11 Online Print Labs Compared [Print Quality Test]

In Features by Jim Harmer320 Comments

This is the most expensive post I've ever written.  Over the last year, I've been asked dozens of times to do a comparison of the online photo printing labs to see who has the best print quality.  I surveyed the members of our group on Facebook and found the 11 most popular online photo print labs and ordered the same 5 prints from each lab (which cost me over $250!).

Then, we performed a blind test to find the best print quality, price for the five photos of various sizes, and even called many of their customer support numbers.

UPDATE: After publishing this post, MANY MANY MANY of our listeners pointed out two things that need clarification: (1) I personally interviewed the owners of Pro DPI and they said amateur photographers ARE allowed to register and order from their lab.  The requirement of “professional photographers only” when registering on their site is not accurate.  The intent of that warning is to remind users that this lab is only for photographers and not consumers.  Amateur photographers CAN use Pro DPI.

(2) A few users mentioned that the prices we quoted in our test are not the same prices they are seeing when ordering from the companies.  This is because shipping charges will vary depending on where you live.  We could only test the cost that we were charged by the companies to ship to our studio.

Below, you'll find the results.  After the graphic representation, I list each of the online print labs and some notes about my experience in ordering from them.  Although several of these labs offer affiliate programs where I could earn money by endorsing them, I have chosen not to accept ANY affiliate offers from these labs so that this test can remain impartial and unbiased.


comparison of pro dpi to snapfish

Pro DPI on the left, Snapfish on the right. Would you be okay with delivering photos to someone with alien skin tones? Ick!


Pro DPI was the overall winner of the test.  This was especially surprising to me because they had THE CHEAPEST prices of all of the 11 labs we tested, and because I had never even heard of this company before polling our readers to determine which labs we should test.

Contrary to what their website says when attempting to create an account and order the first time, AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHERS ARE ALLOWED to order from Pro DPI.  We confirmed this in speaking with the owners of the company.

Pros: Pro DPI was the overall winner of the test.  They had the best print quality, being selected first place in 3 of the 5 tests.  That is significant because the top 4 or 5 prints from each test were often very alike, but the prints from Pro DPI stood out.  Our order of 1 5×7, 4 8x10s, and a 11×14 cost only $12 including shipping.

Cons: The biggest drawback to Pro DPI is their website.  The information is not laid out in a logical fashion, so it takes a while to navigate the site and do what you need to do.  For example, it took me over 10 minutes to find the pricing for their prints, because they made it a PDF and put the information under the “Downloads” section of the site instead of in the navigation bar, where they should really put it because their prices are terrific.

The shipping speed for Pro DPI was worthy of 4 stars.  We received the prints faster than most of the prints, but some companies shipped the prints faster.

Nations Photo Lab

Pros: The print quality from Nations photo lab is excellent.  We were particularly impressed with the amount of detail in the prints, which were 3rd best overall in terms of print quality.  Also, we like that they offer both a web-based ordering system or a traditional ROES system.  That way, it is simple to order quick prints without firing up the ROES software.  The prices at Nations were quite good.  The order of 5 prints cost $15.51, which is only $3.51 more than the price leader.

Last, their customer support is top-notch.  When I called in with a contrived customer support question, there was no robotic “press 1 if… press 2 if…”  A real human being answered the phone immediately and was friendly.

Cons: We didn't run into any significant drawbacks to Nations Photo lab.  The print quality was good but not quite as good as Pro DPI, the prices were good but not as good as Pro DPI, and the customer service was excellent.  There was no significant drawback that put them in second place, it was more for the fact that pricing and print quality were slightly better at Pro DPI.


Pros: Pricing from WHCC was excellent.  Our order cost $12.55, which is only 55 cents more than the price leader.  The main reason to choose WHCC is not for the price, though.  It's about the lollipop.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a lollipop (which my kids enjoyed) and a hand-signed thank you card in the box.  It's about the little things 🙂

Cons: Our main concern with WHCC was the print quality.  Customer service made me wait about 2 minutes on the phone before I got to talk to someone.  The ordering process was reasonably fluid, but I had a difficult time changing my address.


Pros: Miller's positions themselves at the high end of the market, so you get a few nice bonuses by choosing Miller's.  They were the fastest shipping of all of the print labs, and their packaging was beautiful enough to impress clients when they receive their prints.  Print quality was quite good, coming in at 2nd overall, and frankly there was little difference between the top 3 or 4 labs in each test.

Cons: The biggest drawback to using Miller's is the price–our order cost $19.60.  Also, I had to wait 10 minutes for customer service to pick up the phone.  While the customer service rep was not rude, I didn't find her to be overly friendly either.

Last, you have to APPLY for an account in order to make your first order, which made me feel like I was in a Blockbuster Video store in 1995. Little things like that annoy me, because it's such a waste of my time (this was also true of one or two of the other labs).

Bay Photo

Pros: Bay photo came in at 3rd place overall in the print quality test.  Their black and white photo particularly stood out from the crowd.

Cons: The pricing of Bay Photo was not as good as the competition, costing $19.44 for the prints that I ordered.

Tough to see in this picture, but the biggest difference between the prints is color casting.  Many of these prints came out with a green color cast, and some with overly vibrant colors.

Tough to see in this picture, but the biggest difference between the prints is color casting. Many of these prints came out with a green color cast, and some with overly vibrant colors.


Pros: Print quality was quite good, and MPIX narrowly defeated Nations Photo for the title of Best Black and White Print.  MPIX is a the consumer-oriented division of Miller's (mentioned above).

Cons: The biggest drawback to MPIX is the price–our order cost $23.16, which is almost double what our order cost at Pro DPI.

Adorama PIX

Pros: The ordering system is easy to use.  I was anxious to test out Adorama Pix, because they are the lab that I most frequently used before the test.  But now that the test is complete… I'm switching to Pro DPI.

Cons: Adorama PIX performed at a mediocre level on virtually every test.  Their prints were never in the bottom of the pack, but they weren't even close to the quality of the top-performing labs.

EZ Prints

Pros: Ordering prints was easy and fast.

Cons: The cost was $17.58, which is about average for all of the labs involved in the test.  Print quality was sub-par.


Note that we ordered our prints from Walmart online and had them shipped to us.  This was not an order from a local Walmart.

Pros: Pick up in store or have them shipped.

Cons: Print quality was dramatically worse than many of the labs.  Our order cost $16.96, which was surprisingly $4.96 more expensive than the cheapest lab.


Pros: Ordering was fast and easy.

Cons: Friends don't let friends order from Snapfish.  I had always thought that Snapfish and Shutterfly were the cheapest places to order prints, but I was surprised that they were two of the most expensive companies.  Our order at Snapfish cost $20.74.  The print quality from Snapfish was shockingly bad when compared to the other labs.  Also, they shipped some of the prints in a tube, which made them curl up (not exactly presentable for a client).


Pros: Ordering was fast and easy.

Cons: Much like my review of Snapfish, Shutterfly performed very poorly in our testing.  Our order cost $27.08, which is more than double the price of the lab with the best print quality–Pro DPI.  Frankly, there wasn't anything to like about these prints when compared to the other brands.  It was a disaster.

Methodology in Performing the Test

Our labs were selected by the members of our group.  We did a poll and asked which online photo print lab they used most often.  This meant that we were testing high-end labs like Miller's, as well as labs that are generally not considered professional.  While it may not seem fair to compare a consumer print lab to a professional lab, we found out from the test that the consumer labs like Snapfish and Shutterfly were two of the most expensive labs!  So testing the most popular labs instead of only the “pro” labs turned out to be quite interesting.

When ordering prints from the companies, we did what we could to use the same brands of paper between all of the companies, the same finishes, etc.  We ordered 5 prints from the labs.  The prints were in a variety of sizes from 5×7 to 11×14.  Some of the photos were portraits, some landscape, some black and white, etc.  We also viewed the prints under controlled lighting conditions, and both Dustin and I each judged the prints according to two criteria: (1) What print looks the best? and (2) What print is most like the photo we ordered from our color-managed screen?

When all the prints were in, we wrote the name of the print lab on the back of each print and spread out the prints, face up, on a table.  We then carefully looked at each photo (without knowing what company it was from) and ranked the photos from best to worst.  This way, we were entirely impartial.

On a side note, I also brought the photos home from the studio and had my wife look at the photos.  Her results in selecting the winning photos was nearly identical to the results that Dustin and I got.  The confirmation of a non-photographer helped me to know that we were judging the prints on things that really make a difference and not overly-technical things that only photographers care about.

Tests of online print labs have been done before.  Smugmug performed a test a few years ago, but their test was of the print quality for color-corrected prints.  Most photographers do not use color correction because we like to be able to control all colors, exposure, and contrast ourselves.  A good print lab will produce a print that is exactly the same as the file the photographer sends in.  That way, I won't get surprised with how the lab chooses to change my work.  Also, that test did not include the popular labs which are commonly used by photographers, but who do not market to higher end photographers, such as Snapfish, Walmart, and Shutterfly.

Disclaimer: While we put a significant effort into making this test accurate and impartial, we are frail human beings.  A few of the labs didn't have the option to allow for non color-corrected prints or we couldn't find that option, etc.  When posting information about the companies, we did not include all information about each company–only what stuck out to us.  For example, we complained about Miller's requiring an application, but this was also true of some of the others.  Our results may not be typical of all users, but we hope that this test at least provides some insight as you choose a photo printer that works for you.

About the Author

Jim Harmer

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Jim Harmer is the founder of Improve Photography, and host of the popular Improve Photography Podcast. More than a million photographers follow him on social media, and he has been listed at #35 in rankings of the most popular photographers in the world. Jim travels the world to shoot with readers of Improve Photography in his series of free photography workshops. See his portfolio here.


  1. THANK YOU for doing this test for us! It’s super helpful. I just got an order from Snapfish that was a disaster, so I totally agree with your thoughts there. It’s nice to have a guide to refer back to when I want to get good, quality prints.

    1. Hey, very good post. Learned lot of new stuff related to the Photography and Printing. I have recently started using online print services. I found vistaprint a useful site with great service and multiple options of customisation.

      I got so impressed with the vistaprint that wrote review about it at following site


      I’m sure you and other visitors will find this review useful.

    2. WOW! As I’m always sceptical on the webs info & I don’t normally send feedback, but when someone gives you point on info, I couldn’t help but to praise. I read your reviews on developing photos, I went with
      Miller’s, just got my photos, and am so impressed!
      Thank you for doing my homework. I would love to give kudos to Miller’s Lab also.
      Thanks again.

  2. Oh, yeah – Snapfish was the worst color print experience EVER. I regularly use Adoramapix. While both have great customer service, at least with Adoramapix I’m MUCH less likely to need to reach out to them! Looks like I have a couple of other labs to try out, now. Hey, I could always go for a lollipop! (That was my favorite part about ordering from Photojojo.com, the put a tiny toy dino in my package, and my invoice had an item on it that said RAWRRR…….free!)

  3. Wow. I just signed up with Mpix Pro. Looks like I need to try another company. That Pro DPI sounds fantastic.

    1. MpixPro is run by Miller’s. They use the same printers as well. Great quality, pricing and super fast turn around times.

  4. I too have never heard of Pro DPI. I only use WHCC and have been beyond pleased with their serves and quality, however, I am definitely going to try out Pro DPI for myself.

    Thank you for the unbiased test, at your expense. 😉

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is a great, comprehensive review that will certainly impact my lab choices for 2013.

  6. I’ve always used MyPhotoPipe to order digital prints but I think I might be willing to switch and try something new on my next order. Thanks for the info!

  7. Thank you for this! I have been ordering from Persnickity Prints, and I love the quality, although it is a bit expensive. They also print a huge variety of print sizes.

  8. Great post. I have prints from many of these labs taped to a south facing window of my home with overlap. I’m testing to see how much the color fades or changes over one year’s time. Look for results in July.

    I’m curious to hear your comments on reports that any lab on any given day may produce poor quality prints, mainly due to color, because it all depends on whether your print job is run closer to the last printer calibration or not.

    Also, Can you verify that you disabled color correction when submitting your electronic images for printing?

    Thanks again!

    Mike Neville
    mpnphotography llc

  9. I order from Prolabexpress and I am very happy, they are not mentioned here, but an extensive list of items and I love their quickness

  10. This self-taught upstart had been planning on getting a few of his best pictures printed and put on his wall as motivation. Now I know where to go! Thank you so much!

  11. Author

    @Mike Neville – I did turn off color correction when ordering the prints wherever feasible. One or two of the labs made it difficult or impossible to turn of color correction.

  12. Thank you so much for doing this test and sharing the results. I will share it with all the fotogs I know. Being on the West Coast, I’ve never heard of Pro DPI – will look them up now. Cheers and happy shooting!

  13. Great review! I use Nationslab and have been very happy with them, glad to see they did well. May check out DPI.

  14. The first senior shot I did, I gave away a DVD. When I got the senior’s graduation invitation, it was one of my photos but was HIDEOUS. They had it printed at either Snapfish or Shutterfly (I can’t remember which now). The tone was dark, muddy and yellow. That’s the last time I gave the client a DVD to print from. I currently use Miller’s and Bay Photo now. Thanks for the contrast/comparison!

    1. I had the same issue, except the lab was WalMart and the color cast was blue. I was *mortified* and it took awhile to realize it wasn’t my fault the photo looked so bad.

  15. Great post! I have been looking forward to this one.
    Thank you for doing this test. I’ve slowly been working my way around different labs, and your post will certainly save me lot of time and money.
    Now, I wonder which lab produces the best photo book. 😉

  16. Thank you so much for this in-depth test! I’ve been an Mpix customer for the past couple of years, with little complaint, other than cost. If I can get even better quality for less, it’s definitely worth trying Pro DPI. Can’t wait to see my samples. Thanks again!

  17. I recently switched to Prodpi and I am very pleased with my prints. Their deep matte prints are awesome!

  18. I’ve been using MPix Pro (in addition to ProDPI)….which is also a division of Millers. I can’t help but wonder where they’d be in the lineup.
    I guess I’ll be switching to ProDPI for everything! thanks for this info!

  19. I would love to see each print and the original digital file. Can you do a post with that? I have ordered from WHCC for years and haven’t ever had any problems. a 2-minute wait time is pretty unsubstantial in comparison to the 35-minutes I’ve spent on the phone with Best (worst) Buy. I also dropship from them all of the time and have never had trouble changing the address. It’s all pretty cut-and-dry. In any case, I’d love to know what you didn’t like about their prints so I need to know if I should revisit who I print from. Thanks!!! 🙂

  20. This was an awesome service for you all to provide. I have ordered mainly from mpix, because I have heard great things about them, and they are fairly close (I think buying local is important, as well). I will definitely give DPI Pro a try – I had never heard of them either. Thanks again!

  21. This was great. Thanks. Has something been done like this on canvas prints? Or, wood, metal. I’ve found big differences in quality on these.

  22. Nations Photo is my lab!!! has been for years!!! I have never had a complaint about them and pricing is very nice!!! I just love them! My work printed on their paper is just amazing!!

  23. Thank you so much for all the time, energy, (and money!) that you put into this test. I’ve never heard of some of these places, so this was very helpful to me. I also appreciated your method and respect the way you conducted the test as impartially as possible.

    Thanks again for the great work!

  24. Hmmm, might have to try a couple new printers myself! I was all geared up to start an account with ProDPI after reading this, but then I found the price list and I’m confused. How did you order that many prints for $12? I’m coming up with almost $25 for what you ordered…

  25. Thank you so much for the post!! I have been looking at WHCC and other companies for prints. Very excited to see how your top choice will work for me 🙂 Thanks again!

  26. Thank you SO much for doing this for us all! We’re just beginning & have been looking for a good printing company or two, this has been extremely helpful. I like the fact that you included the best B&W company as well, I believe we will end up using more than one company. I also know that we will not be using Shutterfly anymore!

  27. For what it’s worth, I recently had an order with WHCC and changing my address at the last second was no problem and was done instantly (I moved and forgot to change the one on file).

  28. Great review! Thank you for taking the time and assuming the costs to bring this helpful info to us!

  29. Thank you! I was looking forward to this and the results.

    I am bummed that ProDPI prints photos from “only services professional photographic businesses and studios”. As an amateur photographer, that eliminates me since I don’t own a business or sell my photography.

  30. I really wish someone would do this test for UK print labs too. I’ve recently been looking into getting my first professional prints done, but have no idea who’s good and cost effective over here.

  31. Thanks for this! Have you tried the print company Simply Color Lab? I’ve heard great things about them. I’d like to know how they compare with prodpi, which I’m leaning towards.

  32. Thanks for doing this. I love love love ProDPI! They do the best work. They have an awesome team who are there in a blink of an eye when their help is needed. They do beautiful packaging and beautiful work. I love their Pearland Matte paper. Only set back is it would be great to have them update their Roes with the Price guide attached.
    Other than that can’t say enough about how awesome they are.

  33. I have always used ProDPI for prints and think they are fantastic. I’m so excited to see them come in first. And sometimes, they put candy in the box too!

  34. Thanks for this excellent article! I have looking for ages for a non-biased comparison between photo labs. I just placed my first order on Pro DPI and I can’t wait to see the results.

    Keep up the great work!

  35. This is incredible! Thank you so much for this wonderful and detailed information. I am definitely going to be checking out some of these “new to me” labs.

  36. I use Persnickety Prints and have been very well satisfied. I use them for my scrapbooking projects so I order 12×12 prints. Their customer service is excellent and I usually get my order in 2 days.

    I have also used http://www.goodlifephoto.com but they are a little bit more expensive but they have excellent quality. Persnickety has print credits you can buy when they go on sale and then use them later. I love that. I will have to check into some of these companies also.

  37. How awesome is this article?!?! I’m so pinning this to my board. Thank you!

    Do you have any experience and/or knowledge about Loxley Colour by chance? Thanks!

  38. THANK YOU!!! I’ve been meaning to do this myself, but never got around to it! Super helpful!

  39. Thank you for this information very interetsing. As I have found myself ordering from numerous placing still trying to find my favorite. I am curious though do you shoot Canon or Nikon. Silly question I know but I have found that canon prints better on fuji paper where as Nikon I dont like it printed on fuji paper.

  40. Thank you so much for doing this! I was going to do this and you found some labs that I have not heard of! Not to mention the expense of sending the same prints to several different labs. Can’t wait to try ProDPI and maybe some of the others.

    Quick question though – did you embed a color space? The Snapfish example looks exactly like what happens when I send a ProPhoto colorspace to a cheapo lab! If the sRGB color space WAS embedded, then a pox times ten on Snapfish!

  42. If you’re not pro and don’t have your monitor’s colors adjusted, wouldn’t the color correction be a good choice? Thanks.

  43. Fantastic post! I’d love to see a side by side of some of these with prints from Persnickety Prints. They cater to the digital scrapbooking community, but their photo quality, prices, and customer service are excellent both for photos and layouts. And I’ m not affiliated with them in any way. 🙂

  44. I was surprised to read that Nations Photo received your designation of “Best Customer Service”. It’s because of their awful customer service that I started using ProDPI. Their service has been amazing, their prints are gorgeous, and the one and only time I had a problem, it was corrected immediately.

    Very loyal ProDPI customer here — very happy to see they were your overall winner! They deserve it!

  45. I would love to try ProDPI but they do not ship to my clients’ APO addresses. Boo!

    Thanks for the great comparisons.

  46. I’d never heard of ProDPI until I started using Shootproof.com
    I did my own comparison a couple of months ago with identical orders and ProDPI won hands down. I am perfectly happy with every print that they’ve done for me – and the piece of candy is nice too! 🙂

  47. Thank you so much for doing this! So helpful! It’s exciting to see that you can get quality photos and not have to pay a lot of money! And so glad to know what you revealed about Shutterfly and Snapfish. “Popular” doesn’t always mean “best”. Ya’ll are the BEST!

  48. I’m switching to ProDPI. I have been using Snapfish and have never been happy with their prints. It never occurred to me to check out other places, but now that you’ve done it for me 🙂 Great test.

  49. Totally love Nations. I was moving over to Millers when they sent their sample package I was amazed at the quality. Now, I may try ProDPI

  50. I wish you had included H&H. They are my current lab and I don’t think I will ever switch back. I have gone through Pro Dpi and Mpix pro. H&H is my favorite by far.

  51. Hooray! I’ve used ProDPI since I started my business and have never used anyone else. I do agree that their site can be confusing sometimes when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. Thanks, this was great!

  52. I was going to try ProDPI, but they only allow professional photographers.

  53. I’m a new ProDPI fan. I used to use WHCC exclusively, but their customer service was lacking, I’m afraid. But I am still cracking up about the props you gave them above because they always put a lollipop in the box 🙂

  54. This great! Thanks for putting all the time and energy into such a valuable resource.

    I’m confused though regarding pricing between Bay Photo and ProDPI. I’m looking at a 16 x 24 print, Lustre (non-color correction). I’m seeing $16.00 for BayPhoto and $21.25 for ProDPI. Yet BayPhoto got 2 stars for pricing compared to five stars for ProDPI. Am I missing something?

  55. I wish you would have tried Walgreens Photo, they have excelent prices, very good print quality and customer support is ecellent. Printing times are very fast and usally done before pick up time. Just a different view.

  56. I use proDPI and love them. They also send a sour punch straw with their orders…I do love the quality of their prints and their price too. I got 5 free 8 x10s with my first order and they send you samples of all the different papers/finishes…and great customer service.

  57. Nice reminder that I need to look at DPI again. I believe they moved from California to Denver, CO which is very close to me. I use Millers, WHCC and…ACI. I have particular items that I prefer from each lab (wish I could find one that offered all the products I want/need with the best quality). But, it is good to have a relationship with more than one lab. Appreciate your info ~ I will take a look at DPI.

  58. Has DPI raised their prices since you ordered? I just downloaded their pricing guide, and the price of the 16×20 alone is $2.50 more than your total for all five prints! I am looking at page 12, digital printing, of the price guide. Am I missing something, or was there an increase?

  59. Are you sure WHCC was $12? They’re 16x20s are $14.40 and always have been. Also, the DPI pricing for a 16×20 is also $14. Can you please explain how you got your pricing? I know they have a $12 minimum, but I order 16x20s a lot from WHCC and have never paid less than $14.40 each. Thanks!

  60. I printed out Pro DPI’s price list and your order added up to $24.14 before shipping. How did you arrive at $12. Did I somehow download the wrong price list?

  61. I know that you didn’t test Smugmug, but have heard how they overall stack up?

  62. You might mention that your target here is high-end print labs for professional photographers — that this is NOT a consumer-friendly comparison — and in fact, since Snapfish and Shutterfly (and others as well) are for casual photographers, the list is really comparing Apples to Oranges.

  63. Thanks for the informative article. I just ordered my 5 test prints from proDPI. I can’t wait to see them. Thanks again.

  64. @Alanna Kellogg – As I mentioned in the post, this is comparing the 11 most popular print labs among the readers of our site. I noticed you said “high-end” labs. That’s one of the most important parts about this test!

    What we learned is the cheapest lab had the best quality, and the most expensive labs had some of the worst quality! It doesn’t matter if you’re a consumer or a pro, this test shows how to save money AND get good quality prints.

  65. Wow! I’m excited to read all of this. I’ve been a faithful Miller’s customer for about 4 years now– you make me very curious about DPI because I’ve had more than a couple prints from Miller’s make me want to pull my hair out with disgust because of the coloring. My questions is this: Miller’s recommends that you purchase a colorimeter in order to calibrate your monitor to what their printers are using. Do you have this and is this how you purchased your prints?

  66. Wish Pictage would have also been included but this is a wonderful study. Thanks for doing this and sharing your results!

  67. @Dustin

    you wrote: “What we learned is the cheapest lab had the best quality, and the most expensive labs had some of the worst quality! It doesn’t matter if you’re a consumer or a pro, this test shows how to save money AND get good quality prints.”

    I understand what you are saying, but disagree that it doesn’t matter if you are a consumer or a pro since your top of the line labs only accept pros as customers. I am a hobbyist who would love to have great quality pictures as well and not have to be stuck with the consumer labs as shutterfly, snapfish or Walmart, but as it looks like the only options I have to get some decent pictures from are Nations Photo Lab and Mpix, who are both accept non-professionals as customers, at least this is what I found out after checking out all the labs you tested. I guess that is better then what I have been dealing with so far, though.

    I do appreciate you guys doing this test for us though, maybe you would consider a more end-user friendly test in the future 😉

  68. I’m glad I’m not the only one who had trouble finding ProDPI’s price list. I thought I was going nuts! A company as great as this should invest in some usability testing for their website, because otherwise, they rock!!

  69. I am not a pro. BUT I have never been happy with prints from Snapfish or Sutterfly.
    I need to find another place to print my pictures. If I am not a PRO what do you suggest. My local print shop has closed.

  70. Great article – is there a reason MPIX Pro wasn’t on the list but Miller’s and MPIX were? It would have been nice to see where they stacked up.

  71. Hi @monika,

    I’m not a pro and certainly took worse photos two years ago than I do now… and I have been using AdoramaPix from the beginning. You might try them out.

    I have had some weird coloring in some of the photos, but I also choose that they color correct at their lab I have also not had my screen calibrated… so it may be that what I’m seeing is not really what I’m sending to them.

    I’ll be checking out the other sites as well. Thanks for the test and post.

  72. I would be curious to know what you think about smugmug as many of my family members use them. Just if you want to do more research! 🙂

  73. We have recently started using ProDpi and WHCC even though we are in Canada….and they both rock for speed and service…nice to hear about the quality comparison….thanks!

  74. Tamara, I use Smugmug, but you have two print labs with Smugmug to choose from: Bay Photo or Ezprints.
    Since I’m going to be moving to in-person selling, this article could not come at a better time; I’ve been ordering test prints myself to see if I want to use a different lab.

  75. is there any way that you could do this article again without the prices – I have a hard time explaining to my customers why they should order prints through me rather than just ordering through walmart or shutterfly… I think this would be an invaluable resource for photographers, especially since alot of clients think you are just trying to charge them more for the same thing

  76. I found this to be a great read and really enjoyed it, but I was disappointed when I decided to take a look at ProDPI and found that the prices listed on their website do not remotely reflect the prices you quoted in your report here…

  77. I went to PDI Pro and I came up with $24.14 before shipping…unless there is a price list that I don’t have access to, they are NOT the cheapest. Please respond 😉

  78. Just want to thank you for doing this. The time and money involved is a gift to us all!
    The lab I use has color correction and I hate it. If I re-order more prints, they are not the same at all. I called the company and they actually told me that it depends on who is working the printers that day. One gal may prefer colors a bit cooler, another prefers a bit warmer and that;s what you get. :/
    I’ve been lazy and overwhelmed at the prospect of finding another lab and you just made my job that much easier. THANK YOU!!

  79. I too question the prices. I just downloaded the current ProDPI price list and uncorrected 16×20 alone is more than the total cost you show. I add it up to $25.05 with free 3 day shipping. I use Bay Photo and they add up to $19.77 before $1.50 2nd day shipping.

  80. Huh; not getting the criticism of Shutterfly. I’ve been using them and the prints come back exactly like what I see on my display. Extremely happy with the results. I will be doing some test prints with these other labs to compare, though.

  81. Just checked out WHCC, and their 16×20 alone is $14.50. I would love to know what secret price list you have access to that you can get that print plus a 5×7 and 4-8×10 for less than my cost of one large print.

  82. @Christy C – Thank you for noticing that. I made an error in writing this post. The large print we ordered was an 11×14 and NOT a 16×20. I’ll go into the post and fix that.

  83. Thank you for this!!! Lots of helpful information!! I have a question though… with mpix were you ordering from the “pro” site or from the regular mpix client site? I’ve only briefly checked out their sites but thought I remember seeing a price difference, I could be wrong though. Thanks again, totally appreciate this list!!

  84. I did a test as well for my clients to show them where to print any digital files. I included my local Walgreens and found that Snapfish and Walgreens used the exact same printer. It was really disappointing in quality and price.

  85. Loved the post.

    We occasionally print photos for family and the biggest thing we run into using Walgreen is that everything is slightly blue…

    Also, can you send me the link to where you got the wpautopin plugin you are using?

  86. Good Post, and thanks for the research. Very Helpful. I sure don’t understand criticizing a lab for requiring an application before ordering, though. This is pretty standard procedure, and EXACTLY what a pro lab should do.

  87. Personally I believe you left out at least one MAJOR pro lab possibly 2 or 3. What about Black River Imaging (my preferred lab of choice) but there is also ACI & H&H.


  88. Next test, add BWC. I use them and did my own test with prints from WHCC, Millers, and CPQ, all labs I had previously used for prints. BWC is hands down the winner for me in my test. Best print quality, color, contrast. Now their shipping and customer service lacks a bit, but I’ll overlook that for consistent, excellent quality.

  89. great article – it was shared on FB – I suggest you send the article to all companies ‘tested’ – great research, and thank you! I will NEVER order from snapfish again – I too had prints curls, colors all wrong – and worse they recently ‘credited’ me form an old account I had with them to a credit card I no longer used – so I not only lost the $500 – I couldn’t even get a live person on the phone to assist me with fixing this issue – they simply played dumb… grrr – but grr no more! 😛

  90. I still see some inconsistencies in the pricing, even after the changes with sizes have been edited in the article. I was just checking the ProDPI price list and I added everything up for 1 5×7, 4 8×10’s, and 1 11×14 and got $13.95. At Mpix, all of that was $15.94 plus $3.95 for shipping. Still more but definitely not close to double what it costs at ProDPI. I’m curious about the actual pricing for all of the other labs as well now…

  91. seems that Pro dpi only prints for professional businesses? Is that right. Where would you suggest I print my personal family photos from at the right price and good quality. ENjoyed your article.

  92. Thanks for the great post. I got all excited to order from Prodpi, and discovered they only service Pros. What do you recommend for hobbyists who just want quality prints of their work?

  93. I am so happy you posted this! I thought I was losing my mind when I got my photos back from Shutterfly. I couldn’t believe a print lab that is so advertised had such AWFUL photos!! I contacted them and they responses within 24 hours, but their explanation was nearly as disheartening as their prints. They said my photo files (image sizes) were too large. My photos were all about 6mb and cropped accordingly to order in cs6 before uploading. They added that I should crop within Shutterfly rather than in my editing program and credited my account to match my previous horrible order.

    I changed my resolution on all 100 of my photos, uploaded again, cropped in Shutterfly, vowed I would never use them again, but reordered for the sake of knowing that this was not really what the problem was. Second batch was just as bad as the first.

    I had been strictly Nations prior to trying out Shutterfly, so that didn’t help, but really they were disgusting.

  94. Would love to have seen Color Inc on this list! I’ve used Millers and WHCC (and tried pro dpi and some others), but I love Color Inc!

  95. Thanks! I was looking for a non-biased approach to real world prints. Will look into Pro as I’ve been using mpix.

  96. I also found it difficult to navigate thru ProDpi and gave up. I’ve been using ACI for years. Cust Service is top notch and quality if right up there with other pro labs.

  97. Before I got my Smugmug site, I used to use H&H Color Lab. They might be a little more expensive than others but when you need a beautiful print I would look at them.

  98. We’ve used them all – I find Bay Photo to have hands down the best interface in their Emerge platform – its like we have access to a configurator on every computer. Millers has tremendous customer service and first-rate shipping as indicated.

    If you are out to save money and don’t ship a lot of stuff, or you want it shipped to you instead of directly to a client I’d say that ProDPI is fine (we have used them) but if you shoot for a living and process LOTS of images and proofs, and drop ship direct to clients I can tell you that first hand – Millers or Bay are far better solutions as they have better QA.

    Bay’s interface saves us a ton of time – and therefor, is worth the small premium is paid. Also – we color correct our own images – so bay allows you to shut auto correct off, we have outstanding color consistency with Bay.

    Good effort and I am sure the info will help a lot of people find a good house and also save them and their clients a lot of disappointment.

    A good lab is like a good second shooter – a must have. Find one and stick with them!

  99. Pro DPI insist on a phone number on sign up, should not be needed, also you have to register your credit card with them on sign up. Two major fails for me, there is no valid reason why any company needs to do this, if there was all the others would be doing it to.

  100. Thanks so much for this information! I have been looking for an online print lab and this breakdown just made my search so much easier!

  101. I went to look at Pro DPI, but was turned off that a credit card number was required before I even ordered anything.

  102. I’m surprised to not see Costco since you have Walmart. I also just discovered Mixbook and was pleased with quality and quick service.

  103. I have used Nations and Bay. I love Nations and yes I agree the shipping time is terrific. I love their print quality as well, they are much more high quality then Bay.
    I too decided to sign up for an account with DPI but their site gave me an error. I wasn’t too worried about the credit card, I just used my prepaid “web card” as I call it so the only money I have to lose is what I add.

  104. Thanks SO MUCH for taking time to conduct this test. The results are VERY helpful!

  105. After reading this, which was very informational, I went to Pro DPI and found out you can get 5 free 8×10 photos for new members. I did this and I am EXTREMELY SATISFIED. The photos showed up before I expected. The process was fairly easy, I’ve never used ROES before.
    Thank you again for an excellent, non-biased approach to finding out the best printer. And thank you for putting up the funds to do it.

  106. I just got my 5 sample 8×10 pics from ProDPI. And yes, there was candy in the box! I also liked that their free 8x10s samples did not have anything written on the front of them (Miller’s has font in the corner basically stating they are samples. This was nice because I can check the quality and color and then actually frame and keep the 8x10s!

  107. I have used BayPhoto, MillersLab and WHCC. Millers has been my all-time fav for many reasons, though true their pricing is higher, their turnaround and packaging has been superior. My client order from Millers yesterday was exciting. LOVE the new paper! Though because of this article I compared pricing and about fell over (w/ProDPI). Signed on and ordered my 5 test prints. They arrived today just over 48 hours. {Check} E-mail follow up great! {Check} Test prints came in perfect color, paper not as thick as ML, didn’t care for the large box that UPS had punctured the sides of. (no candy for me) Thankfully the prints were unharmed. I did appreciate no ProDPI watermark, previous test shots had big ol’ watermarks through them. (same as comment above) FUNNY part to this, after opening my test prints I came into the office to check e-mail and I have a notification from ProDPI that they have raised their pricing LOL!!! So much for savings! I will compare Miller’s pricing now and see how much closer they’ve come. Didn’t have a good experience with WHCC. My first order through them came UPS who beat the heck out of the packaging with 1 print damaged and it was 9 days for delivery. Customer support through WHCC was very kind and apologetic. Replacement was very fast.

  108. PRO DPI prices were raised by like $.5 on print units and less than $1 on other products. They’ve added a lot of new stuff that wasn’t offered in 2012 and overall I loved my prints. The turn around time was excellent as well as the free shipping, I ordered last Thursday and received my order on Monday. My clients were well pleased with their images so this lab is a keeper for me, although I do have a few others that I will continue to use for certain things.

  109. Thanks SO much for the great info! I had never heard of PRO DPI before, but I will be trying them out soon.

  110. Thank you so much for this great information! I will definitely be using PRO DPI! You guys are great! I’ll be signing up for another class soon!

  111. Thanks for all your hard work. I will be ordering from Pro DPI. soon. Will repost this in a couple of camera forms I am in.

  112. This information is priceless–thank you so much for taking the time, effort and cost to do this for us. As a side note, H&H photo lab is superb in quality and price as well—I had switched to them after failing to see the quality in WHCC, and have been very happy with their performance. I will definitely check out Pro DPI!

  113. I just signed up for the Pro DPI and I must admit once you learned the navigation on the site. It was actually quite easy and the prices are most impressive. Just ordered my sample pack to compare.Should receive in a few days.

  114. A order of one 5×7, four 8x10s and one 11×14 plus shipping from Pro DPI cost $20.35. There must have been a special going on when you order. I will order from them to check their quality! Thank you for your work.

  115. Yeah, I don’t know how you got that pricing from Pro Dpi! To order non-color corrected photos, they require a $12 minimum order for EACH print size. Disappointing.

  116. I had sent some photos to our local Walgreens and got that same “alien skin tone” that you got. It’s nice to know I wasn’t the only one with that problem. I can see where either of those top 2 would work real well for online ordering of prints.
    Thank you very much for such an in depth test. That answered many questions that I am sure a TON of us people had.

  117. What about Costco? I’ve heard some photographers speak well of them. They say the equipment is better maintained and the quality is much better than Walmart. I’d love to hear anyone’s experience with Costco.

  118. I looked at the ProDpi site and they only do business with professional photographers and studios. Bummer

  119. royce nowlin, JIm I thanks you for this report , it will help this year asn i will try DPI sounds good , I can get abag of lollipops up the street LOL

  120. I have been using Costco and am happy with them, but I am just a hobbyist. I just put in an order with Nations, so I will see how they compare. I, too, checked out the ProDPI site and it looks like they just deal with pro studios. Am I missing something?

  121. I have been using Nations but rather like the idea of using someone that only services pros, however, Nations is certainly cheaper! I was very excited and them bummed…

  122. Thank you SO much for doing these comparisons! You actually brought new companies I didn’t know about to my attention! I have since ordered the same photos from three of the ones you tested and can’t wait to see the results for myself. Again, thank you for all you do on improvephotography.com !

  123. I’m curious about the problems with print quality from WHCC? I’d like to know more. What was it about the quality that wasn’t up to snuff? Thanks!

  124. Along with others who have commented, I, too, am very disappointed that pro dpi only works for the professional. We non-pros appreciate top quality prints as well!

  125. Hi,
    I was wandering, did you used the ICC profiles most of the labs offer for their papers? or ou just sent plain sRGB files?

  126. Jim, do you have any opinion about cpq pro lab? I’m curious how they compare to the others, as they are who I use.

  127. Jim,I normally get my prints at Costco, I have been really pleased with price and quality that they have. I really respect your opinion and I would love to know what you think. Thanks for all you do and please keep up the great work!

  128. Thanks for the research Jim, I was wondering how good of a job these photo labs did. I would also like to know if you have to tell these labs that you do your own color editing, and to not change it. Thanks again.

  129. I am curious to see what price you had last year for Pro DPI. I checked their prices (for which they announced *new* pricing for 2013) and compared them against Mpix pro (I have used Mpix pro for a year now). It looks like their new prices are higher than Mpix pro for small sizes up to 11×14. Do you still have the 2012 prices and if so could you send them over to me? I don’t want to switch to this company if I am going to loose money. I understand shipping is involved but still want to make sure. Thanks!

  130. Hello, thank you very much for the information above, it is VERY helpful. Have you guys ever tested results for equipment or companies that scan negatives to digital for printing purposes? I am still old school with a 35 mm cameras (canon), I haven’t sold my photos in years, I got away from it but I would like to get back into it, but all my pictures are in negative form and the company I used to use to enlarge photos has gone out of business so I need to become digital, but I don’t know what companies are good/ or what equipment is (if I do it myself) good. I would appreciate any recommendations or advice. Thank you for your time.
    Cheers, Anne

  131. ProDPI diffently changed their pricing. The prints you listed with NO SHIPPING right now is 15.95, compared to Nationsphotolab, where I was “about” to switch from after this blog post:
    1 5×7 4 8×10’s 1 11×14
    Nations $11.31
    ProDPI $15.95
    So I will save 4.64 and go with your 2nd best 🙂 and what I know.

  132. great article i send many of my clients and use them myself for some of my work discountphotoproducts.com print quality, packaging and prices are very good. they work with consumers and pros

  133. i need to get my son graduation picture printed and ive heard alot of good thing about you company .how do i go about getting them done?

  134. I do business with Full Color, they aren’t even listed. I’m satisfied with the quality of my prints (prints, canvas and/or metal). They are customer friendly, how do you rate them?

  135. Thank you for doing this test! I have been comparing different labs for a long time. I have been very disappointed with Costco and Shutterfly. Costco color quality is not vibrant at all. Color is very washed out. Shutterfly pics have a greenish/drab color cast. Have you heard of PE Photo? I have been pretty happy with their prices and color quality.

  136. It’s actually a great and helpful piece of information. I’m satisfied that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.|

  137. Very interesting! My so-far sole experience is w/Snapfish, with all print sizes from 4×5.3 (4:3 aspect ratio), 4×6, 5×7, 8×10 *regular* prints and also “poster” prints 11×14, 12×18, 16×20, & 20×30. I can see differences e.g between the 8×10 & 11×14 re color cast and so on.
    It would be nice to know what sizes printers offer. E.g., I see CostCo offering –in contrast to Snapfish, the 11×14 & 12×18 as *regular* prints (not “posters”), which might help re image quality, and also square sizes (also *regular*) 8″ & 12″.
    PRICING is a tough to compare, as Snapfish regularly e.g. have special offers such as free shipping or 50% off –the best I’ve seen was 70% off. Still, the price you quote for Pro_DPI sounds great.
    West Coast Imaging I think is another printer I’ve seen some credible recommendations for.
    Thanks much!

  138. Further … :
    Given my note about how Snapfish’s “poster” prints come only in their “matte” (which I think would be CostCo’s “Lustre”) finish vs. the choice of that or the default “Glossy” of 4x .. 8×10, and yet CostCo have as their “posters” –though I don’t know to what effect re IQ/finish– 16×20 & 20×30, you can see how your choice of sizes might accidentally miss some needed comparisons. (yeah, I’m giving out points but not $$ :o)

    Snapfish’s available cropping is strangely offered in that it’s NA for the 4×5.3″ “True Digital” size –that option only kicks in upon making an order when the system finds any file of a 4×6 item that has a different aspect ratio from 3:2 (be it squarer or more rectangular).

    Of course, if someone is interested only in making an order for some large quantity of 4×6 prints, the quality of large prints is irrelevant; and vice versa!

  139. Oh, I meant to remark on this point:
    >> judged the prints according to two criteria:
    >> (1) What print looks the best? and
    >> (2) What print is most like the photo we ordered from our color-managed screen?

    I should think that #1 would be largely irrelevant,
    and that photographers wanting control would insist on #2.
    (Then come the considerations of how one *coordinates* the matching of submitted file with printer –the printer profile, is it?!)

  140. Thank you! I’ve been with WHCC for a while, but they are expensive and their quality as been a bit inconsistent, so I been looking for a new one. I will check out Pro DPI.

    I got desperate one time and had to order from Shutterfly all my pictures came back with a blue tint, I was so mad. Also ordered from Snapfish, no blue tint, but the color was off.

  141. Dustin,

    Thank you for this information. I was hesitant to try using online printing services so I mostly printed locally. I will give Pro DPI a chance and hope that I will be satisfied with the quality.


  142. Concerning Nation’s Photo Lab, my only gripe with them is that they ship larger prints (e.g. 16 x 24, the sort of size only photographers are likely to order) in a tube. I know mpix and mpixpro ship them in a flat box; I assume Millers does too. It would be nice to know which labs ship all sizes flat vs. rolled in a tube…

  143. Am I same to assume you are indeed talking about Mpix, not MpixPro?

  144. Wish you had included H&H Color Lab in your comparison. I love them!

  145. Hmmm…I just signed up for ProDPI because of your recommendation (I have been using MPIXpro for quite a while) and I compared the prices and ProDPI seems to be more expensive on all the most ordered sizes.

  146. I used Nations Photo Lab to print 11×14, 8×10, 5×7, wallets, magnets and pins for a Taekwomdo photo shoot.

    I was very pleased with the quality of all the products. One set of wallets was missing and they shipped out the replacement within a couple of days.

    Most importantly, my clients were extremely happy with their prints.

    I will use Nations Photo Lab in the future and highly recommend them.

  147. Did you order the same size prints from every lab? If so, I am curious how your order from BayPhoto cost $19. I use them and their prices are pretty good but I do not order color corrected prints (which do cost more) If you did not order color corrected prints it should have only cost about $12.30 with free USPS shipping for 11×14 & under.

  148. I’ve liked using The UPS Store to print my work. They have a good variety of papers and canvas to have your image done on. Price is decent, customer service has been good, many local stores to go to…

  149. To post pictures of prints on the web and ask people which looks better is nothing other than ridiculous.
    The print is something tangible, you hold in your hand and there’s more that goes into it than you can post on the web. Receiving affirmation of tests from a person with no technical knowledge of photography? This can’t be taken seriously. No one is printing multiple orders and setting them all out for the client to choose which one they like more. It’s our responsibility to get it right.
    This indicates the overall trend that more and more people/photographers are clueless when it comes to the print.
    Thanks for the list of printers though. There was far too much left out of this article to actually take it seriously, but now I have a starting point for labs to test and contact myself.

  150. I’m puzzled by the concern about prints being sent in a tube rather than flat. Is this a matter of particular paper? I have experience only with the Snapfish prints, and all “poster” prints (11×14..20×30) come in tubes. I’ve found no problems with this; they become flat easily enough, esp. if mounted & framed, pressed against glass.
    (Some Kodak paper is used for the “large poster prints” 16×20 / 20×30; Fujicolor Crystal Archive paper is used on 11×14 / 12×18.)

  151. Jim – I am very happy with the results from Costco and the print prices are incredibly reasonable (an 8×12 is $1.49). In addition, Costco has the option to download the profiles of the printers used at a particular store.

  152. Thanks so much for doing this!
    If you’re considering adding more labs to your results, could you try Artsy Couture too please? I’ve used them a couple times, and would like to know how they add up. Since reading your article I’ve switched to proDPI and been very pleased 🙂

  153. This is rather interesting and seems to be missing some crucial data. Take it with a grain of salt. The pricing information is way off. I checked it myself and compared. Pro DPI is rather expensive compared to some of the others you listed – in fact 40-50% less at times — especially on the sizes you mentioned.
    How do you rate customer service?
    How did you submit files? sRGB? Is your monitor calibrated? How was this data derived? I understand it’s subjective .. some of it, but pricing is one thing that is not.

  154. Thank you, this is so helpful! Any chance you could compare photobook results from some different labs too? 🙂 I know, $$$…

  155. I use Black River Imaging. Their site took a bit of “getting used to” in the beginning…, but now that I am used to it, it’s great. CS is great, print quality is great, love the paper(s)…[their metallics are sublime!] The prices are comparable, even to Costco [which can NOT be beat]Though I don’t print client order’s there because “some people” are snobbish about it. I do however use Costco for almost all personal printing. Place the order, run down and pick them up.
    While this is a very interesting read, and I appreciate the time, effort and money invested to perform this market test, I’m sticking with BRI. I’m curious to know how they would’ve rated [in your opinion] against WHCC and Nations.
    Thanks for your time and investment.

  156. I would suggest you try Persnickety Prints. They’re a company based in Provo. They have great products and wonderful customer service.

    I’m a digi scrapbooker and the layouts & photos I’ve printed there have been amazing.

    Steph at thedailydigi.com did a comparison of photo books a whe ago. I’ve used shutterfly for my books for years, and finally tried adoramapix for a book. While significantly more expensive than shutterfly (even with coupons), the book is incredible. It looks like photos instead of printer paper. I don’t think I can go back now.

  157. I have used Pro DPI since your test, Thank you for doing this. I did find it a little difficult to navigate the 1st time, now no problem. LOVE the quality and the prices are amazing.

    Thank you


  158. If I am given the copyright to all of my wedding photos and would not want to order prints from my photographer, would I be able to use places like ProDPI?

  159. Thank you so much for taking the time and the expense to provide this information. I have literally 100s of digital pictures I need to print to catch up on my scrapbooking and have been trying to research the best place to go. You may have saved me a lot of time and heartache of prints I was not happy with!! God Bless!!

  160. Thanks for the info…I have used EZ Print and was NOT impressed, Walmart was better than EZ Print.

  161. ProDPI doesn’t seem to be available to the Amateur general public anymore.

  162. I have been a faithful ProDPI supporter since I met the owners in 2011 at the PhotoPlus/WPPI Expo in NYC at Javits. ProDPI is an amazing company with high standards, phenomenal customer service, an awareness and priority towards the environment and maintaining affordable prices for all photographers (amateur and pro). Everyone should get on the ProDPI bandwagon FAST!

  163. Thanks for taking the time to do this test and deliver these results. It is most appreciated.


  164. i really like iprintfromhome.com – good quality prints and a small, mom & pop kind of shop. i haven’t tried most of these though, except adorama, and i have had some quality control issues with them. to be fair, they always correct their mistakes, but it is somewhat annoying how regularly i’ve gotten messed up orders. looking forward to trying out some of these, thanks for doing the comparison!

  165. Good article – has given me an idea of who I might try next time. One question … the color matching/color cast issue is something that plagues us all (color profiles, sRGB or Adobe RGB etc. etc.) So the only one I have used was Mpix – and they had a free option to color correct your prints – presumably just eye-balling and correcting to realistic skin tones. This is not something you’d always want of course (if one was being artistic) but I wondered if the others offered the same – and whether you think it is useful. I would imagine for most people, having that final human correction would be preferable than getting green skin back.

  166. Thank you so much for taking the time (& money) to do this. Very much appreciated 🙂

  167. PRO DPI! What I usually hear from my friends when it comes to their photo printing. Thanks for this aricle, I shall definitely share this! 😀

  168. I do use Pro Dpi when I need photos done. When I was up in Colorado I had the pleasure of going and touring their place of business and I do have to say I was amazed at how the transferred your picture to metal that was totally awesome. I love Pro Dpi

  169. Really enjoyed this review. I have used Shutterfly and have been unhappy with the results. The shipping costs for the better rated companies are high to ship to Canada. Do you know what the top rated companies in Canada are?


  170. While I can appreciate this comparison by the author, I suggest each reader do their own test as I find the results vary by personal preference. The top 5 on this list will all send sample prints for free when signing on so there is nothing to lose but a little time. I did such a test myself recently. On Friday 11/22 after hours, I requested and account and placed orders online from these companies. I also ordered from Simply Color Labs. It was my expectation that none of the labs would process my order until Monday 11/25. The one lab I still have not received sample prints from is….PRODPI! They are scheduled for delivery on 12/2. All other lab sample prints were received within 1-4 business days. Who impressed me the most so far? WHCC. They almost immediately emailed me to let me know my images weren’t properly cropped to the request 8×10 size and lacked an embedded color profile, giving me a chance to re-upload. They also had next day turn around for me. The blacks (on my black/white images or those with black backdrops) next to the other prints were the truest and deepest. Skin tones for Caucasian and African Americans were perfect (not too orange, red, magenta, or pale). All the other lab images (except Simply Color) in comparison seemed to lack some contrast and/or color. Millers and WHCC also sent complimentary paper samples which I find to be a bonus when helping my clients choose paper types. Millers also had nice packaging and sent both color corrected and non color corrected samples back. I liked the WHCC Metallic paper, but preferred Simply Color’s metallic even more. Although overall Simply Color’s vivid prints were…too vivid/strong in color for my taste. BayPhoto was the at the very bottom of my list although they have a variety of product options. I will add another post after I receive my prints from PRODPI.

  171. You write about ProDPI: “The requirement of “professional photographers only” when registering on their site is not accurate.”

    But they write: “Please note, ProDPI only services professional photographic businesses and studios. If you are an end-user, please contact your photographer and order prints and services through them. New accounts are checked for proof of legitimate business by reviewing websites, company information, and/or reseller permit status. We reserve the right to cancel any accounts if criteria are not met.”

  172. I finally have results in from 5 pro labs: WHCC, PRODPI, Millers, SimplyColor, and BayPhoto. I have a photo of one of my samples in the link below. I will share which photo came from where upon request. Please be kind if commenting. This client in the photo deserves respect just as each of you do.


  173. I use Shutterfly and MyPublisher for Photobooks.

    Would you consider doing this test again with MPIX, Shutterfly, Blurb, MyPublisher, etc. for PHOTO BOOKS.

    I don’t print that many prints anymore. I prefer photobooks.

    Thanks in advance. 😉 PUH-LEASE!!!!

  174. Hey Jim,

    This was a good review and I tried out a different lab because of it. However, my experience wasn’t what you had. I’ve used MPix in the past and think they provide great prints. I especially like that my prints arrive flat & not rolled. So I tried Nations Photo Lab based on their good quality & prices. The prices were indeed good but I received a botched print job. I had a non-standard print size (24×13) so I called to find out how to submit it–check. What I got was my print with 2.25″ cropped off both sides. Yikes! Useless print. Called back and walked thru the order with the rep & was told I should have submitted it differently than what I was first told. That’s confusing. Asked for a refund on the botched job but no dice. They didn’t even offer to reprint it. So I’m sticking with Mpix and cannot recommend Nations to anyone.

  175. Thanks so much for doing this. Really nice information – not just the article, but everyone’s comments. Getting ready to order samples from several labs, and really appreciate the resource.

    With that being said, I think this is all (unfortunately) very misleading as for the pricing on ProDPI, and I think I solved the riddle.

    From their PDF: “For orders under $12.00, totals will be rounded up to equal

    Others stated that you get 5 free 8×10’s – so it seems as though they DID NOT charge for the 8×10’s and rounded the order total up to $12. I do not believe that they are in fact the cheapest, as I’m comparing their prices (all sizes, not just smaller sizes) to others.

  176. Thanks so much for this review! I did a mini-review myself a year ago and chose Adoramapix over Snapfish, Shutterfly and some other place I can’t remember. Until this post, I’ve been unable to find an unbiased review of print services that focused on actual image quality instead of just cost and variety of books and gift items you can make with your photos. What a great resource your website is!

  177. Thanks for the lab comparison, someone asked me the same question yesterday.
    As a full time professional between 1998 and 2010 doing many events (weddings, bar mitzvahs, fundraising parties, conventions, etc. in D.C. as well as documentation work for schools, theater companies, etc. I used Millers except for the few times I used Dodge in D.C. I found they were so good that I stopped double checking orders and had them drop ship directly to my clients. I was giving them adjusted files, but always paid the extra for them to double check color balance.
    This month, if my order is uploaded by 4 or 5 p.m. Eastern time, the orders are here in Watertown, MA the next afternoon. I have had to wait to get a rep, but they’ve always been patient with the stupidest question. Their software is very good.
    Sheppard Ferguson http://www.sheppardferguson Author of “Exposed in Boston” — a photographer gets in trouble.

  178. I cannot thank you enough for this post. I am about to launch my website and will be exhibiting at my first bridal show next month – I needed to decide on a lab and you gave me some excellent insight. Thank you for taking the time and expense of doing the comparison. It was so helpful! Shortly after reading this, I received my welcome packet from Pro DPI and I was impressed to say the least. I will be using them for many of my product offerings. Thanks again!

  179. Thank you so much for posting this! I’m just starting out, but of course want the best for my buck (and someday my customers). I am definitely checking out Pro DPI! There is a local (though available for anyone to use) printing company that I will compare to them though, http://www.prolabexpress.com. I’ll try to remember to come back here to let you, and others, know how it turns out 🙂 Thanks again!

  180. I loved this blog… Your explanations were simple to understand and your examples perfect. I never realized the difference was so profound and I plan on reading more of your post.

    [Links removed]

  181. Great info – I have been unsatisfied with print quality for years from shutterfly but wasn’t sure where to go. Thank you! The prices may have increased at Pro DPI. I found them extremely reasonable/comparable for their larger sized pictures, but outrageously priced for standard 4X6’s compared to the other professional picture sites.

  182. Hi. This is awesome! Thanks! The ine suggestion I’d make is to give Nations five stars for service in your graphic. I know it says Best Customer Service, but my eye skipped over them as i saw no stars there.

  183. I have been using Mpix/Miller’s for years. I was very happy with my prints from them until around mid-2013, when they switched to a much cheaper, thinner Fuji paper. In addition to that, the colors were off on my last two orders and they had to be reprinted. I am not sure if the color mishap has to do with the new paper they are using, but even adding the lustre option did not seem to improve the quality of the prints. I have switched to Nations Lab for now. I would inquire about the paper before ordering from Mpix in the future.

  184. I’m so glad you posted this. I’m just getting into photography and was unsure of printing companies. I have found that ProDPI will send you up to 5 8×10 sample prints (watermarked “sample” across the photo) for FREE. I just received mine yesterday and was VERY impressed with print quality as well as shipping. They arrived a day earlier than previously expected. They included a piece of individually wrapped candy in the shipment to boot. 🙂 I put one of the 8×10 prints next to a Walmart 8×10 print (ordered online and shipped to my home). Color/print quality of ProDPI was much better. Walmart, of course, is geared more toward consumers so I found their ordering process to be easier and much simpler.

    The only question I have is that it seems like I read somewhere on ProDPI’s website something about minimum ordering. I wonder if that means that you must order a certain amount of prints through them on a monthly or yearly basis to remain an ordering “member” (or whatever you want to call it). ??? I guess I need to test out the customer service. LOL 🙂 If anyone knows, please post. Thanks.

  185. Thank you for this much needed comparison. I’m an enthusiastic amateur. In the fall of 2012 I did a similar comparison of Mpix, Snapfish and Meridian. Meridian was chosen because of ads I saw in a couple of photo mags. I sent 3 different types of photos to each. Meridian easily won the print quality (the most important thing for me). Not much difference in prices. Thanks to you, I’ll be comparing Pro DPI, Miller’s and Bay Photo with Meridian.

    Anybody out there printing on aluminum? Who are you using…and are you satisfied with the quality?

  186. Hi, Jim! This is a valuable resource! Thank you for spending the time and money to do it. Quick question… any chance you could clarify what the difference is between amateur photographer and consumer for the Pro DPI Lab… since you talked to them? I am at the very beginning… learning my camera and devouring as much reading as I can… so much to learn! I am far from being able to charge real clients… though I have a few friends who have asked if I could take pics of their kids, but I can’t charge them anything more than a nominal fee since I don’t even know how the photos will come out since I am still learning settings and lighting. Anyway… my subjects are primarily my own children and some nature/landscape. So, I am wondering whether I qualify as an amateur photographer? Thanks in advance for your input.

  187. Hello Jim, great article! I’ve been on the fence about which lab to use as well. Thank you for sharing your input and experience. I do have a question though in regards to sending out your images to the labs, do you have to convert your Color Space to what they use?
    I shoot with a D800E in RAW. Doing so allows me to use any color space to work with such as Prophoto RGB, Adobe RGB, sRGB, etc… in Lightroom or Photoshop. The color space straight out of my camera is already set to Adobe RGB but I find that most Labs will want you to send them files in sRGB. Did you also come across this as you were conducting this test?
    My monitors are all calibrated and profiled with i1 Display Pro from Xrite. Also, I have multiple ICC profiles from some of the labs you have used to “soft proof”. I am a bit of a control freak when it comes to image color and integrity. As Im sure every photographer is as well. LOL
    Thank You!

  188. Don’t believe this guy isn’t getting paid by Pro DPI. Their quality may be good but they are by far the most expensive service out there. 4×6’s are $.25!

  189. Jim,

    After taking your portrait class I took your advice and color calibrated my monitor. Prior to this I always had the lab color correct (MPIX via Zenfolio) because I was unsure of the color correctness of my screen. Now that it is color calibrated does it make a difference if I send it as a sRGB or as my calibrated color space?

    You know I am new to this color management thing so…well you know (smile)

    Great job on the comparisons. I am going to send off one of my favorites to Pro DPI today

    Thank you

  190. hi there

    looking to sell photographic versions of individual classic style hand drawn maps that are about 1m by 70 cm.

    do you have advice on how to get these printed and sold in the usa ?

  191. The results of this test used an insufficient small sample of labs. Not scientific at all, too subjective.

    There are over 300+ digital imaging labs in the USA alone doing professional work. Sorry, WalMart
    is not a pro-lab.

    And then you have a difference in photo papers: Fuji and Kodak to take in consideration.

    Not sure what you study shows?

  192. Thank you for this post, as well as for the invitation to sign up for your newsletter. I sell my prints and, since I have a day job in addition to my photography, mastering the ins and outs of doing my own printing, to a satisfactory professional quality, is a bit unreasonable and so I rely on labs such as the ones you tested. This is an amazingly helpful resource.

  193. You are correct that (as of April 2014) a 4×6 express proofs are $0.25, but BayPhoto Economy’s 4×6 prints are $0.29. Their consumer side via Bay ROES Emerge is $0.49. Obviously, ProDPI isn’t the most expensive as you’ve indicated. I haven’t finished checking the other sites, but I think you’ve made a hasty generalization.

  194. Dude! Are you for real?!?! He never said it was scientific. Ease up you dope. It’s not meant to be a “proper” sampling, nor all “Pro” labs. He clearly stated it was based on his Facebook question to his followers. He picked the top 11, which happened to include low-end places like Walmart and Snapfish. He doesn’t have the resources for scientific studies, nor did he pretend anything less. And ALL art is subjective…that’s why it’s art and not science.

  195. I am always glad to see side by side comparisons, but I wish it was more clear exactly which products/paper were used for each lab. Since papers vary and color correction was used from some labs, that makes a significant difference in both qualify and price. I sue Bay Photo now, and their color corrected prints are almost twice as much as their non-corrected. In fact, a chart of all of this would have simplified it all.

  196. It doesn’t matter what paper or products were used for a comparison test. If it did, this would mean that all other variables matter: printers, ink, number in the batch, time of day, temperature in the lab, technician expertise, blah, blah, blah… What matters is QUALITY of the product sitting before the judges on the table. It’s a COMPARISON of products.

    I very much appreciate this comparison, which I found just in time. I’ve been a pro photographer for 24 yrs, but I sometimes don’t send my print orders to my pro lab (which was not tested here). I was just about to send senior portraits and acting headshot orders to Shutterfly. Phew! Thanks, man! (But I don’t think I will use ProDPI either because they require high compression and only JPGs. I don’t like to do that to my images.)

  197. I meant: “quality of a (basic, consumer) product sitting before the judges…. It’s not a comparison of product (types).” (Not meaning to be snarky.)

    What I appreciate is that what some people miss is that ALL these labs are PROFESSIONAL LABS. They are all in the photographic product business, taking money for an expectation of quality. (It’s just that only some of them are geared toward pro photographers.)

    All PROFESSIONAL labs should produce PROFESSIONAL quality products. (Same goes for any business.)

  198. This comparison needs to be redone. It’s several years old and there are several scores that need to be changed.

    1. Author

      @Whitney Conley – Several years old? Try one. I’m sure the test isn’t perfect, but unless you’ve done a head-to-head test printing the same photo from a bunch of different brands, I’m not really sure how you could say that some of the scores need to be changed.

  199. Thank you for this post! Though I include permission to print with digital purchases many of my clients would still prefer to get prints through me. This post really helped! 🙂

  200. Thank you VERY much for this review. I am just beginning to sell my photography and have tried out a couple of processors — I’m anxious to give ProDPI a try.

  201. I had never heard of Pro DPI until now. I can’t believe that I was considering Mpix before. Thanks for the review!

  202. Great review and comparison, thanks for the info on some labs I was unaware of and will certainly explore for my photos as a hobbyist photographer. Different question, I just got married abroad and the photographers gave us our wedding photos in high res on DVD and we are free to print with any lab. We would like to upload the photos and share with our family/friends so they can independently order photos they would like. (but a with a quality above snapfish/shutterfly) As Pro DPI was your overall winner, would you recommend they are user friendly in this aspect, or I should go with another lab in your top picks —such as Nations, Miller, or Bay Photo that is more functional in this way? Thanks!

  203. Thanks so much for doing this test.

    I tried ProDPI, and while they had amazing prices, good customer service, fast shipping and great colors in their prints, they often sent me prints that were SIGNIFICANTLY underexposed. Some were underexposed by a full stop or more, despite using a calibrated monitor and adding extra brightness to the images before sending off.

    I contacted ProDPI and they re-printed the photos and resent them, but they came to me only a slightly brighter. Oddly enough, I wanted to be sure so I printed the same images at Target and they NAILED the exposure but the colors were not as good.

    Go figure. I loved ProDPI and it was a real shame this happened because I rely on shipping prints to people but I am just nervous now that my images will lose a great deal of impact from being so dark when I create colorful, bright, dramatic images

  204. Thanks for the test. I wonder what the date is on your article?

    Also, you say you ordered 5 prints from each lab, but in your description of what you ordered from the first printer you list 6 prints: “Our order of 1 5×7, 4 8x10s, and a 11×14 cost only $12 including shipping.”

    I’d also vote for a comparison with Costco, CVS, Walgreens, etc…

  205. I tried ProDpi after reading your article and could not navigate the site at all. I downloaded the Roes, then my photos, but never could find them again to order . There is nothing on that site that makes sense. So I am starting over and will try Nation next.

    I had been using Shutterfly for years but in the past 3 their quality was so sub par I stopped bothering. Their prints are horrible. Thanks for the advice,

  206. Thanks Jim, very helpful blog. My goal this month is to find an online service that with which I can create a portfolio website and have that company fulfill my orders for paper prints, picture framing and gallery wraps. After reviewing and finding what I believe was the best option, Zenfolio, I was told that the their suggested vendor to use for fulfillment in the USA is MPIX PRO which is owned by Miller’s. When I look at the MPIX Pro and Miller’s websites, both require photographs to be uploaded and profiled in sRGB. Even though they don’t use inkjet for the majority of printing. They use wet process for prints on e-paper and Fuji Pearl. Doesn’t this mean they are converting profiles again to CMYK?

  207. Thanks Jim, this is very helpful. My goal this month is to find an online service with which I can create a portfolio website and have that company fulfill my orders for paper prints, picture framing and gallery wraps. After reviewing and finding what I believe was the best option, I looked at that their suggested vendor websites. They require photographs to be uploaded and profiled in sRGB. Even though they don’t use inkjet for the majority of printing. They use wet process for prints on e-paper and Fuji Pearl. Doesn’t this mean they are converting profiles again to CMYK?

    I am uncertain why my previous post was deleted. It did not appear to violate any of your policies. However, I have deleted references to specific vendors and portfolio websites. Hopefully you’ll leave this posted so I can get a response.

  208. I have been using WCW since 2011 and they have been my go to printer. They ship fast, their prices are decent and the photos are packaged well.

    I will test a couple on the list though.

  209. I’ve used mpix since I live an hour away from their lab, so shipping is impeccable. However, I haven’t been very satisfied with some of their print quality…it seems touch and go. I’ll definitely be trying PRO DPI. Very helpful, thanks!

  210. I made a drawing in Photoshop. Then I had Nations, Bay and Adoramapix print a canvas. Bayphoto had a much better quality than the rest. Next in quality was Adoramapix. Nations color quality was not too good.

  211. Being new to the professional side of photography, I was needing a fair and honest analysis of which online photo labs to use that would produce good results for clients, so thank you for giving me a good overview of where to start.

    I appreciate that you didn’t use any affiliate links on a comparison page, but a direct link to each of the companies websites would have saved me a quick Google search 🙂

    Thanks again!


  212. I cannot figure out how to order from ProDPI at all so I went with Nations, anxious to see how my son’s school pics turn out in print!

  213. Jim, Thank you for posting this, I found it very helpful. I hope you get all you invested into it in the success of the blog. I checked out ProDPI’s website and it is indeed difficult to navigate. It doesn’t matter if you are a professional photographer or an amateur, it is not intuitive. Any chance you could convince them to revamp their website? I am not sure I could use them for that reason alone.

    I would also be interested to hear how Costco stacks up against the other websites.

  214. Followup from September. A canvas costs more than prints. Some people buy oil paintings too. The price difference between Nations and Bay is small. As noted by article Bay Photo has better print quality than Nations. Customer service is hard to rate because you need a major problem at both places. I do not think Nation’s customer service is above average.

  215. Did you calibrate your computer to each of the print companies printers? If not, each of us could get different results then you.

        1. Whoops, read that wrong. Some printing companies provide their color profile for you to download and load into LR/PS so the colors match your monitor (if calibrated) and what will actually print.

  216. Thank you so much for this review. I appreciate the fact that you kept it 100% impartial.

    I’ve been with Bay Photo for years, and after reading this decided to test out ProDPI.

    Although Bay Photo is actually cheaper on the really small prints (4X6, and 5X7) anything 8X10 or larger is quite a bit cheaper at Pro-DPI…..and when I got my test prints back, my experience was the same as yours…..the print quality indeed was better than i was used to receiving from Bay Photos….so I made the switch and every order I’ve received since then has been exceptional.

    I’m a very happy camper and probably never would have tried it if I hadn’t seen this article…so again…thank you.

    I do agree with one of the previous posters that said it would have been nice to have seen Costco prints included in the mix.

    I’ve occasionally used them when something came up where I needed the prints NOW, and couldn’t wait for shipping from a big lab.

    They are quite a bit cheaper than any of the others listed here…and in my experience with them (not as scientific as what you did here) the quality has been quite a bit better than Walmart or Walgreens…but not quite on par with Bay Photo or ProDPI.

  217. Thank you for the reviews. Subscribed!

    I signed up for Pro DPI, then found out they use ROES as their only uploading method. Since I’m on neither Windows nor Mac, this is a non-starter for me. It’s why I no longer use Bay (I actually can get Bay ROES to work, but the interface is SO clunky).

  218. I should have added: I’ve been happy with what I’ve received from MPIX.

  219. Does anyone know what percentage of photos are printed in High Quality vs regular low quality?

    Thanks a lot!

  220. Pro DPI’s website was horrible to navigate through, so I’ll be going with Nations for that reason.

    1. We’ve been working hard on http://www.prodpi.com and listening to everyone’s feedback. We’re happy to say that we just relaunched our site with special attention paid to our navigation and user experience. Give it a look! If you are still experiencing any problems, please let us know!

  221. i use snapfish and get 4x6s for anywhere from 1 cent to 9 cents top. when i checked the prices for ProDPI, their 4×6 prints were 69 cents each. How did you get that they are cheaper? I would love to use them because snapfish quality is not great, but i can’t at that price. thanks for any help.

    1. I don’t understand how Pro DPI got the best price either. I have used Mpix and you can get 4×6 prints from them and their quality is outstanding. I just went and signed up with Pro DPI because of this article saying it was the best quality and best price but I didn’t see any product on there that was less than Mpix. Would love to know how they came up with Pro DPI having the best price.

      1. Pricing for 4×6 wasn’t compared in this article. Per the article “We ordered 5 prints from the labs. The prints were in a variety of sizes from 5×7 to 11×14”
        Pro DPI had the best price for the sizes they tested.

    2. I just got my first order back from Snapfish and I’m really disappointed. I got my first 55 4×6 prints for free and just had to pay shipping. So they did come out to under $.10 each. They cropped and over saturated most prints. Even though they were cheap I now have to order my prinys again. Pro DPI is my next stop.

  222. Bay Photo has excellent quality products, however they are on the expensive side.

  223. I would like an updated Print quality and Price test. I’m currently in a Photography Portfolio Class at the Technical College that I attend and I’m looking for a lab to print a photo book of my portfolio photos.
    David Hastings

    1. Author

      @David Hastings – What’s wrong with the test right in front of you? I don’t see anything that looks outdated here.

  224. I’ve used Whcc and I’ve had excellent customer service. My prints all look good…by I haven’t compared them to dpi. I never was disappointed tho.

  225. I use both ProDPI and WHCC for my prints and have not found their ordering system to be difficult. They both have a ROES system. I use ProDPI more often than WHCC.

  226. I think after you take in their cost for shipping Snapfish and shutter fly gets pretty expensive. I use Nations and their shipping is $7 until your order hits 50 or more than its free. The last time I used Snapfish it’s was nearly $20 just to ship I think

  227. I got worried you guys were a bunch of accomplices to shady business practices. I tried PRODPI. They force you to add credit card info when you register and then they want you to download and install a program. Their actual software is clunky and can’t even read .tiffs. Pathetic. How is this advanced? You, improvephotography, are not being honest with this review since you don’t really seem to have any comments on the details of what this site is like.

  228. The challenge I’m finding trying to use the ProDPI website (having only used low-end consumer printing services), is what choices are normal, “down the fairway” options. Any chance you could provide the details of the options you chose for your print test?
    Thanks for such a helpful guide!!!

  229. While I have not worked with your top choice, I have had multiple orders with the following labs, and have briefly summarized my experiences:

    WHCC – Possibly my favorite lab. Customer service has always been excellent whenever I have called. Quality has always been satisfactory, but I tend to order more specialty products from them rather than traditional prints. Prices are good on sale, but otherwise in the range of normal.

    Bay Photo – Their print quality has been top notch, but their customer service could use improvement. I have had orders that did not meet published schedules, and it took a few calls to get them to respond to the delays. I am not sure if it was a one-time fluke, but the staff seemed indifferent to my need to get a product delivered in a timely manner. Prices are also good on sale, and like WHCC, otherwise in the range of normal. I wanted them to be my preferred lab, but poor customer service quickly took them out of the running except for special projects.

    Adoramapix – I normally use them for “cheap and cheerful” 11×14’s when absolute quality and a tight delivery schedule are not issues. They lost a key order, and customer service was mixed about it, but they did make good on shipping the replacement prints overnight at no charge to me. And, they did print a lay-flat book that turned out way better than expected, both in book and print quality. It is a bit hit or miss, but they are still my favorite lab for volume printing where quality is a bit less critical.

    MPIX – I have had some images printed through Zenfolio, and found their packaging of large photos to be problematic. I ordered a number of 20×30 images, and in all of the orders, the corners took damage. IMHO, it was related to how they package the photos, but they were really not interested in even discussing the issue. I have not had damaged corner issues on prints ordered from WHCC or Bay Photo, so my use of MPIX will be limited to less critical work in small sizes, and usually ordered when Zenfolio is running a sale.

    Miller’s – As the parent lab to MPIX, they seem to offer much better customer service. I ordered a number of custom books for drop shipping, and it turned out there was a bug in their layout software. They were great in getting replacement books shipped ASAP, but it did take a while for them to correct the bug, so future orders were again impacted. The books looked amazing, and the packaging was quite nice. I would use them again, but I have not found their prices to be on the lower end of the range.

    EZPrints – They are (were?) SmugMug’s house lab, and all customer service for my orders was handled by SmugMug. The quality was acceptable, but I would probably not use them for any color critical work, as their output was in the same range is MPIX and possibly Adoramapix on a good day.

    I realize that lab quality changes, and will continue to change, so finding the “best” lab is a bit of an elusive target, especially since everybody’s needs can be quite different as well. But, I tend to go to WHCC first to see if they have what I want, and then work my way down through the list from there depending on the project and budget.


  230. How is Pro DPI cheaper? And 8×12 on on Kodak Endura luster at Nations cost $1.90, Pro DPI Fuji chrystal luster cost $3.80.

  231. I don’t get the WHCC concern about print quality, and then talking about wait time on the phone. What about the print quality?
    Also, in your testing, did you have some sort of photo selection that demonstrated the gamut from the types of printing machines they may have used?

  232. I use a new company called Photo Albums Direct photoalbumsdirect.com. The printing is excellent, great prices on prints and albums, plus they have free shipping!

  233. “Please note, ProDPI only services professional photographic businesses and studios. If you are an end-user, please contact your photographer and order prints and services through them. New accounts are checked for proof of legitimate business by reviewing websites, company information, and/or reseller permit status. We reserve the right to cancel any accounts if criteria are not met.” Sounds like they are definitely not allowing normal folks to use there site.

  234. Thanks for the insightful, in-depth reviews! I’m a graphic designer and had some photos professionally taken of the family. I was appalled with my Shutterfly order and it made me wonder if all this digital nonsense was going to leave the next generation with pixelated crap for their photographic heritage – way worse than the film photos from my childhood. I can’t wait to see how my photos turn out from a legit printing site.

  235. Thank you! I am starting out and I am hired to take pictures for a soccer team soon. I took my sons team pictures and I printed them at a grocery chain, but they came out a little pixelated. I then hopped online and came across your post. I am going to try Pro DPI for this order. Thank you for the comparisons.

  236. Wish some of these labs had their websites posted. I’ve always used Snapfish, but based on their results would be interested in trying others.

  237. PRO DPI sign up still asks for a Studio name and a website and those are mandatory fields when signing up for a new account. The warning is still up on their website:

    “Please note, ProDPI only services professional photographic businesses and studios. If you are an end-user, please contact your photographer and order prints and services through them. New accounts are checked for proof of legitimate business by reviewing websites, company information, and/or reseller permit status. We reserve the right to cancel any accounts if criteria are not met.”

    What do the owners say about allowing amateurs to sign up? How can I do that on their website with no studio information?

  238. Thank you so much for this information! By any chance do you know how PASS compares to these companies? Just wondering how their quality, prices, etc compare with the rest?

  239. Just a suggestion, it may be helpful to add a publication date for your articles. Your review was very informative and has made me aware of printing services that do not show up in other people’s lists. However things can change rapidly with management changes, capital improvements, etc. What was true when you conducted your review may no longer be true now. A publication date would be helpful.

  240. I too wish that you did an update on this. Things can and do change over time. And, I hope you test out my operation. We’re a small, niche printer, but I personally print each photo. I started printing professionally in 1975 and have managed many pro and amateur labs. Our prints are pigment based, so they do not fade so fast, and we’re small enough to handle just about any request. We do not sell anything but prints and restoration, and we focus on prints 16″x X” and smaller.

  241. After viewing the top three I saw none that had an acrylic option for wall art. Is there a reason or is this a not within their abilities

  242. I seriously think this test needs to be updated. Millers printing has recently degenerated for me, while WHCC has significantly improved. I’ve switched printers because of this. One example, I had Millers reprint a photo three times to accurately reproduce the coral color in a woman’s dress before giving up and allowing WHCC attempt it. WHCC nailed it the first time, making me and my client very happy.

  243. My clients are having trouble printing them out, saying colors are off!! They went to local photo labs, such as Walgreens. They received a cd from me and it looks great online but terrible on prints. What could be the issue? Is it me or is it the photo lab???!! HELP 🙁

    1. I’m guessing the the problem lies with the printer. I’ve had snapshots printed at walgreens and walmart and they are absolutely horrible. I started ordering prints through ProDPI when I first read Jim’s review and have been very happy with the print quality. I also have been very happy with customer service. I had a problem where I made a mistake with the sizing of the image and they replaced the print for me at no charge and even fixed the sizing issue for me. Packaging is very good too. I’ve never had a product come damaged.

      Back to your predicament, I think if you have the sizing and quality settings correct for prints the printer is the culprit. It wouldn’t hurt to check your settings though. Make sure your resolution is 300 ppi, color space should be sRGB, format should be JPEG, and quality should be 85. These should get you in the ball park. Hope this helps!

  244. I love Elcocolor.net. Especially their poster specials. Nice quality and prices.

  245. I am not sure who decided that Nations is great with customer service. They sent an enlargement to me (which was a Christmas gift) on December 21. When I opened it, I don’t recognize the family – it is not one of my photos.

    Customer Service? Non-existent. The toll-free number hangs up after three minutes saying that they have a lot of volume. The email address sends an automated response saying that someone will read the email in the future.

    I could still get a replacement photo, if they had customer service.

    I long for the days (many years ago) when Shutterfly had actual customer service support and would fix problems immediately over the phone. Those days are gone.

  246. What a great post. I’ve never had any of my photos printed at anything larger than 8×10 until now. Thanks to this post I decided to get a 30×40 printed from ProDPI as a gift to my parents for Christmas, and I was completely blown away with the quality and speed of their service. The contrast, colors and sharpness are just mind blowing. So thanks for doing all this work to compare labs, I’m very happy to have come across this, and even happier to have found my new go-to print shop. Thanks

  247. How can an amateur order prints from Pro DPI? During the sign up process they ask for a website. I do not have my own website? So, what are my options. Thanks

  248. Have you ever tried Meridian Pro? They are better than ProDPI and all the others in my opinion. My prints from all 5 or 6 labs I’ve tried and they were by far on top. Just curious if youve heard of them. Fast shipping and customer service has been superb. (I’m not affiliated in any way)

  249. The prices at ProDPI have apparently changed radically since this was written in 2013, or else there is some secret discount for non-color-corrected prints I’m not finding. Compared to Bay’s non-corrected prints they are between slightly and significantly more expensive for the sizes you tested.

  250. I didn’t read through all the comments, so I apologize for any repeat questions or comments. I’m curious if when you ordered your prints if you asked for them to be color corrected or not. I know print quality involves more than color, but since color casts can happen if your screen isn’t calibrated to the lab, I wasn’t sure if you tried to account for this by having the lab color correct. This is in no way a criticism – just a question out of curiosity.

  251. I wish I could donate a couple of dollars to you for doing this test! It is so helpful. Thanks.

  252. “After 11 years of growing ProDPI from our living room to where it is today, we have reached out to our friends at White House Custom Colour to purchase ProDPI. This will allow for us to focus on Magic Hour Foundation a non profit organization created to provide charitable photo sessions for cancer patients and their families.

    The ProDPI brand will remain within the industry and your ProDPI experiences will remain the same, including Fuji Paper, ProDPI roes, ProDPI customer service and all other products and services. In the future, ProDPI staff will help transition production to WHCC in order to benefit from the throughput, scale and expertise of their facilities and staff.”

    1. Author

      Thanks for letting me know. I’ll be anxious to test the new Pro DPI in a few months and see if quality changes.

      1. I talked with WHCC, and they said that PRODPI services will continue, but will be owned by WHCC. So, I will continue to use PROPDI.

  253. What is the best route for a consumer who just wants high quality prints of their pictures? In going to Pro DPI and Miller’s, I’m seeing that the sites are reserved for photographers. I want somewhere that will give me quality prints of my personal photos that I have taken as well as photos that I have printing rights to from a photographer. Thank you!

    1. I use PRODPI and consider myself a semi pro photographer. But PRODPI services are available to anybody who wants photos printed.

  254. question: if ProDPI is actually something that amateur photographers can use, how does one sign up for an account when the business name and website are required fields? I don’t have either a business or a business website.

    1. Author

      Just enter your facebook profile as your website and the business name as your personal name.

  255. In your review you mention Pro DPI is one of the best priced options. I went on their site and tried to order solely based on your review and it seems you left out some very important details. The only way to get the reasonably priced photos are if you resize ann your photos yourself prior to uploading. 99% of people do not do this when ordering photos online so I am perplexed as to why you left that very crucial detail out. If you want them to resize your photos (which is what all other online photo labs do automatically) the photos are absurdly priced at $.69 each for a 4×6 plus shipping. Their website required you to create an account and enter your credit card information before they will even let you browse and order. Their photo uploading software is the NOT user friendly and one of the worst I have tried. I will stick to Nations Photo Lab.

  256. Love this post! I googled this after my prints ordered from snapfish came back with horrible colors. Just got my first print from prodpi. Love it!!!

  257. I would have loved to see side by sides of all the images, so that I could see how the shutterfly compared to the pro lab. I think I’ll need to do this for my clients since they are often lured in by the free images promo or the coupon codes.

  258. Really appreciate the amount of work put into this . But as a true amateur photographer so many questions are still unanswered. I am sure you have a color-calibrated monitor. How did you do that? I know WHCC wants you to download software and use it with Photoshop. I use PD7. No go they say. I don’t even know what ROES is. So you see for an amateur who takes hundreds of pictures and frames a few and gives some as gifts I am still really picky about the quality but my brain is exploding with all the steps required to use some of these “pro” labs. I have used Shutterfly, sometimes good, sometimes not. I have used MPIX., sometimes good sometimes not. Tried to use WHCC but their email convinced me they really do focus on professionals. Okay. Maybe an article directed strictly toward amateurs like myself is in order explaining calibration, ROES, ICCC, etc.. That way I can improve all of my photography skills. And consistently end up with good prints.

  259. You might want to note that ProDPI has been bought out by WHCC! And prints are now leaving from WHCC location in MN.

  260. I tried the suggestion and ordered uncorrected sample prints from ProDpi. All I can say is thank god they were free. I got better results having it printed uncorrected from the local CVS Kodak kiosk.

    ProDpi over pushed the red and black so far that I wouldn’t even be able to adjust my monitor to that if I tried.

    The highlights on the models lipstick turned out black . Why would you send samples like that? Obviously they need to adjust their own calibration on their printer.

  261. I’m with Jason. I would love to see an update to this review especially since the top recommended printing company has been purchased by one that didn’t review as well. It would be interesting to see if the ranking has shifted over the years.

  262. I have been a ProDPI customer due to this review but unfortunately don’t trust them with my photos anymore. I sent them beautifully processed files and opted for uncorrected photos (Express proofs). They came back with a purple color cast, loss of shadow detail, and low contrast. They’re going in the trash. I too would love to see an updated review.

  263. Have been a proud ProDPI customer for about 8 years.
    Sadly, that will now change. They have sent me other photographer’s work for the last 2 orders. They did not apologize. They did not seem to care. They only wanted to know my order number so they could hurry me along to get to their “other hundred emails”.
    Gone are the days when they greeted me by name. Gone are the days when they responded quickly to phone calls and emails. I still love their print quality, and I am truly sad to have to make a different choice. The lovely print quality and the candy in the box matter little when I don’t receive my own work. And then I have to explain to clients, deal with the delays and take the losses on my end to retain my valuable clientele. I don’t think my clients will be happy to have a stick of candy instead of their images. Time to experiment with a new lab.
    Thank you for this article. I found more truth in the comments than I found on the phone with ProDPI. Sad. Now I know that WHCC owns ProDPI, it appeared that *both* labs are off the table for me, as either way…the quality control for packaging and processing orders is seemingly non existent.

  264. I’m not understanding where the prints are being proofed to see the vistaprint site. I only see info on real estate just by glancing? Where can I find their pricing for prints on visual art

  265. i would love an update on this as well. things change so much! i havent noticed a difference in my photos from shutterfly but i havent compared them either!
    i was going to check out proDPI but with the comments here, i might not bother until i hear an update or something.

  266. Can you comment on metal prints and the best lab to get them done? Thank you for the information.

  267. Thanks for this.

    As an aside: I used AdoramPix over the holidays and they were just OK. On the websitevthey noted that they do color correction but didn’t notice that my black and white photos had a pick hue to them. When I emailed them, after they solicited me to send feedback, I asked about this and got no reply.

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