How to print photos from a pro photographer on your own

How to print photos from a pro photographer on your own

So you had photos taken by a professional photographer, and you got some high-resolution digital jpegs as part of your package.

How do you go about turning those jpegs into beautiful wall art? Does it matter where you get your photos printed?

YES, it does matter! Dig into my top 5 pro tips for printing your own photos from your high-resolution files.

Tip #1 – Get permission to reprint.

You might not realize it, but your photographer is the copyright owner of the photos they took, even if you hired him/her to take them.

That means you need the photographer’s permission to reprint them. If they don’t share a print release that clearly spells out what you can and cannot do with the photos, ask for one. Then respect the limits of your print release.

Some print releases only allow printing with specific vendors, so keep an eye out for those limitations.

Tip #2 – Just say NO to retail printers.

Retail photo printers are high volume and low quality. It’s the same photo printing you probably remember from before digital photos were “a thing.”

Examples include Target, Walgreens, CVS, WalMart… anywhere that promises to print your photos in a hot minute is definitely not a place you want to print something that’ll go in a prominent place on your wall.

Retail printers also include high-volume online photo labs like Shutterfly and Snapfish.

Can these websites print your photos? Sure. They’re a notch above the retail stores I listed above.

But high-volume printers aren’t concerned with how your images turn out, and whether or not the colors are accurate.

They don’t care if you look like a Chee-toh or pale as a ghost. They’re churning out so many photos, it doesn’t matter one whit to them.

Tip #3 – Order from a high-quality consumer photo printer.

OK, Target is out, so where SHOULD you print your photos?

Don’t worry, I got you! My top two recommendations for printing your own photos are:

#1. is a consumer photo lab, meaning Regular Joe You can order directly from mpix, even though you’re not a pro photographer.

Use this link to get $10 off your first order at

#2. Nations Photo Lab

Like mpix, Nations Photo Lab can be trusted to print amazing photos, but they’re affordable and open to consumers and pros alike.

Use this link to get $10 off your first order at Nations Photo Lab

Both of these labs are closer to professional quality and still affordable for the majority of consumers. And using my links mean you get $10 off so SCORE!

Tip #4 – Special consideration for canvases

There are some important reasons why you should order canvases through your photographer, but if that’s not in the budget, you CAN print your own… just know that not every photo is a good fit for a canvas.

You need lots of white space around your subject (which many photos don’t have enough) OR you need some edge design options.

What’s edge design?

Your canvas can use the photo itself to wrap around the edges of the canvas (if there’s enough white space).

If there’s NOT enough white space, edge design lets you print the entire photo on the face of the canvas and handle the edges in another way—like maybe a mirror image of the photo’s edges, or a blurred mirror of the photo, or a solid color.

Basically, you’re looking for a canvas printer that lets you customize the edge design.

Of the labs I recommended above, only mpix gives you edge design options.

That means you can use pretty much ANY photo on your canvas. Yippee!

Tip #5 – Consider ordering your prints through your photographer

Having the digital files doesn’t mean you have to take on the printing by yourself, too.

Most photographers offer an option to print your photos through their professional lab.

It’s faster, easier, and your photographer will give your prints extra-special attention.

We work with professional print labs and we’ll make sure your prints look exactly the way you expect.

(I personally review the cropping of every photo and canvas, and reprint if you’re not happy with them. It’s how I roll.)

Bonus good karma: you’re supporting a small business owner. It’s the cool thing to do.


  1. Make sure your photographer gave you permission to print the files in the first place. They’re the copyright holder, not you. Get a print release.
  2. Stay away from Target, Walmart, and the like for photo printing. Just don’t.
  3. Use a GOOD consumer print lab, like mpix or Nations Photo Lab.
  4. Consider printing through your photographer if your budget allows. Easier, faster, and good karma for supporting a small business owner. Yippee!


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