Drug Store Prints…Yay or Nay?!

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I’ve been seeing lots of conversation on Facebook about the quality of “drug store” photo prints vs professional prints. From what I’m reading, most of the complaints are about certain companies. So, it made me wonder…where are the best places to get awesome photos without breaking the bank? Are there any tricks and tips professional photographers use? Hmmmm…

I should first say that I believe results are based on location and on user experience. My full time job is with a large Canadian retailer and at my store location I work in the photo department…so I have a little experience. I am by no means a professional…this post is based on my opinion and experiences, nothing more! 🙂

Since I’ve admitted I’m not an expert, if you came here hoping to see what a real, live professional photographer has to say about the subject check out this post. It’s really well written and gives a ton of insight into some things I would never know…or even think to look for!

Ok! So…here goes! There are a few things I see happen on a regular basis in the photo department at my day job. As a customer, please understand that when you get photos printed at a “drug store” you will more-than-likely not end up with professional quality prints. Customers must also understand that employees are not miracle workers. We can not make that guy in the background disappear or turn your 60 year old 4×6 black and white photo into a color 11×17 without loosing the details. As well, the employee and the photo equipment are not able to read minds. Just because you THINK you would like a 2×2 print, if the smallest photo the equipment can produce is 4×6 and you choose 4×6…you will get a 4×6. This is not the employees fault and does not mean the equipment is “crap”. ALWAYS remember, photo employees are people too! Ok…rant over!! 🙂

There are a couple of tips I’d like to mention. First…depending on the settings of your camera, photos may look great on the computer but they, in fact, may not be true 4×6, 5×7, etc. Always check to be sure photos are not being cropped at the photo kiosk. The process is different for each type of kiosk however, always click on the “edit” button. It’s here that you can see any cropping that may occur. Second…NEVER choose “color correct”. This will ensure your photos stay as close to the original as possible. Third…talk to your “drug store” photo employee about what you may need or expect. Depending on the system, employees are able to make some changes to photos. Other changes MUST be made directly at the kiosk. Don’t be afraid to ask questions…they are there to help!

Until next time…happy printing!! 🙂

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