Anna Hinkston, photo manager at Costco’s
Covington, Washington, warehouse,
shows Pat Volchok the technology that
allows 1-Hour Photo to offer high-tech,
in extremely clear, detailed images. The labs
use Fujicolor Crystal Archive photographic
paper, which will last a lifetime if stored properly in acid-free albums such as the ones
Staff training is key to meeting Costco’s
high standards of quality.
“Costco is the leading retailer in the U.S.
photo industry for national certification,” says
Glen. “All 1-Hour Photo Center managers are
required to take intensive certification programs. More than 60 percent of the nonmanagement staff have achieved this level of
expertise as well. ”
Costco.com photo services
If you’re not able to make it to the warehouse, the Photo Center on Costco.com is all
about convenience. From the comfort of home,
you can upload digital images to the site, order
prints and pick them up at a warehouse or
have them mailed. (Costco ships 4-by-6-inch
prints free, or you can pick up 4-by-6-inch
print orders of up to 100 photos in one hour at
any 1-Hour Photo Center.)
In addition to making print orders easy,
the Photo Center site also serves as a place to
organize, edit and share photos via e-mail. For
storage, it’s best to keep back-ups of the original images on a gold CD and your PC.
Using your favorite photos, you can also
create personalized photo gifts—calendars;
woven photo throws; handbags, diaper bags
and messenger bags; canvas prints; plus
stickers, notepads, folded cards, etc.—and
have them shipped anywhere in the U.S.
Prints, slides and film can’t last forever.
Computers filled with your digital memories
crash, get destroyed or even stolen. This is why
gold archive CDs and DVDs are so necessary.
Costco’s gold CDs store up to 600 MB
(about 300 pictures). They are made with an
archival-grade gold reflective layer for maximum resistance to aging and chemical breakdown. Most retailers charge extra for gold or
use less expensive silver CDs that can start
deteriorating after only two years.
Gold CDs can be ordered individually or
as an add-on with digital print or film orders
for $2.99. Film orders must include the film-processing charge, too. All gold CDs have a
thumbnail index of the images on the CD
and include Costco Photo Organizer software that helps you edit, print and e-mail
your photos. Gold CDs are usually available
in one hour while you shop, depending upon
how many images are in the order.
Glen notes, “One online e-tailer charges
$9.49 for the first 50 photos on a silver CD and
$10 more for each additional 150 images. At
our low price, I suggest ordering duplicate gold
CDs and storing them someplace outside your
home for safekeeping.”
Home movies to gold DVDs
Costco’s newest photo-preservation ser-
vice is transferring home movies, videos and
slides onto gold DVDs. This program has
taken off like a rocket and is available for 8
mm, 16 mm, videotape, Betamax, VHS and
other archaic formats. Each DVD is suitable
for a TV, home theater or PC and stores up to
1,600 feet of film (with or without sound),
two hours of video or 1,000 slides.
An additional DVD copy is included as
well as Digital Scrapbook software to let you
create your own show or select a single frame,
save it as a JPG file and make a print.
Passport/ID photos and more
Costco 1-Hour Photo offers a set of two
passport photos with an average processing
time of less than 15 minutes for $4.99. (One
retailer near me sells passport photos for $13
You might consider purchasing a second
set of photos. Glen, a constant traveler, notes,
“All you need to do is lose your passport
once in a foreign country to know how
invaluable a second set is. Always carry them
with you.” (Tip: As of June 1, most U.S. citizens reentering the United States are required
to have a passport.)
1-Hour Photo offers a variety of additional services. Check out the all-occasion
photo greeting/holiday cards at $14.99 for 50
cards with envelopes, collage prints, special
scrapbook-size prints and print packages
starting with a four-wallet-photo combo for
You could say that Costco 1-Hour Photo
and Costco.com have your photography needs
in perfect focus. C
Value comparison of Photo Center services
1-hour service order in warehouse or Costco.com
Ready in 1 hour (100 prints or less)
4" x 6"
5" x 7"
$1.49 to $1.99
8" x 10"
$2.99 to $3.99
11" x 14"
Pictures to CD
Gold archival-grade CD
$2.99 to $3.99,
24-exposure roll, 1-hour service
$7.99 to $8.99
2 photos, ready in minutes