Quality! Its that simple. Chanel vs. Maybelline
For every day pictures, printing photos at a discount store is perfectly fine, but there is a reason why these photos are significantly cheaper. The photo printing process is a time-consuming and specialized skill that starts when the photo is edited and is finished when the photo is proofed by multiple sets of eyes, including the photographer. Some reasons for the variation in price (and quality) between your local discount photo centers versus the professional photo lab where my prints are sent are listed below:
- Paper Quality – Discount photo centers use low quality printing paper. Professional photo labs use high-quality photographic archival paper with UV coating. Have you ever wondered why your old photos from 5-10 years ago look dull and faded while professional school or wedding portraits have retained their color? This is most likely because your home photos were printed on low-quality paper and your professional portraits were printed on high-quality photographic archival paper. Treat your photos as keepsakes and make sure they are printed on archival paper that will last a lifetime.
- Printing Equipment – Most local photo centers use out-dated (older) printing equipment that typically results in lower quality photos. Professional photo labs frequently use the latest, most updated printing equipment to ensure accuracy and quality.
- Calibration – You may have received photos from your discount photo center that haven't looked quite right, or where the color seemed slightly too green, too blue, or too red. Why does this happen? Because discount printers process a high-volume of photos, they set up -- or calibrate -- their printers at one setting -- the one they *think* will apply to the majority of the photos that are processed. In contrast, my computer's screen has been calibrated to the printer's specifications and I work closely with the lab to ensure that the photos match my artistic vision. Not only do I make sure the prints match what I see on the screen, but a professional printer quality checks the digital file against the print to ensure everything looks the way its supposed to look. With a high-volume discount print shop, you often lose this attention to detail, and as a result your prints may or may not print the way you expected.
- Re-sizing and cropping – When I send a photo to print, I make sure the photo is cropped and re-sized exactly to my specifications based on the size of the print without any loss in resolution. In other words, the crop ratio for an 8x10 print is different than a 4x6. I make sure everything fits and looks good -- no chopped off heads or feet or disproportionately stretched faces here! On the other hand, discount photo centers usually stretch the photos to the size you order to fill the space. The result is that the image quality for a larger print can be lower, and things like hands and heads can receive an unwelcome crop!
- Time and attention to detail – Discount photo centers are quick and cheap, but they are usually staffed with people who have not been trained in the photographic or printing processes. They tend to not use the time, software, or hardware required to give each photo the attention they truly deserve. I have built a relationship with my vendors over the years so that I am able to ensure that my prints look the way I intended.
- Guarantee – I treat your prints as precious memories and want you to have keepsakes that you love now, and that your grandchildren will love later. Not only do I take the time to hand-edit each and every digital photo, but I also make sure that every single print is up to my standards before sending them to you. If for any reason you are not satisfied with your prints, I am happy to work with you to ensure that you are happy with your order.