I recently used the Walmart photo printing in a pinch. I had 150 4x6s from the late 50s that I scanned and cleaned up. I used the One Hour upload (Its the Fujifilm machine on fuji paper). I was amazed at the quality. I was not dissapointed at all. I did make sure to uncheck the "auto enhance" or whatever that little check box was.
To limit my relationship with the above mentioned "beast", I usually use mpix.
It's a little difficult to diagnose this problem without knowing the details of your setup, but a quick and dirty (read, GROSS oversimplification, with some mild inaccuracies) look at the situation gives several areas that you need to be looking at:
1) monitor calibration - if your monitor isn't showing accurate colors, and you aren't editing "by the numbers", then there's little you can do to control your final output.
2) color settings - what are you editing in? If you're using a consumer digicam, you've probably got photos in sRGB IEC61966-2.1--used by many consumer labs to print, as well as the standard for the internet.
3) know the printing equipment located wherever you're printing to--if they offer test prints, (as mpix.com does), get them, then scan them into your PC, and compare what you see on your monitor to what you're holding in your hand, to get an idea for how the two compare.
If your lab offers printer profiles, download and install them, and if you are editing in Photoshop, edit using Soft Proofing, for the printer and even paper, if possible, you plan to use to print them. An excellent source for information about the prints used by many places, as well as free, downloadable profiles, is http://www.drycreekphoto.com/index.html (This site also has some of the clearest, non-jargony explanations of a managed color workflow of any place I've seen. :-))
Color management is complex and confusing--and even the experts often seem to disagree on it's finer points, so don't be discouraged if it seems rather arcane at first--but if you're serious about printing your images, then it's a good idea to start reading up on the subject...walk away when you're overwhelmed, and come back to it, a month or so later, and read a bit more.
Of course, if you want to edit straight from a consumer digital camera, staying in the default sRGB IEC61966-2.1 color space when editing, and then just send off a jpeg somewhere--then I can personally vouch for http://www.mpix.com . They're the consumer division of Millers, a lab long used by professional photographers, and their service is superb, and prices are excellent. (They don't promise it--but every order I've ever placed before 2pm--including 24x36 images, on canvas w/stretcher frames, has shipped the same day. I always use their "overnight service"--and you just can't beat having your photos 1-2 days after placing your order! :-)) When you check out, you have the option of having them color correct your images--or leave them as is.
I have also (several years ago) used http://www.ezprints.com/home/ , and found their prints to be quite good, as well.
Good luck with it! :-)
(In case you're interested, I'm attaching a link to an example I did for one of my PS students, showing the same image--as it looks on my monitor, vs how it would look printed on my photo printer, using different types of paper. The prints are simulated using Photoshop's Soft Proofing feature, and the ICC profiles for the printer and paper, so you can see the difference between even a calibrated monitor's output--and what a printer can make of that data. http://www.pbase.com/briarrose/image/52610240)
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