Photo Printing Experiment

This particular debate has been going on for years, so I decide it was time to do a test! Where is the best place to have your photos printed?

It’s not just about the price, but also the quality, the colours, ease of ordering, and delivery speed. There was only one way to find out who was the best.

I asked on my Instagram who you used to print your photos, you were all honest and admitted to Tesco, Boots, and the FreePrints app. Currently, if you order from one of my online galleries, I use a printer called Loxley Colour, so I was really interested in how they stacked up.

The Rules

I would order this photo from each of the printers. I love this image and thought it would be perfect due to all the colours and light levels.

  • I would order via each companies’ website, no 1 hour processing or kiosks, I wanted to give them each the best chance.
  • I would order them at the same time, Tuesday 1st March 2022 before noon, so pricing might be different when you order yours, but it will give you an idea.
  • I would order 6″x 4″ from each printer. Now this is a lot smaller than I would normally print a photo, but there are a few reasons:
    • All the prints had to be the same size, no point ordering different sizes from different companies.
    • Lots of you admitted to using FreePrints and getting the free prints, which is the 6″x 4″ (they have other sizes, but you have to pay for those), so figured since it’s so popular that I would try it.
    • I can fit this size easily into my scanner (an HP Deskjext2710e for you techies) for easy comparison later. EDIT: Sadly, my scanner didn’t do a great job representing these photos, so take the scans with a pinch of salt.
  • When it offered a print style, I picked “Gloss”, mainly ‘cos that’s what a few of them offered so I decided to go with the most popular finish.

Let the experiment begin!

FreePrints App

OK, I’m going to sound like an old grump, but ordering from my phone was a bit of a faff, but that’s probably ‘cos my phone is so full, that I had to delete old stuff before I could put this photo on it to then upload to the app. Yep, I sound old.

But honestly, the app was super easy to use, and because it was my first order, I didn’t even have to pay postage so the cost was £0.00

Delivery only took 3 days, so really impressive.

Hands up, I was expecting this to be rubbish, but I’m not mad at it. OK, they have bumped up the saturation a lot, and the paper quality is very very thin, but what was I expecting from a free print.

Loxley Via A Lotus Photograph Gallery

Immediately, yep, I’m biased, I ordered through my own gallery, so of course, I think it’s easy.

This is a premium printer, so there is a big price difference. It was £4 for the print, plus £4.85 for postage, making the total £8.85.

It arrived the next day, which if you’re paying that much for postage, you’d want speedy delivery.

Paper quality, this felt the nicest, it had some weight to it. I also felt the colours looked the closest to the original image (you really can’t tell on these scans, you’ll have to trust me).

Tesco

Lots of you admitted to using Tesco, so I was intrigued whether the photos were really good or if it was about those Clubcard points.

Ordering was pretty simple. The cost of the photo was only 35p with £2.25 postage, so really cheap.

I can’t comment on the speed of delivery, as my postie delivered it to my neighbour who was away for a week, so no idea when it arrived.

As for the print…the less said the better. Why is it so dark? What happened to the colours?

Boots

Even I used to use Boots back in the day, so I was excited to see how they looked now.

Ordering was simple, and it was actually cheaper than Tesco with the print being 15p and delivery £2.25

Photo arrived within 3 days, so the speed was great.

The paper isn’t as thin as FreePrints, but it still doesn’t have a lot of weight to it. The photo, to me, looks slightly green and orange in places. It’s not bad, but you can spot the difference.

My Honest Opinion

As I already mentioned, my scanner did a terrible job representing these photos, but you can probably guess, I won’t be using Tesco again for photos.

Boots was……OK.

Truthfully, for me, the quality, the colours, the delivery, and the range of products available, Loxley took the crown. Yes, I know, I sound beyond biased, but it’s true. Even holding the photos, you can feel the difference instantly. You know these prints are going to last, and that’s what you want with your wedding photos and family portraits, something which will stand the test of time.

Especially with larger print sizes, the quality and accuracy with colours really does start to show, smaller sizes are more forgiving for cheaper prints. As someone who prints A4 images and up (I love a good collage wall with good size prints), I need the quality and the colours to be there. I don’t want my friends and family looking orange when they’re printed that large.

Second place, I award to FreePrints, which did surprise me. Yes, the colour is off, and the paper is thin, but I think it comes down to what you plan to do with your print.

For me, FreePrints is a great option if you want silly photos of your mates to stick on your fridge. Those photos where you don’t mind if they don’t last a lifetime, quality is less of an issue, but you still want to display them because they make you happy. I’m not sure I would trust them with a larger print (the colour difference would annoy me), but for a free 6″x 4″, I can get past it and just enjoy looking at a fun photo.

But what do you think? Would you spend more on a print to ensure the quality?

*Disclaimer time*

This is all based on my humble opinion. I’m not sponsored, I spent my own money doing it, and this is not an advert. This was an experiment about something I have been curious about for a while. If nothing else, it proves I need to upgrade my scanner.

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