***Before reading, please understand that this blog post was created as a visual for my clients. I’ve received an enormous response from other professional photographers, which is truly outstanding and I thank each and every one of you for passing this along. However, any comments that are unkind, negative, or unnecessary in any way, shape or form, will not be approved. This is my professional website and my dear clients are on this very blog, reading and seeing everything. Thank you for understanding!***
So, you want professional pictures done eh? You also want a disc so you can print your own pictures too, right? Or at the very least, put them online so all of your friends and family can see. I think thats great- especially because I offer digital packages for my clients for that very reason. I mean, lets face it…this is the digital era and people want access to the digitals from their portrait session. Grandma May wants a print of the grandkids for her birthday? Sure, head to Walmart, be done in 10 minutes. Aunt Deena wants to see how big and sparkly your engagement ring is, so you print some 4X6’s at Target. Easy peasy right? Sure. Easy. But not so pretty….especially when you remember how much you invested in your custom photography session.
Let me enlighten you. I’ve heard through other photographer’s in the industry just how bad some low quality print labs are, so I decided to test it out for myself. Over the past three years, I have ordered every single print through my professional print lab, so that is the quality I’ve been used to. Let me just say, my findings had me shocked. Are these really what people, even my own clients, are hanging on their walls? It actually saddens me to know that. The picture I chose probably wasn’t the best one for this project, as it is low contrast, light shadows, and softer over all. However, I already had a print from my lab of this particular image, and with a four year old running around, this was the most convenient option.
So without further ado, allow me to educate you on the importance of professional prints:
*To best see the color difference between images, try viewing on a professionally calibrated monitor*
-On the top, you can see the original digital file and then the scanned in print from my professional lab.
-In the middle you can see the print from Walmart and Target. I’ve heard Walmart’s prints were the worst, but I honestly wasn’t prepared for how truly horrific they were in person. Dull, grey, green and washed out. Yuck! Oh, and they so kindly chopped of my subject’s fingers. Target’s prints were orange, overly saturated, and very contrasty. This time they chopped of my subject’s head.
-On the bottom is Costco and Shutterfly. Costco’s prints were a little contrasty and very red. Last is Shutterfly, with yellow and green skin. Scanning the pictures into my computer actually dulled them a little bit, so you can imagine how terrible they are in person.
Hopefully this helps to give you a visual as to why ordering your prints through your professional photographer is so important. What you’re hanging on your walls will be passed down to your kids, and then to their kids, and so on and will become a lifelong memory for you and your family.
Note: Not every lab in every location is going to be the same, or have the same consistant results. I put this together based on my location for my clients. So while your Target lab, for example, might be awesome where you live (lucky you!), another location might not have the same luck. In fact, I have printed quick, personal photos through Costco before and they actually weren’t that bad, but it is hit or miss every time. Also, if where you are ordering prints through has the ‘Do Not Color Correct’ option, CHOOSE IT. This means your images will be printed as your photographer prepared them (or least they will try). Hope this helps!