kmart vs pro 3

Print shop vs Kmart printing: What’s the difference?

Print shop vs Kmart printing, is there really a difference? I get this question a lot! In this blog I will break down the pros and cons of both options.

You’ve gone to the effort of organising the photoshoot, choosing the outfits and getting the family together to capture this chapter of life. You’ve invested in the photo session, so I get wanting to save a few $$ when it comes to printing. The thing is, printing is the final piece in the puzzle. If you don’t want your memories to become a discoloured crumpled mess shoved in a drawer, skip the kiosk printing and opt for a professional print lab.

Print shop vs Kmart printing, is there really a difference? I get this question a lot! I get the appeal of the 10-cent prints you get from a kiosk in the shopping centre, but trust me when I say that there is a noticeable difference. The main difference between cheap, low-quality photo prints and those from a professional print shop primarily lies in the materials used, the printing process and the level of expertise involved.

Here’s a quick breakdown:

  1. Paper Quality: Cheap prints will use thin, flimsy paper that may degrade quickly over time. On the other hand, print shops typically use high-quality photo paper specifically designed for printing images. This paper is thicker, has a smoother finish, and is often archival-quality, meaning it is resistant to fading and deterioration over time.
  2. Colour Accuracy and Vibrancy: When I edit a gallery, I do so on a fully calibrated machine so I know with certainty that the colours I am seeing on the screen will be the same as the colours you see when you print them, providing they are done at a print shop. Professional print shops utilise high-end printing equipment and calibrated colour profiles to ensure accurate colour reproduction and vibrancy. Cheap prints may have an unfortunate green tinge or be generally dull due to inferior printing equipment.
  3. Resolution and Detail: Print shops are equipped with high-resolution printers capable of rendering fine details and crisp images. Cheap prints, especially those produced by budget printers or home printers, will lack sharpness and clarity, resulting in fuzzy or pixelated images, particularly when printing larger sizes.
  4. Durability and Longevity: Professional prints are typically made with archival-quality inks and paper, ensuring longevity and resistance to fading, discolouration and degradation over time. Cheap prints may fade or deteriorate quickly, especially when exposed to light, humidity or environmental pollutants.
  5. Customisation and Finishing Options: Print shops often offer a variety of customisation options such as different paper types, finishes (e.g., glossy, matte), and mounting options (e.g., framing, canvas wraps). These options allow for greater flexibility in achieving the desired look and feel for your prints, which may not be available with cheaper alternatives.

While cheap, low-quality photo prints may offer a cost-effective solution for casual printing needs (i.e. when your kid needs to take that family photo into their class), I will always recommend my clients preserve their precious memories with quality prints from a professional photo lab. Especially if it’s just a few hero prints for the wall. If you’re tossing up between spending the money on the print or the frame, always choose the print. You can pick up beautiful frames from op-shops or get find some basic (cost-effective) options in shops.

Here are some of my favourite printing and display options:

Me!

Did you know there’s a print store linked to your online gallery? You can choose your favourites and order the prints to be delivered straight to your door. It couldn’t be easier than that!

Gold Coast Printing and Framing

Conveniently located in Burleigh Heads, Gold Coast Printing and Framing offers fine art prints as well as custom framing options. It’s a one-stop-shop!

Total Digital Image

Working with the public as well as professionals, this Bundall-based print shop does everything from photos to fine art prints, custom framing, photo editing and restoration.

Imogen Stone

If you’re looking for a way to display your photos in a unique way, Imogen Stone print your images on to a beautiful range of handcrafted stone products. The online process for uploading and choosing your product is super easy and the quality is superb.

Home Dweller

I have one of Home Dweller’s magnetic photo hangers and I love it! It’s so easy to swap and change the photos.

Skylight

I gifted myself a Skylight digital photo frame for Mother’s Day so I’m yet to try it out but I’m super excited about it! Watch this space.

Framefox

Whether you’re after a single framed print or a whole curated gallery wall, Framefox has the product to suit. Featuring museum-quality frames and crisp prints, it’s a great option.

My advice: Don’t leave it too long to get your photos printed! The longer they sit on a dusty hard drive, the harder it will be to decide. So don’t overthink, choose your three favourites, hit the order button and grab some frames next time you’re at the shops. Then, down the track, if you decide to upgrade then you can, but in my experience, done is better than perfect!

We don’t always see the lasts coming,
life is busy, but the lasts just don’t wait.

Choose your own adventure

Choose your own adventure