Why Your Print Lab Is So Important!
Why is your print lab of choice so important? In this post we will take a look at the results of a comparison of the different print labs in my local area.
When people place their orders with me the most sort after items are the digital files. Why? Most tell me it is so they can go and get their own prints done elsewhere. I understand that professional prints can be pricey and there are a number of reasons for the price tag.
- It is my artwork that I am selling to you, my blood, sweat and sometimes even tears. I can spend more than an hour editing 1 photograph- think of those gorgeous baby in a bucket shots- I have to spend a great deal of time removing mum or dad from the photo and then perfecting the image ready for print.
- I source high quality products. Most will have museum archival grade materials. Meaning your photos will last on your wall for a lifetime! Some even have a 75 year guarantee. These are not cheap items.
- I want you to proudly look at those photos and show them off to your friends and family.
- Let’s face it I am running a business, I need to provide for my family so I have some profit involved.
- Running a business is not cheap. I do not just take the photos and hand them over to you. You are paying me to create a piece of art for your home. I have other expenses involved to ensure I can continue to stay in business. Insurance, website costs, equipment plus my time. This all adds up
I respect that you want to keep copies for future in case something happens which is why my packages include digital files. So once you have your precious digital files what do you do with them? My number one question is where should I go for printing?
Of course I would always recommend investing your money in my products as I know the quality is worth it, but you want to get some prints done to send to Grandma so where to now?
So this week I did an experiment. I have taken several of my photos to 6 shops and also my pro lab. This way we can compare them. For legal reasons I am not going to name which shops I went to as this post is not about naming and shaming. I just want you to be aware of the differences that happen between different labs. Now once I give you the digitals there is no refund and I take no responsibility on how your photos will turn out. If you however you choose to print through me I will continue to reprint with my lab until I am satisfied with the result. They work closely with me to ensure the best result is achieve for my clients. This is all included in that additional price you pay.
Any how back on track. For the record these are all printed off the same digital file. Digital Files will always look slightly different as they have the brightness of the computer brightening up the image so we aim to get as close as possible. If the labs asked me if I wanted auto correction done I always ticked no ( it is against copyright to change my images in any way). These are my results:
This is the digital image for comparison:
The aim is to achieve a lovely soft pink in the blanket. The skin tones are even and the baby looks like a newborn with lovely soft skin.
You can see the differences are quite dramatic. Some are not too bad but some of these make me cringe at the thought that people may have images like these on their walls. Some are really contrasty, others are not even pink but almost grey. The exposures have been played with. They just look horrible.
This digital is lovely and crisp white, Skin tones are even and pretty. The newborn baby looks a newborn not an alien.
This time it looks like we have some alien babies in the various photos. We have some greyish green babies and some very red babies. The backgrounds all vary in shades from warm tones to cool tones. Out of all of them I still prefer my Pro lab’s photos.
So how does an outdoor shot stand up.
This is Codie during here recent maternity shoot. Her skin is glowing the grass is green but not unrealistic ( it really was that green as we had had heaps of rain in the days leading up the shoot). The picks are lovely and soft.
Ok so these are not quite as bad but these do still have some issues. Shop E has done a serious Colour Pop on the grass and it looks totally unrealistic. Shop A is very Grey and no where near the colour of the digital files.
So as we discussed earlier this is simply to show you that every print lab calibrates differently. They use different inks, have their contrasts set differently.
If you want the best result you are best to trust your photographer. Consider using the digital files as a back up system. Hang a beautiful piece on the wall forever!!!
You are paying a professional to create a beautiful piece of art for you so invest your money and support your local photographer. They spend so much time on your images so reward them and save the $0.19 photos for your happy snaps and holiday photos.
If you insist on printing your images at a different print lab, do a test print before ever printing big. At the end of the day you get what you pay for and that is quality which will last a lifetime!
For more information on booking a session today you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see more of my work why not head to my galleries!
Hope you enjoyed this post! I would love to hear from you. Make sure to leave a comment to tell me what you think of the comparison.