Photo Printing Options

As scrapbookers we have one thing in common – we take photographs. Lots and lots of photographs. Remember, we started this journey of scrapbooking to have a safe place to keep our pictures and memories. So I thought it would be a great time to talk about printing options.

Back in the Old Days

It doesn’t seem all that long ago to me that I received my first camera. That was one of the best Christmas presents I got as a kid. I still remember ripping off the paper to reveal the box of my new Kodak 110 camera kit. It had everything…camera, a pack of flash bulbs (remember those), film and a carrying bag.

I took that camera on choir tour, to baseball games and on family vacations. The prints were smaller, almost square shaped with rounded corners. I loved having that camera – it was lightweight and easy to carry in a pocket or purse. Unless you needed the flash bulbs for night or indoor shots. Those were tall and sat upright on the camera. What a nightmare to carry around!

Kodak 110 with flash

Sending Out Your Film

OK, you took all of the photos on your roll of 12 or 24 prints now it was time to send out the film to be developed. I used to take mine to either the grocery store a block from my house or Gemco (this was before Target). You filled out the envelope, added in your roll of film and dropped it in the box. Then you waited. And waited some more. It could take up to two weeks or longer to get your prints back.

It was one of the best feelings opening up that envelope to look at the pictures I had taken. I will admit to not being the best photographer as a fifteen year old. Some of the photos were cut off, a few blurry and then there were some gems. Oh what a feeling it was to see a print I didn’t even recall taking!

There were also a few times where none of the photos turned out. Either user error (uh, me) or the film was defective. That was always the worst feeling. Especially if it was a special event or holiday, not that big of a loss if it was just everyday teenage life. But a concert, birthday or Christmas, now that was heartbreaking.

Evolving Technology

As the years went by, cameras evolved into digital technology. I loved the idea of being able to see in the moment how the image looked. I could retake them if they were blurry or if the lighting was bad, turn on the flash. Oh, I loved how the flash was built into the camera. No more separate slash bulbs to buy! No more film – a little SD card would hold lots and lots of images that I could now download to my computer. I was able to delete really bad photos and edit and crop to get the best final result.

After the images were downloaded, edited and saved, it was time to get them printed. Most stores that had a photo department were offering one hour processing. They could develop the prints right there in the store and be ready for you to pick up in about an hour. No more waiting two weeks to get your pictures back.

Printing Partners


I am fortunate that I have a family member that works for Walgreens. I usually get my large orders printed there when they have a good sale. It’s usually about .10 a print with a minimum order of 75 or 100. As an employee we get a discount on top of that which brings it down to .07 a print. The quality is really good right now since they have upgraded the machine they use. The colors are rich and vibrant and the prints are clear. This is the printing option I use whenever we have lots of photos from a vacation or event.


I gave Shutterfly a try last year when I had an offer for a photo book and prints. I wasn’t very impressed with the quality of the prints. The colors didn’t seem very saturated and bright to me compared to the Walgreens prints. However, the photo book was amazing. The colors were good, the pages were thick quality and it was bound beautifully. I will definitely order a picture book from them again, but probably not prints.

Other Options to Try

Since I have not tried these companies I can not give a review of their quality. However, I do want to list other options in case you would like to try them or have a location near you.

Local Sites/Stores – CVS Walmart Rite Aid Costco

Online Developers – Snapfish Persnickety Prints

At Home Printing

What do you do if you want a print now, you don’t have 100 ready to be printed to get the sale price but you really want to scrapbook a photo you just took? I kept running into this issue. I had just taken a great photo, the story I want to tell is fresh and I have an idea for a layout. Great…I only have seven prints in the folder to send to Walgreens.

This is when I decided to get a printer that only prints photographs. I researched them all until I decided on one that I felt best fit my needs. Since we had been very happy with the all in one printer from the same company I felt confident this was my best choice.

Canon SELPHY CP1300

I chose the Canon Selphy for my at home printing. When I factored in the cost per 4×6 print, it was just a little less than ordering one print at a time at Walgreens. But now I had options. I could print 4×6 or I could print two 3×4 on one print. I could do a collage of prints, border or no border. The options were now giving me more freedom and I felt more creative when scrapbooking since I wasn’t just tied to 4×6 prints.

I keep my printer on my desk so that it is always ready to print. I have ordered the refill kit for 108 prints and the quality has been just has good as the sample pack that comes with the printer. The prints are waterproof and the color is put down on the paper by a color ribbon. It turns out that is the same technology that Walgreen uses to develop prints.

I have downloaded on my phone two different apps to get the size prints I want on the 4×6 paper. My favorite app is the Project Life App by Becky Higgins. I learned how to use the app by watching Shimelle! The second app is PicFrame. I have found it a little bit harder to use than the Project Life app, but it does work.

Choosing What Works for You

In the end, it all comes down to what works best for you and your needs. Yes, having a Canon Selphy is a bit more expensive since you have to purchase the printer. Having the option to print as you scrapbook is very convenient. Taking a picture on your phone and printing it in a few minutes to give to someone, that is wonderful.

Just getting back from the trip of a lifetime and having a thousand or more photos on your SD card, pick a store or online developer to download your order to.

Whatever way you choose to go, in the end the photographs will be saved and cherished in your scrapbooks for years to come. I just love this hobby so much, thanks for joining me as I share my love of this hobby!

Happy Scrapping!

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