The market is awash with online photo printing labs, but each one has something that will elevate your Christmas gift-giving, says Tracy Calder. Here she looks at 15 labs in the UK that deliver the goods to find out which one gives the best online photo printing.

Inkifi – Hip to be square

nkifi printing service sample

Jim and Paul, founders of Inkifi, met in the 1990s in a surf town in North Wales and bonded over a love of the outdoors. After travelling the world together, they returned home and combined their photography, design and business skills to create a digital printing company with sustainability at its heart.

Inkifi produces prints, cards, calendars and photo books of various sizes, but is perhaps best known for its Instagram-friendly square-format prints. Top Christmas ideas include a stylish clipboard-style Wooden Calendar or Grid Poster (which can feature up to 140 images).

Inkifi,, Wooden Calendar £33.60, Grid Poster from £21

Photowall – Deck the walls

Photowall printing service print example, a misty landscape photo of a lake and forest wallpapered in a bedroom

If you’ve ever wanted to make wallpaper out of your work, then Photowall has everything you need (apart from a travelling DIY expert). To create wallpaper, simply upload a photo, enter your specific measurements and choose between Standard and Premium paper.

Help is on hand if you want the Photowall team to edit your photo: removing objects, converting to black & white, restoring vintage prints etc (you pay a small start-up fee, which is deducted from the cost of the order if you decide to go ahead). The company also makes custom canvas prints and posters.

Photowall,, custom wallpaper from £29 per sq m

Parabo Press – Do things differently

Parabo printing service sample print held by the left corners

Created in 2015, Parabo Press is run by a team of ‘moms, musicians, dog lovers, travellers and photo fans’, based in the US. Inspired by small-batch printing methods, the company makes photo books, calendars and prints using forest-friendly materials.

For lovers of the lo-fi look, Engineer Prints (made on paper typically used for architectural plans) are hard to beat, and Newsprints (which are so light they can be hung to the wall via clips, drawing pins or tape) offer a unique, modern look. If you desire something more traditional, then take a look at the Fine Art Print range. (International shipping is available.)

Parabo Press,, Engineer Prints £24 ($30), Newsprints from £20 ($25)

Saal Digital – Premium photo products

Saal digital printing service print example of a wedding photo book, and print

Saal Digital enables photographers to create high-end photo products ranging from books and wall décor to posters and calendars. If you’re looking for something unusual to give to a loved one, hop over to the Photo Gifts section where you’ll find mugs, keyrings, puzzles and even a glass cutting board to customise.

I can personally recommend the Photo Book line-up – these come in a range of sizes and formats, each featuring layflat binding so you position images across a double-page spread without losing anything down the gutter (the inside margin). You can order a book with an Acrylic Glass Front, gift box and/or leatherette back cover.

Saal Digital,, 21×15 Photo Book from £27.99

WhiteWall – Professional choice

White Wall printing service's prints in a living room

Having recently won Best Photo Lab Worldwide at the 2023 TIPA World Awards, WhiteWall is justifiably proud of its products and services. From metal prints to coffee-table books and photo calendars, the company has both gifts and promotional products covered.

While photographers shooting in colour are fully catered for, it’s nice to see WhiteWall giving black & white shooters serious consideration. Monochrome photo prints can be ordered on Ilford photo paper (which delivers strong contrast and optical density) or baryta paper (which has a glossy surface and silky shimmer, while delivering brilliant whites and intense black tones).

WhiteWall,, Photo Print on Ilford Baryta Paper from £12.95

Photobox – Budget friendly photo prints

Photobox printing service example prints

From wall art to personalised calendars, cards and books, Photobox has always been a good all-rounder for budget-conscious photographers. I’m a big fan of its Photo Booth Strips, each one features four images and measures 195mm x 56mm.

You can order just one strip or buy packs of three or five – each one comes with a Kraft envelope. You can also add captions to the strips if you like. Other gift options include personalised cushions, photo mugs, coasters and even playing cards. When it comes to prints, Photobox offers everything from standard 6×4 to collage poster prints.

Photobox,, Photo Strips from £4.49

Theprintspace – Exhibition quality prints

theprintspace, printing example

Theprintspace is popular with photographers looking for exhibition-quality prints. It’s also the UK’s first carbon neutral Fine Art & Photo printing service. To compare printing options, you can order a Photo Paper sample pack (£14.99). Giclee and C-type printing is available – with matt, gloss, flex and pearl options for the latter.

There are excellent guides on the website helping to demystify tasks such as calibrating your monitor and using print profiles. What’s more, the London-based space hosts regular workshops, events and exhibitions. It also has a blog where you can read about everything from AI to advertising on social media.

theprintspace,, C-Type print £18 (42.9×28.6cm)

CEWE – Successful partnerships

CEWE printing service photobook example

With retail partners in 21 countries, CEWE has been supplying photo books, wall art, calendars and prints across Europe for decades. Founded in 1961, the company has a reputation for exacting standards, but that doesn’t mean it’s afraid to experiment with its offerings.

You can buy Advent Calendars with individual photos (and chocolates) behind the doors, jigsaw puzzles, snow globes, playing cards, phone cases and Christmas cards, among other things.

The real jewel in its crown, however, is the CEWE Photo Book – available in various sizes and multiple formats. The template Old Photo Album is particularly nice, with an appealing vintage feel.

CEWE,, 21x 21cm Square Photo Book from £11.99

Metro Imaging – Bespoke solutions

Metro Imaging printing service exhibition print examples

There is a reason why so many professional photographers choose Metro Imaging for their printing, film processing and retouching – the company has been serving photographers for more than 40 years, and it’s pretty darn good at what it does.

For £6 you can order a sample pack containing all its C-Type, giclee and black & white papers, and you can see examples of its printing, mounting and framing options if you pay a visit to the London lab.

Metro offers two levels of service: Bespoke and Self Service – if you opt for the Bespoke solution you can work with the company’s expert technicians to get the exact finish you desire.

Metro Imaging,, 10×8 C-Type print from £7.56

Loxley Colour – Colour fast

Loxley printing service photo book example

Loxley Colour provides everything from professional photography printing services to portfolio boxes, personalised USB sticks and drink coasters. The lab is designed ‘exclusively for professionals’ so you need to register for a (free) account before you can see any prices.

You can buy sample products at a discounted price (that way you can show potential clients what they’re likely to receive if they order from you), and you can order five test prints for free. Photo albums such as the Bellissimo Fine Art – with its tactile cotton paper, layflat pages and optional rounded corners – are particularly popular.

Loxley Colour, Colour fast (prices available with account registration),

Lalalab – Setting photos free

LalaLab printing service printing example

According to the company’s website, Lalalab ‘is on a mission to set the world’s photos free’. Its mobile app has been downloaded more than 13 million times, so it’s made a pretty good start!

The company was set up in 2012 with the aim of helping people to print photographs taken on their smartphones, but aside from prints you can order books, boxes, calendars, magnets, posters and wall décor.

The Poster XL (measuring 50x70cm) is worth a look – you can use either a single image or a mosaic of many. Lalalab isn’t based in the UK, so you will need to factor in the cost of international delivery.

Lalalab,, square ‘Vintage’ Prints start at 17p (€0.19)

Digitalab – Preferred photo print partner

Digitalab printing service, various prints

Established in 1949, Digitalab offers a range of printing services, from wall art and albums to fine art prints and framing. The company has been selected as a Preferred Print Partner for The Societies of Photographers’ 20×16 Print Competition, and when you look at the quality of the papers on offer it’s easy to see why.

Prints can be made on Omega Rag (a matt paper that upholds high-key detail and colour), German etch (a heavyweight paper with a mottled texture) and Fine Art Baryta (offering high colour depth and a large colour gamut), among others. Digitalab is a professional-only service, so you need to register for an account before seeing any prices.

Digitalab,, (prices available with account registration)

VistaPrint – Custom photo orders

Vista Print printing service canvas print example, square format canvas with an image of a woman holding a baby

Helping business owners to create custom marketing materials has been a solid income stream for VistaPrint since it started in 1995. Over the years, however, it has expanded its product range to include cards, calendars, photo books, blankets, wall art and even photo Christmas decorations.

Photobooth Magnets are new to the site – these come in packs of four and can be customised with text and images. If you fancy designing your own Christmas card, there’s a basic guide to taking the perfect family photo for your festive offering on the site.

VistaPrint,, Photobooth Magnets (pack of four), £4.79

Bonusprint – Make it personal

Bonusprint photobook. Image: Bonusprint

Bonusprint photobook. Image: Bonusprint

Bonusprint began life in 1965, when the internet was a distant dream. As such, it became a feature of most UK city high streets, printing pictures of weddings, babies and other family milestones for decades. In 2011 it was bought by Albelli and turned its attention to online services.

The company specialises in photo books, wall art, cards, prints and calendars, but also produces mugs, jigsaws, cushions and magnets. There’s an excellent range of Christmas card templates on the site, or you can design your own from scratch if you prefer.

Bonusprint,, Christmas cards (pack of 10) £7.49

One Vision Imaging Ltd – Passion for photo printing

One Vision Printing service print and frame exampleAlmost half the staff at One Vision Imaging Ltd are keen photographers and they apply their passion and perfectionism to the task of printing and framing pictures. From photo books to fine art printing and film scanning, the team uses high-spec materials (archive grade papers, eco presentation boxes etc) to give work a professional look and feel.

You can personalise everything from mugs to keyrings and magnets, but it’s well worth looking at the company’s Photo Restoration services. Producing a repaired digital version of a damaged print would make a lovely Christmas gift.

One Vision Imaging Ltd,, Photo Restoration from £36

DS Colour Labs – Analogue offerings

DS Colour Labs printing service printing in progress

DS Colour Labs started out as a wedding and portrait studio in Manchester before expanding to include a film processing and printing lab and, later, offering photographic printing services.

The company now offers everything from standard prints to photo books, giftware, wall art and framing, but what attracted me was the impressive range of analogue goods on the site. You can buy everything from Ilford, Fomapan and Kodak film to smart ring binders for slides and negatives. DSCL also processes film, providing prints and/or scans.

DS Colour Labs,, B&W development, plus standard-res JPEG scans £10

Related reading:

Follow AP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.