Tried and tested – photo printing
Even in this digital age, nothing beats the look and feel of a real photograph – it becomes a tangible memory for us to keep. With many different ways to print photographs – from portable printers to apps and shops – there really is no excuse not to do so.
Max Spielmann, maxphoto.co.uk
For pics in a hurry, Max Spielmann’s one-hour service is ideal. Available in-store, or order online and pick up at your local Max Spielmann, some of which are located in Tesco and Asda stores. When placing the order online simply upload your pics, choose your size and edit accordingly. Editing options are simple and limited to cropping and choosing landscape or portrait. For one-hour service, choose Click & Collect; home delivery is available for the seven-day service. Prices range from 55p for 1-25 6in x 4in prints to £7 for each 12in x 8in photo. Once ordered, you’ll receive a confirmation email, followed by another when the prints are ready – ours were within 40 minutes. The pictures are available only in gloss but the quality is good.
Cewe Photoworld, cewe-photoworld.com
If you’ve had professional pics taken or you’re a dab hand with the camera and want to print your favourites, this website is worth exploring. It offers a wide variety of printing options including the Fine Art Matte Photo Prints, which start at £4.99. Printed on the best-quality thick paper – matt with a textured finish – the colours and detail are replicated beautifully. You can choose to create online or by downloading software. When creating online, it’s just a case of uploading your pics and editing accordingly. You do need to create an account to complete the order, though it takes only a few minutes and keeps you updated via email of the status of progress. Our prints took just under a week to arrive and were worth the wait.
Asda Photo, asda-photo.co.uk
This service is great value and extremely easy to use – prints start at 5p for 6in x 4in. To use, create an account and upload photos via a simple system that adds them to your account. Once you’ve uploaded, the programme will indicate the best size according to the quality of your picture. If it deems the resolution is not high enough for a certain size, then a warning symbol will appear next to that option – this is to stop your photos from appearing fuzzy when printed so do take its advice. Editing can be fun to experiment with by cropping or altering the image to sepia or black and white, and selecting a gloss or matt finish. Place your order and wait up to seven days for your pics. Ours took just two days and we were extremely happy with the service, quality and price.
Kodak Photo Printer Dock PD-450, £119.99, amazon.co.uk
If you want the convenience of printing your photos and are happy with the standard 6in x 4in size, then the Kodak Photo Printer is ideal. It’s incredibly easy to set up – after you load the cartridge, which holds all the colour, you snap the loaded paper tray into place. The printer’s compact design makes it seem portable, but it doesn’t have a battery so needs to be plugged in. To print pictures from your phone, download Kodak’s Printer Dock app, which lets you browse your phone’s gallery. It can also connect to your social media accounts and email should you want to print from there. Then attach your phone via the docking port (it’s compatible with both iOS and Android). You can also attach your digital camera via a lead or Wi-Fi. There are lots of editing options: you can adjust brightness, rotate, crop, apply filters, decorate with stickers, numbers, letters, hearts, and add text with a variety of fonts and colours. It will even make a collage of your pics for you. After pressing ‘print’, in roughly a minute your pic will be ready, coated with a preservation overcoat in a good enough quality to display. The unit comes with one colour cartridge and ten sheets of paper; replacements of both (together) can be bought from Amazon from £17.99 for one cartridge and 40 sheets.
Best for gifts
Forget printing on mouse mats, mugs or T-shirts – The Sugar Shed takes your photos to a whole other level by printing them on to pieces of sustainably sourced hardwood, mainly ash. Each piece is hand-finished – in its Lake District studio – before it leaves The Sugar Shed, and as the grain of every tree is completely different, each piece of wood is unique. Also, as it doesn’t print with white ink, the grain of the wood shows through. We tested The Squares – four squares with a natural frame measuring 20cm x 20cm x 2cm. Ordering is straightforward: choose your product and upload your image – just be sure to use photos without ‘busy’ backgrounds (professional photos work particularly well). At this point, you can also insert any instructions, add words or dates or whatever you like to each photo. It is a personalised service so if the designers feel a photo you have chosen may not work, or are unsure about any instructions, they will call or send an email to make sure you’re completely happy before they proceed with the order. Once everyone is happy, your completed items are then posted out. Delivery is free to UK mainland addresses and took 14 days from confirmed order. The end result was stunning. It would make a fabulous wedding or christening gift and we loved that it arrived ready to gift or hang.