or weekly basis which may give you discoloration. Check out other experiments that have had this experience.

Another Photo Experiment done by Amanda Jackson Photography

Another Photo Experiment done by Rebecca Danzenbaker Photography

As a Client I hope this educates you in your printing choices. If there are other things you’d love to know, e-mail me a suggestion. I’d love to hear from you.



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