The best places to print your photos {I tried them!}

The best places to print your photos {I tried them!}

The other week I went through all my photos on my computer, of which there are thousands and thousands, and printed them out. Up until that date I hadn’t printed photos since Lacey was about 8 months, which makes me a really, really, really bad mum {kidding!}. I just went with Snapfish, because I just wanted to get it done, and off my to-do list. Loading up the photos took 24 hours… and it was when I had finished uploading all the photos, and gained three grey hairs in the process, that I realised that I had uploaded to the U.S. site. Argh. Postage was insane, but I couldn’t go back… I paid it, and now I have photos. It will only take me 7 more years to put them into albums, I’m sure!

In that 24 hours it took to upload the photos, I did wonder… Where are the best places to print your photos? Which online site was cheapest? Which printed the best quality photos? I shall wonder no more! I picked six photos, and sent them off to nine online printing places, and am now writing this post so I can compare quality and costs.

The six photos I picked are unedited. I have four of my own personal photos, one taken with my phone, the others from my Olympus OM-D E-M10. The remaining two are from a photo stock site I use, because I wanted to take myself out of the equation {in case the settings I use on my camera affect photo printing quality, because I like a lot of light!}.

I paid for the printing myself, the companies have no idea I’m doing this experiment. Here’s the results!

The best places to print your photos {I tried them!}

Harvey Norman : // Cost per print = $0.15 // Postage = $2.95
The process for using the Harvey Norman site was really easy, and the pricing was comparable to most of the Australian sites. I have to say, I don’t love the print quality, in some photos they were too dark compared to the original photo {the photo of myself and Lulu is just wrong} and the colours were a little bit ‘off’, particularly in the ice cream photo.

The best places to print your photos {I tried them!}

LALALAB. // Cost for 6 prints = $6.95 including postage from Germany
Oh man, I love this company. The colours are pretty much spot on, and the printing quality is insane. Formerly known as Polagram, LALALAB. is run through an App which is available for Android and iPhone. Despite coming from Germany, postage was quick and anything that arrives in a sweet, bright pink envelope is a-ok with me!

The best places to print your photos {I tried them!}

Persnickety Prints // Cost per print = $0.29 // Postage = $12.50
My prints from Persnickety were the last to arrive out of all the prints, but they did travel all the way from Utah, USA so they can be forgiven. The printing is beautiful, and they seem to get the colours just perfect, which I love. They’re definitely frame-worthy!

The best places to print your photos {I tried them!}

Domayne // Cost per print = $0.15 // Postage = $2.95
Oh, I want to tell you that I love these… but I don’t. They might be fine for putting in an album for the kids to look at, but the colours are just not right and the contrast is a little on the dark side. I don’t love them.

The best places to print your photos {I tried them!}

Officeworks // Cost per print // Postage – $2.95
Of all the printing I had done, Officeworks came in at the cheapest. It’s only 5c cheaper per print, but if you were doing it in bulk {which I assume we all would most of the time} it would definitely make a difference to your end price. The quality is much better than the other cheaper printers, but the photo of Lulu and I is still darker than I’d like it to be. Overall though, Officeworks is pretty good.

The best places to print your photos {I tried them!}

Snapfish // Cost per print = $0.15 // Postage = $2.95
As you may have noticed, there are a bunch of printers that run at around the same price, and I noticed they appear to use similar processing platforms too. Snapfish is a favourite among loads of my readers and I can understand why. On most of my photos the colours were good, but again it’s the photo of Lulu and I that just doesn’t work. The colours are all wrong {I’d say it was my photo, but LALALAB. and Persnickety printed them perfectly!}, and the contrast is off. Overall it still gets a thumbs up for photos that are going into an album.

The best places to print your photos {I tried them!}

Big W // Cost per print = $0.15 // Postage = $2.95
If I was being fussy, and I am, I’d give Big W a thumbs down. Well, for two of my prints. It seems that the photo of Lulu and I is problematic, but Big W has done the worst job with it so far – it’s dark and my skin is a weird green colour. It’s almost not worth keeping, and may find itself in the bin. If you scroll through all the photos, you’ll notice that ice cream photo is super bright and not true to it’s original colours. It’s more bright aqua and less true blue. The photo of Lacey jumping is a little odd in colour too. Sorry Big W. I will give them a thumbs up for offering matte or gloss, and the option to add a border too.

The best places to print your photos {I tried them!}

RGB Digital // Cost per print = $0.30 // Postage = $13
This is a bit more on the fancy side, and one you’d use if you definitely planned on putting your photos on display. It’s not really that much more expensive though {30c per print is when you choose the cheapest lustre printing option}. I love the printing quality and am super happy with the colours. The RGB Digital site is a tad more complicated to use than the others, but nothing I couldn’t get through. Thumbs up from me!

The best places to print your photos {I tried them!}

NUSHOTS // Cost per print = $0.19 // Postage = $5
This is only a few more cents expensive than most of the printers I tested {Big W, Snapfish, Harvey Norman, Domayne, Officeworks} but the quality is definitely more improved. The paper itself is thicker, and more beautiful, and the printing is divine. The colouring in the photo of Lulu and I is just so spot on, and across all my photos they really just nailed it. I’m pretty impressed with Nushots.

WHAT’S THE VERDICT? I have to say I love Nushots. I think I’d be able to trust them with printing all my photos and nailing the colours. It’s only slightly more expensive than the cheapest options, but definitely wasn’t the most expensive option. I do love LALALAB. too though. Their printing is just superb. So it would be Nushots in number place for quality, and LALALAB. second.

And when it comes to cheap and cheerful, and getting the job done, I guess Officeworks wins that spot. They’re not the most amazing quality, and not the worst either… so when you’re paying 10c a photo, I think you’re onto a good thing.


75 thoughts on “The best places to print your photos {I tried them!}”

  1. Last year, instead of printing individual prints for an album, I printed my favourites (for the past 5 years as it had been awhile since I have printed photos too!) in a Snapfish book. Have always been happy with the quality but I might try a Nushots book this year to compare. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you! I’m ashamed to admit this but I haven’t printed a photo since Archer was born! So almost 6 years ago. I was only think the other day I am going to start with his birth month and start printing some photos off just for albums. You’ve done all the hard work for me! I’ll go with Nushots I think! Xx

  3. Thanks so much for doing the legwork! This is a great resource. I’m about to print off a whole stack of pics and I didn’t know where to go, having previously used Officeworks and Big W. Will be sharing! x

  4. In 2012 I discovered Picture Postie where you could upload & print photos straight from your phone. I went nuts & ended up ordering 365 photos to make a FMS PAD scrapbook, ordering monthly photos at a time. I haven’t used them since getting my new phone, but if I need a certain photo printed, I’ll know where to go. The only thing I had noticed with the quality of the photo is it tends to be a tad darker.

  5. This couldn’t have come at a better time. I had to print some pics for my mum last week and I was tempted to ask for a refund at Kmart because the quality was very average.
    We printed Sadie’s pics from Saturday at Big W which were slightly better.
    I’ve got a couple of days off and putting a few albums together is on my (growing) to do list.
    This is exciting, I must say I am a bit swayed by the thought of pink envelopes arriving in my mail box.
    Thanks for the research ?

  6. Brilliant review, thanks so much for looking into it and sharing the results with us readers. I have recently moved house and there is an Officeworks within walking distance of my new home. I was suprised to learn they do photo printing when I walked past one day, as I had always ventured in to my local Harvey Norman or Big W for printing. I thought I would give them a go recently and was definitely impressed (for the price!). And they are quick too at my local store, and friendly staff WIN WIN WIN. I am glad to hear from your review that I am on the right track, for everyday album prints anyway. I print photos of the kids once a month to send to relatives, so it’s definitely a cost effective way of doing it. I did however think that perhaps the quality could be better, so I am eager to try out LALALAB or Nushots for a few enlargements for frames around the house. Thanks again for the info xo

  7. great post…. the service is not the same across all the states with Officeworks as I found when I was on holiday in WA. Despite being a huge Officeworks they send the printing to the ‘Eastern states’ and send it back. Takes 10 days!!!!

    Would love if you could do a post like this on the photobooks. I love the apple ones, but feel that they are overpriced….

  8. This is great! I always use Snapfish for prints and photo gifts (calendars at Christmas and mugs for father’s day), but I haven’t been 100% happy the last couple of times (website issues, late delivery, extra fees added at the end), so I will definitely check out Nushots. I want to get more on top of my photos and get lots more printed out soon.

  9. I’ve been wanting to try out Persnickety Prints, but was a little scared of the price. Glad to see you really liked them!

  10. Great review! I have to say I actually didn’t realise the results could differ so greatly (that seems silly now that I think about it). Great to know I can get better results using someone like nushots. I’ll give them a go!

  11. This is so useful, thanks! I generally use snapfish out of habit but habe definitely had shots that are just ‘wrong’ in the past. I’ll definitely give nushots a try next time πŸ™‚

  12. When I did a photography course, they also pointed out that you will get different results in print quality/colour depending on the day of the week that they are printed – especially at places like officeworks etc.
    I tend to use Snapfish because it’s convenient. I just uploaded over 800 holiday photos! I like that you can get different products made as well like canvases etc.

  13. I tell all of my clients to steer clear of places like Big W and Harvey Norman when it comes to printing, especially if they are doing enlargements. I don’t put so much love and care in to creating images and making them print-ready only for an untrained casual who doesn’t know the first thing about colour to ruin them!

    I’m so excited to see this because I’ve actually been looking for some recommendations of good online printers that I can suggest to clients who want to get doubles of some of their photos for family & friends (I usually print them a set on my home printer which I have control over, with the help of my printer husband) but don’t want to spend a fortune on them but still get the same quality and colour-true reproduction as the originals. I’m definitely going to send off a couple to Nushots and RGB Colour to test them out after your recommendation. Thanks Chantelle!

  14. glad i read this today….i have been putting off getting out professional family shots blown up, because i don’t want to waste my money on an ok job…so off to nutshots i trot. thank you for your helpful information.

  15. Thank for reviewing. I normally get mine done from domayne and whilst I’m happy with them for my albums I had nothing to compare them with so I might try somewhere else next time. I’m a big photo scrapbooking.. I love getting my photos in albums and well done for printing them as that’s the first step. I don’t know if you’ve heard of pocket style scrapbooking but it’s super easy to get your photos in albums , similar to the old fashioned slip in pocket style ones, but these ones look so much better – I have a blog where I talk about how easy (and important) it is to get your photos in an album like this if you want to check it out.

    All you need is 12×12 d-ring album, some pocket page protectors and your photos. You can also get pretty pocket cards to jazz up your albums, but you can always put those in later – the first step is just getting those photos in an album.

  16. A very interesting read thank you for sharing. I have a packaging business ( and we sell a lot of products to package prints and work with many photographers that would find this exercise very valuable. I will share this on our FB page. thanks again Michelle

  17. Thank you so much for writing this post, I am always printing photos for me and the kids, I recently used Big W but found that they somehow zoom in on the photo so I’m missing half the shot, I have no idea why this happens and it is really annoying. I am so keen to use your recommendations now! Nushots and LaLaLab will be my next purchase.

    • I suspect that the issue is digital cropping. It happens when your aspect ratios don’t match. Most point and shoot cameras (including phones) have an aspect ratio of 3:4, whereas a 6×4″ photo has an aspect ratio of 2:3. You’ll have the same issue on just about every photo size. If you are shooting at 3:4, choose the 6×8″ print, and it should fit the whole shot with a bleed of about 2-3mm. Hope this helps. πŸ™‚

  18. Interesting and thanks for investigating. I hadn’t heard of a few of these places. I get calendars printed with Harvey Norman every year and am usually happy but haven’t gotten photos from them or snapfish in years. I often get prints done at Big W and recently have been happy with them but have found that sometimes it is hit and miss. Maybe I need to try some other places rather than relying on convenience.

  19. Great post! My favorite online printer I’ve used in America are Adoramapix and Mpix. If you happen to know how these compare or want to do an additional round of comparison, I’d love to know how they stack up. Can’t wait to try Nushots!

  20. I have about 3 years worth to catch up on, so this is great timing. I’ve been so sick of the quality of Big W photos, and I find that the sizing at Snapfish is a little odd for the cheaper prints.

  21. FYI, Domayne, Harvey Norman and Big W online prints are all done on Fujifilm Frontiers. If you print instore at Big W, it’ll be printed on a Fujifilm dry lab, but Domayne and Harvey Norman are still using Frontiers. Officeworks online is Kodak and is done through a different process to the instore dry labs (most likely a more traditional mini lab). Kmart instore printing is done on the same Kodak dry lab as Officeworks. I haven’t ordered online from Kmart recently, but they used to outsource to snapfish, which was then outsourcing to the same mob as Big W. I also haven’t ordered anything from Snapfish recently, so I’d be interested to see what they’re printing on these days.
    As a general rule I edit my photos according to what kind of machine they’ll be printed on (normally a Frontier run by an independent lab up the street).
    I may or may not be a nerd for photo processing…

    • So is in store printing different to online printing? I go in store to Harvey Norman and am happy with their quality, so I was surprised at Chantelle’s verdict.

      • It can be. Harvey Norman uses the same kind of lab for both, but a lot of the time it can vary between machines, especially when you take into account the maintenance vs. output of the machine. It’s also worth noting that there will be differences between operators, too. Your local Harvey Norman might have someone on staff who really loves to look after that machine, but another store might have staff who neglect to run maintenance quite so often.

      • I’m just excited to see a post on this topic. A couple of years ago I did a similar experiment to yours. I wanted to know where to order prints from and I wanted to know why all photolabs were not created equal, so I asked around. πŸ™‚ I’m keen to see how my shots look on Nushots, and I especially want to try out that metallic option they have.

        • Meg you will love the metallic paper, it really gives your photos more depth and detail. I am hooked on metallic paper now. They only print Metallic on Fridays, I think. So get you order in by Thursday 12 noon and they will be ready Friday. Not this one though as it is a public holiday.Nikki

    • Hi Meg! Thanks so much for the above info. Can you tell me what I should be looking for, or the questions to ask when printing? Is a frontier better than dry lab? I know nothing about this subject. We’re wanting to print out wedding photos. πŸ™‚

  22. Thank you so much for doing this experiment. Like you I once printed a heap of photos through Snapfish. Unfortunately they delivered an empty package. It had broken open and all my photos were lost and they wouldn’t reprint for me. I’ve been scarred and haven’t printed many photos since. I’m going to give your recommendations a try for some photos I’d like to frame. Great to know Officeworks are good too. There’s one close by!

  23. I usually always use Snapfish, I also Love Print Studio especially for photos on my phone. It is easy and I love the 4×4 size.

    • I love print studio too, shame the shipping sucks though! Chantelle did you visit them when you were in San Fran?

  24. Just about to get wedding photos printed for the fam so this post couldn’t have come at a better time! I used instore Big W until recently, they removed some of their machines and uploading from USB has seemed to just get slower and slower, I moved to online at Big W but noticed the quality wasn’t as good. Thank you so much for share your experiment, I expect Nushots are about to get an influx!

  25. Thank you! Thank you for this post. I recently went in store to Big W and it was a disaster. Using the instore machine was extremely frustrating and I finally figured out I had to press a centimetre and a half down from what you wanted to press on the screen. Once I got the images back they were an absolute disaster!! I was questioning where to try next so this post is perfect timing. I am going to be getting a whole heap of prints done soon and will be sure to give Nushots a go.

  26. It would be interesting to see how many of these companies will guarantee that the photos will last – here in South Australia, BigW have gone to dry printing and have told us that they will not last and they are not archival quality and will fade over time – I work & teach in scrapbooking and we suggest to our customers that they use a printer such as Harvey Norman who still do wet printing. The dry lab system feels lower quality too I have found – I personally love the look and feel of the traditional printing. Nat May

  27. Oh wow!!! Thank you Chantelle!!!
    I’ve been a loyal snapfish user for years – but lately more canvases and calendars and photo gifts which are usually really good. The last lot of photos I got printed through them I wasn’t particularly happy with. Which is a shame as they are offering 50 free prints per month of you use the phone app.
    My other go to is Kmart in store as I’ve been in mega rush to get them. The last set was of my dogs, and they look great, but the last one of people he colours were reallllly off and the contrast and saturation was just shocking.

    I’ll definitely check out Nushots, will be interested to look into their books again, I do like making photo books instead of albums but haven’t made one for at least 5 years…. Which is really sad as it looks like I’ve lost the last 5years worth of photos most likely….. Please make sure you double back up your precious photos. I was in the process or sorting and organising all mine to then create a second backup and my hard drive just died midway through. And two different companies have had a look and want to charge $1500+ and won’t guarentee they can recover anything ? My photos of my dog as a puppy, my graduation, my honeymoon, overseas holidays, Christmases – all gone just like that I have some on Facebook and emails, but nowhere near many let alone all.

    So I will be backing up backups and making an effort to print special ones so at least I have hard copies.

    Thanks again for the research and recommendations! ?

  28. .. great survey Chantelle…. any photos I want printed I do at home and put them on a display board for a few weeks and then into an album…….I don’t do fancy things …. Barb xxxx

  29. I usually just use snapfish out of default, but I really like the LALALAB and Nushots ones too, might have to give them a go next time I get some printed.

  30. Thanks so much for this! Some great information. Just to add to it, keep in mind that the key factor in determining the outcome of colours in prints that you get made is colour management – both the part of it that you do, and the part that the lab does. Colour management is complicated (took me a number of courses to get the hang of it as a photographer), but there are some simple basics that can really help. First – as you have said you have to weigh up the cost vs quality thing. If I am printing a large number of photos for a kids birthday invite or something that doesn’t need to be great quality, I will pick cheaper, but if I am printing a one off print for my wall, I will print it at a professional lab that is colour- managed. Even though cheaper labs are not colour managed, you can still improve your chances of getting a decent print. The way you do this is by making sure you give their printer what it wants to see – i.e.: you phone the company (or check their website) and ask them a) what colour space they print their photos in (this will most likely be AdobeRGB at pro labs – a larger colour space with more colours in it), and sRGB at most consumer labs. If you send an AdobeRGB file to a printer that is set to print sRGB, you will get very muddy results, and vice veresa. Also ask how many pixels per inch your files should be (most will be around 200 – 300 ppi). There are other aspects to colour management, but those two are key, and make a massive difference to whether your prints are muddy (lacking in clarity and pop) or not. This is because if your file and the printer are working against each other, you won’t get the best results. So use a good pro lab for the one off large prints for your wall, and when doing that and when using the cheaper labs for larger quantities, make sure you are giving the printer the file in the right colour space and number of pixels per inch that it wants to see.

    The other thing is – if you are editing your photos on your computer (and not just sending it straight from your camera), then there is no point in doing that editing unless you calibrate your monitor. This is because your monitor may be completely different to what other people’s monitors are like, and what the printer is doing, as the brightness and colour will be random depending on what you have set them at, and what they have wandered around to over time (they need to be calibrated regularly). Most people won’t have monitor calibrators unless they are pro’s or serious hobbyists, but just keep in mind that if you are getting bad results from your lab, it may be them, but it may also be the above factors (giving them incompatible files, or not calibrating your monitor). So – it’s a good idea to phone them to find out their file preferences, and you can always ask around and see if any friends have a monitor calibrator you could borrow.

    Apologies for rambling – I am tired (processing a big job of hundreds of photos and am procrastinating – lol! And thanks again for the great info! It’s a really good list. PS: I have just seen that Meg has printed something similar – lol – sorry Meg!

  31. I’ve never used any of these before. I’ve only ever used Foxprint (formerly Foxgram), Artifacrt Uprising, and most recently Parabo. The differences in those three are good and bad depending on what you are looking for.

    Foxprint was the first I ever used and I have gotten 3×3 and 4×4 prints and magnets from them. They are great quality, come glossy, are about .25 a print a postage is under 3 if I remember correctly. I haven’t ever gotten a photo from them I didn’t like and was willing to frame. The only problem for me was I wanted some prints bigger than 4×4 and that isn’t a size they offer.

    Artifact Uprising was one I had seen on Instagram and put in the “one day” folder because I can be frugal sometimes and 21.99 plus like 6.95 for postage to me was a bit pricey. Last fall though they offered a “free prints just pay postage” promotion and I took them up on it so I could see if I liked the quality. Plus they offered a 5×5 print option. The colors were bright and they use a card stock and matte finish. I was impressed and the coloring was perfect. Something I constantly worry about because not every printing company prints black skin very well. I would for sure order from them in the future.

    Parabo is a fairly new site/app and they also were offering the same “free prints just pay postage” option which is why I tried them out. I was up and down with my opinion of Parabo, on one hand their 5×5 gets more love than AU solely because Parabo’s print is 5×5 with an added border. Whereas AU was a 5×5 border added to that so your actual picture is smaller. However size of print is probably the only plus they have over AU, the colors was dull, and not as vibrant as the original. One of my pictures was stretched awkwardly and ruined. Overall I give their 5×5 a low rating, however they also offer a variety of other print options included a huge black and white engineering print/poster you can get an it get a bit higher reviews. I’m tempted to try out some of Parabo’s other print options to see if I’m more of a fan of those.

  32. Love it! Thanks – simple, easy, done! Photos that have been sitting in cyberspace for too long are now ordered. Analysis paralysis = gone! Just found your blog, love that too. Cheers πŸ™‚

  33. I’ve used Parabo (an app by Photojojo based in the US) and Photify (an app based in Australia) along with Harvey Norman, KMart and Officeworks. I printed a bunch of my Instagram pics so they were all squares.

    My winner would be Photify. 40 images, 6cm square for $18 delivered in high gloss and great colours. Quick turnaround and great colour and contrast.

    Parabo print on thick cardboard so they feel amazing but the image is matte and I felt it needed either lustre or gloss. These guys come in second. They were cheap though. 20x 10cmx10cm for $5 plus postage $7.99.

    Officeworks are third followed by the others. I remember being told that Fuji printers accentuate the greens and Kodak accentuate the reds in an image. I’m not sure if that’s still true but for my beach shots, the Kodak (officeworks) looked better than Fuji (Kmart).

  34. I’m a graphic designer and use CMYK Colour Online regularly. This time they printed some last minute shelf wobblers for a client with a very tight deadline. The turnaround was much faster than originally anticipated and the client was thrilled with the end product. Very happy with the service! Recommend!

  35. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll be trying Nushots. I agree with officeworks. Their photo quality is quite dismal. However, if you’re just looking for something fun for someone’s 21st then it’s fine!

  36. Thank you thank you thank you! I’m using Lalalab as I type this because I need something with an app (upload from my computer? sorry too much work – everything lives on my phone!) I had one bad photo print experience after moving to Sydney and never printed again. My daughter is now 9 months and I desperately need prints!

  37. Officeworks has just changed from Kodak to Fuji. Printed 103 picture, TERRIBLE! I use a high end Nikon and have done pro Wedding work in the past, so I understand colour. KODAK through officeworks was pretty good considering the price, But the change to FUJI is shocking, photos between .5 to a full stop out, ruddiness to faces, Whites not white. Two things should always be correct, Whites and skin tones. Officeworks have let themselves down and I have written to them on this (awaiting reply) have noticed someone else on product review slamming the change also.

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