Friday, April 17, 2009

Print Lab Review - Mpix

I've decided every now and again I will be reviewing online print labs that I've used to print my images. The reason is simple, I'm a paper junkie. I'm obsessed with finding that 100% perfect paper/ink combo for my images... because after all, the paper does become a part of your art. Also, all print labs have different options, outputs, brands, etc... So I do have quite a collection in my stack that I thought I'd share!

So... for my first online print lab review, I have chosen my old standby Mpix.

Now I'm sure almost everyone has heard of and possibly by now printed with Mpix. They have grown quite popular among the photography community because of their extremely reasonable pricing, easy ordering process, excellent customer service, and the vast majority of options for printing. This is why I keep them around as my old faithful standby print lab. When I'm in a crunch and need a print ASAP, I go to Mpix.

Now I said they are my standby.... this is because they are not my #1 go to for a print. They greatly lack in paper choices, which... for me... not good. They only offer 3 choices: E-surface, Black & White, and my favorite paper from them... Metallic. All of which have fabulous printouts, however beware that they do print file names on the back of images, so at least use the backprinting option to add your studio name on there with all the other #'s and such, and also be careful what your files are named when you upload... that also appears on the back. (sorry for the bad scan)

Another great point to mention about Mpix is that they allow you to upload and store images right on the site in handy little folders :) This makes it super easy at any time to just click a pic, size, add to cart and voila, your ordering away like that! So easy, so fast! Also, their customer service is top notch! They even have a pretty active forum. Aaaaaand, up until now they have had the fastest turn-around time out of all the print labs I've tested.

I have printed a ton of photos with Mpix on all 3 papers, mostly to fill up my portfolio in the least expensive way that I could. I've never taken advantage of their color correction option, and every one of my prints have been exactly what I was expecting. (monitor calibration helps)

Tips about the papers:

E-Surface ~ great all around simple gloss photo. Perfect for portraits, landscape, and basically everything else.

Black & White ~ great contrasts, matte, & everything you'd want in a black and white paper. Simple and straight forward.

Metallic ~ ok, this stuff is just fun! It makes your images sparkle, stand out, 3D... really something different! Very super high gloss, but absolutely cool.... you just honestly have to see it to know. Please do try it, its inexpensive so its so worth it!! A note - b&w photos look outstanding on metallic, portraits look awful, in my experience anyway. Also, as far as signing the backs of this paper requires either a pencil, or a special pen for really really slick surfaces (American Crafts slick writer works, I know).

Now to finish off my ramblings.... I have printed greeting cards with Mpix. Excellent output on the card stock. Easy-peasy software to create the cards, just be careful with centering your writing on the backs. They are listed under their press products. They include white envelopes with every order (not pictured).

P.S. forgot to mention that they package their photos extremely well and protected. Makes for a great recycling option for your packaging materials :)


  1. I am a photographer too...but i prefer the digital trees.

  2. thanks for your comment, and EXCELLENT point! I do sell prints though, so I have been on a never-ending search for a completely 100% sustainable print lab. I have found one, however haven't had the opportunity to test a print yet. When I do I will be sure to post a review on them! In the meantime, I try to use whatever recycled materials I can... envelopes, packaging supplies, etc...

  3. Wow! I actually had never heard of them....I will have to check I'm curious as to who you mainly use :)

  4. really! well you definitely have to check them out! They're so inexpensive, just remember to batch up your order to save on shipping :P

    The main lab I use as of this moment (changes a lot!) is West Coast Imaging. I'm doing a new project with them, new for them too... so once we find out if it works I will do a review on them!

  5. Cool Review to read, very informative and helpful :)

    Your blog looks great!

  6. great post kim! i have heard good things about mpix! thanks for posting this! :)

  7. thank you! I'm brand new to photography. It's been a passion for me for years but only chasing my kiddo around with a point-n-shoot. Now I've decided to enter dip my tow into photography world. This review was very helpful. I will definitely be reading others of yours.

  8. LOL not sure why I decided to misspell TOE!! Note to self proof-read BEFORE you send!