A good place for photo printing?

row of photo albumsMartin emails:

My wife and I took a TON of photos on our honeymoon last year. So many that 1,176 made it to the "let's keep folder" (there were many, many more to begin with).
Now we'd like to print about a 1,000 of them as 5x7s and put them into albums.
My question is what service has the best deal for a bulk job for this? There's a 1000 services out there!

We suspect the best option might be an online service. But a local place could certainly have its advantages -- especially if you can stop by and talk with the people about exactly what you're looking for.

Any suggestions for Martin and his wife?

photo: Flickr user awshots


I actually used CVS on route 9 in Latham (near the traffic circle). I went in with my SD card during the day, and everything went smoothly. I had 800+ pictures. There were no other jobs ahead of me, so I waited there as they came out (the attendant was nice enough to let me look as each batch came out), and it wasn't more than 1 hour of total time. Because you get CVS ExtraCare bucks and they have promotions for prints, I think I got away with all of my prints for something like $110 (mine were 4x6s though).

Its worth shopping around... if you are looking for a deal, 4x6 prints are a much better deal than 5x7s. And really, if you want a 5x7 of a print, then you should go bigger and get it framed.

4x6s will cost about 10 cents each (pre-paid) from a service like Shutterfly and Snapfish. I use both, depending on who is giving me the best deal. I like to google for discount codes before finalizing my orders.

In contrast, 5x7 prints will cost you between 75 cents and a dollar. Not a big deal if you need a dozen... but if you need 1000+? Yeah. ;)

McGreevy prolab on Broadway, hands down.

Their rates are slightly higher than online services, but then again you don't have to pay shipping fees and they usually have next day turnaround if you put your order in early. But most importantly, the staff is supremely knowledgable and helpful. It's really a great example of personal, local service beating out nameless, faceless mail order.

Check out their price list. "Print-ready" Frontier prints are what you want to look at if you just want to run off inexpensive prints. If you're not Photoshop savvy you might want to spring for the premium "quality" service. They also have some album services, too. If you want to print 1,000 photos all at the same size, I think you're looking at $0.19 or $0.29 (print ready/quality) each for 4x6 and $0.77 or $0.93 for 5x7.

Hah, I know it must sound like I have ulterior motives for raving so much, but really, they're a great local business who do a great job and have wonderful staff. Can't recommend them enough.

I've been printing at McGreevy ProLab, Inc. for a year I think, and I'm really happy with them. I rarely print 5x7, usually 8x12 and up and they did a great job for the photos I used in my little show at Uncommon Grounds. They have been around for quite some time. You can upload your digital files to their server from the comfort of your home, and pick them up later in downtown Albany, on Broadway. There are many different pricing options, depending on how comfortable you are with digital photography and post-processing. They are very knowledgeable, both Joe Putrock & Leif Zurmuhlen working there are accomplished photographers whose photos you've seen on the TimesUnion and Metroland. They will answer your questions really quickly by email, something you rarely experience with big online printing services. Of course, if the photos are not OK when you pick them up, I'm sure they will work something out for you right away.

I have to agree with B and S... Mcgreevey's is where I print anything I need printed. Not to mention, where I run the occasional roll of film :)

If you are printing that many individual photos just to put in an album, you may be better off making a book/album from a site like blurb.com. You download a small application, choose your page layout and the program populates the pages with your photos. Or, you can edit the layout and captions on each page. They will print soft or hardcover.

A third vote for McGreevy. I'd go in and tell them the project you're looking at doing, and they'll be able to guide you to the best and least expensive way to do it -- they may have printing options you haven't thought of.

Online, I've bought from Kodak and Snapfish, and their quality is just fine, but I'd rather have the money stay here in town if at all possible, and the McGreevy's folks do a great job. It's not one of those "be a pro or don't talk to us" kind of places.

saw that McGreevys love-fest coming from a mile away
I printed my travel photos at Mpix.com, including my little show at the Museum of Modern Art from my trips to the Soviet Union. But that was ages ago, there are plenty of cheaper options. I agree with Abby's choices

I like the little guy. Silver Griffen in Troy (on Hoosick)

@Paul: actually that's probably the best advice if you don't mind creating your own album. +1 for Blurb.com, these new Print on Demand book services are really great for amateur photographers. The application is easy to use and free. Now 1000 photos, that's quite a lot. I had about 110 full-bleed photos in a 136 pages book, and that took me some time. Each photo was printed at 8x10, so the less expensive option (softcover) ended up at about 33 cents per photo, whereas the more expensive option (hardcover) ended up around 47 cents. It's still pretty cheap for that size and the quality of the final product was great. They will replace any book with even a small defect right away.

Note that you are paying by the block of 40 pages, not by the number of photos you use: be creative, pack 4 per page and the price goes down accordingly.

I'm sure a local print shop would be ready to create an album for you, but laying out such a book yourself can be a really fun project too.

I've heard and seen great work from McGreevy, although I haven't had a chance to use them yet. Two affordable mail order services are Mpix and Adoramapix.

Here's another vote for the little guy - this time, it's Shutter Speed Photo on New Scotland Avenue in Albany.

Though I have also used McGreevy for larger-scale projects (and they're great), I find that Sami at SSP does the best job with small prints from digital files, giving them a warmer look that seems more like prints from 35mm film. It will cost a little more per print, but in this business, IMHO, you get what you pay for. And I would also go for 4x6, by the way - full-frame borderless is scarcely smaller than a 5x7.

Good luck!

1100 photos? How long was the honeymoon, six years?

No one -- not even you guys -- will want to look through all photos. Trim it down to at most 100/week (50/week would be better) and use blurb.com.

If you're having trouble cutting photos out, consider organizing them by 'type' and picking the best one. For example, if you went to Paris, you probably have a bunch of photos of you two in front of the Eiffel Tower. Put all those side by side and pick the best one (or maybe two, one during the day and one at night, if they're really good). Think about how many angles you really need to capture the night glow of Big Ben, or the warmth of that beach, or how relaxed you were sipping a cocktail in a hammock (hint: just one good one).


We always order from them, they do a fine job.


This is good info for a guy who's got rare interest in paper prints. After some more Photoshopping (well, I use The GIMP), think I'll give McGreevy a shot at this one.


McGreevy. No question.

Thanks for the info folks! There was a lot to shoot so I kept snapping away. Maybe 1000 won't make it, but I'm thinking of some way to use many of these images around the house in creative ways. For example: two old 15-pane doors connected lengthwise and mounted horzontally as a room divider with landscape images on the front and back of each pane... that sort of stuff...

I always use WinkFlash for my prints. However, I'd go with what another commented recommended and say to get a photo book made. I checked and WinkFlash is having a 60% off sale on photo books now: http://www.winkflash.com/photo-books/ With the sale price, you could get a 100 page photo book shipped for under $47. (Each page can have more than one photo on it.)

If you wanted to go the 5x7 print route, you could get 1,000 printed at WinkFlash and shipped for about $275. 4x6's would be cheaper at about $75.

Another vote for McGreevy ProLab. Another hometown advantage not previously mentioned is that McGreevy will aid you in CALIBRATING your computer viewing screen. Even if you do not have a real calibration tool, you can utilize their free 'eye ball' kit. See their "Color Management" page in their on-line catalog. Most people hope to see a print image [reflected art] similar to what they see on their screen [transmitted light]. It will never be totally the same, but with some experience you can be reasonably close, even with a non-professional, consumer quality screen. With some initial trial and error, you will learn to adjust your image file's blacks, middle tones, and highlight levels for printing output, and be much happier with your enlargements. Printing from digital files can initially be as disappointing as printing from color slides used to be. Learn, grow, be happy.

I would probably check out the sunday flyers and see who has the deal of the week - between all of the chain stores you are bound to get them at great discounts but it will take some time -
yes the online services you can purchase photos at 9cents each and if you go thru the shopping mall on the airline accounts you probably get points.
there are probably coupons in the entertainment book

as far as photo quality - I really dont think the viewers of the album (mostly you as a couple) have ansel adams, carl heilman or nathan farb eyes! I know I wouldnt be able to tell who printed them! they are to evoke memories right? - and remember they are for YOU - your kids arent' going to want these 1000 anymore than you want my 40 years of photos!, Dearest child!!!


your kids arent' going to want these 1000 anymore than you want my 40 years of photos

This is a great point. The shelf-life of personal memento photos is way shorter than we think, and they absolutely expire dead and trashed. If you want them to live longer, keep only the gems. By all means take lots of them, but less than 1% will be gems.


Tim makes a good point, that many of us who have spent a lot of time processing photos found out the hard way when we started getting them printed.

I'll mention again that McGreevy has a slightly more expensive service that includes adjustments to the image to make a more pleasing print, for those who don't want to bother with monitor and ICC profiles. And I think if you ran a test comparing those prints to what you can get at CVS or Wal-Mart, you'd easily notice a difference. Really, just email or call them, tell them what you're planning to do, and they'll give you a hand. That's the service that's worth the few extra cents per print.

and notate who is in the photo - I have three (well preserved!)boxes of unnamed ancestors photos in the attic! and "someday" a gathering of the cousins to figure out who they are!

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