Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Why I Stress Printing with Your Photographer vs. Printing at a Local Store Lab - Candice Smith Photography in Naples, Fl

I get why digital prints are so popular - we live in a digital world where we want things quick and easily accessible for viewing and for sharing. I also understand that there are reasons you might choose to print your images (assuming you have a print release from your photographer) at a local store lab instead of utilizing your photographer's preferred (and professional lab) to print your images. The biggest reason that we often hear is in regard to the price.

Here's the thing though, in this case, "you get what you pay for" rings VERY true! There is nothing more disappointing than seeing your images online, loving everything about them, only to feel so-so about them in print form because it just doesn't have the same wow factor. Here's a little secret, the photographer is using a professional lab, with quality ink and paper, with whom they have calibrated their software in order for prints to be as true to original as possible. We're not calibrated to local store printers and your prints will surely be evidence of that. A photographer can only guarantee the quality of the print if it is printed through their own lab.

Here's another secret. Professional labs use archival paper and ink which means they will have a longer shelf life than store printed images. Local printers do not use this same paper and those prints will not survive as family heirlooms. Generally speaking, I've seen prints/products fade within months, depending on how they are displayed, if they were printed locally. The purpose of prints is for sharing memories over generations with our family and friends. With that in mind, I think it's a HUGE injustice to take those amazing captured memories and print them on paper, and with ink, that will not withstand the test of time!

I cannot share the lifespan differences between printing with a pro. lab and printing with a local store lab but I can share the difference between print quality and colors. Below you will find some astonishing differences that I feel best showcase why I feel it so important to opt for printing with your photographer.

In this case, we are comparing the original/digital file to 3 labs: My pro. lab, Walgreens, and Walmart. 

Here is that same print comparison collage without the commentary so that you can see the images more clearly. 

I compared 8 images total. Each time, Walgreens was: washed out, yellow, and blurry while Walmart was always WAY over-saturated and more red/orange than the original. This was true even for the black and white images. You can see some of the other comparison images below.

Notice, as mentioned before, that Walgreens is yellow and Walmart is red/orange even in their black and white prints?

Up to this point, I have simply been verbally stressing this importance with my clients. Because I am a very visual learner myself, I thought that having this comparison would help solidify that information for them. I hope that it has! Please let me know what you think: did it help to see the difference? Has it convinced you to at least consider printing with your photographer instead of at a local store lab? Do you have any other questions about this topic? Hit me up in the comments below and let me know! I'd love to hear your thoughts!  :)


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