Local Photo Lab vs. Online Labs

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by lizzy77, Dec 28, 2009.

  1. lizzy77

    lizzy77 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2009
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Hello Fellow Photographers,

    I am just starting my small photo biz, still working on a website and also looking into photo labs. My question is as a newcomer in the business, do I go for a local photo lab to process my work or are the online labs better. I was told that the online labs are pretty good, but other advice I'm getting is to start off with a local photo lab.

    Can anyone help?

    Thanks so much!

    Liz
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2003
    Messages:
    33,817
    Likes Received:
    1,811
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    The answer to this, will also be the answer for many of the business questions you may have...
    Do what works for you.

    There are probably pros and cons of going either way, so make a list and see how they compare. Or just give them both a try and see how it goes.

    I'd think that the main advantage of 'on-line' labs like MPIX, would be the price. But how are they at handling problems, or when you need a quite turnaround etc. How much is shipping going to cost you? What about large prints & products etc?

    Personally, I like the service aspect of being able to walk into my lab and talk to people there. Also, my lab puts on seminars and things like that. Of course, it does help that 'the best' photo lab in western Canada has it's headquarters in my city.

    *edit*
    I should also add that I can use my local lab with the same convenience as an on-line lab. I use their on-line ordering system and then have the choice to have my order shipped to me.
     
    Last edited: Dec 28, 2009
  3. KmH

    KmH Helping photographers learn to fish Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2009
    Messages:
    38,229
    Likes Received:
    5,004
    Location:
    Iowa
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    That's going to depend on the local lab(s).

    For me a local lab isn't a choice, because there isn't one anymore. When it was open it didn't offer the range of products an online lab like www.mpix.com does. Well it did, but not right there. They ordered it from places like Mpix and then marked it to to me.

    So, I do virtually all my lab and gear purchasing online now.
     
  4. CSR Studio

    CSR Studio TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2009
    Messages:
    456
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Georgia
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I think you should use a local lab if you have a really good one near you. It really is worth a little more to have them right there when you need them and for the service Mike was talking about. However, just like KmH said, if you don't have a good local lab then you really don't have a choice and you should use an online lab.

    I, like Mike, am lucky, I have quite a few good labs near me. I use one that I can order things online as well as go to their location.

    Do your homework and have the labs that you are considering print something of yours that represents what you shoot and pick the best one with the best prices and service. Good luck!
     
  5. Eco

    Eco TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2009
    Messages:
    315
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Boston MA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    MpixPro :: Why MpixPro? might be a solution as well plus they will send you some free prints so you can test them out.
     
  6. athomasimage

    athomasimage TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Ohio
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    If you are serious about operating a business, then consider supporting other "brick & mortar" businesses in your area, like a quality lab. You'll find more support and sympathy in operating your business from other small business owners by supporting local business vs an on-line service. Turn the tables, how much are you willing to help your business neighbor if they're sending their business to on-line no-face businesses.

    Big Mike hit it on the head when he commented about going in to the lab and talking with a real person! At the local lab if you have a quality problem, you can get face to face with someone, often the owner and resolve the issue. Often they will give you hints to help accomplish the result you are looking for.

    The slight up charge by working with a local quality lab will be money well spent! The minor price difference from a local lab vs an on-line processor should be cheap insurance to get the service you want.

    Also, if the price difference between the on-line lab and the local lab is a factor, then consider reviewing your print prices out in the marketplace.
     
  7. keith foster

    keith foster TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2009
    Messages:
    508
    Likes Received:
    10
    Location:
    Missouri, USA
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    Mark me down as +1 for local. Like Mike said, I have the same order and delivery options thru them as I do for online. Plus I can walk in and pick up if I am in a hurry.

    I just picked up an order yesterday and realized I had screwed up when I ordered online. They printed for me while I waited and I didn't look like an idiot to anyone that mattered.
     
  8. usayit

    usayit No longer a newbie, moving up!

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Messages:
    9,523
    Likes Received:
    344
    Location:
    North New Jersey, United States of America
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I used to go local... until 3 out of 5 closed. The two left over really haven't impressed me in terms of prints. I usually have them process film and I go to the scanner at home. For digital prints, I am totally satisfied with MPIX. If I really want a good print from film, I've got to take a 45 min drive to another shop that still does good work.
     
  9. nsupanda

    nsupanda TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2009
    Messages:
    73
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Eastern Oklahoma
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos OK to edit
    I agree. My local lab is at least better than Wal-mart, but it isn't anything special. You get the enlargements, but if you want "fun" things they will just oder it from another company anyway. Also, Mpix does optional color correction for you, in case yours is off a little. My lab didn't offer that. Their prices were ridiculous as well. Mpix sells their 4x6's to me at $0.29 each. My local lab cost me $0.59 each. You should see what they charged for their 11x14's... and honestly they couldn't beat Mpix's quality. But, as said, it all depends on your local lab.
     
  10. wtdeane

    wtdeane TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2009
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Niagara Region, Canada
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    Exactly. Unless you can operate in a vacuum, then by all means, the only consideration is price.

    But if you need someone to talk to, to commiserate with, to get advise from, to build a relationship with and to get referrals from, then you best find "a guy" locally.

    Always deal with a face if you need to deal with them more than once. Relationships are important if you are going to go into business; every relationship.

    I hope that helps.


    Cheers!
     
  11. captryan

    captryan TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi, I use MPIX and they do a fantastic job with my photos. Quick turn around too.
     
  12. Jamie71

    Jamie71 TPF Noob!

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2010
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Rugby ND
    Can others edit my Photos:
    Photos NOT OK to edit
    The advantage to your local lab would be turnaround time. They can usually print your pictures and you can pick them up in a matter of hours. If you go with the prolabs online, you have to factor shipping into the picture.
     

Share This Page

Search tags for this page
best local photo lab
,
best local photo labs
,
find local photo lab
,
how to start a photo lab business
,
local photo lab
,

local photo labs

,
local professional photo lab
,
locoal photo lab
,
photo lab for small business
,
photo labs going out of business