When digital cameras first came on the horizon, a few of us had a hard time getting adjusted. Sure, it was great to see a "preview" of what the picture would look like, and deleting unwanted shots was a novel idea. But many people would just load the digital pictures on to our PC's -- where they would sit. For years and years. Sure, it was fun to e-mail Aunt Tilly a digital image of the kids, but as far the family photo album went-- well, that was a thing of the past.
To this day, I still have friends who have neglected to make prints of their digital pictures. They have hundreds of digital images stored on their computers. Relying on a computer hard drive to store your pictures is a bad idea-- one computer crash and there goes the memories. At the very least, most people know to back up their digital pictures onto a CD. But what about if you're still longing for real pictures? There are a few good options and all are pretty affordable:
You can take your digital camera to a local photo developing center. This is just like the old days, but instead of dropping off film you will give them your camera card. They will download the pictures from your card and make prints out of them. You can even take advantage of one hour photo developing.
Order prints online. You can download your pictures to one of the many online photo developing sites. They will make the prints and mail them to you. The great thing about this option is you can customize your prints the way that you want them. You can order the standard 3X5 or 4X6 prints-- or a big ol' 8X10 print if you so desire. You can order color prints or black and white. You can even design holiday cards and invitations with your favorite photos on them. Editing tools can help you to reduce common photo faux pas such as red eye-- and you can even crop your photos if you want to. The online photo shops are very competitively priced and many offer free prints with your first order. Some good sites to shop at include Shutterfly.com, Snapfish.com and Ofoto.com. It is best to order online prints with a high speed Internet connection-- if you are using dial-up it will take a long time for your didigital images to download. The average price for online photo printing averages from about 19 cents to 29 cents per print.
Invest in a photo printer. The price of digital photo printers has plummeted in the past year or so, so just about anyone can afford one now. A photo printer will allow you to print your favorite photos on the spot. You will need to keep supplies on hand-- like ink and photo paper (just like you do for your computer)-- but the convenience of this option can't be beat. Many brands of photo printers are compatible with most cameras. An affordable option for first time buyers is the Kodak Easyshare Photo Printer. Once you get the hang of printing your own photos, you won't believe that you used to send them out for printing!