Where should I get my individual family photos printed?
After my move to Germany, a new language wasn’t the only thing I had to learn. Shopping was the next big thing that I had to learn all over. Not the act of shopping, I am pretty good at that. I had to figure out where I wanted to go and what products to buy. I used to spend what seemed like hours at the supermarket because literally everything except the produce was new to me. This can be fun, but then other times you just wish you could buy the same old brand you had been buying for years. I can’t help you with your food shopping, but I am going to try and save you a little bit of time on where to print your family pictures. This is the first in a series of blog posts I have planned to compare the different photo printing services. This article will start with where to print your basic 10x15cm print. I have tried out 3 different online companies (WhiteWall, DM fotoparadise, and Saal-digital), and I went to DM and Sauter (a local photography store here in Munich) for my in-store printing options. For fun, I also printed on a Canon, the selphy 900 we bought to do a polaroid-type photo album at our wedding five years ago.
I compared the companies and the different papers they offered with two color photos and one black and white. It was important for me to look at the crispness of the image and how the colors were printed. I was looking for colors that matched how I had developed them in the photography software Lightroom.
Ease of Ordering:
Saal-Digital – http://www.saal-digital.de/ –
I found the ordering to be a little confusing at first. It is only offered in German, but a very novice level of German should suffice. One particular step of the ordering process that slipped me up was the “beschnitten” question. You simply just clicked on each photo to check if you like how they cropped your pictures. This is important because not all cameras take pictures with the same height width ratio. I have my camera set to take 2:3 which fits the standard 10×15 prints, but my phone takes images at 3:4. This is something you should be aware of no matter where you are ordering. Over all, even though the website was not the most user friendly, it was also not impossible to figure out. The order came very fast in about 2 days.
DM fotoparadise – https://www.fotoparadies.de/ –
This website was very user friendly, and I think that if you know that “photoabzuge” is a print you could easily order from them. I picked “online bestellen”, and then you have to decide if you want to stick with the height:width ratio the picture was taken at or if you want to change to the standard 2:3 ratio. They don’t offer any paper options, so it definitely stream lines your decisions. The other thing that is a little confusing is that a 10×15 in their ordering is called a 10er. The order also came very fast in about 2 days.
WhiteWall – https://de.whitewall.com/ –
If ordering in German is intimidating, WhiteWall is great option. You can first go to the English website and figure out which products you want. WhiteWall has lots of different paper and framing options so it is nice to read about them in English. Then since the German website is an exact replica, you can easily pick the options you found on the English website. When I first moved here knowing very little German, I used this method for ordering from Ikea.de. The WhiteWall order also came very fast in about 2 days.
DM store at Giselastrasse –
At DM, you walk right up to a kiosk and it easily takes you through the process in German or English! You can print from a variety of devices including your phone, but I had my images on a USB stick. After ordering, the pictures are printed on a large printer on the other side of the counter. It took less than 5 minutes from sitting down at the kiosk to getting my printed pictures.
Sauter – https://www.foto-video-sauter.de/
The is maybe the oldest photography store in Munich. If you walk all the way to the back, they have many stations where you can sit down and order prints. The prints are done in 60 minutes. They also have an instant printing station sponsored by CEWE for 10×15 or another instant printing station for 20x30s. All of these stations are easy to use. It only takes a few minutes, and you can have all your pictures ordered. Here I did not see the option to plug in your phone, but I had my pictures on a USB stick. After ordering, you get a receipt and have to go pay at the “kasse” in the back. I came back and picked up my prints the next day. You also can order online and then go pick up the prints. http://foto-sauter1.de/Bestellung/SelectCategorie. I would have chosen this option if I had known about it beforehand.
Which ever company you choose, if you are printing pictures from a professional photographer make sure that you unclick “Bildoptimierung” or choose ausgeschaltet. If they are your own pictures, it would be ok to leave it checked if you haven’t done any post processing and the images are straight out of the camera.
Quality of prints:
Saal digital –
The color quality seemed consistent across all the paper types. It was good but not as perfect as WhiteWall.
Normal Print – Silk Finish – Good classic print for a great price. The prints on this paper seem to have a bit of a yellow tinge. The tinge is not noticeable in many of the color pictures I printed there, but was noticeable when printing a color picture with a lot of white and of course in the black and white pictures since they also have a lot of white.
Fine Art Print – Photo Rag – Personally, I would only choose this paper if I wanted to make a post card. I do not think it works well for the typical types of prints people make but if a very matte finish is what you like then this is the paper for you.
Fine Art Print – Pearl – This paper was good but was always out performed by Saal other fine art paper option Baryta.
Fine art print – Baryta – Although this paper did not wow me for color prints, it was beautiful in black and white. It printed the blacks blacker and the white whiter than another other option I tested making it my top choice when printing black and white photos for wall art.
One thing that was a bit disappointing about the fine art prints from Saal-digital was that they all came very bent since the paper had obviously be rolled up. It took a while for them to become flatter, but they have become flat since this article took me so long to write.
Fuji Crystal DPII paper – Archive Silk Finish– These prints were my top choice overall. The colors were perfect and they are crisp and beautiful prints. They cost much more than other options so I would only use this when printing wall art from a professional photographer where they have worked really hard to make the colors perfect for your images.
Fuji Crystal DPII – Archive Glanzend – These prints had the same great colors of the archive silk finish but with the more classic glossy finish. This gave the pictures a crisper, sharper look with the same perfect color. It is really a personal preference if you like the glossy or the silk finish. The black and whites were also very nice coming in as my second pick for black and white pictures.
Foto- Poster XXL – Druck UV Poster Druck – These are horrible quality and not good for 10×15 photos.
DM fotoparadise –
Normal prints all are glossy – These prints were surprisingly good for the price. Colors were good but not perfect and they were nice and crisp. They also did not print too dark which is a big bonus but they made some images that were already light too light. These are a great value for your money. Several different people that I showed these pictures to choose this option as one of the best for one of the color prints because of the crispness of the photos. Their black and white photos were a bit to greyish for me. I would definitely recommend DM fotoparadise for printing your everyday pictures.
DM in-store –
Normal Prints – I printed both glossy and silk but they looked almost exactly the same. These prints were so bad and such poor quality compared to the other printing services it was shocking. They were extremely grainy and the colors were all off. I strongly urge you not to use this option.
Normal Prints at their 60 min. lab– I choose a silk finish but you could also choose glossy. These prints are really great quality for the time and price. I would highly recommend this option. The color prints are really close to being the correct color, not as perfect as the WhiteWall prints but better than both Saal-digital and online DM fotoparadise. The exposure of the images was true to how I had developed them so they were not darker or lighter than I wanted. I liked the silk finish at Sauter. It has a smoother finish with a little gloss to it to make it a nice compromise between the high-gloss pictures of DM fotoparadise and the silk matte finish at Saal-Digital.
Cewe Instant Printer – In the store, they have one Cewe instant printing station that is only for 10×15 prints. It is fast, but you should not use this printer. They are very poor quality in both crispness and color. Just wait the 60 minutes and get the pictures from the lab that are really nice.
Canon – Selphy 900 –
My home printer- The prints were also very low quality. It performed slightly better than the in-store instant printers tested but they were all clearly worse than the online options.
The clear losers are the instant print options. They will save you on time but they will make you sad to see such great family pictures printed in such poor quality. For each of the 3 prints there were different winners. For the jungle gym picture, WhiteWall won for perfect color, excellent details, and their silk finish gave the picture a real rich and soft look. For the city scape picture of the Munich residence gardens, online DM won. The others printed this picture a bit darker and the colors were really nice here. That said when you have a lot of skin tones WhiteWall pictures are much better. However, here the faces were so small it did not matter. Lastly, the best black and white photo print went to Saal digital on their Baryta fine art paper. The whites were whiter and the blacks were blacker on this paper from Saal-digital than on any other paper or company.
Price for a 10 x 15 print:
Saal digital –
shipping for my order was 2,95
normal print – silk finish – € 0.19
Fine art print – photo rag – € 2.50
Fine art print – pearl – € 2.50
Fine art print – Baryta – € 2.50
shipping for my order was € 4,95
Fuji Crystal DPII – archive silk – € 6.95 Although this is very expensive I did not find their prices for larger prints prohibitive.
Fuji Crystal DPII – archive glanzend – € 3.90
XXL – € 2.90
DM online –
shipping € 1.99
normal prints – € 0.08
DM in store –
normal prints – € 0.27
Sauter in store –
Sauter 60 min. lab – each order has a charge of € 0.95
normal print- silk finish – € 0.29
Cewe instant printing station – € 0.25
Canon Selphy 900 –
My home printer- € 0.30 plus
the price of the printer around € 100
The overall winner is WhiteWall for color quality prints. The color is preserved perfectly in their Fuji Crystal DP II paper. The prints come flat and not all rolled up like the higher quality prints from Saal. For black and white photos, I recommend printing at Saal-Digital but only on the Baryta fine art paper. If you want to get your pictures printed and have them viewed as your photographer intended, then I suggest you use these two options. Both are very fast and you can have your prints in a few days. If you have a bunch of pictures you want printed to put in a photo album, my next choice would be the Sauter in-store 60 minute lab. Their colors were the second best and their black and white were black and white and not yellow or brown. Next in line came Saal-digital and DM online. Both are decent quality and very low price. Please don’t print your pictures at the “instant” in-store printers.
It is so important to get your family pictures printed, your kids will love looking at them! You never know when a technology will become obsolete and all the family images not printed will be lost on your computer. I know this is a lot to read through but I hope that it helps you navigate where you want to get your photos printed in your new home in Munich, Germany. Also remember just like wine we all don’t have to like the same thing. These are my opinions and you have to decide what you like the best. If there are any other companies you want me to review leave a comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.