Digital photos are easy to take, great to share on social media, and of course remain free. But, there's nothing quite like having a printed photo in your hands or even in a bound book. They're a great gift for family members, friends or anyone with whom you want to share pictures of your adventures together. Plus, you can keep them on the fridge or your office wall without needing a fancy digital frame or nailing up an iPad.
Here’s our pick of the best photo printing services that allow you to persevere your memories without hassle. If you haven't photographed the big event yet, you might also like to check out the best deals on cameras right now.
Photobox is one of the best-known photo printing companies in the UK and Europe, although it ships worldwide. Alongside photos it also offers personalised calendars, canvas prints, cards, mugs, and of course photobooks.
Prices start from £0.09/$0.12 each for standard 6x4 prints or £0.11/$0.15 if you prefer the premium option that uses higher grade paper and comes in a protective box. You can move up to 7x5 for £0.19/$0.25 plus there's the option to use a variety of larger formats, topping out at 15x10 for £2.50/$3.30.
Photobox also offers square prints for Instagram-style images, 'retro' prints that look like they were taken on a Polaroid instamatic, photobooth strips, posters and collages.
Its selection of photobooks is impressive. From the 13.7 x 13.7cm Little Moments book that starts at 24 images, through A4 landscape-format yearbooks, specialised offerings for parents, romance, and there's even the ability to create storybooks for little children by using your own artwork.
If you want a coffee-table style tome, then there's the luxurious A4 Pro Lay Flat which not only features a special binding that allows the book to open easily and stay that way on a table but also has a personalised spine, extra-thick paper, and presentation box.
If you’re not confident in creating the photobook yourself, there’s the Photobox Easy Create software, which makes putting together your album very simple indeed. Just choose the style, answer a few questions, then Photobox will do all the work for you. If you’re happy with the results you can order the book as is or use the editing tools to fine tune the whole thing.
One of the best deals around at the moment, in terms of photo printing, has to be FreePrints. As the name suggests, the service will print your photos for free, up to a maximum of 45 per month, and all you pay for is the postage.
Ah, you might be thinking, but that postage is probably incredibly expensive isn't it? Well, no. The maximum amount you'll ever pay is £3.99 and every month the limit resets and you're allowed another batch of photos, making it over 500 free per year.
So how does it make money? Well, the free prints are 6x4 inches but FreePrints offers a range of sizes and finishes, all of which cost extra. You're still able to order the 45 free ones if you choose, but we think the idea is that after a while you might want to upgrade, at which point FreePrints will make more of a profit than if might have from the postage allowance.
Whatever the case, it's a great way to get those images off of your phone and onto paper.
Note that you'll need to use either the Android or iOS app to use FreePrints: you can't upload photos from a laptop.
If you're primarily interested in photobooks and live in the US, then take a look at Mixbook as it offers a vast choice of styles. There's also a new UK store, so the company caters for both sides of the ocean.
You can select from over 450 templates, with landscape, portrait or square formats, many of which allow you to have soft or hardcovers, dust jackets, and even leather.
Whether it’s for a wedding, a memorable vacation, recording the efforts of a sports team, or a simple collection of memories for a family, Mixbook will have something for you.
Prices start at around £15.99/$15.99 plus shipping for photobooks, but there's also a selection of cards, posters, calendars and canvas prints that you can use to brighten up your home.
Bonus Print is a name that was a regular feature on British high streets for many years. Whereas the demand for printing photos may have diminished somewhat, the company still offers a wide range of options, plus the creation of Photobooks.
Like Photobox and others on this list, Bonus Print has plenty of choice when it comes to photo prints. Sizes start 4x4 and cost £0.07/$0.09 each, but you can also opt for 5x5, 6x5,7x5 or poster sized prints if you prefer. There's also the retro-style, which resembles old Polaroids, which can also include different colours for the surround rather than the traditional white.
You can add professional features like borders for an additional cost, and the prints all come in either matte or gloss.
It's not only smaller photos available though, as you can order wall-art sized prints that come on photo paper, canvas, aluminium or even use acrylic paint.
On the photobook side, prices start at £9.99/£13.20. You can build your album and make it your own by selecting the type of cover, binding, the paper used, and of course the layout of all the images. The service offers either an offline editor that you download to your PC or there’s an online one if you prefer to keep things in the cloud. There’s even a smartphone app so you can make your photobook while on the bus or on your lunchbreak.
If you’re looking for choice, then Snapfish is hard to beat. Alongside the normal photo print sizes, you'll find posters, panoramas, polaroid-style, instagram squares, photobooth strips, collages and others.
It doesn't end there though, as you can take your favourite images and have them printed on canvas posters, beach towels, blankets, mugs, flower pots, cushions, and even phone cases for iPhones and Samsung Galaxy devices.
When it comes to photobooks, Snapfish has a great range of sizes and styles. There’s the large 15.5 x 11in landscape hardbacks that cost around £43/$57, down to the 6 x 4in Landscape style that is a more affordable £7.99/$10.
As you’d expect, there's a wide selection of templates available – more than 100 in fact – that cover new babies, weddings, travel, family, Christmas, and general collections.
Another USA-based service sees the world’s most popular shop branch out into printing. Amazon now offers the option to create your own photobook with prices starting from $13.99. Simply upload a selection of images into the online interface, make sure the layout matches your taste, then your order will be dispatched.
There are also various sizes of photo prints you can order, whether on a selection of papers, acrylic or metal. There's also offerings for posters, mousemats, blankets, mugs, and cards.
It’s true that the number of options available doesn’t quite match up to most of the dedicated services, but if you like to keep your shopping all in one place then Amazon is one of the most trusted brands out there.
It’s uncertain if the service will be offered outside the US anytime soon, but Amazon does have a tendency to expand its markets, so we wouldn’t be surprised to find it on the shores of the UK at some point in the future.