Print those cell phone photos

I know, I know. It’s such a pain to store, sort, save and print photos. Especially when we now take an exhaustive number of mobile photos each day. There are just too many to sort through. It’s so daunting most of us ignore it.

But, when it comes to photo printing, this is where I preach. I’ll try to preach gently.

Please, pretty please, start printing your photos and putting them in albums. Viewing them on a screen can never replace the weight of an album in your lap, or the emotional magnitude of flipping through glossy page after page of family memories. Hubby and I will often spend an evening – after the kids are fast asleep – going through our albums. It makes a cheap date night!

Everyone says, oh time flies, oh these days will be over before you know it. And I believe it. But I’m comforted by the fact that I’ve got the moments preserved on paper. I have albums that date back to the moment my son Caleb was born through Halloween of last year. And I’m ordering prints of all my current photos as I write this.

I’m not saying you have to go back through your entire history of photos, back to beginning of time. Don’t overload yourself or feel like you have to catch up. Just start with the present. Print those photos moving forward (and clear up some space on your phone). You will be so grateful you did.

Okay, rant complete.


Here are the simple steps I use to create my albums:

  • I print photos twice yearly. It’s a lot of photos each time. Maybe 200? I typically print 4×6-inch prints, which can be done affordably through mpix, Shutterfly or Walgreens. I also occasionally order canvas wall art and I have an entire wall of my house dedicated to those masterpieces. Those I order from Artsy Couture, Miller’s Lab or

  • To retrieve photos from my phone I plug the phone directly into my computer and use Mac’s Image Capture app to import the images. You can select all or individual images to import and save them directly to a folder of your choosing. I save all of my photos to an external hard drive (because I am old school and have no clue how to use iCloud). Additionally I have a cloud-based Pixieset account, which is reserved for my professional work.

  • Once photos are selected and imported I sort them into folders organized by month and year.

  • I then crop photos and reduce them down to 4×6 inches. This takes time and is not required. I do it because it saves time when uploading to a photo printing site, which is the next step.

mpix offers professional quality prints with one-day turnaround, shipped directly to you. The cost is 19¢ a print (economy 4×6 inch prints).

Walgreens offers fast service (one hour!) and costs 19¢ per print. They run specials often that bring the price way down. The quality is not nearly as good (cheaper ink, cheaper paper), but is totally acceptable for a 4×6-inch print. If you want it shipped to your house, that is also an option, but adds time to the process.

Shutterfly offers matte and glossy at 15¢ a print. They also offer free, unlimited online photo storage. Many times the site will offer free shipping once you’ve met a minimum order.

With all three vendors you must create an account and spend a little bit of time uploading your prints. Then just push that beloved “Place Order” button and await those glorious memories.

When the giant stack of photos arrives in the mail, oh I can hardly contain myself. Hubby and I pour through them. The kids love them too.

I purchase hardcover albums in which to store and display the prints from multiple places, mostly T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, Homegoods, Kohl’s and A.C. Moore. I prefer 12×12 or 10×10-sized albums that hold five photos (of both horizontal and vertical orientation) per page.

  • The last step – sliding those gorgeous photos into the album sleeves. This part is its own reward. Oh so satisfying!

Of course alternative options are available. I have used a mobile app called Chatbooks – which I reserve mostly for gifts or themed albums. Within the app, you pull photos directly from your phone to create nice-quality, soft-cover and hard-cover books. This is an easy, affordable option that is less time consuming than my process. For me, I still find value in pulling photos off my phone and organizing and storing them on a hard drive. 

Hubby expresses gratitude for his many blessings, one of the most vocal being just this: the preservation of our families memories. He doesn’t often mention my meticulous cleaning of the toilets or my daily packing the kids’ lunches. He does however, thank me constantly for capturing, organizing and displaying these albums. If our house were to catch on fire (you know, natural anxiety-filled things I think about), I’d first save the kids/pets, then the albums.

It matters not that most of the photos came from my cell phone. They are precious to me. And yours are to you.

Ready for take off

For years I’ve been told that the RDU Observation Park is a must-visit gem of the Triangle, particularly with young children. Today, I finally brought my children to check it out, and it did not disappoint. 

It has an observation deck to watch planes of all sizes take off and land, a climbing area built over a sandpit, a “runway,” sprawling grassy areas and restrooms. The air is filled with the soundtrack of jet planes. It is only a short walking distance from the General Aviation Terminal, which is air conditioned and features big glass windows for private flight viewing.

This is one of those magnificent locations that is fun for families, unique and works quite well for some interesting photos. I’m so glad I packed a camera to test out the space on my favorite subjects, my Busbee babies.