WHITEFISH BAY – Remember when you took your film to a store and waited for your photos to develop? Most of us just do it on our phones. But which smartphone app gives you the most bang for your buck when it comes to photo printing? Contact 6 takes a closer look.
These days, the camera in the hands of photographer Terri Hart-Ellis is pointed in the direction of her new puppy.
“Mykonos, Myko, we call him, and he’s been with us for about three weeks. That’s what most of my wrap is right now,” Hart-Ellis said.
So Contact 6 asked Hart-Ellis if we could use their photo collection to test five photo printing apps. The include:
We placed the same order with all five apps – for one 8×10 image, one 5×7, and two 4×6 images.
We started the comparison by checking the ease of use of the different apps. We haven’t had any issues with Shutterfly, Postalpix, or Freeprints. Hart-Ellis finds the layouts easy to understand – and we were ordering in minutes.
With Snapfish, we struggled to roll up our order. Despite some attempts, the application did not download our photos. When we tried again the next day, the app worked great.
Hart-Ellis also had issues with Mpix on his iPad. The app worked best on her phone, but again she wasn’t uploading her photos.
“I’m surprised that a little jpg takes so long,” Hart-Ellis said.
We tried again later – and the order went through.
Comparing the costs, Freeprints is the cheapest at under $ 6. Shutterfly is the most expensive at over $ 12. We intentionally avoided promo codes – and there were plenty of them.
Freeprints is the exception – saying it doesn’t run promotions – instead focusing on everyday low prices.
Our prints started arriving within three days. Postalpix and Snapfish tied for the fastest delivery. Mpix and Shutterfly arrived in seven days. The freeprints took the longest – arriving in eight days.
We noticed small differences between the prints almost immediately.
“I definitely see more contrast and clarity in this print,” Hart-Ellis said.
The differences are most evident in 8×10 images – especially when it comes to color. You can see that the backgrounds of Shutterfly, Snapfish, and Freeprints images are clearer and their colors more vivid than Postalpix and Mpix images.
Hart-Ellis said his least favorite app was Freeprints, pointing out the quality of the paper and slight differences in color.
The CEO of Freeprints told Contact 6 that a quality complaint is rare – and their printing equipment is top notch.
“I’m not surprised the print quality is a little different. But I’m surprised someone considers it to be anything less than their favorite,” said Roger Bloxberg of Freeprints.
So which app would Hart-Ellis use again?
“Rising to the top is Shutterfly, based on color and contrast,” Hart-Ellis said.
Judging the quality between images is a matter of opinion. Hart-Ellis said to her that the outcome of her prints is more important than the cost or time it takes for the photos to arrive.
Contact 6 reached out to all app companies to comment on this story, but only two responded. Read Mpix’s full statement below:
The Miller family of photo labs (Miller’s Professional Imaging, MpixPro, and Mpix) is the largest professional lab organization in the United States and has proudly served professional and amateur photographers since 1968. We print exclusively on professional grade papers and employ a highly experienced team that individually corrects every image that comes through our doors. Our culture is built on a commitment to quality and we hold ourselves to an extremely high standard. Most prints we reject for minimal flaws would be completely undetectable for the untrained eye. We run regular print tests with our competitors and the difference in quality greatly favors our finished product. In addition to our internal testing, we survey every customer who places an Mpix order. With over 37,000 opinions gathered over the past two and a half years, we have r Received over 33,000 5-star reviews for our print quality. We highly value the opinions of our customers and primarily monitor their feedback to find areas where we can seek improvement. “