Recommendations for a printing service

Discussion in 'General Shop Talk' started by freixas, Jan 4, 2019.

  1. freixas

    freixas TPF Noob!

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    Hi,

    I'm putting together an exhibit of 20 prints through a local art gallery. The prints are all 12"x18". Although I think the odds are low, we (the gallery and I) would like to leave the option open for a larger size. At 12"x18", the images are all 300 PPI and can bear scrutiny from inches away. At 24"x36", they'll do fine viewed from a few feet or further.

    I'm printing all the photos on Breathing Color's Vibrance Metallic paper. I don't have the equipment to print anything larger, so I'm looking for recommendations for a printing service that is dependable and can print on metallic paper. As I understand it, papers like Kodak Professional Endura produce even more striking results than printing on a metallic paper with inkjet dyes.

    Ideally, I'd also like a service that would mat and frame the image. The ones I've found through a quick search have very limited frame options that are usually fancier than what I'd like (a skinny black metal frame). If that becomes a problem, I might stipulate that the larger size option is for a print only.

    Of course, I could negotiate any options with a buyer (e.g. these images would do even better face mounted on acrylic).

    The biggest problem, of course, is that I can't really afford to go out and check out the quality of different printing services, which is why I'm asking for recommendations for someone trustworthy. I suspect there is a wealth of experience on this site.


     
  2. freixas

    freixas TPF Noob!

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    Hmm... 66 views and no suggestions.

    I'm left to theorize why.
    • Perhaps pro photographers all do their own printing these days. I certainly know a few people with 48" drum printers.
    • Perhaps no one has a printing service that they are willing to recommend.
    • Maybe pro photographers don't want their clients to know what service they use.
    The 66 views may have come from people who have the same question I do and wished someone had answered, so I'll list my meager research to date.

    I've used MPix for prints before and they have done a good job. For metallic prints, they offer an unamed metallic paper, but can't provide the 2'x3' size I need. They do offer aluminum prints at 2'x3' for $237.29.

    I've seen Kodak Endura 2'x3' prices from $30 to $114.

    Since I wasn't getting answers here, I did a lot of web searches and found a thread elsewhere with a recommendation for https://metalandpaper.photo. They have Kodak Endura for $45 and Fujiflex Crystal Archive (which they appear to call Fuji Flex SuperGloss) for $90. As this material goes by several names, it may or may not be metallic. Or else Fujiflex Crystal Archive refers to a line of papers, not all of which are metallic.

    Anyway, Metal and Paper sounds like one possible printing service. I also ran into Artisan HD, $95.04 for Endura and $129.60 for Fujiflex Crystal Archive.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  3. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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  4. freixas

    freixas TPF Noob!

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    Thank you!
     
  5. mrca

    mrca No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Bay photo does great work. The prints for Scott Kelby's quarterly gallery showing are printed by them. If you are a pro, Millers and White House custom color whcc, get high marks. The proper viewing distance for a print is 1 to 1.5 times the diagonal of the print...unless the viewer is a photographer, then the viewing distance is the length of their nose. Just kidding. Ever see a painter step back from his work to examine it? He is stepping back to the proper viewing distance. a 24x36 is not meant to be viewed right against it. Nor is a bill board as you would see pixels the size of quart cans. You do realize 20 framed prints that size are going to cost you 2 grand?
     
  6. freixas

    freixas TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the suggestions!

    The length of the nose is about right... :)

    When you say "that size", do you mean the 12x18 or the 24x36? I know what the 12x18s will cost, pretty much to the penny and it's less than 2 grand.

    I'd be amazed if I could get 20 framed 24x36s for 2 grand—I'd consider that a bargain! I looked at Bay Photo pricing. A 24x36 on Kodak Endura Metallic on foam core with no mat and the cheapest frame is about $180. Times 20 is $3,600.

    The 12x18s will go to the gallery. The 24x36s would be custom orders, paid up front and produced only on demand. I don't actually expect to receive any requests, but if someone asks, I want to have a price the gallery can respond with (after which, they will probably say: never mind...).
     
  7. mrca

    mrca No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I do almost all of my printing, matting and framing including canvas so just threw out a minimum number for 24x36. $3600 sounds in line. The point I was making is whether this project is worth that amount of expenditure or if you were even willing to ante that up with no guarantee of any return. Have you been able to sell through this gallery or others in the past? Two to three grand is a lot to spend for prints that end up on your own wall. Good luck.
     
  8. jcdeboever

    jcdeboever TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    You may be surprised...
     
  9. smoke665

    smoke665 TPF Supporters Supporting Member

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    I've always found the folks at Nations to be excellent. They offer both a 12x18 for $11.44 and a 24x36 for $43.70 on Kodak Professional Endura Premier Metallic. Professional Photo Printing & Photo Gifts | Nations Photo Lab as well as a host of other products including mounting, mats, standoffs, and frames. In last 2 years I've only had one problem with a print. No fuss no arguments whatsoever. When I called them they said (without me even asking) we'll send you a replacement next day air.
     
  10. freixas

    freixas TPF Noob!

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    Thanks! It really does help to hear these personal recommendations.
     
  11. freixas

    freixas TPF Noob!

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    Thanks. For the 12x18, I am doing the printing. I think the total cost will be around $1,200. Honestly, I don't know if anything at all will sell. I'll be the first to admit that it's a vanity exhibition, but people spend $1,200 on a lot of frivolous things, and I'm in a position where the cost is not a huge burden. If I decide to do further exhibits, I'd recycle the mats and frames--the sizes are standard and I am not marking them up in any way, so I can re-use the mats in both portrait and landscape modes. A second exhibit would cost just a few hundred bucks.

    If I actually sell something, well, that would be a bonus.
     
  12. Winona

    Winona No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Good luck!
     
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