How can you get accurate color on prints from lab

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by drdan, Jul 10, 2004.

  1. drdan

    drdan TPF Noob!

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    I have tried online places to order prints, including most recently Adorama, and some local photo developing places. I haven't tried expensive shops so far as I'm trying to find a good, relatively inexpensive place to get quantities of larger prints (8x10 or bigger).

    So far the colors have been all over the place with most places deciding they need to "warm up" my pictures to the point the are unusable. I have tried including instruction not to correct the color but they just seem to ignore it.

    Is that just a normal thing unless you pay a lot more money. So far prices for an 8x10 range from $1.75-2.99 + shipping. I think a local photo store charges $7.00 for that size but I don't want to pay that if I can help it. I really don't need top of the line printing, I just want them to leave my colors alone. I can get better color from my HP inkjet but it's too slow for quantities.
     
  2. jadin

    jadin The Mad Hatter

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    Try mpix.com, I their 8x10's run about 1.99 to 2.99 depending on the paper you choose, (Kodak Endura, or Metallic Endura)

    I had mine printed on metallic for my photos, (abstract things) and the color turned out gorgeous, if your doing portraits I think they recommend standard.

    Also what color space are you working in? You should be able to find out what color space the printers are set to, and make sure your photo is set to their color space before you send it to them.

    I just ordered some pics from dpcprints.com (partnered with ezprints.com) so when those show up I'll tell you if they were modified at all.
     
  3. Slowboat

    Slowboat TPF Noob!

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    If you are looking for consistant color representation of your images I would suggest working with a print lab that has a color managed workflow and is able to tell you what that workflow is and requires your images to be submitted with a specific ICC profile, unless you want them to perform color correction and gamut adjustments for you.

    Is your monitor calibrated? What color space do you edit your images in? These items make a world of difference.

    I really like the quality of the Costco prints I get and are resonably cheap, $3.00 for 12x18 print of Fuji Crytstal arcihve paper.

    Take a look at Dry Creek Photo, http://www.drycreekphoto.com/Frontier/Profiles/Colorado_frontier_profiles.htm, find a location in your area, and download the color profile. This way you can soft proof your images before taking them in for printing. The site has some good tips and additional info for color management workflow.
     
  4. BernieSC

    BernieSC TPF Noob!

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    The old saying you get what you pay for is true. If you are getting 8x10's for 1.75 don't expect consistancy because they are printing them out as fast as they can and however it comes out is how you get it. You should find a pro lab and give them a guide print of how you want it. It might cost more but a lot of pro labs know how to make the print how you want it and the best it should look. If you are selling prints then you will have to charge more for them. Usually if the prints looks good and its what people want they don't question the price as long as its within reason and selling a 8x10 print for $20 or so is not unusual.
     
  5. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    $1.75 to 2.99 for an 8x10 is almost "free lunch" cheap (as in "there ain't no such thing"). $7 is what I would expect to pay at a pro lab. If they listen to you and get the colors right, then it's worth all $7. As far as the other guys, if the prints are unusable, then it's just a waste of money no matter how cheap.
     
  6. drdan

    drdan TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the drycreek link, there is some excellent information there. I did download the ICC profile for one of the Walmarts in town and did some soft proofing in Adobe. I found I had to do some additional editing to get the picture back to where I wanted it.

    Armed with some new understanding, I also went back to one of the cheapest online print places and it turns out they not only have an ICC profile of their printer to download but will send you calibration 8x10's for free to help calibrate your monitor. If it turns out I can get what I'm looking for at this place that will be great.

    I'm just looking to sell some fairly cheap framed pictures at a local flea market. If they sell best at around $12, paying 1.75 vs $7.00 plus the frame is a heck of a difference in profit margin.
     
  7. fadingaway1986

    fadingaway1986 I Burn Easily :(

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    here in australia - 8x10's average around $9... ($8.86 is the cheapest I have seen). Keeping in mind that with the exchange rate it works out to about $4.50. Although that isn't too bad - its still a lot more expensive than what you pay...

    I did get a coupon for 99c 6x8's - and I used it. But I wasn't happy with the outcome. It was on glossy fuji paper - and although I use fuji film - the colours just seemed washed out. And i read the back of the photo and no colour changes had been done. I also read the back of the originals (which were printed on kodak) and the same there - no colour changes were done - but the colours were so much better on the kodak. (Not to mention one of them had a dust mark in the sky - which is not on the negative or the original)....

    Not happy with them at all - and I don't think I would go back there again.
     
  8. Jeff Canes

    Jeff Canes No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I also use my locate Costco mini-lab for digital 8x10 prints, have been very happy with the results.
    The only other digital lab I have used is ofoto.com
     
  9. Slowboat

    Slowboat TPF Noob!

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    While looking at a soft proof on you monitor keep in mind that your monitor is far brighter than on printed paper. The soft proof will tend to loo "dull" or not as bright especially when working with color profiles for matte or luster paper.
     
  10. drdan

    drdan TPF Noob!

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    I noticed in the soft proof in PS there is the option to simulate photo paper. It make the image look much duller and more washed out than the original. It also looks a lot like some of the prints I've had made so I think it's a fairly good simulation. I then edited it a little further to look more like what I wanted with the "Paper White" simulation engaged. Hopefully that will help compensate and I'll get pretty close to what I want.
     

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