….when I can buy the disc and pay 14 cents for a 4×6 at The Warehouse?
I get asked about discs and digital files very often – almost on a daily basis. I understand clients want to own every image of their precious little one, it gives them peace of mind the images are safe and they can makes copies if needed. I would be the same – I would want the digital files as a back up in case of disaster.
BUT. When I have had professional photo’s taken I ALWAYS get my prints through the photographer from a professional print lab.
Why? Its simple. You get what you pay for.
I have recently done a little experiment on printing variations between different photo print labs and I have to say what I found blew me away.
Why did I do this? Well over the past 12 months I have had a number of clients come back to me and say – “there is something wrong with the images – they look awful when I print them” or something like that. The first couple of times I thought “Hmmm – that’s weird” and worked through the problem with them until they were satisfied with the prints they were getting off the disc. This involved all sorts of things – additional editing being one of those things becuase I assumed there was a problem with my monitor calibration so the colours and details were printing different to how I could see them on my monitor when editing. After a couple of these incidents I started asking where people were getting the images printed – and then I would print off a couple at my chosen professional printer and sending them to the client to compare with what they were getting. There was a definite difference every time. What I was printing looked just like what I could see on my monitor, but it was different to the prints they got. The issue was not anything I was doing – it was in the printing.
So there began my little experiment.
Now meet Caitlin – the cute wee cherub in the picture. The large image of Caitlin is the image file I use to print from.
Just a few notes here before I go through the results: I work on a calibrated monitor and I use software to edit each image carefully to make it look exactly as I intend it to – every colour, each detail. When I send this file to a lab I intend for them to produce THIS image, not variations of this image. I am a photographer – my clients hire me and pay me for my creative talent and vision so naturally they want the images to look exactly as I intend them.
So, I got this image file with NO changes AT ALL printed in 3 other common printing locations: a local pharmacy, online at Snap Fish and at The Warehouse.
Well the second image showing the 4 different variations of the SAME image kind of speak for themselves don’t they? It gives you a really good idea of just how bad some print results can be. I am proud to sell my prints to clients becuase each image is exactly as intended and they can be proud displaying them on the walls of their home. This experiment demonstrates the number one reason you should be getting prints from your photographer NOT just a disc alone.
You’ve got to ask yourself – do you really want a 14 cent print framed on your wall? I didn’t think so.
** To any photographers reading this – if you’re going to share this post ( and I am VERY happy for you to do so) please reference Natasha C Photography as the original author.**