CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Christmas Gift Guide
Mobile

5 ways to print holiday photos you take with your phone

Gone are the days of a point-and-shoot. But you can still turn those smartphone digital memories into framed art you can hang on your walls.

Sarah Tew/CNET

This holiday season, you're bound to take hundreds of photos. But you probably won't be reaching for a dedicated camera, you'll grab the phone from your pocket instead.

This isn't a new phenomenon. Point-and-shoot cameras have been on a steady decline since 2012. But while smartphones have put an above-average camera in nearly everyone's pocket, one question remains: What's the easiest way to print the photos you take?

Fortunately, there is no shortage of ways to get those memories off your phone and onto paper. Here are five ways you can print all those holiday photos you take with your phone.

Instant printer

lifeprint-mobile-printer-07.jpg
Joshua Goldman/CNET

If you want to cut the computer out of the situation entirely, you can use a printer like the Fujifim Instax, Polaroid Zip, Lifeprint or HP Sprocket. These are battery-powered printers that easily fit inside a backpack, connect to your phone using either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, and use a companion app to produce prints in minutes, not unlike Polaroids of yore.

What you give up for instant gratification, however, is image size, quality and cost-effectiveness. The printers cost between $100 (about £80 or AU$134) and $200 (about £159 or AU$269), and prints cost between approximately $0.25 (£0.20 or AU$0.34) and $1.00 (£0.80 or AU$1.34) per print.

Still, there's much to be said about being able to take and print photos from virtually anywhere.

Prynt

prynt-5012-004.jpg
Josh Miller/CNET

A similar mobile print solution is Prynt. The Prynt Case is a photo printer that attaches to various iPhone models and some Samsung Galaxy smartphones, and doubles as a camera grip. It gives you a physical shutter button, runs off its own internal battery and can print photos immediately using Zink and paper packs.

Again, the downside here is pricing and image quality. The case itself sells for $150 (£119.29 or AU$201.39), and you'll pay about $1.00 (£0.80 or AU$1.34) per print.

Monthly subscription

More photos are taken now than ever before. Most of those photos will sit in your phone's camera roll until you run out of storage space and move it to a storage drive or delete them forever. You can, however, turn those otherwise forgotten photos into a photo album by singing up for a service like Recently or Groovebook. Just download the app, sign up for a subscription, select your favorite photos every month and receive them in a printed photo album.

  • Groovebook will send you a 4-inch by 6-inch book (10.16 by 15.24 centimeter) with 40 to 100 photos for just $2.99 (£2.40 or AU$4.10) per month.
  • Shutterfly's PrintFix service will send you 30 to 50 prints of the same size for $4.99 (£4.03 or AU$6.89) per month.
  • For something a little more special, you can turn your pictures into a monthly or quarterly magazine with Recently. The magazine is 9 inches by 10 inches (22.86 to 25.40 centimeters) with 50 to 100 of your favorite photos from every month or every three months. A magazine sent each month costs $8.99 (£7.21 or AU$7.21), while a magazine every quarter (three months) costs $12.99 (£10.42 or AU$17.83).

Print local and pick up

Many pharmacies are capable of printing the photos straight off your phone. For instance, Walgreens, CVS and Rite Aid all have mobile applications which allow you to choose and upload photos to print.

The upshot to this option is the ability to choose from a number of print sizes, which range greatly in price, from $0.20 (£0.16 or AU$0.27) and up per print to value packs for $9.99 (£7.94 or AU$13.41). Also, the turnaround time on prints is typically same-day and the outcome is usually a little more high-quality and professional looking.

Custom online ordering

If you want more printing options and to turn your photos into something special, like a calendar or mousepad, you might want to look towards online services, such as Shutterfly or Snapfish. Those are just two in an endless list of online printing companies.

Like with the Walgreens or Rite Aid apps, you upload the photos you want to print, select the medium or print size and wait. You're able to place truly custom orders, such as collage wall posters, framed and matted prints or holiday cards.

However, the turnaround time isn't nearly as quick, as these prints will come through the mail.

Expensive but fastest: Print at home

Printing photos is as simple as stocking your printer with photo paper, transferring the photos you want to print to your computer's hard drive using one of the above methods and printing as you would anything else. For the cost of a pack of photo paper, it's a convenient and cost-effective way to print your favorite memories.

If you have a wireless networked printer, however, it's even easier to print your photos. You can print your photos from the phone itself, without ever needing to transfer them to a computer.