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Walgreens Photo Review 2021

Your local Walgreens is not just for prescriptions, cough syrup, and toothpaste: It’s also a convenient place to pick up your pictures. The drug chain’s same-day printing offers near-instant photo gratification at thousands of store locations across the US. If you don’t want to schlep over to your local pharmacy mega–chain store, the company can send your pictures to you as well. Walgreens Photo offers a good selection of print sizes, and while its print quality is not the best we’ve seen, it’s still acceptable. You’ll also pay for convenience: Walgreens is one of the more expensive photo printing services we tested.

How Much Does Walgreens Photo Cost?

Walgreens charges 35 cents per print for the first 74 4-by-6-inch photos you print and 23 cents each beyond that number. By comparison, Snapfish, Walmart, and York Photo Labs only charge 9 cents per 4-by-6 print by mail order. That puts Walgreens on the high end of the photo printing price spectrum—you pay for the convenience of local pickup. Editors’ Choice winner Walmart remarkably charges 9 cents for each 4-by-6 print even with 1-hour pickup, though CVS charges the same 35 cents per print as Walgreens. Target and Rite Aid sadly no longer offer local photo pickup; they charge 29 and 30 cents per 4-by-6, respectively.

Our higher-end Editors’ Choice photo finishers, Printique, Mpix, and Nations Photo Lab, also charge less than Walgreens, at 31, 29, and 32 cents for a 4-by-6, respectively. Those services don’t offer same-day pickup unless you happen to live in the area where their facilities are located.

Walgreens also charges a lot for larger print sizes: 5-by-7s cost $2.99 and 8-by-10s go for $3.99. For comparison, Walmart Photo charges only 69 cents for 5-by-7s and Amazon Photo charges just $1.79 for an 8-by-10. Like CVS Photo, Walgreens doesn’t give you a discount for mail orders compared with same-day store pickup.

Setting Up Your Walgreens Photo Order

You need to create an account on Walgreen’s site to start. This, surprisingly, is not universally the case for online photo printers: Some let you add photos and create print jobs without asking you to log in until the last moment before purchase. Target Photo lets you finish an order without even creating an account. I prefer having an account for easy access to uploaded photos and previous orders. With Walgreens, you can optionally specify your local store branch and join the company’s loyalty program.

Walgreens Photo Album page

To upload your photos, you first need to create an album. By default, albums names are simply the current date, but you can name them whatever you want. You can either upload photos directly from your computer or import them from Facebook, Google Photos, or Instagram, but not from Flickr, as you can with Snapfish. Uploading is simple via a standard file picker dialog box—there’s no drag-and-drop support like that offered by some competitors—but you can select multiple files to upload in one fell swoop. You can upload photos only in JPG or PNG format—no TIFF, as some of the more pro-level services offer.

The Walgreens interface is suspiciously similar to Snapfish’s as well as with CVS Photo’s, so I suspect a bit of technology sharing here. That’s fine, since it’s not a bad interface, though it lacks the tools and slickness of Mpix. As with Snapfish and CVS, ordering multiple print sizes in Walgreens Photo is a simple matter of entering numbers in boxes on the order page, ranging from wallet-size to 8-by-10. The toolbar on the left side of the album page also offers the same choices: Order Prints, Make a Canvas, Make a Card, Make a Book, Make a Gift, and Options—thought the sites laudably use different icon designs for these choices.

The gear icon in a photo’s thumbnail has one more choice in Snapfish—Share Photo—but don’t despair, you do get a Share Album button on the album page. Otherwise, the menu in both services offer Rotate, Edit, Copy, Move, Make Album Cover, Download, Edit Date, and Delete.

When it comes to image editing, Walgreens’ interface is identical to that of CVS Photo and Snapfish. The editing tools consist simply of sliders for Brightness and Contrast, and auto-correct switches for color correction, contrast, and Fill Flash. Walgreens only offers two filters—B&W and Sepia—while Snapfish and CVS add a few more tints, but they’re nothing to write home about.

Walgreens’ editing tools worked as expected. You can crop and reposition the image to be printed, but you don’t get a selection of borders like Nations’ white and black border options. You can choose matte paper, but that’s only available through mail order. One interesting option is the ability to add an 8-by-10 collage based on photos in your order. For my order, a good-looking five-image collage added $4.49 to the price.

Photo editing in Walgreens Photo

Walgreens’ mobile app lets you order prints from your camera roll, Facebook, Instagram, or Dropbox. Print ordering for local pickup from the app is limited to 4-by-6, 5-by-7, and 8-by-10 sizes, but you can order large canvas décor, cards, and collages from the app, as well, for mail delivery. Snapfish’s mobile app is better designed, however, and enables you to select multiple print sizes per image. Even Shutterfly’s app, while better than Walgreens’, offers no editing tools.

Order page in Walgreens Photo

At checkout, Walgreens proposed that I buy a USB key containing the images for $4.99. I consider that last option more appropriate for film developing, since anyone ordering photos online already has digital files of the images. Right after checking out, I received an email with my estimated pickup time, which was an hour and a half after placing the order. In truth, my order was ready in a mere 21 minutes from the time I placed it online. That’s tough to beat, and if you need your photos fast, Walgreens is your best bet.

On the checkout page, the site tells you exactly what time to expect prints to be ready for pickup; you also receive an email the moment they’re printed. You can switch to shipping the order and designate that someone else will be picking up the pictures. You pay in the store when you pick up the photos, the credit card info you enter on the site is just to secure the order.

Gift and Card Printing

As with most consumer photo printing services, Walgreens offers more than just paper prints. The drugstore can print photo books, calendars, posters, and canvas wall art, too. Many of these are available same day at a retail branch. Pillows, blankets, mugs, and face masks are available for shipping. The selection is extensive, with pet bowls, playing cards, and tablet cases among the choices, but it’s not quite as extensive as Shutterfly’s, which includes shower curtains and neckties.

Walgreens Photo can mail your greeting cards

Greeting and holiday cards start at 99 cents each for flat cards (that goes down to 85 cents for orders of 80 or more) and $2.99 for folding at the 5-by-7-inch size (which goes to $1.99 for 20 or more pieces). One option that’s great for lazy people is that Walgreens will mail the card to your recipients, starting at $3.99. Premium options include 120lb cardstock and foil printing. A good selection of cards types are available for local store same-day pickup.

Photo Finishing Results

Walgreens is the only photo processor I tested that uses DNP paper for its picture printing, which complements the printer hardware from the same company. The results are acceptable, but not superb. For smaller sizes such as 4-by-6, the Walgreens results are decent, with good colors and lighting, though close inspection reveals some distortion in the edges of objects.

In the mountain scene below, the Walmart print isn’t oversaturated like the CVS print, which has an unnaturally blue sky. The Walgreens print is well adjusted for lighting, but detail is lost in the sunlit part of the mountains in the back, and the foreground mountains are darker than most, and the clouds are tinged with an unnatural purple, as they also are in the Target print.

Walgreens Photo print quality, landscape

In the red-hat portrait below, the image lighting and color saturation are good, and the felt detail is not lost in the hat the way it is in the oversaturated CVS print. CVS also included an unwanted white border across the bottom of some shots, and even added white dots to some. You can, however, see that the Mpix result was more natural in the portrait, as was Nations in the result in the mountain scene above.

Walgreens Photo print quality, portrait

Printed photos aren’t the site’s only offering: You can also share online photo galleries, which are much nicer than York Photo Labs’. Nations Photo Lab doesn’t offer any online sharing at all. Walgreens’ shared galleries allow full-browser-window slideshows, but no commenting or liking. For a much richer photo-sharing experience, including public sharing to interest groups, head over to Flickr.

Get Your Photos Now!

If you need your photos today, Walgreens is a suitable option, though you won’t get the very best color rendering or top pro-quality paper. Walgreens also isn’t the cheapest: You can save some money if you order at Snapfish or Walmart Photo, our top picks for value, and get higher-quality results from Printique or Mpix, our Editors’ Choice winners for print quality.

The Bottom Line

If you need your photos printed pronto, Walgreens is a viable option, but it’s not the cheap and the print quality is only so-so.

Walgreens Photo Specs

Largest Print 24 by 36
Metal Prints No
Canvas Prints Yes
Photo Editing Yes
TIFF Support No
Online Slideshows No
Mobile Apps Yes
Same-Day Pickup Yes

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