Where to print professional photos?

Discussion in 'Digital Darkroom' started by brittany_mccoy, Jun 15, 2010.

  1. Hello! I am a aspiring photographer and I have started picking up customers! My question is where is a good place to have your pictures printed from after you shoot & edit. I haven't got involved in processing negatives etc. I am not sure of high quality yet price friendly printing vendors. I used snapfish and shutterfly and was really disappointed with the quality they printed out. Using a d90 & d5000 the faces were very pixelated and you couldnt indentify people. Any ideas on good places to print? I am interested in wallets, 4x6, 5x7, 8x10, 11x14 and also canvas prints if available.
    Thanks in advance for all your help!
     
  2. Haley,
    From this and your other post it looks like you need more help at the beginning of the process. First you should shoot in RAW or the largest JPEG your camera will handle. Then check with the printing service to find out what size and file format the image should be for the size print you want. You should learn to resize them yourself. For starters if you're near one, send them to Costco - they do a nice job for an attractive price with a quick turnaround; you can pick them up or have the prints mailed. If you send folks good files you'll get good prints back.
     
  3. inadvertent duplicate.
     
  4. Thanks Steve. Well the reason I ask id because the photographer I had at my wedding used a d90. She upload the pics to a online gallery for me and sent me a CD copy. When I tried to send them out to be printed from snapfish they came back looking horrible however the images on the files she sent me looks nothing like that one the computer. Forgive me for my lack of know how regarding this subject... I am trying to become a aspiring photographer and I want to be able to offer quality pictures but am not sure how. I am good with taking the pictures and editing but printing I'm not really sure where to start.
     
  5. Haley, you say you are an aspiring photographer and want to offer good quality pictures. Good quality pics starts with the photographer and his/her skills. Once your skills have improved, then consider your equipment. You said you have a D90 and D5000. Both are excellent cameras quite capable of producing the quality pictures that you want. I use a D5000 myself.
    If your pictures are not up to quality, then backtrack and see what the problem is. Are you shooting at your highest quality settings? If so, then backtrack again, determine what you're doing wrong as a photographer. Learn from it and improve your skills.
    THEN, at the end, worry about a high quality "professional" print lab. To be honest, at this stage I would suggest just taking your pics down to the local WalMart or Target and have them printed there. It'll save you money as you learn your skills, and there's nothing wrong with the quality. If you can get your pics to look great there, then you can start to think about a "pro-lab" and services to offer to people on a professional level.
    But it all starts with you. No offense here, but if you put crap in, you're going to get crap out. There's no "magic button" that a pro-lab will press to make your pictures look amazing. You've got to get there on your own first.
     
  6. I think you might of confused what I said... I didnt take the pic that were bad quality. The photographer I had at my wedding did with her d90 and a friend of mine took a picture with her d5000. Bothe pics from two different ppl and camera were printed horrible through Snapfish which made me believe it was them. Hence why I'm worried about where to print pics from it snapfish will print them all messed up. I completely understand about garbage in garbage out. I personallyhave a d5000 as well but havent had the time to print and see how they turn out...only have online versions.
     
  7. Also, you need to learn about proper resolution for printing images if you don't already. What size were the pictures that were given to you? If they are low-res images they will not print well. If they are large files, high-res, then they should have printed fine, but the heavy pixelation you mentioned sounds like they had small files to work with. Did you convert them to a smaller size before uploading them to print?
    For online printing you could try MPIX, a lot of photographers use them. I've used Pro Pic Express before. Or like I said, just try WalMart or Target
     
  8. To be honest not sure now... I knwo it was a few months ago and I was pretty upset because I couldnt figure it out. I would of thought the pictures the photographer sent to me would of been ok to send right to the printer. Which leads me to ask the question...on my D5000 is the best mode to shoot in RAW? If so and I shoot a pic in RAW will it be able to send striaght to the printer?

    Again apologies for my lack of know how lol.... just trying to learn.
     
  9. To answer your question, yes and no. Shooting in raw format is generally considered the best option for the highest quality. However, you cannot print a raw file. That is why it's called raw, it's "unprocessed" because it needs to be opened in a program like Photoshop that can convert your raw file into a printable file, like a JPEG. The advantage is you can make numerous edits to the raw file without losing quality. After everything is done, save to a JPEG file as your final step. That will be your printable file.
    Everytime you open and re-save a JPEG file, you will lose some quality. So you don't want to re-edit a JPEG file. With that said, I've only shot using JPEG so far and I have no problems with quality, but my camera is set on the highest quality JPEG setting. I plan to start using raw soon, but if you do that make sure you have a program that will open your raw files first.
     
  10. My guess is that your problem with the prints from SmugMug and SnapFish stems from the quality of the images your photographer put on the disk she gave you. I'll bet those are highly compressed JPG images and are only about 150K in size. They are barely adequate for looking at on your monitor but I doubt there is any custom lab that can provide acceptable images from them. I've used both SmugMug and SnapFish and I always thought I got very good prints for the price they charge.
    HLA
     
  11. Duplicate. Sorry.
     
  12. Thanks so much for your help this is connecting the dots alot :)
    I am actually in the process of getting Photoshop so I will def experiement with RAW and PS together! So when you edit under RAw and change to a JPEG should you still be about to print a 11 x 14 and not jeopardize the quality?
     
  13. It really sounds like you are working with too small of files, the files you have were probably resized for viewing on a computer at some point. A picture that looks great on the computer sometimes are only large enough to print wallet size. To make a good print you need at least 200 pixels per printed inch (you'll find people who will say less but that's the minimum I go), so an 8" X 10" print needs a 1600 X 2000 pixel file. I normally try to print at 300 ppi (pixel per inch).
    Most photo editing software has picture dimension somewhere on the screen, or there is a properties button or menu some where.
    The other possibility is over compression. When you compress a file (especially jpg) the computer tries to figure out which pixels it can link and give a common definition to, the higher the compression rate the more pixels it links & the more file information it throws away.
    If you resize or compress a file and save it you can't get it back. So make sure you have a backup plan for your files, if you mess something up you can go to your back up file.
     
  14. There's an easy way to remember what resolution size you will need to print.
    DPI x Width&Height of print

    So at 100 dpi, for an 8x10 print, you have a resolution of 800 x 1000. To print, I suggest at least 200dpi, which for an 8x10 print would be 1600 x 2000. If your pics have a higher resolution than that, that's fine. But it should be at least 1600 x 2000 for an 8x10 print.
    For an 11x14, just do the math. Multiply 200 by the width and height. That would be 2200 x 2800 minimum.
     
  15. I am happy with Costco and MPIX but then I am not a pro however they do a very good job. Wall Mart and Sams were average to me. Few of the prints from MPIX on their metallic paper with luster spray were awesome and better than my expectation. I had uploaded tiff files.
    I wish you had some pictures in your portfolio to help give proper answer. Regards, ifti.
     
  16. MPIX, Bay Photo, WHCC, are all great and affordable. Skip Sams or Wal Mart etc. as they use very thin crappy paper and not what a client would expect from a professional. Personal snap shots, fine, just not paid work.
     
  17. I shoot in RAW, then "develop" and save as a high quality JPEG. I use artscow.com. They print on Fuji Crystal Archive Paper. They have an option where you disable the print optimization so your edits will only take effect. Of all the services I have tried, both online and anywhere else, these prints look stunning. I have no complaints and they are dirt cheap. The only problem is they are printed in Hong Kong so they take awhile to arrive. They are worlds better than the garbage you get from printing at a kiosk at Walmart.
     
  18. Hello there -
    I've been selling my prints for a few months now and used two labs until recently. MPix is just OK, I know some people love them but I don't. Quality is middle of the road and I've had a few bad CS experiences. I tried a real pro lab, West Coast Imaging (http://www.westcoastimaging.com/) and I'm hooked. Their stuff is amazing but you'll pay for it. It is worth every penny.
    Prints are the end of the line though. Learn to take great pictures then learn how to process them. Get to understand color spaces and what they can do for your prints.
    Good luck.
    c
     
  19. Just to clarify my statements on Walmart earlier, I was not suggesting that you use Walmart to print your pictures to sell to customers. I was suggesting you use them while you are learning and gaining experience. Print out your own personal photos through them as you test your skills. It'll save you from having to pay shipping charges on "test prints" all the time, and you can see your results quicker. Once you start producing consistant results, then you can move to a more pro-lab to print your customer's orders.
     
  20. Am I the only one who smells something fishy here?
     
  21. As I read through this, I keep coming back to an oddity... it seems Haley that you are primarily interested in making prints of your wedding photos, no? And the ones you are trying to print from the D90 you have from the disc your wedding photographer supplied?
    It seems clear to me that your photographer provided you a set of photos for online viewing/sharing, but not a set for print output. And that you need to either arrange for a print package from the photographer or purchase the higher-res images for print output.
     
  22. It sounds like the Pro who did your wedding, gave you a disc of the images meant only for viewing on your computer. That they expected you to order the prints from them. Setting them to a low resolution, to view on your computer, but prevent them from being copied or printed elsewhere. Unless she gave you written permission to print them, you are trying to make prints of copyrighted images and that is a no, no... Even if they are not marked Copyrighted, according to Copyright law, they are.
    As an "aspiring Photographer" it also sounds like you have a very long way to go. Having a D5000 or other camera, does not make you a Pro, and any customers you have should be informed that you are "trying" to become a Professional.... For if you do a Wedding, and do no produce professional quality images, they are gone forever. It cant be re-shot, and many who have tried it have been sued in Small Claims Court. When Judges saw what was produced, they awarded all fees charged and punitive damages. TO most, that will never make up for the loss of important memories.
    It takes a LOT of training and knowledge to become a Professional. There are schools around the country and courses in colleges which can teach you what you want to learn. BUT, all the message responses you get, will come way to short of the learning you need.
    Many also apprentice with Professionals to learn, you might check with those in your local area to see if one is willing to teach you. But, if you go see them, do NOT tell them that you were attempting to make prints of another Photographers work.
    If Im mistaken, this info may be something others can learn from.
     
  23. Most likely, Tom hit this on the head. You should be buying the prints from your wedding photographer--this is how they make their living and buy their food. They provide a CD of images for online viewing and previews, but the resolution will not be high enough to allow for printing. For exactly this reason. If you like the photos enough to want prints, reward the person who was talented enough to create them.
    I am quite perplexed as to why you claimed to be an aspiring professional who was picking up customers? Later it sounds like you were only trying to get prints from that wedding CD.
     
  24. I always go to Adorama so far my only place for prints 5x7 and up. Just make sure you download the latest printer profiles to assure the best quality. They got nice selection of sizes and paper. And if I order on Saturday I get my prints in mail by Thursday.
     
  25. Thanks to those of you who provided relvant suggestions. To those of you who are trying to tell me all this nonsense about being Pro.... I don't admit that I am a pro...just that I am an aspiring photographer. All my shots are fun and I havent charged any money for as I am trying to learn still. So dont get your panties in a ruffle! Most of the people I have took pics of are friends and family.
     
  26. Haley, to be able to take acceptable photos and get decent prints of them is a process... a lot of learning, understanding of the use of the equipment and pure trial and error are involved.
    There is no substitute for the experience, and the only way to get it is to shoot. 100 images a week for a while is a good place to start... eventually you'll get there.
    As far as making prints, you can always invest in a printer. At least that's my preference. Immediate gratification and all that. But it comes at a cost. You pay for all your mistakes, and sometimes learn the hard way. But if you have images that are of low resolution, there is no way to create a higher resolution out of that... you can't invent data out of thin air unfortunately. A digital drawback.
    A class might help (but this is coming from someone who is a faculty member, so it's natural that I see that as an answer), in that you not only get instruction, you also associate with others who are trying to do the same thing. Can cover a lot of ground quickly that way.
     
  27. Haley, re: "don't get your panties in a ruffle". I think what you meant to say was " Don't get your balls in an uproar" after all this is mostly men you are talking to. You should think about getting something like a Epson R2400 or so printer & have total control of your prints & it would it be cheaper than sending out.
    Regards & just keep going, Paul.
     

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