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Ask Slashdot: Best Option For Printing Digital Photos? 350

rrossman2 writes "With the birth of our son (who is now just over two), we have snapped and accumulated a ton of pictures — on Panoramio, Picasa, Facebook, etc. What is the best option for bulk printing the photos to a physical format? We all know how fast technology advances, as well as how fast sites come and go; I want a way to have these pictures for my son when he is older... just like my grandfather has photos of himself from World War II, my parents have photos of me when I was little, etc. Are there any affordable services that you can upload the photos to that print and deliver long-lasting pictures? How well do today's photo ink jets last, and what's the best type of paper? I do have a cheaper Samsung color laser printer, but color lasers don't make the most color-rich prints, and using normal photo paper you can find in big box stores doesn't work out too well, as the laser toner seems to peel off on the rollers and gum things up. (Is there a good long lasting paper that seems to work well with laser printers?) I can see what's going to happen in the future: all of the digital photos people take now are going to either end up on a website that won't be around in 20+ years, or get stuck on disks or flash memory that won't last, or for which interfacing with the media will become difficult or impossible."
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Ask Slashdot: Best Option For Printing Digital Photos?

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  • Photographic prints! (Score:5, Informative)

    by NixieBunny ( 859050 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:19PM (#39930141) Homepage
    I get mine done at Costco. Cheaper and better than any printer you can buy.
    • Seconded. They do a great job on canvas prints too, FWIW.
      • by Triv ( 181010 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:33PM (#39930385) Journal

        Not trolling, promise, but I've never understood why somebody would want to print a photo onto a canvas. They always end up looking chintzier than the original for the sake of the illusion of fine art.

        Is there something I'm missing?

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          printing is more than just about 100% accurate reproduction. I occasionally print on canvas simply because it's another art/decor option for the house -- it doesnt really answer your question, as I don't know how to "justify" why I like a certain type of decor.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:46PM (#39930597)

          It's simply a different medium. Paintings aren't always true to the original and can be done with oil, acrylic, watercolor, etc. Likewise, not every picture should be on glossy paper.

        • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

          The only thing I can think of is durability, but that would depend on the ink it's printed with. With half-century old photos I have, many are very faded but the paper's fine. But those were printed by a completely different process than printing a digital photo.

        • by nedwidek ( 98930 )

          My wife does fine art photography. I wish you could see the three canvases currently up in the DAC gallery in Manteo, NC. They are quite stunning.

          The same images also look amazing on Kodak metallic paper.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I do it sometimes when I turn photos into art using my drawing tab, ect. For instance, when my mother in laws dog died, I crafted a crappy photo into a nice fake portrait and had it printed up on canvas and framed for her. She was thrilled. Sure they're not paintings in the traditional sense, but they look better on canvas than on glossy paper. For unaltered photos, I would tend to agree with your sentiment.

          • by Genda ( 560240 )

            Artrage or Corel Painter Essentials are two very reasonable programs that allow you to take photos and convert them into really lovely paintings that look spectacular on canvas. In fact if you want to go a step further, you can print them in any of a number of styles including chalk, pastel, pencil, ink, oil, acrylic or watercolor, and for the paint types you can spray the work with fixative and then apply a layer of transparent gouache which can be painted with a brush leaving real brush strokes and paint

        • I'm looking into getting a couple canvas prints because the look nice and also absorb sound. My house is tile except for the bedrooms and sound carries very well in it. I can hear conversations in the kitchen from the master bedroom, which is down a long hall, around a turn, and down another long hall.

        • We have a great photo my wife shot of wet concrete that looks like an abstracting painting to begin with. Blown up and printed on an 8 foot canvas, everyone who's seen it has thought that it was an abstract oil painting. I't an incredible piece of wall art.

          Now, if you're talking the usual family portrait or vacation landscape, I agree with you.

          • Am I the only one that read that at first as "photo of my wife in wet concrete"? You had me thinking about stopping at Lowes on the way home for a bag of Quikrete and a few bottles of wine...
      • What about those of us that are nowhere near a Costco?

        I'd actually really never heard of them, till I recently saw a MSNBC special about them.....we have Sam's Club as the warehouse store in my area, but I've not seen any thing like a photographic service in those stores.

        What would be a good quality printer/ink/paper set up for doing it yourself at home...with quality, and long term storage?

        Is it possible to print digital have them last as long and stay as vibrant as the old film photos of ol

        • What about those of us that are nowhere near a Costco?

          There must be lots of online services? Why would you need to visit a physical store? Even in a small country where I live there are 3-4 online photo printing services.

        • by Red Flayer ( 890720 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @02:23PM (#39931217) Journal

          What about those of us that are nowhere near a Costco?

          Walgreen's offers the same service as Costco, as do a few other chains. Here is the link for the Sam's Club service: Sam's Club photo prints []; all Sam's Clubs do photos.

          Unless you want to drop a few thousand (at least) dollars on equipment, you're not going to get the quality or durability of commercial prints.

        • by spire3661 ( 1038968 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @02:30PM (#39931325) Journal
          IF you dont have a sam's/costco use any of the MULTITUDE of online print services. Personally for big jobs i use White House CC ( Been with them for 7 years. In short DO NOT PRINT AT HOME. For the average person its a huge waste for shitty results. The prints you get from real print shops places are REAL photographic prints on real photo paper, just like the pics from old film cameras. IM sure there are technical differences, but the output is pretty much the same. DONT PRINT AT HOME.
        • The best bet for long term preservation is digital storage by a third party that is focused on preserving the data that is put in its care. Yeah, I'm talking cloud here.

          The other part of this is to put the images into a lossless format that will be around for a few decades, and is so broadly used that you can be sure there will be a means to migrate the images to the next format when the one you are currently using becomes obsolete. For most photos, that means converting to .png (portable network graphics

    • 2nd this. Costco actually has relatively decent color quality (compared to other 1-hour photomats) and it will be much much cheaper than printing yourself. Just take in your burned disc or thumbdrive. Be careful about scaling though if you've played at all with cropping your photos.

      If you want to splurge, see if there's a local professional film lab around (like A&I in Los Angeles). Thats where you'll find the best digital printing available. But, if your photos aren't professional quality in compositio

      • I do mine at Costco too. Although an alternative splurge would be mpix [] who have had a great reputation (although it's been a while since I did anything with them) and allow you a decent choice of photo papers (including true B&W and metallic. Metallic is worth it if you want some pop on your chromes or want to show off the full dynamic range of your captured light (I saw a sunset from somewhere like Zion Natl. Park displayed with rheostat controlled spots on metallic paper; it was almost like you were
    • Yes, or Walmart per below. To print 4x6 as you want them...Epson printers, ink and paper are the way to go.
    • Kinkos or Sir Speedy comes to my mind for printing.

      For digital media storage, why put photographs in hands of web based services?  Hard drives are cheap.
      If you want to go for an overkill, copy them on a magnetic tape.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        Why not have hard copy backups?

        They aren't mutually exclusive.

        More copies are better regardless of medium.

    • by clickclickdrone ( 964164 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:29PM (#39930317)
      My friend does pro portraits and he gets all his stuff up to poster sized done via Costco. Having tried a few, he reckons they're the best and the cheapest too which is a bonus.
    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:30PM (#39930349) Homepage

      I get mine done at Costco. Cheaper and better than any printer you can buy.

      This, or something like this is what I was going to say.

      The photos printed from an actual photolab from your digital images are better quality, cheaper, and since they're not on ink-jet ink they don't tend to fade as much.

      I concluded several years ago you can't really efficiently buy the ink, paper, and printer to do this on your own. It's just not cost effective. In the long run (and possibly the short run) it's more work and more cost for less overall quality.

      Every year for Christmas, the wife prints out a stack of photos I've taken of the family over the last year, and gives them to her grandmother -- grandma loves the pictures and is far more interested in those than anything else.

      Wal Mart, Costco, a local photo/camera store ... all can do much better than you can do on your own.

    • Agreed but any photo printing service will do they all are much cheaper than you could do it with. My wife just goes down to Target to get them done. You can buy the printers they use but unless you are printing all the time and using non standard sizes it won't be worth buying one. My father in law has one but he does lots of larger art prints in sizes that Target and Costco won't so for him it is the better option but for most people it wouldn't. The ink and paper are what will kill you unless you are buy
    • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:37PM (#39930451)

      Another vote for Costco.

      Run up the numbers yourself per-print for a typical inkjet - look at the manufacturer's own figures for estimated cartridge life at 95% coverage, divide that by the cost for a full brace of cartridges and tack on the price for a sheet of photo quality paper.

      IME you'll find it usually comes out about the same, maybe slightly dearer than using a major photo processor. But that only tells you part of the story.

      It costs about the same provided you have a 0% waste rate and you ignore the cost of the printer and any associated items.

      That means no paper jams, no wastage from trial-and-error figuring out optimum settings, no discovering the hard way that colour temperature on screen and on paper are two different things, no ink wasted because you didn't use the printer for a week and it now needs to run a cleaning cycle.

      In the real world, you'll probably find this adds 20-30% to your costs. Obviously with practise you can reduce this, but even if you get it down to zero (never going to happen), it's still going to be at a photo finish between you and Costco. And Costco's machine can probably churn out 100 photos in the time it takes your printer to do 10.

      • by bandy ( 99800 )
        Only 20-30% waste? You're a heck of an optimist. The magically drying out ink carts are what caused me to vow to never buy an inkjet ever again and to recommend only laser printers to people, pointing them to their local "Internet to photo lab" printing option for those images they want hard-copy of.
    • Agreed. More than a few -> Costco (or other similar). My experience with printers over the years has been that dye transfer stays as-printed longer, but then it might just have been the specific printers I used. For inkjets, the ink itself is critically important (seems obvious, no?); the printer less so.
    • Agreed. You can also do most of your stuff online and pick them up later. Also, you can download the color profiles of the printers in the specific Costco locations (they vary), so that you can get as fancy as you want with your photo editing software.
    • There is an online service called WinkFlash [], where you can directly upload your images and get printed photos back. The quality is excellent, shipping is fast, and you don't have to waste gas driving to a store. My parents used to order a lot from there until they discovered that just showing the pictures on the projector works better.

    • by Pontiac ( 135778 )

      I agree.. Costco.. []
      Upload from home
      4x6 for 13 cents
      8x10 for $1.50
      20x30 for $9

    • The big box stores are usually a triple-win for cost, convenience, and quality, but there are some things to watch for. Do a preliminary scouting trip and look for:

      1. What machine are they using? Some of the stores have put in new models of photo printers that I don't quite trust. I prefer a machine that's new enough to be in good shape, but old enough to have been evaluated by the archival crowd. The Fuji Frontier machines are generally very good. Whatever they're using, look up light fastness test resul
    • In the UK, I use In 2003 (so may have changed) I took pictures of lots of Dulux paint colour charts (the choose'n'mix millions of colour types). I used a cloudy day for even light and set the camera white balance against a grey card for accuracy. I then sent the prints to a variety of printing services from High St to online. Net result - PhotoBox produced prints that were pretty accurate. Other places either saturated the colours to death or had strong colour casts. But long story shor
  • My wife does a ton of stuff using Snapfish. The site seems slow as hell whenever I've been on it, but it works I guess. Upload all your pics, then order one print of each if you want.
    • by vlm ( 69642 )

      Same here. Supposedly they're the slowest and cheapest option.

    • I disagree. Snapfish has a horrible track record for me. Most recently, my wife recently had 150 pictures printed via Snapfish. When we received them, 47 of the pictures had visible blockiness and pixelization that are not present in the digital files. Sending the same pictures to WalMart for printing got us nice crisp images.
  • Don't (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Egg Sniper ( 647211 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:20PM (#39930163)
    If your son is two now the first thing they'd do as an adult presented with these old pictures is get online to find out what scanner to use to best get them into digital format where they belong.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why does it have to be either/or? Give him both digital and printed.

    • Re:Don't (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jeffmeden ( 135043 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:33PM (#39930397) Homepage Journal

      If your son is two now the first thing they'd do as an adult presented with these old pictures is get online to find out what scanner to use to best get them into digital format where they belong.

      Hahaha, this is right on the money. The first thing I thought of is "god, if only my parents had digital copies of all of those pictures they gave me"... Focus on finding a long lasting DIGITAL storage solution (there are plenty of ways to store things reliably) instead. Don't you dare get a stack of 4x6 prints that you can shove in the basement next to all of the ones you probably got from YOUR parents that are next to useless until you put weeks and weeks of work into scanning and retouching.

    • Maybe, but I'd guess that prints have a better chance of surviving generations rather than getting lost due some "mishap" than digital copies. Sure prints *could* get lost due to say fire or flood, but the family photo album doesn't need any more maintainance than stuffing in the bottom drawer.

      The current problem with digital photos is that they need ongoing ACTIVE maintainance to not be lost - you need to copy them to new media every few years to avoid media failure and have an adequate backup system for w

    • Agreed. I migrate my important files to whatever seems best at the time. From CD backups to portable hardrives. Now I copy to a local backup server and from there to whatever cloud service I'm using. In the future there will be different solutions.

      One day, I will pass on my photo collection to my children, who will say "why are these 2D? Why don't they move? Where is the geotagging metadata?" Then, they'll delete all the embarrasing pictures of their childhood.

      And I'll restore them from backup.

    • Exactly. I just went the other way. The photos that my mom had from 30 years ago are all washed out and color-shifted. I'm sure the inks/pigments/whatever has improved, but with the cost of digital storage trending downward I see no reason to make paper copies.

      Backup is important, though. I have used Mozy in the past - I currently use CrashPlan (in addition to a local backup). I also periodically burn them to DVD and send the DVDs to grandparents. The point is get some copies offsite, because a house fire w

  • by Sandman1971 ( 516283 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:24PM (#39930225) Homepage Journal

    I used Costco (Canada) to have my digital pictures developed. Their online service is very simple to use, and you can even directly import your pictures from Facebook and Picasa. The prices are very reasonable, at 8 cents for 4x6. If you want more than pictures, they also turn your photos into photobooks, canvases, etc...
    I've been using them for years and haven't had any issues whatsoever.

    • echo all the "Costco " posts; several other chains are adequate too.

      However, as parent points out, you can request a photobook, canvas, etc.
      (mod parent +1 informative)

      My biggest issue with hard-copy photos & other data is storage & retrieval.
      If you want to have a hard-copy around in 20 years to hand to your son, immediately put the photos into a book or other format designed for long-er term storage, and for occasional handling. Plastic covers or sleeves are nice, but nearly a

  • by Electricity Likes Me ( 1098643 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:24PM (#39930231)

    If you're leaving your photos on flash-cards and websites in the first place, then that's your fundamental problem.

    Save them to (redundant) disk locally, then commit them to a cloud backup service.

    • by Relayman ( 1068986 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:30PM (#39930353)
      Many services compress the photos when uploaded. It's important to preserve a minimally-compressed version before uploading.
    • by b0bby ( 201198 )

      If you're leaving your photos on flash-cards and websites in the first place, then that's your fundamental problem.

      Absolutely right. At the very least you should back up originals to a DVD or something. My photos are the most important (to me) thing on my hard drive, I make sure I back them up to a couple of drives regularly.

  • Why print photos? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Frag-A-Muffin ( 5490 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:26PM (#39930263) Homepage

    ... when you can make photo albums?! I find that we print photo albums instead of photos these days. Photos themselves are a nuisance to store or archive. Printed photo albums are nicely self-contained, easy to pack and look much better than those albums with a bunch of loose photos in it. It's really not much more expensive. I personally just use iPhoto to design and then print the albums. No hassle. Product is fantastic.

    Of course there are many outlets to get these printed. I highly recommend them.

    As a side bonus, your guests will think you're some kind of pro, cuz honestly, even with no experience, they come out looking really really good. Nothing says pro like a full page bleed :)

    Then again, what do I know? I'm just an old fart with a 4 digit ID. ;)

    • by b0bby ( 201198 )

      I agree; every once in a while I go through and pick out the best pictures, and order a bunch of photo books for the grandparents/aunts/uncles. Snapfish & Shutterfly have easy templates, I'm sure Costco does too. I haven't bothered with normal prints for a while now, the books are so much better.
      Go to Retailmenot & you're bound to find a deal on at least one of the photo printing sites. Any one of them is easier than printing yourself, and probably cheaper too.

    • My wife uses Shutterfly to create and print photo albums. It takes a while to upload the pictures, but she's able to do it by folder/directory, so she can start the queue and let it run over night. I'm not sure how long she spends on layout, but they have a very simple interface that lets you add stock graphics and customized captions. There are a score or more layout templates so it doesn't look too cookie-cutter. I'm not sure of the cost, but it isn't prohibitive. We have a 6 month book for each son,

    • by Idbar ( 1034346 )
      After reaching more than 300GB in pictures (non-raw), I figured that even though I have a desktop wall paper on my computer and I can watch almost anything on my laptop at any time, I have my screen normally filled with windows of things I'm working on, and leave no space for the pictures to be watched.

      I bought some frames and laser photographic paper, printed it at home a couple of them in the sizes I wanted (I played a little). Now I have some nice traditional pictures on my desk, where I can see them p
      • Yes, I never though I'd say this, but some people still like to use regular frames, and the consume no energy whatsoever! :-)

        Oh, I love frames too. But there's only so many you can put on a wall before it starts to look weird ;) Hence the photo albums (which here on in, I will use the correct term of photo book).

        We're trying to get photo books printed to document our kids' childhood. So the plan is to do a photo book for each year of their lives up to the age of 10 or so. And then maybe a book for the ages of 10-15, etc etc.

        It would make for a very easy handoff when they grow up and have their own family and we want to get rid of

      • by dgatwood ( 11270 )

        I bought some frames and laser photographic paper, printed it at home a couple of them in the sizes I wanted (I played a little). Now I have some nice traditional pictures on my desk, where I can see them permanently without the bother of a bright energy consuming digital frame (which I also have).

        Agreed. Laser printers do a reasonable job for photos. Of course, the original question included this gem:

        I do have a cheaper Samsung color laser printer, but color lasers don't make the most color-rich prints..

    • by djKing ( 1970 )

      5490? That's not old.

      - Peace

  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:28PM (#39930303)

    And they weren't printouts. They were actual developed 35mm film. Why go with physical photos when you can have the permance of a digital photo that never fades?

    What you should be asking is: "How do I save my photos & videos so they don't get lost?" Backup to a USB drive in a fireproof safe. Backup to an online place like google. Backup to another online place like amazon. And make sure google/amazon are not in the same building (in case it burns down). That's what I would recommend.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Don't tell somebody what they should be asking. Why can't we just answer the asker's question?

    • How were you storing those prints? They survive best if you protect them from heat and light, and ideally acids and oxygen as well.
    • by steveg ( 55825 )

      If you're putting a USB in a fireproof safe, be sure it's a safe designed for digital media.

      You can get paper very hot without destroying it if you keep the air away from it. Most fireproof safes are designed to keep paper safe. Digital media is not quite so robust.

  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by berryjw ( 1071694 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:30PM (#39930343)
    I can't see the point of this. People no longer keep horses for transportation, we hardly write things down (I've seen graduate research indicating handwriting is ceasing to be relevant), even our books are moving to digital. The proper question would be, "What is the most reliable storage medium for my digital photographs, assuming I need to access them in twenty years?"
    • I can't see the point of this. People no longer keep horses for transportation, we hardly write things down (I've seen graduate research indicating handwriting is ceasing to be relevant), even our books are moving to digital. The proper question would be, "What is the most reliable storage medium for my digital photographs, assuming I need to access them in twenty years?"

      If I hand you a working RLL hard disk containing 20 year old GIFs, can you read them? How about a WORM disk? Now, suppose you're not a geek and the question becomes something more like "if I hand you this old electronic thing, what the heck is it?" No guarantee that the son grows up to be a geek, after all.

      Now I'm not really asking you to find me an RLL controller and something to plug the RLL controller into. It's a contemporary example. I'm just saying that if I also hand you -- non-geeky you, that is --

  • by cob666 ( 656740 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:36PM (#39930437) Homepage
    You aren't going to get any serious life span from ink jet printers. I guess the top notch is pigment based but that comes at a cost. I've had pretty good luck with Wal-Mart and Costco photo printing provided the printers are maintained properly although I have no idea on the longevity of the images.

    I do have a Canon Selphy photo printer to print one offs and hang tags Arts & Crafts projects, the tags we printed 7-8 years ago still look pretty good. Canon boasts a life span of close to 100 years for the Selphy printers but I'm a bit skeptical about that claim. One thing I really like about the Canon printer is it takes different size cartridges to print anything from a wallet size to post card and 4X6 although the cost per print is between 60 cents to a dollar, much more that what you will pay to get your images printed in bulk.
  • by Surt ( 22457 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:37PM (#39930447) Homepage Journal

    Unless you are very rich and can afford a $40K printer, you want to have these done by a service. I don't know who has the best balance of price and quality right now, though, I just know you can't cheaply buy yourself good quality self printing.

  • Owning your own color inkjet is a monumental waste of time and money(but at least the results are mediocre!). The cheapies provide fairly poor output and high consumables costs, even the nice units are going to require the fancy paper and a certain amount of babying to deliver results resembling your basic mini-lab photo prints.

    As for which digital printing service, I'm less able to say. I had print 40 or so 8x10s a few years back, and they still seem to be in reasonable condition and the r
  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:40PM (#39930501) Homepage Journal
    The dye sublimation printers at reputable shops should give you the best lifetime in terms of cost. These are rated to 100 years.

    I used solid ink printers for my prints, printed on acid free paper, placed in acid free archival fram under glass. it seems to be pretty stable afte several years. The advantage of this printer is that it will print on any flat paper.

    A good inkjet printer, using pigment archival ink, is a reasonable choice for home use. It is not a cheap initial purchase, printer and ink is usually purchased separately, and this will be a dedicated machine. In any case this is sometimes how the Giclée prints are done, like the print on canvass offers one sees in the mall.

  • I store my photos on a local NAS device in my home, but I am considering a cloud based service. I make periodic backups of the data using archive-grade DVD's that I send to various family members. When stored properly, archive-grade media should last 50+ years. Yes the technology changes, but most BluRay players are backward compatible with CD, a format that has been around for 20 some years, and will be around for the foreseeable future. For most people, it shouldn't be much effort to change formats, a

    • I think your kids would prefer a few disks of files, rather than a steamer trunk of paper.

      Either one's a pretty huge task if you've really got eleventy-thousand photos there.

  • Go to Mpix, or a similar vendor. I use MPix for a variety of reasons. They are fairly cheap, the paper is Kodak archival quality and the color's are far superior to any home "lab" printer you can purchase.

  • by arthurpaliden ( 939626 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:44PM (#39930555)
    Just buy a good photo printer and do it at home. That way you retain total control of the pictures and the one of little Mary running around naked in the fireman’s hat after her bath will never get sent to the police. Besides by the time you need them to remember your eyesight will not really be able to tell quality.
  • With quality DVD+/-R media available that can last 30 years or more, prints are NOT the way you want to preserve these memories. The best thing you can do is to cull your photos since digital photography typically results in way more shots than you will ever find a use for (hint: if you don't like a shot today, you are not going to be any fonder of it in 30 years). So keep your archive nice and trim. Then, go get two different brands of nice quality DVD DL media (since the only risk to optical storage is
  • by tirerim ( 1108567 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:44PM (#39930559)
    Go to []. They're a serious photography shop, so you can actually get your pictures to look the way you expect instead of with random color and contrast changes (which is my experience with other services). (They also offer a free "enhancement" service, but I haven't tried it.) Not quite as cheap as some of the other places out there, but still pretty reasonable, and they offer bulk discounts: 4x6s are currently $0.24 each, or $0.22 for over 100, or $0.1952 for over 1000 (you can buy a bunch in advance and get them printed over time).
  • I have used SmugMug for photo sharing, one of the perks of sharing images with there site is the photo printing. I have always been impressed with their quality and shipping speed. Their prints might cost a bit more, but it seems to be worth it. I have also had prints made from Shutteryfly, Walmart, Walgreens. I normally use Walmart for when I need one hour prints done. The quality just doesn't seem to compare. I would also suggest making a Blurb/Shutterfly book. Either site has an easy way to create a b
  • Every time I've done prints at local store, the color has been awful. Sometimes the image itself turns grainy. The prints I order through iPhoto are wonderful, though I haven't ordered in a few months. I believe they were using Kodak's service, which is getting handed over to Shutterfly?

  • Effort, formats (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dan East ( 318230 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:48PM (#39930629) Journal

    It takes effort. Period. Why do you have photographs back from ww2? Because family expended the effort it took to keep them safe and sound all these years. That meant storing them properly, keeping them out of the hands of unsupervised kids, looking after them whenever family moved to a new home, etc. You simply have to do the same thing with your data. That means storing data redundantly on more than one format of physical storage. I would go with USB flash, micro sd and DVD rom all three. Then a decade down the road you may have to convert them over to new media of the day. No big deal. Regardless it will take effort, and if the data is important to you, then you'll expend that effort.

    I have a comment about physical media. Why did the 3.5" floppy replace the 5 1/4"? Smaller form factor and greater data density. Why was PC Card (PCMCIA) flash / hdd replaced by Compact flash, which was replaced by SD, which is being replaced by Micro SD? Smaller form factor and greater data density. Well guess what. Micro SD is the pinnacle of small form factor. You cannot make it any smaller or else the average human simply cannot physically work with the media. In fact, there are millions of people that don't have good enough eyesight or motor control to work with Micro SD card sized media. My point in all this is all that is left to improve is data density and transfer rate. It is my opinion that micro sd is going to be around for a very, very long time. Barring some sort of proprietary format war (like Apple finally including removable storage in iOS hardware, but going with a new proprietary media) I don't see much improvement over the sd form factor, and so I think it's going to be with us for quite a while.

  • by ncw ( 59013 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @01:49PM (#39930649) Homepage

    I use Photobox ( [] ) for this purpose. They are cheap and quick, but only in Europe. They also allow you to upload photos with FTP rather than some stupid application which is really really convenient!

  • ...mostly printers from Epson and Canon. Of course, the use high quality inks and paper.

    For large pictures, almost all the photographers I know use an Epson 7700 series printer with Utrachrome inks. for smaller prints they seem to be split between the Epson and Canon printers. They use the higher-quality inks and paper.

    Archival color photography has always been a problem. Ectacolor and Kodacolor degrade significant;y in only 20 years, quicker if exposed to heat or sunlight. Agfa and Fuji made the best comme

  • And have them meet your son with the pics at a pre-defined location in the future?
  • If you have a Ritz or Wolf Camera nearby, I find that their prints are high quality. I used to take my film to them for processing and still use them for digital prints. They are more expensive than most, but if you print in bulk (100+) the price drops to be comparable to the other services. I share most of my photos online now, so I only print when I am updating my photo books, maybe once or twice a year. I have never had any of their prints fade and they have always reprinted bad prints, no questions

  • by YrWrstNtmr ( 564987 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @02:38PM (#39931445)
    If you go the Costco/Walmart/CVS or other public kiosk route, do NOT take your SD card or USB stick. There have been reports of those machines being infected with viruses, which you don't want to bring home with you. Burn to CD or DVD to take to the store.
  • Digital is forever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by patchmaster ( 463431 ) on Tuesday May 08, 2012 @03:04PM (#39931933) Journal

    I recently went through several boxes of old family photos and digitized them. I learned a number of things in the process.

    There are/were vast differences in the quality and longevity of different photo printing methods. Most of the photos that were about 50 years old had faded and color shifted, each, it seems, in its own peculiar direction. Trying to bring them back to proper color was a nightmare, not made easier by my lack of skill with Gimp. But some of the photos from 50 years ago looked like they might have been printed last week. The colors were still vivid. I have no idea what process was used on any of these prints, but it was very clear the process makes a world of difference.

    Whatever you decide to do with the prints, I strongly recommend getting some archival quality sleeves to individually store them. Even if you then put them in an album, put them first in archival sleeves. The prints will be protected and will never again be exposed to fingerprints. They won't get scratched. They'll be reasonably well protected against UV fading. Then lock it all in a light-proof vault. Light is the mortal enemy of photo prints and even good quality UV protection will still allow some small amount of UV to penetrate. Keep the prints in a tightly sealed box and you should have few problems with fading.

    Honestly, though, if you really care about preserving these for posterity, just keep them digital and use some kind of offsite backup. Know going in that you'll probably have to move them around several times over the years as companies come and go and technology changes. You may well have to convert them to different formats at more than one point. But the digital copy is almost certainly going to be more flexible and of better quality than any print.

Exceptions prove the rule, and wreck the budget. -- Miller