Do you want to get prints of your wedding, family or other event and you don't know where you should go for prints? In this blog post, I go to a few places and order a variety of different sized prints and various ways, some in person, some online. I review, compare and rank the best place to print your photos in Waterloo Region. I live in Kitchener and so I know Kitchener-Waterloo locations the best. I didn't get to review any locations in Cambridge but a couple of the spots I went to also have stores in Cambridge or close to Cambridge. I have placed all the locations in alphabetical order.
I must say that all of pictures were taken with my cell phone, without any editing (just cropping) as I was trying to get a feel of exactly how the prints are, so please forgive the quality of the photos.
Big Leaf Print & Graphics
First off before we go to far. I have to say, the photo I took of this print does not do this any justice. I will explain more before, sorry for the interruption, continue reading.I ordered a print online and I was able to pick it up a week later (5 business days). I was not sure what to expect when I arrived to pick it up. Kris has a cool down to earth place as well is a cool and down to earth guy. He packaged up the print, so I didn't see it until I got home. This is the best quality print I have every had. When I asked Kris about what Big Leaf Print & Graphic's do, he said that they "specialize in large format printing (16x20+) however we can accommodate 4x6,5x7 and 8x10 prints as well. Admittedly our price points are not as competitive at the smaller sizes." This is a fair statement so if you are looking for smaller prints this might not be your place unless you are already getting other prints done here. If you want a few of the larger sized and really showcase your photos than this is the place to go! We will be getting all of our enlargements here going forward!
We specialize in large format printing (16x20+) however we can accommodate 4x6,5x7 and 8x10 prints as well. Admittedly our price points are not as competitive at the smaller sizes.
They print on on high quality photo paper (Canson Photographique Satin Archival Paper). In addition they also print on other materials such as wood and metal. They can also provide very high-end wrapped canvas products as well as custom framing. Lastly, you can get 10% discount if you buy your prints and enlargements through us! So not only a great product but also a discount!
BJ Photo Lab
BJ (a family owned business since 1984) has a good mixture of reasonable prices and good quality prints. The owner, Abdullah, is very friendly and always has a smile on his face, his father also works there. They provide same day and 1 hour service from 10am-4pm on weekdays but it does cost more. They provide a variety of photo sizes for all your needs. The more that you order the cheaper the prices are. This is my suggestion for getting a large quantity of prints. They have very reasonable prices, good quality photos and have been locally owned and operated for 25 years! They also have fine art printing and canvas giclee wraps. I will update with photo on Monday.
I ordered the 1 hour print at Costco in Waterloo. I was told to come back on 20 minutes so I did, and the print was finished. It was pretty cheap and was convenient. I couldn't find hours specific to the print shop so I put up the store hours. I was impressed with the speed of the print as well as they did have a cardboard backing for the prints and a plastic bag to protect them. The quality was below that of BJ Photo Lab ,but so was the price. If you are looking for a cheaper and fairly quick option (and you need a membership, or ask me to get them for you as I have a membership :) ) then this could be an option for you.
I placed my order online. It was very easy and quick online; plus it was done in only a couple of days and ready for pickup at their location near Fairview Mall. The quality is good, higher than Wal-mart, Costco or Staples. Much better paper. Similar quality to BJ's with a similar price. A good option if you live closer to this location than going all the way to Waterloo to BJ's. Better prices the more you order as well.
I was most excited about this place as it is the closest one to my place, but I was disappointed. I went to Highland Camera in person as their website was not working for ordering prints online. I talked a female there and she knew of the issue and are trying to resolve it. I asked for prices and was told that they could send a price list over email. What I received was the highest prices by far from all the places I went to. I asked for reasoning as to why the prices were so high but at the time of writing this blog I have not received an answer.
*Update: I still have heard nothing from Highland Camera*
I find the lack of communication to be frustrating. The lack of an operating website was also a big strike in my opinion. I don't like to be negative toward other small businesses so I will leave my comments at this. I did not bother getting a print made here as I felt like there was no way I was recommending this store to any of clients as it currently stands.
I found it easy to order this print from their online store, web address is above. I ordered my print on a Monday and received an email on the Friday of the same week that the print was ready for pick-up. I went to pick it up on the weekend but the price was slightly higher as well. I would say that you would be better off at Costco.
I went to the Wal-Mart on Ottawa St. in Kitchener. At this location they only have little kiosk's and so they only offer the immediate prints. I personally like the 1 hour prints as they are cheaper and usually they are ready by the time I am done shopping. At other locations this is an option, just not at this one I guess. I printed it out and went to the cash to pay. I asked for something to put the print into, like an envelope or something. I was offered a small grocery bag, which I declined. Service was poor in general. Nothing to keep the photos straight or from curling or bending. The quality was very basic. You get what you pay for I guess. This is usually the cheapest option, but since they only offered immediate prints in came out to be more than a couple other stores. The kiosks do offer good hours though, so if you need to print later in the day then I guess this would work. I personally wont go back.
I have a few favourites. If you are in Waterloo I recommend going to BJ Photo Lab on Phillip St. If you live in Kitchener or Cambridge I would recommend going to Henry's at Fairway and Manitou. I have not found a great place to recommend in Cambridge or Guelph, if you know of one, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be glad to add it to this list and review it. If new places pop up I will try them out and let you know how it goes. If there are places not on this list that you like me to review for you, please let me know as well. If you are looking for statement pieces and enlargements that are very high quality and are printed by a local small business then I would recommend going to Big Leaf Print and Graphics.
Thanks for making it through this long blog! Have a great day and week! I will try to keep this page updated so look back for more reviews going forward. If you would like your photos taken Contact me.