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 photo 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 though its print quality is not the best we’ve seen, it’s still acceptable. You'll also pay more for convenience: Walgreens is one of the more expensive photo printing services we tested.
How Much Does Walgreens Photo Cost?
Walgreens charges 37 cents per print for the first 74 4-by-6-inch photos you print and 27 cents each beyond that number. By comparison, Snapfish still charges only 9 cents per 4-by-6 print by mail order. That puts Walgreens Photos on the high end of the photo printing price spectrum—you pay for the convenience of local pickup. Remarkably, Walmart charges 12 cents for each 4-by-6 print even with 1-hour pickup, though CVS Photo charges 39 cents per print for local pickup. Target Photo and Rite Aid sadly no longer offer local photo pickup; they charge 29 and 30 cents per 4-by-6, respectively, while discount behemoth Amazon Photos charges just 17 cents per 4-by-6.
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The higher-end photo finishers also charge less than Walgreens Photo for a 4-by-6 print:, Mpix charges 36 cents, while Nations Photo Lab and Printique both charge 32 cents. Those services don't offer same-day pickup unless you happen to live in the area where their facilities are located.
Walgreens charges a lot for larger print sizes, too: 5-by-7s cost $2.99, and 8-by-10s go for $3.99. For comparison, Walmart Photo charges only 68 cents for 5-by-7s and $1.94 for an 8-by-10. Like CVS Photo, Walgreens Photo doesn't give you a discount for mail orders compared with same-day store pickup.
Read Our Mpix Review
Read Our Printique Review
Nations Photo Lab
Read Our Nations Photo Lab Review
Read Our Walmart Photo Review
Read Our Snapfish Review
Read Our Amazon Photos Review
York Photo Labs
Read Our York Photo Labs Review
Read Our Shutterfly Review
Read Our Target Photo Review
Read Our CVS Photo Review
Read Our RitzPix Review
Setting Up Your Walgreens Photo Order
You need to create an account on Walgreen’s site to start. Surprisingly, this 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 Photo, you can optionally specify your local store branch and join the company's loyalty program.
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 and Walmart Photos. Uploading is simple via a standard file-picker dialog box or by drag-and-drop, and you can select multiple files to upload in one fell swoop. You can upload photos only in JPG, HEIC, or PNG format—no TIFF, as some of the more pro-level services offer. Still that’s better than some competitors that only allow JPGs.
Walgreens' interface is suspiciously similar to Snapfish's and CVS Photo's, so I expect a bit of technology sharing. That’s fine, since it’s not a bad interface, though it lacks the tools and slickness of Mpix or Printique. As with Snapfish and CVS Photo, 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 each site uses different icons for these choices.
The gear icon in a photo’s thumbnail offers nearly the same choices as in Snapfish: Share, Rotate, Edit, 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. You also get Crop and Rotate. 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 Photo’s 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 Photo Lab's 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.
In the shopping cart, 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 after placing the order. In truth, my order was ready in a mere 9 minutes from the time I placed it online. That's tough to beat, and if you need your photos fast, Walgreens is a good bet. If you’re not in a rush, home delivery cost just $4.99 for my order, a much better deal than Target Photo’s minimum $12.17 for the same number of photos.
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. If you can’t get to the store yourself, you can switch to shipping the order or designate someone else to pick up the pictures for you. You pay in the store when you get the photos; the credit card info you enter on the site is just to secure the order.
Printed photos aren't the site's only offering: Walgreens Photo lets you share online photo galleries. The 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(Opens in a new window).
Walgreens Photo’s Mobile App
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 it enables you to select multiple print sizes per image. Shutterfly's app—though it’s better than Walgreens'—offers no editing tools.
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.
Custom photo greeting and holiday cards start at $1.05 each for flat cards (that goes down to 90 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). If you're unable or unwilling to go to the post office, Walgreens Photo’s Mail-for-Me option is for you. With this service, the store mails the card to your recipients for you, starting at $2.99. Premium options include 120lb cardstock and foil printing. A good selection of card types are available for local store same-day pickup.
Photo Finishing Results
Walgreens Photo set the speed record for my testing—it was ready for pickup just nine minutes after placing the order. The service uses DNP(Opens in a new window) paper for its picture printing, which complements the printer hardware from the same company.
The results are acceptable, but not superb. Our Walgreens test photo print results are decent, with good colors and lighting. In the cityscape below, close inspection reveals less sharpness in the Walgreens Photo print than those from its same-day competitors CVS Photo and Walmart Photo.
In the portrait test below, the Walgreens Photo print loses all detail in the overly bright forehead to a greater extent than any other service tested. Sharpness in the eye and eyebrow, however, beat out Walmart Photo in this one, but the CVS Photo result is still significantly sharper.
Get Your Photos Now!
If you need your photos today, Walgreens is a decent option, though you won't get the very best sharpness or top pro-quality paper. Walgreens also isn’t the cheapest: You can save some money if you order at Snapfish, our Editors’ Choice pick for value, and get higher-quality results from Nations Photo Lab, our Editors' Choice winner for print quality. And if you need one-hour service, CVS Photo wins our Editors’ Choice award for its superior print sharpness.
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Basic online image editing
Grabs photos from social networks for printing
Online album sharing
Prints not as sharp as competitors’
The Bottom Line
If you need your photos printed pronto, Walgreens is a viable option, but it's not the cheapest, and the print quality is fair to middling.
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