I printed some of our digital photos for the first time a couple of days ago. One of the pitfalls of digital photography is that you have to take an extra step to get physical printouts. I’m not rich or patient enough to muck around with printing them at home. I’d need better technology and more time and, frankly, it ends up being a pretty large investment (printer, high-quality ink, photo paper, more ink, more paper, replacement ink for the stuff that dried up, replacement paper for the stuff the dog ate, etc.). It ain’t worth it to me.
So I went into Walmart a week before Christmas.
Luckily, the photo lab is just inside the door and, rather astoundingly, it wasn’t at all crowded. I suspect the story will be somewhat different after Christmas.
Stuck the CD into the one hour console thingy, plunked buttons here and there and was extremely pleased with what came back an hour later. The one hour console resizes photos and crops (with your guidance) to make things fit. The instant console will print while you stand there, but only resizes so far and then crops your photo to make it fit a reduced size (in my case, 4×6). So the one hour one was a bit more flexible. It was also cheaper – about 2/3 the price of the instant print one.
Not to mention that these are the first photos I’ve had printed from our camera, which did a bang-up job. Yes, we’ve had it since September and I’m only getting around to it now. I’ve always maintained that one of the perils of digicams is that one never gets around to getting actual prints. The photo album of the 35mm age has become a CD, I guess. Still, I think I’ll start making the attempt at periodically printing photos and putting them into an album of sorts. Much easier to look at in the living room and nice to have as a sort of family record.
The hardest part of printing was making sure that I had the high-res versions of photos on CD before I left the house. Some had been resized and resolution reduced, something I’ll stop doing as of now for ease in printing at a later date. I’m also going to start keeping a directory of “photos to print”. Our computer is slow enough that having to hunt through renamed files (especially for shots of which there are several similar versions of which I’m looking for a specific one) is a royal nuisance.
So I was well-pleased. I’m sure there are other places that do a good and economical job and I’ll endeavour to explore them, but Walmart works for me so far. It’s cheap, quick, good and close to me. Apparently you can also upload photos and pick them up from the store later. I’m not quite ready to trust the accuracy of that on this slug of a computer. Perhaps when (if) we ever get a new one…..