If you’re currently researching professional photo printing services, chances are it’s for a purpose of importance. These days, the vast majority of everyday photo printing requirements can be handled quite easily at home. Or if not, by heading out to a local store and using a simple automated kiosk.

But when it comes to the more important prints, bringing in the experts really can make all the difference. Whether printing high-quality photographs for business purposes or your own personal use, it’s important to choose a capable and appropriate printing service.

The question being – where to start?

Realistically, there’s just a handful of core traits and values you need to be on the lookout for. If you come across a professional photo printing service that ticks all of the following boxes, you’re probably in safe hands:

Focus on Quality

First up, some professional printing services focus on nothing but low prices and novelties. By contrast, others are all about quality over and above everything else. If the quality of the final result matters, you need a printing service that takes quality every bit as seriously as you do.  It should be relatively obvious when accessing their website as to which side of the fence they fall on.  If quality isn’t their clear and only priority, you might want to look elsewhere.

Equipment Used

It’s also useful to assess both the equipment and the techniques used by the printing company in question. Rather than taking things at face value, feel free to ask what kind of equipment will be used to produce your prints. If everything is as it should be, they’ll have no hesitation in telling you exactly how they get the job done. By contrast, those using dated equipment and substandard printing methods tend to be less liberal with the information.

Capacity

Always think carefully about whether or not the printing company has the kind of capacity to effectively deal with your order. If planning to place a large or complicated order at any time, it’s a good idea to first establish if they’ll be able to cope. The last thing you want is to entrust your printing requirements to a substandard service provider, who may allow quality and consistency to slip when pushed to its limits. If unsure, feel free to ask directly.

Delivery Method

It’s entirely up to you whether you choose to collect your prints in person, or prefer to have them delivered by post.  In the case of the latter, it’s worth taking into account the chosen delivery method of the printing company in question.  Realistically, it’s wise to stick with approved and ensured delivery methods – couriers, registered mail etc.  Far too many prints turn up in the post damaged to take unnecessary risks. What’s more, you also need to ensure you’re covered in the event your prints disappear during transit.

Guarantees

If a photo printing service is up to scratch, they should have no problems backing their services with comprehensive satisfaction guarantees. If they know their work really is as good as it gets, guarantees should be provided as standard. By contrast, unwillingness to back sales with satisfaction guarantees suggests that the service provider in question isn’t quite as confident as they could be. If you’re in any doubt as to if and to what extent you’re covered, don’t be afraid to ask the printing company where you stand.

Professional Consultancy

A good photo printing company should serve as far more than a simple printing service. They should be ready and willing to provide you with their professional consultancy on all aspects of printing and finishing. If you have any questions to ask, they should be able to answer them and provide you with the necessary guidance. As such, you might want to think about putting the customer support team to the test ahead of time, if planning on going ahead with a particularly large, complex or important order.

Reviews and Recommendations

Last but not least, one of the easiest and most effective ways of gauging quality is to check out the reviews, ratings and recommendations of past and present customers. It’s never been easier to tap into a whole world of online reviews and testimonials, providing all the information you’ll need to make an informed decision. If the general consensus appears to be positive, you’re probably onto a winner.