Best way to print ~10000 photos?
October 29, 2014 8:41 AM   Subscribe

What's the most cost-effective way to print about 10000 [unique] photos? I'm enjoying going through my grandparent's photo albums, and while I'm not concerned about backups (I am extremely good about backups), I am very concerned about discoverability; I think my grandchildren someday are much more likely to find and go through a stack of physical photo albums than they are a CD in a drawer.

I'm open to options that aren't individual photo-printing (e.g., printed photo-books), but I'd want to know how good the color quality is compared to real photo paper.
posted by dmd to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
The first thing that comes to mind is printing a series of contact sheet-like pages. The pages don't have to be too small. Then you can get a number of prints on a page, and the pages can be put in a binder and indexed with whatever metadata you create.

This can support browsing, both at the picture level and the folder level, and if people find something they like, then they can go to the digital prints.
posted by carter at 8:53 AM on October 29, 2014 [1 favorite]

I meant, the photos on the pages don't have to be too small.

Are we dealing with paper or digital prints here?
posted by carter at 8:54 AM on October 29, 2014

Actually, photo book sounds like the best option for 10,000 original photos. As mentioned, you'll be able to print several on a page and arrange them by subject matter or how you see fit.

If you're wanting to make it easy for kids, then a website that they can easily access via future phones/tablets/whatever might be a better option.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:01 AM on October 29, 2014

printed photo-books
I get these from snapfish and shutterfly often and the quality is good, but they are not cheap. I have lucked into sales and freebies from Coke points, but nothing that would cover 10K photos.
posted by soelo at 9:06 AM on October 29, 2014

I don't know much about the archival life of printed photos, but that's probably something you should be concerned about.
posted by ryanrs at 9:24 AM on October 29, 2014

"I think my grandchildren someday are much more likely to find and go through a stack of physical photo albums than they are a CD in a drawer."

Most kids I know have no issue with reading on-screen, scanning photos on-screen, and doing all the other on-screen activities that wear out those of us not born into the technology. Your grandchildren likely be unimaginably more happy with on-screen work, and there will be technology that makes our current screens seem incredibly primitive. If I were you, I would not do this via print-outs.

Also, the photos are already printed out, in books. Why can't those be your print-out option? Why back up prints with prints? The grandkids will certainly be able to print from digital more cheaply and easily than you can if that's what they want.

Anyway, to answer your question, I believe what you're looking for is for scanning and printing....not just printing. ScanMyPHotos offers an affordable service, and, once scanned, various ways to print and deliver. Per above, I'd do electronic delivery (at the highest resolution possible, and let the grandkids export into whatever they find themselves using.
posted by Quisp Lover at 9:26 AM on October 29, 2014 [2 favorites]

Are you talking about making copies of the books? Or that you want to print out your photos so that your grandchildren can do what you are doing? If the latter, you first want to of course make many backups, and then every few years make sure that the files are recopied and accessible in whatever format is then current.

And if you want make prints, you can do up to 2,500 for a penny each here. Printing photobooks will be much more expensive.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:41 AM on October 29, 2014

Response by poster: Sorry, I should have clarified. I'm talking about printing my photos, not my grandparent's photos.

I've looked into Mailpix in the past. They're not really a penny each - when you get all the way to checkout, it turns out they're a penny each plus 8 cents each for shipping, so really 9 cents each.
posted by dmd at 11:48 AM on October 29, 2014

Blurb has pretty decent prices for 240 page photo books. You can probably fit four photos on each side of the page, so that's about 2000 photos for $100 or so.
posted by smackfu at 12:56 PM on October 29, 2014

You would improve the discoverability of your photo archives by carefully rating and adding identifying metadata to the photos. Once you add information such as date, location and subject, future generations will have a much better time browsing the collection. And you should go through and find the best and give those the top rating.

Inexpensive printing is generally not archival compared to single prints made on specifically chosen paper using the most archival quality inks. By all means have Blurb or whoever make big books of everything, but realize those may not look good in ten, twenty or fifty years. Printing is a changing technology. Your grandchildren will have access to better printing than we have.
posted by conrad53 at 6:35 AM on October 30, 2014

Response by poster: Oh, man, conrad53. Way ahead of you. Every single one of my 10000+ photos has people tags, geotags, description, often tags describing if there are any unusual objects in the photo. I'm metadata-*crazy* ; here's my license plate from a few years ago.
posted by dmd at 7:26 AM on October 30, 2014 [1 favorite]

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