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Author Topic: What is your experience with getting prints done  (Read 2463 times)
etude
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« on: December 09, 2006, 02:25:18 AM »
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I've had two problems with getting prints:

1. cropping edges of images
2. exposure doesn't match screen or that of other printers

I've contacted the store to find out what is going on with cropping. They weren't able to give me a definitive answer. I wanted to know if they could tell me the exact print size and tell me what is going on with cropping so in future I can know exactly what I will get. Still waiting to hear back.

I've had 4x6" prints on a local chemist machine and an 8x12" at a camera store. The chemist matched the screen brightness and contrast, the larger print had less brightness and contrast!

What are you experiences here? Any tips?

I feel that I may have to compensate and make images more bright and contrasty to compensate.
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madmanchan
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2006, 06:16:48 AM »
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They shouldn't be cropping your images for you - unless that's what you want them to do. You're the photographer, you should be making the creative choices, not them.

You shouldn't be having to compensate for contrast/brightness on your end.

Are you using color management? Is your monitor calibrated?

How does your lab make the prints? Is your lab using color management?

Eric
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X-Re
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2006, 10:29:52 AM »
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My experience is that the less expensive options service providers are generally setup for the "average" snap-shooter, who doesn't complain if their image is slightly cropped or whatnot. Or, they're staffed by people who don't really know what they're doing or don't know anything about photography or digital imaging... or both.

The most useful explanation I received from one provider amounted to that they're not in tight control of where the paper path runs in the printer, and therefore, the image can be mis-aligned by a certain amount within the machine - so they automatically apply a 2% magnification to account for it (otherwise, in theory, the image could miss part of the paper, depending on the tolerances). I took this to mean that they basically don't keep real close track of the calibration of the machine for the cheapo prints... (which I assume is a lot of labor, and would drive up the cost of the prints - which doesn't work for a budget outfit - or, say at the local pharmacy or whatever, they don't even know how...). I gotta figure those big expensive machines can be run in a way that produces perfect prints every time, but... what do I know

The higher cost provider I've worked with does what I'd consider a perfect job of it, if I've done my end right (sized properly, etc) - but they don't print small prints, and are quite a bit pricier for things that aren't critical.

Frankly, I've had much better luck at the local grocery store than I had at the local camera store. In fact, I've been disappointed with all of the professional outfits here in Austin - the quality of the work that I've received just doesn't match the price I paid, at all... I just do things mail order, now, and pick the provider based on what I need out of it...
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Tony B.
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2006, 11:44:41 AM »
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>>I've had two problems with getting prints:

>>1. cropping edges of images

If doing borderless prints I would guess they have to overprint the edges to make sure they do not get any white edges (its been a long time since I have some film developed but I remember that even film cropped compared to looking at negative).  Like home printing, it prints over the edge, very hard to get borderless without printing over the edge.

>>2. exposure doesn't match screen or that of other printers

Most places use auto correction.  all machines are probably different on auto correction.  You could try something if you have access to Costco.  Have an 8x12 done with just giving them the file.  Then download the Costco profile from drycreekphoto.com (if your Costco has a profile).  Save a new file with the profile embeded and then have Costco print it again with all color managment off and see how that prints out.


>>Any tips?

Ask if they have a custom profile for there machine that you can embed in your file.  I also guess that you are using Color managment (monitor profiled, printer/paper profiled-if printing your own for comparison)

Tony B.
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etude
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2006, 09:19:14 PM »
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Thanks for the replies.

Eric
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Are you using color management? Is your monitor calibrated?

How does your lab make the prints? Is your lab using color management?

My monitor is calibrated with Adobe's photoshop utility.

I had the option to have the prints "optimised" but I chose not to use this option because I wanted it printed as is. They mentioned not to choose this option if you have already done PP.

X-Re/Tony
What you say makes sense that they would crop slightly. It would be helpful to know exactly how much so I could make an allowance. I am waiting to hear back from them, and it appears they have a few issues with their software (it was sent online via their software).

The appeal is that they are very cheap. AU $3 for an 8x12" print. I'm happy with the quality, although I'd just like to know exactly how much they are cropping and contrast/brightness is definately an issue. I could probably spend more on ink to print that myself, then there is paper and the printer itself.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2006, 04:46:39 PM »
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My monitor is calibrated with Adobe's photoshop utility.

That's not calibration, that's eyeballing, which is not particularly accurate. Calibration requires actual measurement of the light being emitted from the monitor, by either a colorimeter or better yet, a spectrophotometer. Your problem is likely your monitor not being properly profiled.
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etude
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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2006, 07:16:32 PM »
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Until you posted, I wasn't aware of hardware monitor calibration. I've had a look into it, but I do wonder how worthwhile it is if prints will be done by a shop that may not have calibrated their printing. If I were doing my own printing, and I had the budget, then I'd calibrate both monitor and printer. Unfortunately I don't have the budget for it right now.

Is the difference worthwhile if printing is done by others?

Now if I find the local shop is calibrated, things might look different ...
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Tony B.
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2006, 07:57:51 PM »
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Having the monitor calibrated only allows you to accuratly post process your photo's using Photoshop or other software.  Without having a calibrated monitor you do not know how true the colors on the monitor are.  It has nothing to do with the output of the photo.  That is when you need to also have the printer profiled.  If all is profiled correctly then your print should match you monitor.
Its very difficult (at least for me) to get everything matching.  I have a Gretag Macbeth eyeone display to calibrate my monitor.  I only have Profile Prism to profile my printer (it uses a scanner to compare a known good color chart with a printed color chart so it can make neccessary adjustments and produce a printer profile), scanner based profile software is not as good as hardware based systems but they cost a lot less.  It does good, but I still can not get perfect match between monitor and printer.  Profile Prism helped alot when I started using 3rd party inks and papers.  Using 3rd party papers and OEM paper profiles normally does not produce good colors.
Its alot of work to start but once everything is calibrated/profiled properly what you see on your monitor is what you see in print.

Now to your question, if the printing is done by others and it is properly profiled then all should be good.  I do not think most quick labs (Kinko's, Ritz camera, etc) have properly profiled machines but I could be wrong.

If your monitor is calibrated then you would know by comparing prints between print shops which one produces better matching prints to your monitor and use them.

Tony B.


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Until you posted, I wasn't aware of hardware monitor calibration. I've had a look into it, but I do wonder how worthwhile it is if prints will be done by a shop that may not have calibrated their printing. If I were doing my own printing, and I had the budget, then I'd calibrate both monitor and printer. Unfortunately I don't have the budget for it right now.

Is the difference worthwhile if printing is done by others?

Now if I find the local shop is calibrated, things might look different ...
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