In such a digital age, less and less people are printing photos. Everyone wants the digitals. I don’t blame them. I love having my photos at the tip of my fingers. But, holding a photo of my little ones feels so timeless. Tangible. Frozen. When I am holding a physical photo of my children, whether it is a book(blog coming next week about the awesome layflat press albums I offer), a canvas or a print, something about it makes me feel like my children are frozen in that moment. I feel like I will be able to cherish it for more than a lifetime
Let’s face it, in 20 years we will be struggling to find something that reads cd/dvds or USBs, then what will be left with?!? Nothing. We will have nothing to show our children of our wedding, their first birthday, and family photos. Our memories might even fail us. Please, print your photos and print them somewhere that will be true to them and stand the test of time.
With that said, I decided to perform a little experiment. I printed 3 different photos at 4 different labs. Here are the results.
I used a big box chain store’s 1-hour photo, a popular online printer, mpix.com (my recommendation for all of my clients when printing yourself), and my professional printer.
This first image is the original followed by a collage of the labs’ version.
Every single black + white was different. Not how I envisioned this printing at all. I’m glad that my professional printer didn’t fail me! The popular online lab even had something stuck to the photo! I know a lot of my clients tend to use this printer and it makes me sad that the quality was so poor and lacked a general quality check before mailing it out. Especially since the cost is pretty close to the same as mpix.com.
There are obviously some huge differences here. The big box store destroyed the essence of my photo. If I wanted my photo to look that way I would have edited it that way. But I wanted a light romantic feeling to the photo and that is definitely not the feeling I get from looking at that mess!
This last photo is of my oldest son. Although each photo shows him and his batman obsession. I can’t help but feel sad at what the non professional labs took away from the image. They each changed the image taking away the way I wanted the image to be seen.
Here are a some general things I noticed about each of the labs.
The big box chain lab only took one hour. Definitely convenient, but not worth it. In general, every single one of them were darker and over saturated. So many details were lost in the shadows. The paper was a matte finish, but very thin and I doubt it would hold up over time.
The popular online lab wasn’t as cheap (monetarily) as I expected and actually took the longest to get to me. The paper is glossy, which I really hate. (When I’m editing, I always envision my photos being printed on a nice matte paper.) It is also super thin and flimsy. There is no way this will stand the test of time. Also, after being protected with my other prints for about a month it is already scratched up! In general, all of the photos printed at this lab are super light and all of the highlights are blown. In other words, there are no details in the lighter parts of the photo. In fact, the photos lost all sharpness.
Mpix.com printed on a professional quality paper and the colors were pretty darn accurate. They were slightly cooler and a little less saturated. They aren’t as and sharp and some detail was lost. It is the obvious choice when you aren’t going to use a professional printer.
My professional lab printed on professional paper and the colors were pretty accurate and the photos didn’t lose any sharpness or details. This is why I always guarantee my prints. If you order from me and the photos don’t turn out. I will make it right and pay for it myself. But, I have never had any problems with my lab. (Plus, I use really cute packaging! Watch for that blog coming soon)
I hope I was able to open your eyes to the the differences in printing at different labs.
Until next time,
*Each photo was scanned and sized for the web causing them each to lose some quality.