Taking photos with your digital camera and viewing them on your computer screen is fun. Sometimes you’d like to make hardcopies of your photos. One of the easiest ways to print your photos is by using an online photo printing service. In this article we will give you some tips for saving money when using such services.
Most of the services work in the same way: once you uploaded your photos to the site you can choose which photos to print at what size what kind of paper and in how many copies. Printing and shipping prices vary between sites. There are a few ways in which you can save money on your printing orders:
Get free prints
Many printing services offer free prints for new customers. For example when registering with Shutterfly you will receive 15 free prints. Use this and get free prints from many sites. If every site gives you around 20 free prints you can register to ten sites and accumulate 200 free prints. One word of caution: most sites will provide you with free prints but will still charge you for shipping. Always make sure to compare the total cost to the alternative of printing on other sites. Sometimes free prints will be more expensive then non-free prints at another site just because of high shipping charges.
The competition among the printing sites is harsh. Some sites are trying to promote their services and provide discounts by using special coupon codes. Some of the coupons are publicly advertised but many are emailed by the sites only to its current customers for future orders. For example at the time of this writing Snapfish offered 20% off its photo balls prints. There are sites such as http://www.printrates.com that aggregate such coupons and let users post and look for coupons. A good advice is to always check for coupons before you order prints investing just a few minutes looking for coupons can save you 20% and more.
Some sites provide discounts or free prints to customers who refer new customers. If you like the service provided by a photo printing site simply let your friends know about it and ask them to mention you as a referrer if they decide to register and order prints from the site. In this way you can enjoy both helping your friends by recommending a good photo printing site and getting some discounts or free prints.
Do testing at home
If you order expensive prints like enlargements you can save some money by printing trial prints at home. For example if you are planning to print a 20X30 poster you can first print a low quality on your home printer. If the page size is more than what is supported by your printer you can print a few sections and tape them together. Then look at the poster to make sure it is worth printing try to make it as real as possible place the poster at the destined location and look at it from the distance you plan to look at it from. Make sure the resolution is good enough and that it looks as expected. If you’re happy with the results go ahead and order the print. Enlargements can cost tens of dollars, by printing a cheap version at home you can save the agony of spending that money just to find out the poster does not really fit or does not look good.
Printing a large quantity of photos is usually cheaper on a per photo calculation than printing small orders. Some sites provide discounts for large orders and some sites provide a fixed shipping cost that when spread over a large quantity of prints results in a cheaper shipping cost per photo. For these reason it is always better to aggregate your printing orders and to send one big order rather than a few small ones. For example if you have some photos to print but you also know that you will have more photos to print in a week from now and if you are not in a hurry to get your prints it would be cheaper to wait and send all photos together.