How To: Print Pictures from Your Phone

by Sandra Henshaw - , Last Updated on September 4, 2016, How To Guides

With smart phone cameras these days rivalling the specs of decent digital cams, most of us are more than happy snapping away on our phones. But what happens once you’ve got that perfect picture? Sure, most mobiles are going to let you share that pic in a variety of digital ways, but what about if you want a physical copy? Today we’re looking at the myriad ways that you can print pics from your phone, so if you’re a budding photographer, read on!

Home Printing

There are a ton of ways that you can print your picture yourself at home, and we’ll get to those in a moment, but first, a little warning. If you want to print your own pics and get good quality, you’re going to need a decent printer as well as photographic printer paper. These are going to set you back a fair amount. That means that if you print a pic once a month, then home printing probably isn’t going to be a great option for you (unless you happen already to have a solid printer and some photographic paper lying around, that is).

However, printing at home is pretty easy once you’ve got all the kit, so how exactly can you go about it?

The Old Fashioned Way

The old fashioned way uses your computer as a middle man. Plug your phone into the USB port of your computer (you may need to select a “storage device” option on your phone screen). Once this is done, open up your file manager, find the pictures on your phone, drag them onto your computer, and print as you normally do from your computer.

The Slightly Less Old Fashioned Way

Alternatively, you can still use your computer as the middle man but without having to plug your phone in. Get the pic you want on your phone, then send it to yourself as an email attachment and you should be able to print it. Beware that your phone might compress the picture to attach it though, resulting in a little loss of quality…

The Cloud Way

You can also send your picture to the cloud, and then print it from your computer. If you’ve got a Dropbox account, or Google Photos, or any other cloud storage service, just store your pic there, then get online on your computer and print it out. Easy.

The Wireless Way

Depending on your printer you may be able to send a picture directly from your phone to your printer. You’ll need to check the appropriate app store and see if your printer has an app that will allow you to do this. In some cases very modern printers will be capable of receiving email, in which case you can mail the pic to your printer… Finally, if your printer is Bluetooth capable you might be able to print by pairing your phone with your printer.

The Android and Apple Way

Both Android and Apple offer their own cloud printing services. For Android, that’s known as Google Cloud Print, for Apple it’s AirPrint. Both of these are available as apps in their respective app stores, and both work with the majority of modern printers. However, connections aren’t always good (especially, for some reason, with Google Cloud Print). It tends to be better just to store on the cloud and then print from a computer in these cases, since losing a connection half way means you get half a picture and waste a piece of expensive photographic paper…

Professional Printing

If you don’t print pictures often enough to justify the costs of a snazzy new printer and some pricey photo paper, then why not have the pros print it for you? This is actually surprisingly easy, and more common than you might think. Again, there are different ways of doing it, but all will result in pro quality prints at a fraction of the price of buying yourself a new printer. Obviously, there’s a time factor here, since you won’t immediately get your pics, but it’s probably worth waiting a little while to get your picture in hand to save all that cash…

The Online Way

Basically, there are two options for getting pro prints. The first is by going online and uploading your files. This is going to involve (almost always) getting your photo from your phone onto your computer first, though in some cases you can order prints from a mobile site (but finding the actual pic you want to print in this case is a fiddly and complicated business).

There are plenty of options for doing things this way. Most major shops will let you order pics online (Tesco do, for example). And most major photographic sites or storage sites will also let you (Photobox and Snapfish both do). If you can get over the lengthy process of transferring pics to your computer, or of fiddling around on a mobile website to make your order, then this can be a cheap option.

The App Way

The second option, however, tends to be a lot easier. There are a handful of great apps that will allow you to order prints from inside the app directly from your phone. These tend to be simpler to use, to have a better interface than a mobile website, and to make finding your pics a lot easier.

Some stores have their own apps (again, Tesco does), and there are some dedicated photo apps as well. Snapfish is a good one, as is CEWE Photbooks (especially good for printing things like calenders or, as the name implies, photobooks). Kodak Kiosk Connect is a nice one which will give you several options for different pick up locations and prices depending on where you print.

Not all apps are available for all locations, but all are free so it’s worth downloading and checking them out. The only real choice you’ll need to make is whether you want pictures mailed to you, or whether you want to go pick them up yourself. Prices tend to be a little higher than through online ordering services, though not by much.

And there we go. There are tons of ways of printing that precious picture, only you can decide which is right for you!