Where is the best place to get photo enlargements and poster prints?

Summer fun with Uncle Will (photo by czh  CC-BY)

Summer fun with Uncle Will (photo by czh CC-BY)

Sales of digital cameras have exploded in the last ten years and people are taking many more pictures with their digital cameras than they took on film. The immense growth in amateur photography has also increased the number of digital photos printed. This growth in digital printing has been significant but not enough to make up for the loss in volume from prints from film cameras. Part of the reason is that not fully made up the loss prints made from film. Amateur photographers are taking more photos than ever but they no longer print all of them. The ease of uploading photographs from your camera to photo sharing sites on the web makes it possible to view and exchange photos without having to print them.

Digital photo processing companies are aggressively pursuing new product offerings to increase profits from the digital camera revolution. You can now have your photos printed on assorted products that mimic branded promotional corporate goodies like cups, t-shirts, mouse pads, key chains and even postal stamps. You can get your photos enlarged in various formats and sizes. You can make your own calendars, albums and coffee table books. The digital photo processing stores, both in stores and online, are eager to have you print your photo as something other than the standard 4 x 6 snapshot.

It has gotten very easy to make enlargement of your photos in assorted sizes. You can print enlargements at home but you might prefer to have a professional lab do it. If you want a photo bigger than 8 x 10 your have to turn to a photo processing lab. You have two options for doing this. You can order them from your local retail store or from one of the online photo sharing sites. Alternatively, you can use a lab that is targeted to the professional photographer.

Photo processing labs directed at the casual photographer offer a short list of standard sizes and finishes. They’re sometimes classified into standard prints, enlargements and posters. There is tremendous competition for this huge market and offering a limited range of standard size, finish and style photo prints makes it possible to offer low prices for all photo enlargements and posters.

Digital Photos 101 has a report on The Best Online Photo Processors – Digital Printing Services. The list shows which labs were evaluated and the various sizes of prints they offer.

Print Sizes: 4×6, 5×7, 8×10, wallet (4)

Print Sizes: 4×6, 5×7, 8×10, wallet (4), 11/14, 16/20, 20×30

Kodak EasyShare Gallery
Print Sizes: 4×6, 5×7, 8×10, wallet (4), 11×14, 16×20, 20×30 poster sized prints

Print Sizes: 3.5×5, 4×6, 5×7, wallets, 8×10, 11×14

Wal-Mart Photo Center
Print Sizes: 4×6, 5×7, 8×10, wallet (8), posters 11×14 up to 24×36, and true digital prints
Postage labels are 1.9″ wide and 1.4″ tall, and the image area is 1.1″ wide and 1.1″ tall.

Print Sizes: wallet, 4×6, 5×7 ,8×10, 11×14, 16×20, 18×24, 20×24, 20×30
Non-standard prints and enlargement. 4.5 x 6 digital full-frame, 5×5, 8×8, 12×12, 24×24, and 24×36.
“REALLY LARGE PRINTS” up to 44×120.

DotPhoto – best photo sharing
Print Sizes: 3×5, 4×6, 5×7, 8×10, 11×14
Posters from 12×18 up to 48×48 are available.

Print Sizes: 4×6, 5×7, 8×10, index print
Posters available in 11×14, 12×18, 16×20, 20×30

Top Ten Reviews compares the following fourteen companies in its yearly evaluation for its 2009 Digital Photo Printing Review Comparisons in rank order

1. Snapfish
2. York Photo
3. Clark Color
4. Shutterfly
5. Winkflash
6. Walgreens Photo Center
7. Kodak Gallery
8. CVS Pharmacy
9. PhotoWorks
10. Wal-Mart
11. Sam’s Club Digital Photo Center
12. Costco Photo Center
13. RitzPix
14. Mpix

Photo processing labs directed at the professional and/or industrial or commercial photographer offer many more options. You can choose from a virtually unlimited variety of sizes, styles and finishes.

Here is a short list of companies offering photo processing services for the professional or highly skilled amateur.

Nations Photo Lab

Bay Photo Lab

Diversified Lab

PhotoArt Imaging

Reed Photo Imaging

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