Printique is the online print service of Adorama, a camera store that has long catered to the most discerning of customers: professional photographers seeking quality equipment, supplies and print production. In my tests, Printique lived up to the Adorama reputation, delivering creative, flexible software and the highest quality print products. But Printique must share this year’s top prize for photo products with Mixbook, which offers equally great products with equally great software.
Printique review: Prices
Printique photo books
$49.99 for an 8 x 8-inch hardcover layflat book, which is Printique’s least expensive hardcover. Printique has a wide array of photo books. Hardcover layflat books range from 6 x 4.5 inches ($37.99) to 10 x 12.5 inches ($79.99). Linen or Pebble paper is additional. Softcover books are available in several sizes from 4 x 4-inches ($9.99) to 11 x 8.5-inch ($29.99). Other styles are mini softcover books (from $5.04), fabric cover books (from $37.99) and leather covered books (from $73.99).
$25.99 for a 12-month 10 x 10-inch calendar. An 18-month 10 x 10-inch calendar is $40.99. Similar centerfold 12-month calendars are available in 6 x 6-inch ($15.99) and 8 x 8-inch ($19.99). Printique also offers top hanging 12 x 18-inch calendars starting at $34.99, and small desktop calendars starting at $15.99.
Printique photo cards
5 x 7-inch cards in packs of 12 cost $1.75 each, regardless of what paper stock you choose. Buying one at a time will cost you a whopping $4.99 each. Blank envelopes are included; Printique doesn’t offer return address printing.
Printique review: Software
Printique's software is powerful, highly creative and fun to use, giving you creative control by providing a depth of options in a highly accessible interface.
Printique has a sizable library of attractive template designs for books and cards, though fewer for your calendar. Regardless of which template you choose, you can fully customize your book, calendar or card, because all page elements are fully editable, including the calendar’s date grid page.
It was a pleasure to not have to go hunting for the various tools for modifying photos or clip art. Just click on a picture or placed clip art to access all edit controls, such as borders, drop shadows, opacity controls, as well as resize, rotate, etc. The width and color of drop shadows and borders are defined by a 99-step slider (for the width) and a color picker. The text tools in the book, calendar and card interfaces have similar click-to-edit controls However, the calendar interface has no text drop shadow, border or opacity. Wherever you want to add a color to your project (such as in text, solid backgrounds, borders or drop shadows), you have full control, using a 24-bit palette, an eyedropper to pick up colors from the screen, and both Hex and RGB numerical values. I was able to set global settings for my projects, which is a nice time-saver, at least for my book and calendar.
The enormous searchable libraries of clip art, backgrounds and frames are organized into easy-to-understand descriptive categories. All the content I used in a book project is held in an "In This Book" sidebar for possible re-use; I wish it had a similar holding area for calendars. Printique has the widest and coolest selection of cutouts; these include all the letters in the alphabet, heraldic shields, freeform shapes, in addition to the an unusual variety of hearts, triangles and circles.
I could change everything in my Printique calendar. Like Mixbook and Shutterfly, I could add clip art, photos and text behind or on my calendar grid, and move, resize, rotate, etc. Adding a photo and caption to any date is simple and convenient. But then Printique goes further than any other vendor; I could edit not only the caption but the date number’s font and color. Printique even gave me a choice among 13 different calendar grid styles which could then be moved, resized and rotated. The one thing that Printique doesn’t have for event settings (which Mixbook does) is a manager of your personal events so you can use them in other calendars.
Printique review: Print Quality
Printique photo books
Printique’s layflat book is a professionally produced book with top quality binding. The smooth, thick semi-gloss pages and end papers have a luscious feel. The photos have the best dynamic range of all the books, with rich lush dark tones and great highlights. The colors are accurate when compared to the original, and the most natural looking. And the photos have good sharpness, clarity and transitions. The text is well-formed, sharp and crisp.
The Printique calendar is clean and crisp. The photos are well exposed, with details throughout the dynamic range from shadows to highlights, smooth natural transitions and good sharpness. Even the small thumbnail images in the date boxes have good details and photographic integrity. Color is accurate, based on the originals. The type is well-formed and sharp, though with some ink dropout in the tiny text of the date box event captions. The semi-gloss paper is good quality with a nice weight.
Printique photo cards
The Printique card is a professional-quality print job. It has good, rich tones, well-defined blacks and bright colors, with the widest dynamic range of all the cards in this roundup. The paper is the nicest of the lot, with a good weight and quality stationery-like texture. However, the texture adds a bit of pebbling that causes the type to look as though it has some ink bleed, and is a slight detriment to perceived photo quality. Even so, the photos are clear and sharp, and the type is well-formed.
Printique review: Verdict
Printique has fun, easy-to-use yet powerful software that gives you the freedom and great tools to create the book, calendar or card you envision. And the Printique’s print quality can’t be beaten. We didn't review it this year, but Artifact Uprising also produces a very elegant book, albeit with far fewer customization options.
Among the best photo services, Printique ties with Mixbook for the top slot, so it's worth checking out Mixbook, too.