Printing physical prints of photos from your iPad or iPhone is really easy.
If you have an AirPrint printer, you can simply print directly to that printer.
However, if you have a USB, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi printer that is not AirPrint compatible, you’ll need to use one of the other solutions outlined on this website to connect to, and then print your photos to your printer. The homepage outlines all of your options.
Separately, I’ve written an article for people interested in printing photos from your iPhone directly to the new portable printers, sometimes known as pocket printers. If you’re interested in buying a printer, you can find a range of AirPrint (and non-AirPrint) printers that are photo printers in this website’s Amazon store.
In either case, it might be worth looking at a book that shows you how to get the most out of your iPhone camera and your photo printer like iPad and iPhone Digital Photography Tips and Tricks by Jason Rich. You can take your iPhone photography to a whole other level with third-party apps and knowing how to get the most out of your iPhone camera. Just as important is knowing how to overcome the inbuilt camera’s deficiencies. These books teach you how to do that. Rich’s book also includes information on buying an AirPrint printer, saving money on printer ink and explaining how to get the best quality prints.
Also, half way down this page, you’ll find a list of great apps for editing your photos on your iPhone.
In this section I look at the options you have to print your photos from your iPhone or iPad at your local photo centre. I also take a look at how you can print high quality personalised physical and virtual digital postcards.
Printing Using Mobile Apps
Printing from Photo Centre Apps
Many retailers have their own mobile apps for the iPhone and iPad for ordering prints online. (In practice though, you’ll usually find they’re just re-branded apps developed by photography companies like Fuji or Kodak.)
Using the mobile photo centre app is simple.
First you select the type of product you want. Options typically include digital prints, gifts (such as keyrings, mugs, mouse mats, calendars, etc.), canvass or poster.
If you want digital prints, you select the size and type of print (Matte or Gloss). Then, from the Camera Roll, you choose which images you want to print along with the desired quantity. When you’re happy with your selection you add these to the shopping cart.
You repeat this process for any additional images or products and finalise the order by uploading the images to the retailer. Typically, you can either collect the order in-store or have it mailed to you.
Note that you will generally have very limited (or no) photo-editing options available within the photo centre mobile app.
Using an in-store kiosk will usually give you a few more basic image-editing tools. Therefore, if you want to edit your photos, do so using the basic tools in the Photos app or one of the many excellent third-party apps on the App Store. Alternatively, edit them on your Mac or PC.
Here’s a list of solid apps for photo-editing and management on your iPhone:
- Adobe Photoshop Touch for phone – Adobe
- Filterstorm – Tai Shimizu
- Luminance – Subsplash
- Photo Editor by Aviary – Aviary
- Photogene ⁴ – Omer Shoor
- Adobe Photoshop Express – Adobe
- PicShop HD – Photo Editor – esDot Studio Inc
- Snapseed – Nik Software, Inc.
I have also included a selection of helpful books on iPhone photography (sometimes known as iPhoneography) and using your iPad for photography in this website’s Amazon store. Books and online video courses can be a great way to learn how to get the most out of your iPhone camera. They can take you well beyond what is immediately obvious from just looking at the features offered in the Camera or third-party app.
Finally, note that by ordering online you won’t be able to see a sample of the quality of prints or your product before you order. It may therefore be wise to start with a small order and/or see if your retailer has any type of satisfaction guarantee.
Photography Imaging Company Apps
Photography imaging companies such as Kodak also have their own branded apps.
Kodak has a mobile app KODAK Kiosk Connect App by Kodak Alaris Inc. to support printing in several of the chain stores that use their in-store kiosks. These include CVS/pharmacy, Target and Bartell Drugs in the U.S., Officeworks in Australia, and selected Boots, Tesco and KODAK Express Stores in the UK.
There’s not much to the Kodak app. You use it to select and send your photos via in-store Wi-Fi to their kiosk for printing. Also included is a function to locate nearby Kodak stores that have a Wi-Fi enabled kiosk along with their contact details and opening hours.
Printing Your Photos In-Store
How to Print Pictures From Your iPhone or iPad In-Store at Print Kiosks
If your preferred retailer does not have a mobile app, they will likely have an in-store kiosk where you can print your photos. Using the in-store kiosk typically involves transferring your photos directly from your iPhone or iPad using either the inbuilt Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection on your phone into the memory of the kiosk.
Some other methods for transferring your photos from your phone to the kiosk include:
- 30 Pin Connector to USB or Apple Lightning to USB Cable. Its best to take yours with you into the store just in case!
- Apple Camera Connection Kit
- Apple Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader
- Sanho’s iStick or iXpand by SanDisk (see image below). These two products are essentially a large USB flash drive with a Lightning connection on one end and a USB plug on the other. This way you can easily transfer photos between an iPad or iPhone and a Mac or PC
The self-service kiosk itself will provide you with step-by step instructions on how to transfer your photos and edit them to your taste.
Here’s a demo of how the self-service Kiosks work.
Tips for Printing Your Pictures In-Store
A few tips for printing photos from your iPad or iPhone in-store include:
- Organize your photos before you go to the store. If you have a lot of photos to print then you might want to want to organize them into a special folder in the Photos app before you visit the store. This might save you having to transfer all of your photos to the print kiosk.
- Charge your iPhone battery. Ensure you have a sufficient battery charge if you’re transferring a large number of photos by Wi-Fi.
- Edit your photos at home on your computer or on your iPhone or iPad. (See the list of photo-editing apps above for some ideas.) While most print kiosks offer a range of basic photo-editing tools, if you want to ensure you get the results you’re looking for, edit the photos first on your device or at home on your PC or Mac. The pre-installed Photos app on your device only offers basic photo-editing features.
- Print quality varies between stores. The quality of prints can vary significantly between retailers (and is not necessarily dependent upon the price of the prints) so you might want to try printing a test photo first.
- Consider your privacy. Whilst in-store, you’ll likely have to collect your photos from the service attendant and not the machine itself. Its probably a good idea not to print anything you wouldn’t want that person to see.
Printing Personalised Digital Postcards
Sometimes you might want to create a postcard from a photo on your iPhone to send through mail. There are several apps that provide this service.
Creating Physical Postcards
The Postcard On The Run by Postcard On The Run LLC app is a simple tool for creating and posting a personalised postcard from wherever you may travel.
Here’s how it works.
First, choose an existing photo from the Photos app, Facebook or snap a photo using your camera. Next, position the image and add a border (optional). Then compose a message of up to 200 characters, sign the card and select the contact from your iPhone contact list to send it to. If the recipient isn’t in your Contacts, Postcard On The Run will send the recipient an email requesting their address.
Postcard costs vary from $1.99 to $2.89 (international) and payment is made inside the app.
Note that even though the postcard is typically created and mailed quickly that the postcard itself may take a few weeks to arrive if its sent internationally (i.e. to anywhere outside the United States). This means it is possible that it may take more time to arrive than a traditional postcard.
In my testing, I sent two postcards internationally (to Australia). One took two weeks to arrive the other five. Post Card On The Run customer service though was very responsive and offered to resend the postcard or refund it. I was very satisfied by the quality of the postcards themselves and would use the service again.
Creating Virtual Postcards
Another alternative is to use your own photos to create postcards that you can then send via email or text message. Postale – Pseudo Studios, Inc. ($1.99) is one such app.
Essentially, Postale allows you use a photo that you shoot from your Camera or from your Photo Library as the basis of a postcard. You get to customize the layout, border, and choose from one of several different designs of stamp.
After writing your postcard message you’re ready to send it. You can do this electronically by instant message, email or physically through the post. Cleverly, Postale even uses the geo-tagging information on your photo to create a dated postmark over the stamp from the city in which the photo was taken.