Portraits: Pro labs vs Box Stores
Professional printing makes a huge difference.
I do family portraits with my kids and husband every year. The day before school started, my daughter tells me she wants a print of our family portrait to put on her binder. In a crunch for time, I sent the image to a well known pharmacy around the corner from the house.
My daughter and I rushed down to pick up the 8x10, and to my horror our skin tones were a neon orange and we looked blown out, the details were lost in our face. I mentioned it to the clerk who told me their photo printers were calibrated.
My friends, they are not.
These same images had been sent to our professional lab to be printed (for gifts for family members and for our walls at home) and they did NOT look neon or anything like what this local pharmacy gave me.
The professional labs I use, I select a box that says to NOT color correct, they are being printed just as I had sent them with no alterations. The corner stores and box stores are run by people who are NOT trained in photography and printers.
Even my 8yo daughter remarked about her neon skin tone from the pharmacy print. This is why I would NOT trust anyone with my prints and definitely not for YOUR portraits.
When researching photographers and their pricing, you might notice that some packages include digital photo negatives, or they may give you that option as an add on to your package. This allows you to archive the images on your computer or share them on social media. But if you are planning to rush to the box store around the corner to have those portraits printed, you may want to consider the things I’ve mentioned.
Yes, you have just paid a professional photographer to take your photos and you want to save some money but by not getting a professional to print your photos, you won’t be getting the full value of the time and effort that went into those images.
And ultimately, you chose that photographer, most likely because you loved how their images looked and their quality---but printing those images anywhere means you won’t get the look you paid for.
There is a reason that your photographer spends hours editing your photos. They aim to perfect the colors and sharpness of the images so that it is a work of art and not just another selfie with bad lighting.
Professional photographers, like our studio, not only pay for professional monitors made to understand photography/color/light, but have our screens calibrated to get the best possible result possible.
Your local photo lab is not a professional photo lab and the person who will print your photos most likely will not have a background in photography or a trained eye—sometimes they are barely out of high school.
Your photographer has access to a professional lab and has built a strong working relationship with them. These professional printers use professional grade paper, inks and machines that you won’t find at a regular store, which is why they cost a little extra. Trained technicians also monitor the printing process to ensure that you receive the very best quality of images. By investing a little extra in your prints with your photographer, you ensure that they last longer because better materials were used.
There is of course a place for your 1 hour-print labs—like when you need to do a quick craft project-- but if you’re looking to print portraits for the walls in your home then having your photos professionally printed is well worth the investment.
At our studio we encourage you to order your wall art through us so that I can ensure the quality of the image you receive. If it comes in and doesn’t meet our standards, I reorder! If you want digitals for backup or to share on social media, no problem—you can get those as well.
Jacksonville, Florida photographer. We specialize in newborns, families and corporate photography. Our North Florida service areas include: Jacksonville, Jacksonville Beach, Ponte Vedra, Fernandina, Amelia Island, St. Augustine, Orange Park, Fleming Island, MacClenny, Middleburg, Maxville, Yulee and Callahan. For more information and to get a custom quote, please contact Christy directly. Christy Whitehead Photography, 514 Chaffee Point Blvd. #9, Jacksonville, Fl 32221 - (904) 891-0359