How to Send 4×6 Photos In the Mail

Alex Cook's photo

By Alex Cook

There’s something special about a printed photo that email, social media, and texting can’t beat. A photo can be displayed all around the home — in frames, the fridge, or in albums — constantly bringing your loved one joy. Mailing printed pictures to a grandparent, parent, or loved one is a beautiful way to say I love you.

Here’s a quick guide on how to mail 4×6 pictures.

Print your photos

Walgreens, Walmart, and CVS are a few local retailers who offer 1-hour photo printing. You can upload your photos online and pick-up in store. Or many of these local printers have kiosks in the store.

You can use a standard envelope

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually need expensive photo mailers to send printed photos. (Unless, of course, you’re mailing one-of-a-kind prints in which case you should scan the originals and send copies instead!) A standard 4×6 picture print can be mailed with a regular A6 (4 3/4 x 6 ½) or larger envelope, as long as it isn’t too heavy or thick.

Pro tip: If you use an envelope much larger than A6, be sure to put a piece of cardboard or something else in the envelope as first-class envelopes have to be a uniform thickness or they’ll be returned-to-sender.

Buy stamps

If you’re sending more than 5 photos, you’ll need “additional ounce” stamps. Most people don’t have these readily available at home. You’ll want to make a trip to your local post office to pick some up. Technically you can use a second $0.55 stamp in place of an additional ounce stamp ($0.15), but these added costs add up! You can also order stamps online.

2017 Uncle Sam Additional Ounce Stamps
Additional ounce stamps are $0.15 each

Weigh your photos and envelope

In the United States, the maximum weight for a first-class envelope is 3.5 ounces. The first stamp covers the first ounce. You can then buy “additional ounce” stamps for each ounce increment.

A typical 4×6 print is 0.11 ounces. A standard A6 envelope is 0.18 ounces. Using a slightly average envelope weight of 0.25 ounces, here is a general idea of how much your envelope probably weighs.

Pro tip: Use a digital kitchen scale to double check the weight of your envelope. Or bring it into a local post office just to be safe.

Digital kitchen scale to weigh envelopes
Better safe than sorry.
Total 4×6 printed photosWeightStamps
10.361 ($0.55)
50.81 ($0.55)
60.911 ($0.55)
71.021 + 1 additional ounce ($0.70)
91.241 + 1 additional ounce ($0.70)
111.461 + 1 additional ounce ($0.70)
131.681 + 1 additional ounce ($0.70)
151.91 + 1 additional ounce ($0.70)
172.121 + 2 additional ounce ($0.85)
192.341 + 2 additional ounce ($0.85)
212.561 + 2 additional ounce ($0.85)
232.781 + 2 additional ounce ($0.85)
2531 + 3 additional ounce ($0.85)

Add correct postage

Add the correct postage based on your number of photos.

  • You can send 5 photos with 1 first-class stamp ($0.55).
  • 7 photos will need 1 stamp plus an additional ounce stamp as it’s just over the 1 ounce limit for a single stamp.
  • 15 stamps uses the same amount of postage as a 7-photo envelope.
  • 21 photos will need 1 stamp and 2 additional ounce stamps for a total cost of $0.85.

Check thickness

The USPS has strict thickness rules with a max total envelope thickness of 0.25″. But don’t worry, we checked it: You can safely mail an envelope containing up to 25 photos and still be under the thickness limit.

Finally, mail your photos!

Your photos can be safely sent by dropping them into a street side mailbox or similar. If you didn’t double-check the thickness at home, you may want to go to a local post office to have them check the weight and postage before shipping.

Use NanaGram to save time mailing your pictures

Shipping photos on a regular basis to a loved one? Try NanaGram — we help you mail printed photos to your loved ones. All you have to do is text message or email your photos and we handle the rest.

A happy NanaGram recipient.
A happy NanaGrammer.

Shipping more than 25 photos? Use Priority Mail or Ship First Class at the Post Office

If you’re shipping more than 25 photos, consider a special photo envelope to protect the photos and shipping them with Priority Mail instead. You can also get another type of First-Class mail at your local post office to handle shipments larger than 3.5 ounces.