Photo Labs–Why Didn’t I Think of That? Wednesday

This isn’t our typical “Why didn’t I think of that?” post but I feel it is important to share and it lays the ground work for next week’s :O)

Now that you are getting some amazing pictures from shooting in manual it is time to get them printed. No, I’m not talking about taking them to Walmart or Riteaid, I mean a REAL photo lab. When I first found out there were “real” photo labs that I could have access to I was super pumped!! Once I clicked on the web site I realized that I had to send in a request to become a customer. What?!? I decided to give it a go and submitted what information I had. I do not have a business or anything like that. I was pleasantly surprised that within a day or two I got an email saying I was a customer and they wanted me to send in some pictures to get 5 FREE, yes FREE, 8 x 10 or 5 x 7 depending on who you use. I was shocked! I recommend not just taking advantage of the free photos and submitting different ones but actually submitting the same pictures to each of the labs. The reason they offer these free photos is so that you will be able to see if your colors match what is on your screen to what they print. I have tested out two labs already and am glad I had the exact same picture to compare skin tones and overall color.

I have not yet been denied from a lab but I have heard of that happening to some people. Don’t take it personally, just try another lab. You do not have to submit a photo to become a customer. You just fill out a questionaire.

I wanted to share some of the most popular labs that allow people who are not “pros” to develop with them. I mean, COME ON, just because I don’t charge people for pictures doesn’t mean I don’t want the same quality the professionals offer.

I would love to know which are your favorites!!

(These are in no particular order)
Color Inc*
Bay Photo Lab*
Miller’s Professional Imaging
Simply Color Lab
*Ship to APO’s

  • rachel
    October 20, 2010 at 9:41 AM is the lab here in spokane that my professional photog friend swears by. super nice family owners, too :). i’m inspired to get printing….

    • October 20, 2010 at 10:59 AM

      Thanks, Rachel! I forgot about them :O) I used them one time while we were in Spokane and I believe they do ship to APO’s :O)

  • October 20, 2010 at 10:02 AM

    and if you’re in a hurry… try kitamura. they’re located over by the foster commisarry gate. they have really good prices and the get you the pix in 20 min.

    • October 20, 2010 at 10:59 AM

      Thanks! I have yet to try them!

    • September 26, 2012 at 2:36 AM

      The labs that do prints in 1 hour or less make me nervous. What do you think, Courtney?

  • October 20, 2010 at 10:35 AM

    Seriously, do you keep reading my mind? I think the past few posts have been about things that have been on my mind! Thanks for the list, I’ve been looking to get some printed and didn’t know where to begin :)

    • October 20, 2010 at 11:00 AM

      Yay!!! So glad I’m such a good mind reader :O) Yes, these are all great and not a huge difference in price from places like Walmart and are SO much better!! Your photos deserve the best!

  • Cassie
    October 21, 2010 at 12:02 PM

    Have you heard of Meridian Professional Imaging? They were advertised in my Photography magazine. The website is

    • October 21, 2010 at 1:16 PM

      No, I haven’t…I’ll have to check them out! Thanks!

  • April 14, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    I also really like I send almost all of my work over there.

    • Courtney
      April 16, 2012 at 9:06 PM

      Thanks for the link and the recommendation!

  • Kate Smith
    April 22, 2012 at 12:55 PM

    What is APO`s?

    • Courtney
      April 24, 2012 at 2:49 PM

      When you are military and live overseas, you are giving an American mailing address. It is like a PO Box and the State is APO. I’m not sure exactly what it stands for.

      • Teresa
        May 18, 2012 at 12:50 PM

        Way too many military men in my family! LOL!

        APO stands for “Army Post Office,” and is associated with Army or Air Force installations. FPO stands for “Fleet Post Office,” and is associated with Navy installations and ships.

        • Courtney
          May 23, 2012 at 2:08 PM

          Thanks, Teresa! You would think with me having an APO for almost 3 years now I would know what it stood for :O)

  • Dani Pfarr
    September 30, 2013 at 3:29 AM

    Just wanted to let you know that Simply Color Lab now ships to APO addresses! :) And thank you for your awesome website/blog!!

  • Tim Trexler
    January 4, 2014 at 6:22 PM

    Lately I have heard great things about Artsy Couture, have yet to get samples.

    • January 6, 2014 at 1:43 PM

      I’ve heard good things too. You’ll have to keep us posted when you get samples.

  • Crystal
    February 4, 2014 at 4:24 AM

    What is the benefit of a pro lab?

    • February 5, 2014 at 1:17 PM

      Great question. Maybe I need to do a post comparing a pro lab to the local drug store one hour drop off. Pro labs are better quality :)

  • Nadia
    May 25, 2014 at 8:18 PM

    Can anyone please recommend any uk photo labs

    • May 28, 2014 at 2:30 PM

      I’ll ask this question on the FB page this week and see if we can’t find you a few options :)

  • Sue
    June 11, 2017 at 11:16 AM

    I know this is an older article and comments but what about good quality canvases without the hug price tag???

    • Courtney Slazinik
      June 20, 2017 at 12:08 PM

      I haven’t personally purchased canvases but I would stick with one of these labs if I did.

  • Rachel
    October 8, 2017 at 10:53 PM

    This is great to know and ive already signed up to one of these. But how can I know if a photolab is of professional quality without needing to rely on this list?

    • Courtney Slazinik
      October 29, 2017 at 8:51 PM

      Test them out and see if you like the results :)

  • Kaitlyn Gilchrist
    January 17, 2019 at 8:00 PM

    I’ve heard good things about Shutterfly and actually got a photo book from them. What is your opinion about them?

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