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The Best Ways to Print Photos from Your Smartphone

by on January 25, 2017
in Phones and Mobile, Cell Phones, Photo / Video Sharing, Computers & Accessories, Printers & Scanners, Tips & How-Tos :: 19 comments

Printing a picture on your phone to a wireless printer

One of the best cameras is the one you have with you — and for most of us, that camera is your smartphone. But unless you're meticulously sharing and backing up your photos online, most of them are probably languishing in your smartphone’s digital archives.

Free your photos from the shackles of your smartphone with services and hardware that make it easy to print your photos professionally (for shipping directly to you), on the go or at home. We’ve rounded up our favorite, easy ways to print photos from your smartphone.


Order professional prints with an app

Photo services let you order prints from your smartphone for delivery to your home within a couple of days. Send photos from your smartphone to one of our favorite print services to get lab-quality prints without leaving the house or shelling out for your own printer.

PrintStudio

PrintStudio

This sleek, intuitive app takes care of printing pictures as well as photo books, greeting cards and other photo products from your phone camera or Instagram account. Ordering prints is a simple matter of choosing exactly the size of photo you want, from a set of photo strips to a 54-image poster, and then picking the best of your snaps.

You can print photos in several unusual sizes, including 4" x 4" squares, 2" x 2" mini-squares and business-card-sized prints, as well as standard formats including 4" x 6" and 8" x 10" prints and 20" x 30" posters (probably best for owners of uber-high-megapixel phones like the iPhone 6s Plus or Samsung Galaxy S6). Send prints anywhere in the world. (Last-minute long-distance present, anyone?)

The app makes it easy to order unique frames and displays, including a reclaimed Santa Cruz block frame or multi-picture wooden and concrete displays.

Price: Free at Google Play and iTunes

Prints: $12 for 24 square prints; $15 for 24 4" x 6" prints; $10 for a set of nine photo strips (36 pictures); more prices at Social Print Studio

Shipping: $6 by FedEx and DHL; $12 international shipping; free shipping for U.S. orders over $50

Speed: 3-10 working days

Editing capabilities: None aside from cropping or shifting pictures to fit inside the print size

Best for: Interesting frames and unique prints (the mini-squares and 4" x 4" squares are particularly cute for Instagram images)

FreePrints

FreePrints

FreePrints is an offshoot of online photo printing shop Photo Affections, which perhaps explains why it can offer 1,000 free 4" x 6" prints per year. This streamlined app is an easy way to print photos from your phone camera as well as Facebook, Instagram, Dropbox, Flickr, Microsoft OneDrive, Amazon Photos and Google Drive. One click from the home interface takes you to a photo selection page for uploading and ordering prints, which can arrive as quickly as within two days.

You can order square prints for Instagram shots as well as 5" x 7", 8" x 10" and larger prints at an additional cost. If you use an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 7 or 7 Plus, pay for orders instantly using Apple Pay. Photos are printed on lab-quality paper from Kodak and Fujifilm, with an matte finish.

Price: Free from Google Play, iTunes, and Windows Store

Prints: Free for 4" x 6" prints (up to 85 per month or 1,000 per year); from $0.49 each for 5" x 5" prints

Shipping: $1.99 to $9.99; $1.00 more for two-day shipping; free shipping the first time you use the app

Speed: Four to six days; two working days for express shipping

Editing capabilities: Minimal; cropping, black-and-white filter

Best for: Low-cost, high-quality prints from a variety of sources

Shutterfly

Shutterfly

Last year Shutterfly started offering free unlimited 4" x 4" and 4" x 6" prints (you pay for shipping) for its Shutterfly app users,  in addition to free unlimited storage. Go to store,  prints and select the size of the prints you'd like. You can choose from photos on your phone, Shutterfly, Facebook or Instagram. Selecting multiple images is as easy as swiping across them.

In addition to the free prints, you can also order 5" x 7", 8" x 10" , 11" x 14", 12" x 12" and 20" x 30" at an additional cost.

Price: Free at Google Play and iTunes

Prints: Free for 4" x 4" and 4" x 6", from $0.99 each for 5" x 7"

Shipping: starting at $1.79 for economy shipping, starting at $19.99 for rush shipping

Speed: five to ten days;  two working days for express shipping

Editing capabilities: cropping; rotating

Best for: free, high-quality prints


Print on the go with a portable smartphone printer

Pull out one of these printers during your next vacation and instantly print anyone's smartphone photos for hard-copy keepsakes.

HP Sprocket

HP Sprocket

This tiny printer connects via  Bluetooth to your smartphone, with an app for selecting and printing photos to a pack of 2" x 3" stickers using ZINK photo paper.

The app lets you you add borders, stickers, filters and more, so you can personalize your photos. Use the prints as ordinary photos, or peel off the backs to stick them to just about anything.

The Sprocket has a rechargeable battery that lasts for about 50 prints per charge. The app lets you add borders, stickers, filters, text and more, so you can personalize your photos beyond scribbling a caption.

Price: $129.99 from Amazon

Prints: $9.98 for 20 sheets at Amazon

Speed: About 40 seconds per print

Editing capabilities: filters, borders, frames, text, cropping, auto fix

Best for: Printing photos on the go


Print at Home with a desktop printer

Printing your photos at home can not only work out cheaper, but far more convenient. If you're looking for pro-quality home prints, dedicated photo printers can handle ultra-high resolutions and fine color detail, while standard models still offer decent picture quality at an affordable price.

Canon Pixma TS9020

Canon Pixma TS9020

The Pixma TS9020 sports a six-ink system, including an individual grey ink for extra-fine color and gradation in black-and-white prints. It connects over Wi-Fi as well as Google Cloud Print and Apple AirPrint, making it easy for any device to link up and print. The compact all-in-one printer sports a 5-inch touchscreen for easy navigation. 

The printer uses an Android/iOS app to select photos from a smartphone or tablet for batch printing.

Price: $189.99 from Amazon

Prints: From $12 for 100 sheets of 4" x 6" glossy paper; $88.97 for a set of six ink cartridges ($48.99 for Black,Cyan, Magenta and Yellow, $19.99 for Pigment Black $19.99 for Gray) ($0.48 or less per print)

Speed: About 21 seconds per 4" x 6" photo

Editing capabilities: None

Best for: Professional-quality home photos

HP Envy 5540

HP Envy 5540

If you simply want to print photos for personalized cards or family albums, a multifunction inkjet printer like the Envy 5660 produces good clarity and color, especially with smaller prints. It can connect to any smartphone over Wi-Fi via the HP app, while Apple AirPrint support lets you print directly from iPhones without an app.

Photos can be printed in sizes up to A4, with a dedicated paper tray for 4" x 6" prints. If you regularly print photos, buy the Envy 5660 with an HP Instant Ink subscription plan that gets you 50 prints per month for $2.99, with HP connecting to your printer to send new cartridges when you're running low.

Price: $72.55 from Amazon

Prints: From $6.64 for 100 sheets of 4" x 6" glossy paper; $12.99 for Black and $16.99 for Tri-color (about $0.30 a print, $0.13 if you subscribe to Instant Ink)

Speed: About 45 seconds per 4" x 6" photo

Best for: Affordable home photo printing

What’s your favorite way to print photos from your smartphone? Let us know in the comments, and tell us if we've missed your go-to.


Updated on 1/25/2017 with pricing and print options.

[printer with smartphone image via Shutterstock, PrintStudio/Techlicious, FreePrints/Techlicious, Shutterfly/Techlicious, HP, Canon]



Discussion loading

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FreePrints in the UK

From John on January 27, 2015 :: 6:36 am

Just to note that FreePrints is somewhat less generous in the UK: up to 45 six-by-fours a month with a maximum of 500 a year. Postage is quoted at from £1.49 to “never more than £3.99” smile

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Hi everyone, I actually love

From Trevor Sweet on October 25, 2015 :: 3:41 pm

Hi everyone, I actually love printing photos especially the ones I take with my iPhone. I’ve used LifePrints before and loved the quality of the prints. The only thing is that I then needed to find a frame to put them in. I am all about saving time and money and thought that there has to be an easier way which is why I created my own app called Sweet Pix Photoboards for iPhone.

The Sweet Pix App allows you to print high quality photos that arrive on 8x8in photoboards that simply stick to your walls without needing nails or putting holes in your walls. Simply stick them anywhere you like. What makes them unique is that they are waterproof and UV resistant meaning they won’t fade or warp. You can put them in a bathroom or in a kitchen and never have to worry about them getting damaged. Would love to see what the community thinks and welcome any feedback you can provide.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/id839262104?mt=8

http://sweetpixapp.com/

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Awesome!

From Cellular Barn on February 06, 2016 :: 12:31 am

Cool article, let’s create more photo albums for future generation. Those printers are tempting.

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printers with WiFi Direct

From charlies on February 23, 2016 :: 7:49 am

Today plenty of printers have WiFi Direct, and on Android there are ‘apps’ that can link up a phone to those printers by manufacturer. That may be a good starting point, and tends to be easy to setup.

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wifi direct may not be

From roberto on February 23, 2016 :: 8:25 am

wifi direct may not be needed if the ‘app’ can find the printer on the network.

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What about frames?

From Anastasia on April 30, 2016 :: 11:24 pm

Does anyone know where I can get a frame for my cell phone pictures?  Since the photos are not standard size, I’m not sure where to find a frame.  Thanks.

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Useless article

From Charls on July 24, 2016 :: 8:53 pm

Why not actually write about printing photos instead of ordering them

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Did you read the article?

From Josh Kirschner on July 25, 2016 :: 9:52 am

The article is useless if you don’t actually read it. There are two sections above about printing on the go with a portable printer and printing at home using a desktop printer.

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Good point!

From Carol on January 26, 2017 :: 1:46 pm

Good point Josh. It really helps to actually read your article first ... before you complain. DUH!!!!! Great article by the way.

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Thanks, Carol!

From Josh Kirschner on January 26, 2017 :: 4:59 pm

Sometimes it’s quicker to complain than to read.

Best,
Josh

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Don't Bother with Kicksend

From Laura on October 04, 2016 :: 6:03 pm

Realize this is an older blog post, but your review came up while I was trying find out what happened with Kicksend… seems it doesn’t work anymore. People have been paying for prints with nothing received. App hasn’t been updated in two years. Please don’t recommend it. Thanks!

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PrintFlips - The first in the world to create flips.

From Andrey on October 14, 2016 :: 2:42 am

Hello! Please let me know where I can order a review of my application?

My application - service for making a flip!
My application is the first in the world to create flips. It makes it possible to turn your photographs into something new and unique. Let me present you a Flip! The flip is not just a printed photograph. The flip is a new magic thing which will bring more joy into your life. Using my application, you can place up to 4 photographs into one flip.

You can see video:

https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/printflips/id1119556773?mt=8

http://www.printflips.com

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What about PostalPix?

From Gallagher Goodland on October 28, 2016 :: 3:22 pm

PostalPix is another great iPhone app to print photos. They’re cheap and easy to use. only 49 cents for 4x4 prints.

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Two year old article??!?!

From J Fremont on January 26, 2017 :: 4:05 pm

According to the comments, this article is two years old. Technology changes weekly, I would appreciate new research on this topic.

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The article was just updated

From Josh Kirschner on January 26, 2017 :: 4:56 pm

We left the old comments in, as often they are helpful. However, the article was completely updated and republished January 25, 2017. We noted that with the new article publish date at the top and was a note about the update at the bottom of the article.

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Print to Walgreens with just a text message

From Michelle on February 09, 2017 :: 6:33 pm

I just launched textasnap.com.  With it you can print photos from your phone to Walgreens with just a text message.  No ‘app’ needed.

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Postalpix Kickstarter

From Gallagher Goodland on February 20, 2017 :: 7:22 pm

Postalpix is adding a host of new products to their iPhone app. They’re using Kickstarter as a platform for funding.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1540849422/postalpix-app-photo-prints-and-custom-home-decor-0/posts/1812106

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Here's the easiest photo printing

From Juan Alvaro Quintero Corella on February 20, 2017 :: 7:46 pm

Here’s the easiest photo printing from your WhatsApp, without downloading other applications.
http://pixtaprint.com/

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Postalpix has a higher quality

From Gallagher Goodland on February 21, 2017 :: 12:14 pm

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