I put together an album of digital photographs called “Eating Out” (because I tend to take pictures whenever I go out to eat with friends), uploaded the photos to Shutterfly, and ordered 4×6 prints.

When I got them in the mail, I was amazed! The quality of digital prints is astounding. They look the same as traditional photographic prints! Part of that is due to the two-megapixel nature of my new digital camera, but most of it is due to the way they print the pictures. I mean, I printed some wallet-size ones on my little Polaroid printer (which prints digital photos on Polaroid 500 film), and I also printed some on my HP DeskJet (complete with Premium Photo Paper), but those couldn’t compare with the prints from Shutterfly, which were actually developed on photographic paper. The prints from my Polaroid printer were waterproof, but they were also grainy. And the prints from my DeskJet printer were rather crisp, but you could still see the dots, and they were easily smudged and easily ruined by even one drop of water.

So yeah, I’m in love with Shutterfly now. However, I heard that Walmart.com is offering a similar service for nearly half the price, and you can pick up the prints in your local Wal-Mart store instead of waiting for them to arrive in the mail. That would be really cool, but the last time I checked, their web site wasn’t working.

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