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Printing Photos at Home Can Be a Cost Effective Option

In the past film development was a no brainer; after the roll of film was empty one simply took it out of the camera and dropped it off at the local Drugstore or nearest Fotomat. This action, was the catalyst for a chain reaction of events in which one then waited the standard week to week and a half for development to be completed; unless you paid big bucks to get it back in 3 days and then drove back to the drop-off point to rendezvous with your shiny (no matte option back then) new photographs. A select few had the equipment, the knowhow and the trust fund to have their very own darkroom to develop their precious film or ruin it all by themselves.

Ahh, how much easier has it been since the digital age of photography began. One can now take up to 4,000+ photos on a single memory card, upload them online to their favorite photo processing center and have them back…in just 1 hour. Yes sadly the Fotomats are no more; but most major retail store chains have kiosks in which customers can pop in that same memory stick 2 weeks later and not only edit their photos right there in the store, but order multiple copies of Sammy's first haircut photo in different sizes and "print them out below."

Major chains such as Walmart, Walgreens, CVS Drugs and Meijer are in a constant price war with one another in an effort to get us to use their photo processing services. Marketing in store 1 hour prints as low as $.12 and if one orders prints online for store pickup $.09/print! At prices this low, why would anyone consider printing photos at home?

The last 8 years have seen amazing leaps in both photo printer and ink technology. As well, major manufacturers such as Kodak, Lexmark and Epson have been forced to recognize that if ink cartridges continue to be considered an "investment" as opposed to standard office supplies consumers will only purchase printer ink for periodic necessity printing, not to print photos. This has resulted in the recent release of high yield cartridges, whose pricing is so low it is actually hard to believe. Lexmark for instance offers high yield (up to 510 pages) Lexmark ink cartridges for the Pro905 for the standard retail price of $4.99. High yield color cartridges (approximately 480 pages) are a mere $18.00 each resulting in an estimated average per print cost of $.13 when the purchase of photo paper is also taken into consideration.

Yes $.13 is more than $.09. However, one has the ability to edit photos in the comfort of their own home, burn them to DVD for posterity and print them again from the comfort of home while spending less time running errands and more time in your jammies. Not to mention wasting another precious commodity…gasoline this adds to the cost of printing photos outside the home.

Want to pay even less? Use remanufactured ink cartridges. These are not those you refill yourself, but purchase online from a refurbishing company. They work just as well if not better than brand name products and cost a lot less. An example: Take the Epson Stylus CX5800F ink; the CX5800F has 4 color cartridges that retail for an average cost of $59.00 for one round (1 each black, magenta, cyan and yellow). This same round of cartridges (remember remanufactured not refillable) cost an estimated $24.00 through one online provider. The same company also offers a volume purchase package for $48.99 you receive 4 black, and 2 each of magenta, cyan and yellow cartridges; 10 cartridges for less than $5/per cartridge shipped to your doorstep. In this economy it appears to make more sense to stay in your jammies.