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Walmart – Photo Center Review

walmart print comparison review

I received a text from my friend around 10:30am on Thursday morning:

“Can u print the pix from our session for J’s parents? They leave tomorrow to go home”

I responded in the affirmative and she asked for me to send them to Wal-mart for the sake of time and convenience. Normally I’d tell her she is crazy and that I refuse to allow Wal-mart to print my beautiful portraits, but I didn’t have time to set her up with my pro-lab prints or even prints from my typical local source- Costco. So, Wal-mart it was.

There was one upside to ordering from Wal-mart. Over the past few months, I have been ordering test prints from various consumer print labs in order to see how my professional quality portraits are printed. I forgot to turn off auto-correct for the set I initially ordered from Wal-Mart. The prints came back awful, but I couldn’t rule out that it wasn’t the result of the lab-applied auto correct.  A new set of test prints, with auto-correct turned off, would be required in order to solidify my opinion of Wal-mart’s printing capabilities.  With this in mind, when I uploaded my friend’s order to Snapfish (which will allow me to send the prints to Wal-Mart) I included a few images for test prints.

My friend texted me later in the evening to say “Thank you” for uploading the images and I asked her how they looked. She said “not great” but indicated that they were “passable” and would work fine for her purpose.  When I picked up my test prints from her I just shook my head in dismay – how in the world my calibrated images can print so horribly is beyond me. The prints were dark and yellow compared to my control prints (printed at my professional lab.) Even when you turn off auto-correct the prints still turn out awful.

So, the moral of the story – don’t print through Wal-Mart. I had a feeling they’d print horribly, but was shocked at HOW horrible they were. Of all of the consumer print labs I have ever tried, Wal-mart definitely ranks at the bottom.

I suppose it could just be my local Wal-mart and I should try a few other stores in my area before I make such general assumptions about Wal Mart print quality as a whole. However, considering I can drive to my local Costco, which does print decently, faster than I can get to another Wal-mart, I am not really concerned about wasting time and money to see if a different WM can get their act together.

On my to-do list for next week: order new prints for J’s parents and drop ship them to Nebraska. I have a feeling their grandkids look like oompa-loompas in those portraits and the kids are by far cuter than that!

walmart photo center review

1 thought on “Walmart – Photo Center Review

  1. Walmart quality varies greatly from store to store but its central lab has good quality. Some stores (including I am sorry to say my local store in Los Angeles) have very bad quality. I mean sticky prints with streaking colors bad quality. But when I specify ship to home, the quality is good. Not professional lab but good. The difference seems to be that photos for home delivery are printed in their central lab(s) with decent quality control. Photos to be picked up at the store (especially one-hour) are printed at the store, and store quality varies with the operator, machine, maintenance, etc at the individual store. And let me be frank: Walmart accepts much lower photo quality at stores in lower-income neighborhoods than in higher-income suburbs.

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