What is a Photo Kiosk?

B. Miller

A photo kiosk is an interactive kiosk found in many drugstores, discount stores, and grocery stores. Photo kiosks have a number of different features, but most offer the convenience of submitting photos to be printed, or for resizing or enlarging photos. A photo kiosk offers speed and convenience, but often at a slightly higher price than printing photos at home or online.

Photo kiosks might be located in shopping malls.
Photo kiosks might be located in shopping malls.

Most photo kiosks have two ways of accepting photos for printing. The first is to insert the memory card from the camera into one of the slots on the kiosk. A photo kiosk will typically be compatible with many different types of memory cards. The kiosk will then read the card and display the pictures on the screen, and the user can then choose to print all of the pictures, or just some of the pictures.

Many photo kiosks offer the option to print color photos in black and white.
Many photo kiosks offer the option to print color photos in black and white.

In addition to selecting which pictures will be printed, a photo kiosk will allow the user to select other options, such as changing the sizes of the printed photos, or ordering duplicate prints if desired. Many photo kiosks also offer the option of adding colorful borders to reflect a season, holiday, or special occasion, or to print color photos in black and white. A photo kiosk can also be used to create simple and easy holiday cards. Others might use the kiosks to create wallet sized prints to give out to friends and family.

Another common function of a photo kiosk is that of a scanner. The user can place a printed photograph in a tray, and the kiosk will scan the photo into the system memory, where changes can be made. This might be beneficial for an older photo for which there is no digital file, for example. After the photograph has been scanned, the kiosk will then be able to make as many prints as needed, in varying sizes and without damaging the original photo.

Some photo kiosks can print photos immediately, while the user waits. Others are simply a convenient drop-off location for photos, and the pictures will not be printed for an hour, or even a day or more. Typically, it will be more expensive to get photos immediately or within the hour than to drop the pictures off and pick them up a day or two later. Photo kiosks remain fairly expensive ways to get photos printed, and it may be easier and cheaper to upload photos to the Internet and have them printed that way, or to simply print them from the computer on a home printer.

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Discussion Comments


I have always found the process of photo processing to be tedious so I was thrilled when they started putting in self service photo kiosks. Now I can linger over my choices and I don't have to go through a middle man to get my photos printed.

This was a big help two years ago after my mom died. I found a ton of old photos in her house that I wanted to keep and I was able to scan them all into digital formats using the photo scanner at the kiosk. Now they are saved forever.

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