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Ask Slashdot: Best Option For Printing Digital Photos?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the making-that-a-literal-ton dept.

Data Storage 350

rrossman2 writes "With the birth of our son (who is now just over two), we have snapped and accumulated a ton of pictures — on Panoramio, Picasa, Facebook, etc. What is the best option for bulk printing the photos to a physical format? We all know how fast technology advances, as well as how fast sites come and go; I want a way to have these pictures for my son when he is older... just like my grandfather has photos of himself from World War II, my parents have photos of me when I was little, etc. Are there any affordable services that you can upload the photos to that print and deliver long-lasting pictures? How well do today's photo ink jets last, and what's the best type of paper? I do have a cheaper Samsung color laser printer, but color lasers don't make the most color-rich prints, and using normal photo paper you can find in big box stores doesn't work out too well, as the laser toner seems to peel off on the rollers and gum things up. (Is there a good long lasting paper that seems to work well with laser printers?) I can see what's going to happen in the future: all of the digital photos people take now are going to either end up on a website that won't be around in 20+ years, or get stuck on disks or flash memory that won't last, or for which interfacing with the media will become difficult or impossible."

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Photographic prints! (5, Informative)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930141)

I get mine done at Costco. Cheaper and better than any printer you can buy.

Re:Photographic prints! (1)

swanzilla (1458281) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930185)

Seconded. They do a great job on canvas prints too, FWIW.

Re:Photographic prints! (4, Insightful)

Triv (181010) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930385)

Not trolling, promise, but I've never understood why somebody would want to print a photo onto a canvas. They always end up looking chintzier than the original for the sake of the illusion of fine art.

Is there something I'm missing?

Re:Photographic prints! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930517)

printing is more than just about 100% accurate reproduction. I occasionally print on canvas simply because it's another art/decor option for the house -- it doesnt really answer your question, as I don't know how to "justify" why I like a certain type of decor.

Re:Photographic prints! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930597)

It's simply a different medium. Paintings aren't always true to the original and can be done with oil, acrylic, watercolor, etc. Likewise, not every picture should be on glossy paper.

Re:Photographic prints! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930729)


Re:Photographic prints! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930653)

The only thing I can think of is durability, but that would depend on the ink it's printed with. With half-century old photos I have, many are very faded but the paper's fine. But those were printed by a completely different process than printing a digital photo.

Re:Photographic prints! (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930727)

What about those of us that are nowhere near a Costco?

I'd actually really never heard of them, till I recently saw a MSNBC special about them.....we have Sam's Club as the warehouse store in my area, but I've not seen any thing like a photographic service in those stores.

What would be a good quality printer/ink/paper set up for doing it yourself at home...with quality, and long term storage?

Is it possible to print digital have them last as long and stay as vibrant as the old film photos of old? I have photo albums from long ago that are still fun to thumb through....can you get that type of quality and longevity from printing your own photos? Same quality and longevity from commercial prints of digital photos?

I'm curious, because I'm about to drop the hammer on a quality camera...the Canon 5D Mark III....and I want to be able to print and keep, maybe even frame good images I get off that beast....

Re:Photographic prints! (2)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930219)

2nd this. Costco actually has relatively decent color quality (compared to other 1-hour photomats) and it will be much much cheaper than printing yourself. Just take in your burned disc or thumbdrive. Be careful about scaling though if you've played at all with cropping your photos.

If you want to splurge, see if there's a local professional film lab around (like A&I in Los Angeles). Thats where you'll find the best digital printing available. But, if your photos aren't professional quality in composition, color adjustment, etc, you probably won't perceive the difference.

Re:Photographic prints! (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930617)

I do mine at Costco too. Although an alternative splurge would be mpix [] who have had a great reputation (although it's been a while since I did anything with them) and allow you a decent choice of photo papers (including true B&W and metallic. Metallic is worth it if you want some pop on your chromes or want to show off the full dynamic range of your captured light (I saw a sunset from somewhere like Zion Natl. Park displayed with rheostat controlled spots on metallic paper; it was almost like you were watching dusk come on)).

Re:Photographic prints! (1)

laughing rabbit (216615) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930243)

Yes, or Walmart per below. To print 4x6 as you want them...Epson printers, ink and paper are the way to go.

Witnessing History (5, Funny)

OakDragon (885217) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930359)

This may be the first and only Slashdot story where Costco and Walmart are mentioned in positive light.

Re:Witnessing History (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930703)

Considering the massive right wing and libertarian bias that is ever-present on slashdot I don't know why you would be surprised.

Re:Photographic prints! (1)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930707)

No to Walmart. Tried that last weekend. Showed up, with the photo lady sitting outside the booth and five other employees just hanging around. I metntioned that I was here to pick up a photo, and she said she was on break. I gestured to the five other un occupied employees, and they scrambled to the back of the store like cockroaches saying they had to clean up a spill. The employee stationed out front insisted she was on break and couldn't do anything for me until the break was up. Came back five minutes later, and she insisted that I prove I'd orderd them. I mentioned to her that they were ordered online, and I hadn't printed any reciept. She insisted that I have a receipt and wouldn't even look to see if the order was there.

Just crazy.

I just resent them to walgreens and picked up up later.

Re:Photographic prints! (1)

Defenestrar (1773808) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930709)

Not dye-sub for home? They're getting into reasonable consumer priced ranges too (not like they used to bee). I don't know which has better archival color, though, and the original question is framed in context of heirlooms.

Re:Photographic prints! (1)

jsm18 (1317959) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930265)

I agree with this. Also Target if there is not a Costco nearby.

Re:Photographic prints! (1)

bs0d3 (2439278) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930483)

i had good luck with cvs, or walgreens also, but the best ones come from , higher quality paper ect, and it's still alot cheaper than printing your own

Re:Photographic prints! (2)

blue_teeth (83171) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930279)

Kinkos or Sir Speedy comes to my mind for printing.

For digital media storage, why put photographs in hands of web based services?  Hard drives are cheap.
If you want to go for an overkill, copy them on a magnetic tape.

Re:Photographic prints! (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930351)

Why not have hard copy backups?

They aren't mutually exclusive.

More copies are better regardless of medium.

Re:Photographic prints! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930293)

I worked and a shop that converted analog media to digital... when there was a requests to get prints, after we cleaned up the images, we went to Costco, always chose the "luster" option over glossy or matte. Also the prints always came out a little darker so before we sent them in we made the a little lighter. there web interface for uploading and managing albums and ordering print isn't too bad either. on a more personal note i have use i was please with the results

Re:Photographic prints! (5, Interesting)

clickclickdrone (964164) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930317)

My friend does pro portraits and he gets all his stuff up to poster sized done via Costco. Having tried a few, he reckons they're the best and the cheapest too which is a bonus.

Re:Photographic prints! (3, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930349)

I get mine done at Costco. Cheaper and better than any printer you can buy.

This, or something like this is what I was going to say.

The photos printed from an actual photolab from your digital images are better quality, cheaper, and since they're not on ink-jet ink they don't tend to fade as much.

I concluded several years ago you can't really efficiently buy the ink, paper, and printer to do this on your own. It's just not cost effective. In the long run (and possibly the short run) it's more work and more cost for less overall quality.

Every year for Christmas, the wife prints out a stack of photos I've taken of the family over the last year, and gives them to her grandmother -- grandma loves the pictures and is far more interested in those than anything else.

Wal Mart, Costco, a local photo/camera store ... all can do much better than you can do on your own.

Re:Photographic prints! (1)

Bob the Super Hamste (1152367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930377)

Agreed but any photo printing service will do they all are much cheaper than you could do it with. My wife just goes down to Target to get them done. You can buy the printers they use but unless you are printing all the time and using non standard sizes it won't be worth buying one. My father in law has one but he does lots of larger art prints in sizes that Target and Costco won't so for him it is the better option but for most people it wouldn't. The ink and paper are what will kill you unless you are buying it by the pallet like the stores do.

Re:Photographic prints! (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930451)

Another vote for Costco.

Run up the numbers yourself per-print for a typical inkjet - look at the manufacturer's own figures for estimated cartridge life at 95% coverage, divide that by the cost for a full brace of cartridges and tack on the price for a sheet of photo quality paper.

IME you'll find it usually comes out about the same, maybe slightly dearer than using a major photo processor. But that only tells you part of the story.

It costs about the same provided you have a 0% waste rate and you ignore the cost of the printer and any associated items.

That means no paper jams, no wastage from trial-and-error figuring out optimum settings, no discovering the hard way that colour temperature on screen and on paper are two different things, no ink wasted because you didn't use the printer for a week and it now needs to run a cleaning cycle.

In the real world, you'll probably find this adds 20-30% to your costs. Obviously with practise you can reduce this, but even if you get it down to zero (never going to happen), it's still going to be at a photo finish between you and Costco. And Costco's machine can probably churn out 100 photos in the time it takes your printer to do 10.

Re:Photographic prints! (1)

redbeardcanada (1052028) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930509)

I will second the use of Costco. They have very high end equipment, good printing options (paper selection, borders, b&w, sepia), and in some of their larger centers can handle poster size prints that will be delivered to whatever Costco location you are close to.

We have some largish (>16" diagonal) prints hanging in a room that sees lots of sun, and have seen no fading in ~7 years.

Re:Photographic prints! (1)

DriveDog (822962) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930595)

Agreed. More than a few -> Costco (or other similar). My experience with printers over the years has been that dye transfer stays as-printed longer, but then it might just have been the specific printers I used. For inkjets, the ink itself is critically important (seems obvious, no?); the printer less so.

Re:Photographic prints! (1)

Kozar_The_Malignant (738483) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930607)

Agreed. You can also do most of your stuff online and pick them up later. Also, you can download the color profiles of the printers in the specific Costco locations (they vary), so that you can get as fancy as you want with your photo editing software.

Winkflash (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930613)

There is an online service called WinkFlash [] , where you can directly upload your images and get printed photos back. The quality is excellent, shipping is fast, and you don't have to waste gas driving to a store. My parents used to order a lot from there until they discovered that just showing the pictures on the projector works better.

Snapfish (1)

pudding7 (584715) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930147)

My wife does a ton of stuff using Snapfish. The site seems slow as hell whenever I've been on it, but it works I guess. Upload all your pics, then order one print of each if you want.

Re:Snapfish (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930311)

Same here. Supposedly they're the slowest and cheapest option.

Wal-Mart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930153)

I use Wal-Mart. You can pick up at the local store or have the mailed to destination.

Re:Wal-Mart (1)

JasoninKS (1783390) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930271)

I've used Wal-mart as well and was pleased with how the pictures turned out. Easy to upload from home and inexpensive.

Re:Wal-Mart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930319)

Wal-Mart is the Microsoft of retail. Try not to give them your business.

Re:Wal-Mart (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930375)

The whole question is pretty silly really.

You have digital photos printed in the same places you would have had film developed 10 years ago. The transition to digital really didn't change much in that regard.

Re:Wal-Mart (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930561)

I usually use CVS. You can either go in and use their painfully printing kiosk, or you can upload all of your photos to their website and pick them up when ready.

Costco? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930155)

Probably best to have someone print them for you.

Don't (5, Insightful)

Egg Sniper (647211) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930163)

If your son is two now the first thing they'd do as an adult presented with these old pictures is get online to find out what scanner to use to best get them into digital format where they belong.

Re:Don't (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930345)

Why does it have to be either/or? Give him both digital and printed.

Re:Don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930391)

You didn't read the whole submission.

> I can see what's going to happen in the future: all of the digital photos people take now are going to either end up on a website that won't be around in 20+ years, or get stuck on disks or flash memory that won't last, or for which interfacing with the media will become difficult or impossible.

They aren't planning on destroying their digital copies. They're just planning on having a physical copy of their photos in case of obsolescence.

Re:Don't (4, Insightful)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930397)

If your son is two now the first thing they'd do as an adult presented with these old pictures is get online to find out what scanner to use to best get them into digital format where they belong.

Hahaha, this is right on the money. The first thing I thought of is "god, if only my parents had digital copies of all of those pictures they gave me"... Focus on finding a long lasting DIGITAL storage solution (there are plenty of ways to store things reliably) instead. Don't you dare get a stack of 4x6 prints that you can shove in the basement next to all of the ones you probably got from YOUR parents that are next to useless until you put weeks and weeks of work into scanning and retouching.

Re:Don't (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930445)


He notes the weaknesses with inexplicably careless way most people treat their digital photos (web sites closing shop, old media becoming unusable), but misses the obvious solution -- redundant storage as files both on your home RAID/JBOD, some backup DVD-Rs or BD-Rs (for now, new technology as it comes out) and your VPS (or, if you inexplicably don't have a personal VPS, your choice of online storage sites), and upgrading your local storage as you would for any other important data -- as you adopt new tech, you periodically copy to the new format, and keep the most recent two formats around. So I had stuff on tape and CDs, then on CDs and DVDs, and now DVDs and BDs. When something better comes out, I'll copy the BDs over, trash the DVDs, and keep BDs + whatever; if I keep one format for more than 5 years or so, I'll make another copy before the original data dies, and dump the old format.

Re:Don't (2)

SpinyNorman (33776) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930719)

Maybe, but I'd guess that prints have a better chance of surviving generations rather than getting lost due some "mishap" than digital copies. Sure prints *could* get lost due to say fire or flood, but the family photo album doesn't need any more maintainance than stuffing in the bottom drawer.

The current problem with digital photos is that they need ongoing ACTIVE maintainance to not be lost - you need to copy them to new media every few years to avoid media failure and have an adequate backup system for when a failure does occur anyway.

Maybe for geeks digital photo preservation isn't a problem, but who's to say that your (maybe non-technical) heirs will be up to the task, or that you'll remember to put the online back up account details into your will, or ensure the bill gets paid after your death, etc, etc.

I'd say that the optimal strategy is a traditional printed photo album (only containing best photos) in addition to an attempt to preserve everything digitally.

Overnight digital services. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930181)

Former long-time mini-lab technician here, the best quality and price is from good old Wal-Mart overnight services. They never have sales because the price is dirt cheap as it is, and the colors last a lifetime. The process is the same as traditional photo printing with the exception of using a digital exposure method.

I am not and never was a Wal-Mart employee, but that is where I take my photos when I choose to print them.

Re:Overnight digital services. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930295)

HP's 'Snapfish' subsidiary offers in-store pickup from Wal-mart, among other retailers. Do you know if they control the process at all of them, or is there some sort of data and order information interchange between them; but retailer-dependent printing?

Re:Overnight digital services. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930601)

I had some trouble getting birth announcements from snapfish to come right, and even tho I picked up at Walgreens, they told me they are processed with different software online somehow, and to try the Walgreens service - and since they refunded my snapfish order, I did, and there was a much better result. Better color, crisper, etc.

Walgreens people told me they get a lot of complaints about snapfish - just something with how they process the photos - which doesn't make sense to me if you consider that they are just sending jpgs to Walgreens printer. I suspect it's something with how Snapfish stores or delivers them and hoses them that way, unless they really have a separate Snapfish application for printing at Walgreens?

Costco (2)

Sandman1971 (516283) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930225)

I used Costco (Canada) to have my digital pictures developed. Their online service is very simple to use, and you can even directly import your pictures from Facebook and Picasa. The prices are very reasonable, at 8 cents for 4x6. If you want more than pictures, they also turn your photos into photobooks, canvases, etc...
I've been using them for years and haven't had any issues whatsoever.

Re:Costco (1)

Joiseybill (788712) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930433)

echo all the "Costco " posts; several other chains are adequate too.

However, as parent points out, you can request a photobook, canvas, etc.
    (mod parent +1 informative)

My biggest issue with hard-copy photos & other data is storage & retrieval.
If you want to have a hard-copy around in 20 years to hand to your son, immediately put the photos into a book or other format designed for long-er term storage, and for occasional handling. Plastic covers or sleeves are nice, but nearly all I have seen eventually change chemically; the ink gets stuck to resins in the plastic, the plastic cracks from light or oxidization, or they just alter the color of the photo, requiring the photo to be touched repeatedly and replaced in the holder.
    Consider your options, and at least separate pages with acid-free paper or tissue paper.

Books are easier to keep organized and more easily put somewhere & retrieved when you want it.
-- unless your world isn't like mine, with envelopes & small boxes of developed 35mm film, photos, 2nd copies of photos, half-finished photo albums, even Dad's old Kodak slide projector hidden somewhere in the eaves of the garage.

Expressing the wrong concern? (3, Insightful)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930231)

If you're leaving your photos on flash-cards and websites in the first place, then that's your fundamental problem.

Save them to (redundant) disk locally, then commit them to a cloud backup service.

Re:Expressing the wrong concern? (5, Insightful)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930353)

Many services compress the photos when uploaded. It's important to preserve a minimally-compressed version before uploading.

Re:Expressing the wrong concern? (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930481)

If you're leaving your photos on flash-cards and websites in the first place, then that's your fundamental problem.

Absolutely right. At the very least you should back up originals to a DVD or something. My photos are the most important (to me) thing on my hard drive, I make sure I back them up to a couple of drives regularly.

This is slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930233)

You do not have a son. You are a son, living in your mom's basement.

Re:This is slashdot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930507)

Okay, so maybe he wants to present his mom with a framed print of his new Arduino / Raspberry Pi bitcoin processor that he's about to Open Source!

God, how about a little privacy!?

Re:This is slashdot (2)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930651)

You do not have a son. You are a son, living in your mom's basement.

How do you know he doesn't ALSO have a son of his own, living in the basement's basement? I hear that it's basements all the way down. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930235), kodak went bankrupt but they still make one the best prints at a competitive cost, go figures ...

Why print photos? (3, Interesting)

Frag-A-Muffin (5490) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930263)

... when you can make photo albums?! I find that we print photo albums instead of photos these days. Photos themselves are a nuisance to store or archive. Printed photo albums are nicely self-contained, easy to pack and look much better than those albums with a bunch of loose photos in it. It's really not much more expensive. I personally just use iPhoto to design and then print the albums. No hassle. Product is fantastic.

Of course there are many outlets to get these printed. I highly recommend them.

As a side bonus, your guests will think you're some kind of pro, cuz honestly, even with no experience, they come out looking really really good. Nothing says pro like a full page bleed :)

Then again, what do I know? I'm just an old fart with a 4 digit ID. ;)

Re:Why print photos? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930361)

Because he didn't ask for the option that requires purchasing a new computer? Yes, yes, your dumbed-down Apple software is so grand. We get it already that you wish Steve Jobs was still alive so you can blow his wrinkly dick.

Re:Why print photos? (1)

Frag-A-Muffin (5490) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930407)

Of course the AC didn't read the whole post. Sigh. I am getting old I guess.

I specifically wrote ... *I* personally use iPhoto ... and what does the next line say? There are many other outlets to get these printed. Do you not know how to use google? Or should I do that for you too?

Be off AC, troll somewhere else.

Re:Why print photos? (1)

b0bby (201198) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930383)

I agree; every once in a while I go through and pick out the best pictures, and order a bunch of photo books for the grandparents/aunts/uncles. Snapfish & Shutterfly have easy templates, I'm sure Costco does too. I haven't bothered with normal prints for a while now, the books are so much better.
Go to Retailmenot & you're bound to find a deal on at least one of the photo printing sites. Any one of them is easier than printing yourself, and probably cheaper too.

Re:Why print photos? (1)

KhabaLox (1906148) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930405)

My wife uses Shutterfly to create and print photo albums. It takes a while to upload the pictures, but she's able to do it by folder/directory, so she can start the queue and let it run over night. I'm not sure how long she spends on layout, but they have a very simple interface that lets you add stock graphics and customized captions. There are a score or more layout templates so it doesn't look too cookie-cutter. I'm not sure of the cost, but it isn't prohibitive. We have a 6 month book for each son, then she did one for each birthday that contains the previous years pictures. The nice thing is that if the book gets ruined (which a couple have in the hands of toddlers) you can easily re-order it. Kodakgallery offers a similar product.

Re:Why print photos? (1)

Idbar (1034346) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930511)

After reaching more than 300GB in pictures (non-raw), I figured that even though I have a desktop wall paper on my computer and I can watch almost anything on my laptop at any time, I have my screen normally filled with windows of things I'm working on, and leave no space for the pictures to be watched.

I bought some frames and laser photographic paper, printed it at home a couple of them in the sizes I wanted (I played a little). Now I have some nice traditional pictures on my desk, where I can see them permanently without the bother of a bright energy consuming digital frame (which I also have).

Yes, I never though I'd say this, but some people still like to use regular frames, and the consume no energy whatsoever! :-)

If you're not such a "quality" person, you can use the laser printer and print on regular paper. Most people these days use crappy instagram pictures, why would regular paper would be any worse ;-)

Re:Why print photos? (1)

Frag-A-Muffin (5490) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930665)

Yes, I never though I'd say this, but some people still like to use regular frames, and the consume no energy whatsoever! :-)

Oh, I love frames too. But there's only so many you can put on a wall before it starts to look weird ;) Hence the photo albums (which here on in, I will use the correct term of photo book).

We're trying to get photo books printed to document our kids' childhood. So the plan is to do a photo book for each year of their lives up to the age of 10 or so. And then maybe a book for the ages of 10-15, etc etc.

It would make for a very easy handoff when they grow up and have their own family and we want to get rid of everything cuz we're downsizing! :)

Re:Why print photos? (1)

djKing (1970) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930673)

5490? That's not old.

- Peace

blurb....publish a coffee table book (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930273)

Blurb has a lot of formats and prints a fantastic book, plus you can write out anecdotes or even pull in a blog or other documents. The layouts are highly customizable. When you are done, you have a book that family members can purchase also, or re-print if it gets damaged. The pictures are very high quality.

Lazy (0)

spotlight2k3 (652521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930289)

You can type all that out, but can't google search it so you have the answer right away?

All my old photos are faded (4, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930303)

And they weren't printouts. They were actual developed 35mm film. Why go with physical photos when you can have the permance of a digital photo that never fades?

What you should be asking is: "How do I save my photos & videos so they don't get lost?" Backup to a USB drive in a fireproof safe. Backup to an online place like google. Backup to another online place like amazon. And make sure google/amazon are not in the same building (in case it burns down). That's what I would recommend.

Re:All my old photos are faded (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930457)

Don't tell somebody what they should be asking. Why can't we just answer the asker's question?

Re:All my old photos are faded (1)

tirerim (1108567) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930591)

How were you storing those prints? They survive best if you protect them from heat and light, and ideally acids and oxygen as well.

Re:All my old photos are faded (1)

steveg (55825) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930633)

If you're putting a USB in a fireproof safe, be sure it's a safe designed for digital media.

You can get paper very hot without destroying it if you keep the air away from it. Most fireproof safes are designed to keep paper safe. Digital media is not quite so robust.

Don't Print Them All (1)

prestonmichaelh (773400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930305)

Pick any of the online printers for a cheap price (snapfish, shutterfly, etc.), they are all about the same and will print with a quality photo processing machine on quality photo paper. Don't try to print any pictures you want to last at home. By the time you put enough money into it, you could have bought 5 copies of each of your other photos from a pro.

All that said, I would recommend only printing what you really want now (for frames, photo books, to put on the fridge, etc). Don't print them "to have a copy in 20 years". I do agree having a photo sharing site as the sole copy is a bad idea, but keeping them digital isn't.

I have all of our kid's photos on a computer at home (RAID 1 setup, but that may be too much for some to deal with), a second copy on a usb hard drive at home (for local backup), a third copy on a server I have in collocation (a similar solution would be mozy, carbonite, backblaze, etc.), and then the majority uploaded to Google Picasa for friends and family to view and order prints.

Sure, JPEG (what 99% of my photos are in) may not be around forever, but odds are, it isn't going to disappear overnight and I would much rather, in 10-20 year or whatever when JPEG goes away run some converting program overnight than deal with storing a bunch of shoeboxes of old photos.

Just keep your photos digital and put them on as many hard drives and in as many places as you can.

Printing yourself is not worthwhile. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930335)

I last ran these numbers in February, 2012, so they might have fluctuated a bit, but the point still stands.

With a decent photo printer each photo will be at least 25 cents (20 cents for ink, 5 cents for matte paper). That doesn't figure in the cost of of the printer itself. A $100 inkjet will not do your prints justice, you'll be spending at least $500-$1000 for a decent one.

You're better off going with a 1-hour service at a warehouse store (Like Costco or Sam's Club) or other online services that offer shipment.

(Why doesn't Slashdot support the cent symbol?)

Why? (4, Insightful)

berryjw (1071694) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930343)

I can't see the point of this. People no longer keep horses for transportation, we hardly write things down (I've seen graduate research indicating handwriting is ceasing to be relevant), even our books are moving to digital. The proper question would be, "What is the most reliable storage medium for my digital photographs, assuming I need to access them in twenty years?"

DIY (1)

dthanna (1294016) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930387)

Depends on what you plan on doing with the picts when you are done. If you just want some cool picts to hand around easily.. go for the lowest price you can. Hand them out like Doritos. Munch all you want, we'll make more.

If you are planning on archiving them, then you will need to invest in a proper HP, Canon, or Epson printer using their archival grade inks (pH neutral) and archival grade paper (acid free). Then you then need to store them in an archival fashion. Black plastic archival envelope in a (more or less) temperature and humidity controlled environment. Under your socks in your drawer is actually a good place.

The on-line services are primarily geared towards low cost and quick turnaround. Some of them do have archival grade services (you need to check!). But, if you really want to make sure, do your research an do them yourself.

As for those that think digital is the way to go... yes and no. If you really, really, want to make sure it will still be there paper is still the only medium that has the longevity track record. Properly stored, centuries to millennium (or more) are not uncommon. Dead Sea Scrolls anyone?

Re:DIY (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930599)

No, don't do it yourself unless you're really into it. It's a complicated pain in the ass.

Do it if you want to or have other reasons (specialty paper, look, etc).

Costco / Walmart / Snapfish whatever are fine for the vast majority of things. They mostly use Fuji Frontiers or similar and are much more sophisticated devices that you'll ever find at home.

If you have higher aspirations, want a professional job or just more input on what you're doing, I've found this list useful (at least in Colorado) []

This website is mostly interested in printer profiles (metadata on how the printer should print a particular color) and so is geared to more critical photographers but if you want the best results, that's the way to go.

Re:DIY (1)

Megane (129182) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930723)

If you really, really, want to make sure it will still be there paper is still the only medium that has the longevity track record.

Paper may have a decent track record for longevity, but not color inks. Even single-color handwriting fades with time, but color fades on the order of decades, and the different color components will fade at different rates.

printer never be shutterfly (1)

marcrose (1400385) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930413)

There are many photo services that let you upload your photos and have them print them either ink jet or more often they do it on photo paper projecting the electronic image on the paper. NEVER use Shutterfly! While they say "unlimited access" that does not mean you can access your full resolution files with out paying for them!!! If you want your full res images keep them. I called them and they said there was not enough room on the website to give the details that would let the customer know about this snafu but too bad.

Longevity not an issue (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930429)

I don't know which photo sites, if any, still use ink jet/whatever printing type technolog, but the better ones certainly don't - the photos are created via a traditional chemical development of light sensitive photo paper (exposed via projection?). The longevity should be the same as an old fashioned analogue print.

Black River Imaging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930435)

I'm not affiliated, but I use them almost exclusively. They are most certainly not the cheapest, but they are extremely reliable and produce *professional* quality prints. No membership/fees/other crap, and their customer service is top-notch. They use standard ROES software that's somewhat clunky, but you can knock out bunches of prints once you get the hang of it.

I should warn you, though, that it can get addicting. And their other products can get very tempting, very quickly.

Ink Jet == Bad (2)

cob666 (656740) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930437)

You aren't going to get any serious life span from ink jet printers. I guess the top notch is pigment based but that comes at a cost. I've had pretty good luck with Wal-Mart and Costco photo printing provided the printers are maintained properly although I have no idea on the longevity of the images.

I do have a Canon Selphy photo printer to print one offs and hang tags Arts & Crafts projects, the tags we printed 7-8 years ago still look pretty good. Canon boasts a life span of close to 100 years for the Selphy printers but I'm a bit skeptical about that claim. One thing I really like about the Canon printer is it takes different size cartridges to print anything from a wallet size to post card and 4X6 although the cost per print is between 60 cents to a dollar, much more that what you will pay to get your images printed in bulk.

Re:Ink Jet == Bad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930675)

A decent inkjet print will last as long as traditional prints given equivalent treatment, if not longer. Remember that most film photos get stuffed in a drawer somewhere for most of their lives - cool, dark, and usually dry.

The main reason to avoid inkjets is simply cost. It's near impossible to beat photo labs on price, so unless you're into large custom prints, there isn't much point doing them yourself.

Walmart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930439)

Take your SD card to a kiosk at the photo lab. Print them and pay for them right there. I do it all the time for pictures that I like to tape on my wall. Quality is good enough and the prints are cheap.

you want a service (2)

Surt (22457) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930447)

Unless you are very rich and can afford a $40K printer, you want to have these done by a service. I don't know who has the best balance of price and quality right now, though, I just know you can't cheaply buy yourself good quality self printing.

Kodak (1)

djfake (977121) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930465)

My used to get them printed at the Kodak Gallery on line, few hundred at a time. She makes a complaint and they either reprinted them or gave her a credit. Let's see what Shutterfly does.

Don't bother with a printer... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930469)

Owning your own color inkjet is a monumental waste of time and money(but at least the results are mediocre!). The cheapies provide fairly poor output and high consumables costs, even the nice units are going to require the fancy paper and a certain amount of babying to deliver results resembling your basic mini-lab photo prints.

As for which digital printing service, I'm less able to say. I had print 40 or so 8x10s a few years back, and they still seem to be in reasonable condition and the results, service, and price were all satisfactory. is a fairly big name. My impression is that digital-source prints of quality comparable to sending 35mm film to your local pharmacy chain of choice are a fairly commodified market. 6 to 10 cents per 4x6, better initial results(especially on the glossies, if that is your preference) than you would get from a home printer; but no particular claims made about fading in N decades or other subtler factors.

If you want the really classy service, choosing from among the vendors who provide things like the option to download the ICC profiles for their equipment is probably a better bet; but I'm far too cost-sensitive and indifferent to tell you anything useful about the different ones.

Shop around. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39930493)

Buying a photo printer is a waste of money - unless you're a professional photographer that has to do large prints often. And even then, most of the pro photographers I know farm out their printing. The best printers are just too expensive for a one man shop - the cost isn't justifiable. The printers that are less than $1,000 ust aren't as good as the $20,000+ printers that folks who specialize in photo printing may have.

I suggest that you shop around. Adorama, Wolf/Ritz, B&H Photo, Shutterfly, and places like that. And as far as snap shots are concerned, the FUJI dgitial/analog prints (digital enlarger on silver photo paper) has to b the best - up to 10x19" - over that, you're pretty much stuck with digital prints; even if you have film shots they will scan them and digitially print them.

Own or print at shop (2)

fermion (181285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930501)

The dye sublimation printers at reputable shops should give you the best lifetime in terms of cost. These are rated to 100 years.

I used solid ink printers for my prints, printed on acid free paper, placed in acid free archival fram under glass. it seems to be pretty stable afte several years. The advantage of this printer is that it will print on any flat paper.

A good inkjet printer, using pigment archival ink, is a reasonable choice for home use. It is not a cheap initial purchase, printer and ink is usually purchased separately, and this will be a dedicated machine. In any case this is sometimes how the Giclée prints are done, like the print on canvass offers one sees in the mall.

Print permance (1)

Michael Meissner (520083) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930515)

The usual place that talks about print permance is Wilhelm Research: [] In general, the answer for home printing is the HP or Epson pigment printers with the appropriate papers, and UV blocking. However, I would tend to think that the only way forward is to backup the digital media, and backup early, backup often. You want the photos stored on your own backups that you control, stored as standard JPG images at full resolution. You want multiple backups, spread phsyically across different media and stored in different locations. You do want to think about cloud or other remote backups, in case something like Hurricane Katrina comes through and wipes out your whole town and surrounding area. In any backup system, you want to plan for at least every 5 years of recopying files from the old media to new media, as the media evolves.

Archive Media (1)

azadrozny (576352) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930535)

I store my photos on a local NAS device in my home, but I am considering a cloud based service. I make periodic backups of the data using archive-grade DVD's that I send to various family members. When stored properly, archive-grade media should last 50+ years. Yes the technology changes, but most BluRay players are backward compatible with CD, a format that has been around for 20 some years, and will be around for the foreseeable future. For most people, it shouldn't be much effort to change formats, and re-archive your collection every 10-20 years, and/or move to a new data hosting service.

Printing could be the ultimate backup method, but it can get expensive, and hard to store. Sifting through shoe boxes of photos is time consuming. Also consider what happens if you have a second or third child. Do you now make doubles, or triples of all your photos? I think your kids would prefer a few disks of files, rather than a steamer trunk of paper.

MPix (1)

lyapunov (241045) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930545)

Go to Mpix, or a similar vendor. I use MPix for a variety of reasons. They are fairly cheap, the paper is Kodak archival quality and the color's are far superior to any home "lab" printer you can purchase.

Fracture (1)

rich90usa (1255170) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930549)

It's not what you're looking for, in terms of bulk; but, in terms of Slashdot it's worth giving a nod to Fracture ( [] They've got a pretty novel product what with printing on glass. I've been interested in trying them out to see what can be done with illumination of the glass for cool effect. Their prices also aren't really too outrageous either.

Buy a good photo printer (2)

arthurpaliden (939626) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930555)

Just buy a good photo printer and do it at home. That way you retain total control of the pictures and the one of little Mary running around naked in the fireman’s hat after her bath will never get sent to the police. Besides by the time you need them to remember your eyesight will not really be able to tell quality.

Are you kidding? (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930557)

With quality DVD+/-R media available that can last 30 years or more, prints are NOT the way you want to preserve these memories. The best thing you can do is to cull your photos since digital photography typically results in way more shots than you will ever find a use for (hint: if you don't like a shot today, you are not going to be any fonder of it in 30 years). So keep your archive nice and trim. Then, go get two different brands of nice quality DVD DL media (since the only risk to optical storage is "bad batch syndrome", and make a backup of your archive on to a set of discs. Verify the backup. Put those discs in slim jewel cases, then in an airtight bag, and put that bag in a completely opaque, preferably sturdy container. Put that container somewhere safe. If you are really paranoid, make another pair and give them to a close relative like your parents for safe keeping. This will be around in about 25 years when your son is ready for them, and he can decide where they will live for the next generation.

Adoramapix (2)

tirerim (1108567) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930559)

Go to [] . They're a serious photography shop, so you can actually get your pictures to look the way you expect instead of with random color and contrast changes (which is my experience with other services). (They also offer a free "enhancement" service, but I haven't tried it.) Not quite as cheap as some of the other places out there, but still pretty reasonable, and they offer bulk discounts: 4x6s are currently $0.24 each, or $0.22 for over 100, or $0.1952 for over 1000 (you can buy a bunch in advance and get them printed over time).

printing is for old people (0)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930579)

seriously the only people who ask my wife and i to print photos are her mother and grandparents. i just email a few photos to my mom from my iphone from time to time

SmugMug (1)

MatthewNewberg (519685) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930593)

I have used SmugMug for photo sharing, one of the perks of sharing images with there site is the photo printing. I have always been impressed with their quality and shipping speed. Their prints might cost a bit more, but it seems to be worth it. I have also had prints made from Shutteryfly, Walmart, Walgreens. I normally use Walmart for when I need one hour prints done. The quality just doesn't seem to compare. I would also suggest making a Blurb/Shutterfly book. Either site has an easy way to create a book, which is a lot more interesting for people then prints.

Whatever Apple uses with iPhoto (1)

Logic Bomb (122875) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930621)

Every time I've done prints at local store, the color has been awful. Sometimes the image itself turns grainy. The prints I order through iPhoto are wonderful, though I haven't ordered in a few months. I believe they were using Kodak's service, which is getting handed over to Shutterfly?

Effort, formats (3, Interesting)

Dan East (318230) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930629)

It takes effort. Period. Why do you have photographs back from ww2? Because family expended the effort it took to keep them safe and sound all these years. That meant storing them properly, keeping them out of the hands of unsupervised kids, looking after them whenever family moved to a new home, etc. You simply have to do the same thing with your data. That means storing data redundantly on more than one format of physical storage. I would go with USB flash, micro sd and DVD rom all three. Then a decade down the road you may have to convert them over to new media of the day. No big deal. Regardless it will take effort, and if the data is important to you, then you'll expend that effort.

I have a comment about physical media. Why did the 3.5" floppy replace the 5 1/4"? Smaller form factor and greater data density. Why was PC Card (PCMCIA) flash / hdd replaced by Compact flash, which was replaced by SD, which is being replaced by Micro SD? Smaller form factor and greater data density. Well guess what. Micro SD is the pinnacle of small form factor. You cannot make it any smaller or else the average human simply cannot physically work with the media. In fact, there are millions of people that don't have good enough eyesight or motor control to work with Micro SD card sized media. My point in all this is all that is left to improve is data density and transfer rate. It is my opinion that micro sd is going to be around for a very, very long time. Barring some sort of proprietary format war (like Apple finally including removable storage in iOS hardware, but going with a new proprietary media) I don't see much improvement over the sd form factor, and so I think it's going to be with us for quite a while.

Photobox if you are in Europe (2)

ncw (59013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39930649)

I use Photobox ( [] ) for this purpose. They are cheap and quick, but only in Europe. They also allow you to upload photos with FTP rather than some stupid application which is really really convenient!

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