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Meredith Holt, Published January 09 2013

Thursday review: Mpix service offers quality prints, fun photo products

FARGO – I recently realized how sad it is to have a box full of empty picture frames.

I won’t say for how long, but I’d been putting off filling them with new photos.

The holidays gave me the perfect opportunity to dust off my frames, order some pictures, and put them on display, where they belong.

I started by asking my Facebook friends where to get the best-quality prints, and two recommended Mpix.com.

One said, “Everything I’ve ordered from them has looked great, or I wouldn’t recommend it!” The other said it’s all she uses.

The only other online photo service I’d used was Snapfish, and many of my photos came out pixel-y, so I was excited to try a site created by a professional photo lab.

All prints include “expert color correction,” and for an additional charge, you can add red-eye reduction, facial retouching, stray-hair removal, glass-glare removal or braces removal.

You can choose “minis” (even smaller than wallets!) up to 24-by-36 posters.

I love square prints, so I was happy Mpix recently added a 4-by-4 option.

I was disappointed, however, that I couldn’t order odd-sized prints, because I had a Christmas Eve photo I chose for a 3-by-3 silver-and-red-speckled frame. That one went to Kinko’s.

For my first order, I picked seven photos of varying sizes using the site’s most popular matte-finish photographic paper, which “boasts rich, sharp color that won’t fade or yellow.”

Each print cost 29 cents except for a set of four wallets for 70 cents and a 5-by-7 for 99 cents. With five- to 10-business day shipping at $3.95, my total came to $6.65.

My order shipped the day after it was received and arrived quickly, though I had to pick it up at the post office because the envelope was too big for my mailbox.

The photos came neatly tucked into clear plastic envelopes in a sturdy mailer.

As promised, they were clear and bold, and they look great in my frames.

Besides prints, Mpix offers custom framing, photo projects like day planners and dry-erase calendars, an assortment of cards and invitations, and save-the-date magnets. (What a great idea; they’re going to go on the fridge anyway.)

Now I know where I’ll create next year’s Christmas cards – if I don’t put them off for too long.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Meredith Holt at (701) 241-5590