How to Make the Most of Your Photo Investment:
There’s a relatively small cost difference that for some reason often gets the last spot on the priority list when it comes to budgeting, and that is PRINTS!
I get it— there is A LOT to fit into the wedding budget, from the gown to the venue to the food to the photography and videography you may be looking for places to save.
Printing is NOT a corner you want to cut.
and here’s why:
Think about what your number one investment for your wedding probably was? I would bet the photographer of your dreams was at the top of your list for where to splurge in your wedding day budget, because you’re smart, and you know that photos are the only thing you get to keep forever after your big day (…except your husband of course;))
You have sanctioned a major portion of your budget to be used on your photographer…. it really doesn’t make any sense to try to save on the prints. It makes your initial investment in photography less valid when the finished product doesn’t reflect the highest possible quality.
Keep reading to get the details on how to get the best prints and make your investment worth it!
LOOKING FOR A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER? LET’S GET IN TOUCH!
ALL PRINTS ARE NOT CREATED EQUALLY.
If you hire a photographer because you love her/his style and the way her/his images look, you will be in for a sad surprise if you take those beautifully edited images to a low quality printer.
Lesser quality printers just don’t have the capability to translate the exact color detail that your photographer spent hours and hours fine tuning for you. They won’t have the same tone or contrast that made you hire your photographer in the first place!
You have invested in your photos so much already by hiring a talented photographer, it would be a shame to think a discrepancy of a couple hundred dollars or less is worth the sacrifice of quality in your photos. In the grand scheme of the wedding budget, it’s a relatively small amount that makes a huge difference.
Where to go
Ok good. you’re convinced you want high quality prints—now, where do you get them?
Several professional print labs operate online. One of my personal favorites is: Artifact Uprising
I love them, not only for the aesthetic and quality that is visible in their prints, but because they use only archival papers. The importance of archival paper is something that was drilled into us photo school students back in the day (when I got to print all my work myself, and had to purchase the paper myself as well).
Archival papers are acid-free which means they won’t deteriorate over time like their non-archival alternatives. If you’ve ever found faded photographs on brittle paper in a box at your grandmas you know that many prints don’t live too much longer than the people who took them! In a digital age, photos are becoming a thing that can be easily lost forever. Printing with archival products means your photos can survive the test of time and be tangible heirlooms for years and years.
PRO TIP: Artifact Uprising (and places like it) take time to produce your prints and ship them to you. Plan for a minimum of a week between order and delivery, and plan for a minimum of two weeks between order and delivery if you want low shipping costs. Factor in your photographer’s processing time to know how soon you need to schedule your shoots in order to print from an online shop.
Another great option is a brick and mortar professional print lab. Look for one near you for convenient, quality prints that can be picked up (eliminating the time and expense required for shipping)
If you’re in Northern Utah, I personally love Nichol’s Photo Lab in Salt Lake City. (3265 S 1100 E, Salt Lake City, UT 84106) They do have a website, but it’s not the most user-friendly, plus the benefit of a physical location near you is you can pick up prints and in most cases have enlargements made within 48 hours!
Persnickety Prints in Orem is also a great option. They have a physical store front, as well as convenient online options! Visit them at 190 North Orem Boulevard Orem, Utah 84057.
where to not go
If none of the options above work for you, no worries you can check out all the different print shops and decide on your own, but before you do, here are some print places to avoid:
Costco- Though I love Costco with all my heart, don’t print your photos here (**unless they aren’t for display and you just want a cheap, easy option for your own personal keepsakes, thank yous, etc. more about when costco is a good option coming in a blog post soon!)
Grocery stores or convenience stores (…Walmart…CVS…Walgreens..)
Business printers like Fedex, AlphaGraphics, etc.
All of the above listed places have printers that aren’t dedicated to high quality photo creation, and the colors will be slightly off from how they are meant to look.
Lesser quality printing often results in blacks that look blue or green and incorrect contrast, or skin tones that look more orange, with overall tints of green. Not to mention low quality printing can reduce the appearance of sharpness in your images as well!
ok, but the budget!!!!
I hear you. The budget. It’s so tempting to use those few hundred dollars in other places. If you are on a budget but you want to do your photos justice with a high quality print service, consider these options:
Keep numbers down- Only make 1 or 2 large, high quality prints to display your absolutely favorite image(s) from your bridal or engagement session. *Think about what photo(s) you (or maybe your mom or mother-in-law) will want to have hanging in their home after the wedding.
Think Small- Maybe you don’t do any really big prints at all, display smaller images by stringing them up, spreading them on tables, using wood blocks, or simply small frames.
Avoid Canvas- Canvas prints are so fun, but if the budget is tight, you can do a large print on an easel with matte board, or in a frame for cheaper than a canvas print in most cases.
Think outside the frame- forgo all frames and display photos without them, or use alternative methods like DIY wood-block photo stands.
Reduce, reuse, recycle, re-frame- Use frames that you (or your parents) already have, print photos to a size that fits a frame currently in use and borrow the frame for your big day. Also check for cheap frames at thrift stores, garage sales, and your grandma’s house! Let people know you’re looking for frames because old frames get cleaned out all the time when people move, get new photos, or spring clean!
if you are purchasing a used frame or are given one you don’t have to give back to its original owner, you can spray paint it to cheaply change the look to fit your style and vision. (i.e. I had some cheap, black, wooden frames available to me for my wedding photos and I spray painted them gold to match the rest of the decor and aesthetic)
In the end just remember that from your photography to your makeup artist to your prints, your photos are important, and you want to make the most of them!