Online Photo Developers Comparison

Email  Print Print  

I’ve always thought developing photos online was tricky because you don’t get the opportunity to look at your film prints before you pay for them. If you go to a Costco or FotoHunt, you always look at the prints and have the option of discarding the ones that came out badly. Also, with online printers you don’t have the option of discard bad prints that turned out worse than what you anticipate from the screen. The only advantage of an online print house is in really in price (lower overhead) so I signed up for all the trial programs (except Winkflash) to see how they stacked up against each other in terms of quality. In this review, I’ll compare most of the major online photo printers against each other and some brick & mortar shops.

Rank Vendor # free rolls free S+H $/print $/p bulk
1 Snapfish (HP) 20 1 $1.49 $0.19 $0.15
2a ShutterFly 15 0 $1.79 $0.25 $0.19
2b Ofoto (Kodak) 10 1 $1.49 $0.29 N/A
3 Winkflash 0 0 $0.99 $0.12 $0.12
4 Walmart 0 0 n/a $0.19 ???
5 Target (Kodak) 0 0 n/a $0.29 $0.25

Snapfish: (recently acquired by Hewlett Packard)
Snapfish has great prices, beats the other major online-only printers (Shutterfly and Ofoto), and only lags behind Winkflash, which has no free prints to let you see their quality. Snapfish also frequently has offers where you can get more than the 20 free prints. I’ve used Snapfish and their print quality has been superior to all others in my personal opinion, but it’s all subjective and that’s what the trial is for.

Shutterfly prints are a little pricier and they recently dropped them to be more competitive but they still are the most expensive. I put them neck and neck with Ofoto…

Ofoto: (renamed Kodak Gallery)
Is there much of a difference between Ofoto and Shutterfly? Not really, we’re talking 2a and 2b here with similar pricing.

By far the cheapest but with no free trial period, there’s no way to tell how good they are. Sixteen cents a piece for a crappy print is not a deal, but I haven’t tried them so they could blow away the competition. I believe the pricing is a strategy to help capture market share but a free trial would be nice to help bring folks over from other photo printers.

Walmart, Target, etc:
I’ve gotten prints at Target (it’s actually just a kiosk setup by Kodak and Target isn’t involved in its operation) but never at Walmart. If you like Walmart prints, it’s the best place to go pricewise. Personally, I thought the Target/Kodak prints were awful. I had the same photo printed out at each online vendor and then Target (which often has free photo coupons) and the Target/Kodak prints were terrible. I also was chastized by the employee for using the coupon.


If you have a brick and mortar store who makes good prints, it is usually worth it to get your prints there because of time and shipping. However, if everyone around you stinks, give each of the trials a try. It’ll cost you very little per print (you only pay shipping) and you can see which one you like the most. Also, many of them allow you to develop a roll of film for free so if you have some disposable cameras lying around you could find out what’s on them (that’s what I did, but I didn’t use those prints as a comparison, that’d horrifically unfair).

This data should be pretty accurate, if it isn’t please let me know and I’ll update it. And if you have any experiences (positive or negative) with any of the these vendors, please let everyone know by leaving a note. Thanks!

{ 10 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

Related Posts

RSS Subscribe Like this article? Get all the latest articles sent to your email for free every day. Enter your email address and click "Subscribe." Your email will only be used for this daily subscription and you can unsubscribe anytime.

10 Responses to “Online Photo Developers Comparison”

  1. FMF says:

    Great post! I’m in the market for a new digital camera and developing isn’t far behind. Very timely indeed!

  2. J says:

    I have tried quite a few different services and found WinkFlash to be the best. The print quality is great and they offer several extras like: choice of a white boarder, custom message printing on the back of the prints (different message for each print, if you want) and a choice of either glossy or matt. I’m sure others have had different experiences, but I couldn’t be more pleased with WinkFlash. And they are fast – I uploaded about 90 pictures one evening at about 10:00PM and when I checked my email the next morning, there was a message indicating they had already shipped – and I got them in 2 days.

  3. jim says:

    I hadn’t tried Winkflash but the border and, especially, the custom message are nice perks.

  4. sean says:

    …because you don’t get the opportunity to look at your prints before you pay for them.

    Had me confused there for a sec – I thought ‘Why would you send all your shots in – just send in the good ones!’, and then realized you were talking about film cameras. I haven’t bought a roll of film for several years, and can’t imagine ever doing it again. Might grab a few rolls if I ever got the bug to learn to use my wife’s old SLR, but hell, it’d probably be cheaper in no time to go get a Nikon D70 or Canon Rebel and forego the film/developing/’crap, everything is out of focus’ part of the learning process… 🙂

  5. jim says:

    I clarified that line in the post, thanks sean. Sometimes I don’t know how people are going to interpret things…

    In the world of non-digital photography, the developer takes liberties in how long to expose the film in printing (affects brightness I think), which isn’t something that typically happens with digital images. Sometimes they make it too bright or too dark, so you can look and just discard that print or ask it be reprinted but brighter/darker. (my friend worked at a FotoHut) That’s sort of what I meant when I said “you can’t look at them before you pay” since the prints are all shipped to you at once before review.

  6. sean says:

    Oh, understood ya’ entirely when I thought for all of a quarter second, and the ‘rolls free’ column on the table really gave it away. Just didn’t initially even consider that there were still people out there messing with film.. 😛

    I’d take so few pictures if I had to deal with processing film that the camera would be a waste. With my digital (using a Canon A95 now), I probably take five rolls worth a week. Oh, sure, half are terrible shots, but it doesn’t matter – there’s no incremental cost in taking 5 pics or 500, so I take lots of pics!

    OK, enough going entirely off tangent from your post.

    I’m an Ofoto KodakGallery user right now, and have been entirely happy with the quality (and the cost isn’t too bad once it gets reduced by using a discount code or two ala the 25% off SUMMERPRINT code valid now). Used to occassionally use Snapfish as well, but forgot why I stopped using them – might have to try them out again some time. Tried out Walmart a couple times – each time the initial prints ended up way off (odd cropping one time, atrocious color another). Winkflash is a new one to me – definitely will have to give ’em a trial run (wow, $1.99 for 11×17 posters?!).

  7. nickel says:

    I’ve had good experience with WinkFlash. There used to be some coupon codes floating around for 50 free prints with a new account, or some such. I created about four new accounts and went to town. Print quality was good – pretty much equivalent to SnapFish.

  8. I tried Snapfish before … I now use The print quality is good and price is reasonable ($0.19 for 3×5, 4×6 or 4xD).

  9. Jeremy says:

    I realize this thread has been inactive for a while, but I wanted to mention that I tried out WinkFlash when I bought a spindle of 50 DVD-Rs the other day. There was a coupon for 100 free 4×6″ prints, after $.99 shipping. I figure it couldn’t hurt. The pictures weren’t bad, especially for $.01 each (or so). Target was much much more expensive.

  10. Sarah says:

    Hey.. so I heard that Winkflash prints with yellow skin tones.. Is that true?
    I want to try em out, they have 50 free prints right now..

Please Leave a Reply
Bargaineering Comment Policy

Previous Article: «
Next Article: »
Advertising Disclosure: Bargaineering may be compensated in exchange for featured placement of certain sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website.
About | Contact Me | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Terms of Use | Press
Copyright © 2016 by All rights reserved.