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Thread: Printing photos - do it yourself or send off to a photo lab?

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    Printing photos - do it yourself or send off to a photo lab?

    I have a few questions I would like to ask about printing photographs.

    Where do you get you photos printed? Do you print them yourself or send them out. If you do send them out, where do you send them? If you live in the US (I live on the east coast), do you have a place that you would reccomend?

    Thanks,
    Heather

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    re: Printing photos

    Hi Heather,

    I print myself, on a colour inkjet, when I need to.
    I use a Canon ip4300 (A4 max), it does for me, but I'm not demanding.

    By past experience, there are people here that 'send out', so I'd be surprised if you didn't get a response from someone in the US soon.

    Cheers,

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    Re: Printing photos

    Quote Originally Posted by heather4279 View Post
    I have a few questions I would like to ask about printing photographs.

    Where do you get you photos printed? Do you print them yourself or send them out. If you do send them out, where do you send them? If you live in the US (I live on the east coast), do you have a place that you would reccomend?

    Thanks,
    Heather
    Hi Heather,

    I think it probably comes down to "how big", "how many", and "what will they be used for".

    I made the jump to doing my own printing a few years ago - and never looked back, but I'm doing large-format prints - mostly on canvas - and only ever rarely less than 22" wide.

    There are many smaller "A4" type printers on the market that do an excellent job - but the biggest "downside" that I can see with them is the fact that they're "unprotected" with (usually) a relatively poor resistance to scratches, finger oils, and finger prints (so best for albums and work thats going to be mounted behind glass.

    If your just doing family stuff "for the family album", I'd suggest that outsourcing is probably the way to go. In terms of quality, I don't think it makes a lot of difference; why not just try a few and see if your happy with them.

    Whatever else you do though, make sure your backing your images up properly!

  4. #4

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    Re: Printing photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    Hi Heather,

    I think it probably comes down to "how big", "how many", and "what will they be used for".

    I made the jump to doing my own printing a few years ago - and never looked back, but I'm doing large-format prints - mostly on canvas - and only ever rarely less than 22" wide.

    There are many smaller "A4" type printers on the market that do an excellent job - but the biggest "downside" that I can see with them is the fact that they're "unprotected" with (usually) a relatively poor resistance to scratches, finger oils, and finger prints (so best for albums and work thats going to be mounted behind glass.

    If your just doing family stuff "for the family album", I'd suggest that outsourcing is probably the way to go. In terms of quality, I don't think it makes a lot of difference; why not just try a few and see if your happy with them.

    Whatever else you do though, make sure your backing your images up properly!
    I usually send mine out to wal-mart, or if only printing a pic or two, I have printed them out on my own printer. The quality is not great but not too too bad either. I mentioned before that I recently bought the rebel xs, my first dslr. You've also seen pics of my baby girl. I would like to print and frame some of the pics that I take of her. I also have so friends and family that have asked if I could take some pics for them. I wouldn't print these pics out on my own.

    ~Heather
    oops. Almost forgot to mentin that regretably I am not currently backing up my photos. I know, I know, I am just asking for trouble. However, I did just order an external hard drive for this purpose
    Last edited by heather4279; 9th June 2009 at 01:19 AM.

  5. #5
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    Re: Printing photos

    I currently take mine to WAL-MART, the instant print ones on the Kodak paper, very nice prints and i do up to 8x10

    Also, backing up is very important

    I back up on my computer and my external HD

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    Re: Printing photos

    Quote Originally Posted by heather4279 View Post
    IAlmost forgot to mentin that regretably I am not currently backing up my photos. I know, I know, I am just asking for trouble. However, I did just order an external hard drive for this purpose
    It's been said that all people can be divided into only two groups; "those that have lost data" and "those that will"!

    Seriously Heather, even a single external HDD isn't sufficient - do yourself a favour and burn them to a CD or DVD as well.

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    Re: Printing photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Southern View Post
    It's been said that all people can be divided into only two groups; "those that have lost data" and "those that will"!

    Seriously Heather, even a single external HDD isn't sufficient - do yourself a favour and burn them to a CD or DVD as well.
    Why do advise that an external hard drive in not sufficient?

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    Re: Printing photos

    well i use a canon MP620 inkjet...makes really good prints ..so i think...

    Printers are pretty cheap relative to what they used to be...

    Its always nice to have one incase u want to print something other thana photo too..and mine scans aswell and photocopys and has slots to read memory cards directly....not bragging but just letting you know u can get alot for cheap now...

    but its always nice to be able to print when u want too and be able to control it....
    and u can buy cheap and exspensive grades of paper,,depending on your tastes....

    but if u want to send your images off i suggest Adorama.com....its a large new york company that has the best prices on gear and also has a lab with a very good reputation...


    But if yah got 200-300 to spare,,,get your own printer and play....

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    Re: Printing photos

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinbythebeach View Post
    well i use a canon MP620 inkjet...makes really good prints ..so i think...

    Printers are pretty cheap relative to what they used to be...

    Its always nice to have one incase u want to print something other thana photo too..and mine scans aswell and photocopys and has slots to read memory cards directly....not bragging but just letting you know u can get alot for cheap now...

    but its always nice to be able to print when u want too and be able to control it....
    and u can buy cheap and exspensive grades of paper,,depending on your tastes....

    but if u want to send your images off i suggest Adorama.com....its a large new york company that has the best prices on gear and also has a lab with a very good reputation...


    But if yah got 200-300 to spare,,,get your own printer and play....
    I currently have a lexmark all in one. It's ok, just not great.

  10. #10

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    Re: Printing photos

    yah i dont think lexmarks aer known for photo prinitng,,,,if money is a concern more than anythign try looking at craigslist fro your city or area,,,,there is almost always printers for sale...look in teh PC/compuer section and or the photo sections

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    Re: Printing photos

    and what type of camera do u have?

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    Re: Printing photos

    As I may have stated elsewhere I use a Canon MP980 which is their top of the line all-in-one. It uses the new Chromalife100 inks and does an excellent job up to A4 size. I only send larger stuff to the lab.

  13. #13

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    Re: Printing photos

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinbythebeach View Post
    and what type of camera do u have?
    I have a rebel xs.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bill44 View Post
    As I may have stated elsewhere I use a Canon MP980 which is their top of the line all-in-one. It uses the new Chromalife100 inks and does an excellent job up to A4 size. I only send larger stuff to the lab.
    What exactly is A4 size (I'm sure that I am showing my newbie status here)

  14. #14

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    Re: Printing photos

    A4 is standerd letter size,,like a regular piece of printer paper....

  15. #15
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    Re: Printing photos

    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]Hi Heather,
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]I out source my printing to a professional print service.
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]Why?
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]I don't print enough and the ink jet nozzle dries out on me. (Calgary, Canada is very dry).
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]I don't have to re-calibrate every time I print. The pro-print shop calibrates every morning. So the ICC profile is consistent and I like their ICC profile.
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]It is cheaper for me to outsource it.
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]Also, they have way more different products.
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]As to looking for a print shop,
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]Try printing the same file at different places. Different printers have different ICC profile and the result can be very different.
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]Try a place where they don't automatically correct your photo. If they do, the result can be very inconsistent. For example, my soft focus pictures will come out over sharpened.
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]
    [COLOR=#cfcfcf]A friend of mine actually print from Costco. You can get their ICC profile on the internet somewhere and they have the option to turn off auto picture correction. Iím not sure how often they calibrate their printers but my friend is happy with them.

    hope this helps
    Ray

  16. #16

    Re: Printing photos

    Quote Originally Posted by heather4279 View Post
    Why do advise that an external hard drive in not sufficient?
    Heather,

    Hard drives, whether internal or external, sooner or later will fail. They are great for an extra sense of security. If you have your photos on both your computer's hard drive and copied them to an external hard drive, you'd be very unlucky for both to fail at the same time. If one fails you can simply copy the photos back from the other drive.

    A DVD with your photos burned onto it, stored carefully in a sleeve, should last for all intents and purposes "forever".

    If you are running a business, or have family photos that you simply couldn't bear to lose, copy your photos to an external hard drive and burn them to DVD, and then you can sleep more soundly.

    Best,
    Graham

  17. #17

    Re: Printing photos

    Quote Originally Posted by kevinbythebeach View Post
    A4 is standerd letter size,,like a regular piece of printer paper....
    Wikipedia explains that A4 is 210mm by 297mm, so approximately US Letter sized.

  18. #18

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    Re: Printing photos

    Thanks Graham, my intent is to have the pics stored on my internal hard drive and then to back them up on an external hard drive. I guess I didn't exlain that in my earlier posts.

  19. #19

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    Re: Printing photos

    Thanks Raycer, I didn't even give it a thought that some print shops would automatically correct my photos. How do I check to see if they do? Also, what is a print shops ICC profile?
    Thanks,
    Heather

  20. #20

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    Re: Printing photos

    A4 is 210mm x 297mm, 8.3" x 11.7"

    Letter is 216mm x 279mm, 8.5" x 11"

    Just to be pedantic.

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