Printing Experiment....I have learned my lesson!

Today I did a little behind the scenes self experimentation in preparation for a local print competition I am entering this Monday with the Professional Photographers of Central Ohio.  I needed an 8x10 print and I needed one fast.  Sara gave me a "Honey Do" list that included a trip to Wal-Mart and I thought....what the hell, let me have them print an 8x10 for me while I am shopping. BAD MOVE!!!!

Now just to ground everyone on, my career in photography actually began in the photo lab.  I was a dark room rat that would spend 8-10 hours a day in the dark printing enlargements for our clients.  I worked on black and white, color and cibachrome (Slides to prints).  I actually did some printing for the US Department of Defense printing cibachrome prints from Desert Storm. I led with that because I want you to know I know how to manipulate my Magenta, Cyan and Yellow to get good color from a printed image. Quick lesson most printed photo prints are made up of the combination of these three colors, often refereed to a CMYK, K is the key which stands for black.

Now back to my experiment.......

So after shopping for about 30 minutes in excitement, I went to pick up my print, the lady behind the counter asked, who took the photo, it's beautiful...After blushing, I said I took it.  The print was in a sealed envelope and as she began to ring me up, I opened the envelope. As I opened it, I gasped in disgust. My beautiful daughter looked like a corpse.

 

The results of a wal-mart print

The results of a wal-mart print

 I apologize in advance for the glare as this was a quick cell phone picture, which the lady behind the counter asked me why I was taking a photo of it. I said....excuse me, but it looks like crap. My daughter looks like a creature that crawled out of a lagoon. You can even see lines in the photo from the printing process. How could you ever hand this to someone and say Yup, this looks good. She asked me what should the photo look like. I then showed her my cell phone and she gasped and called two other ladies over to oogle over my daughter, and my awesome photography skills (I can dream folks).  She could not believe how awful it looked either and did not blame me for not wanting to pay for the photo and let me be on my way.

On my way home I could not help but think HOLY $&IT! Is this what all our clients are getting when we simply give them the digital files? Sara and I worked hours on their images creating them and perfecting them in Lightroom and Photoshop and this is what they get??? Please say it is not so!! Are our clients hanging photos on their walls looking like stone carvings and oompa loompas? I was in panic mode so I raced home to show Sara.

She could not believe it...this print would of cost me $2.84 for the 8x10 I was after.....Which is a bargain compared to the $75 we charge for an 8x10, but as I learned QUICKLY....you get what you pay for.

So now I wanted to test my desktop printer, because our clients can print there as well....MORE LESSONS LEARNED. These photos were equally poor and ghastly!

Test prints from my desktop printer EPSON WF-2540

Test prints from my desktop printer EPSON WF-2540


Test images from my desktop printer

Test images from my desktop printer

 I could not believe what I was seeing, I was getting sick to my stomach thinking NO NO NO!! Please tell me our clients are not printing these photos and displaying them around their homes, no wonder why their friends are not calling us.

Now as I stated earlier, I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to printing, so I spent the majority of my afternoon adjusting the settings on my printer to get a decent print. Most people would not even know how to do this, or get frustrated and settle with the results. More bad news for anyone printing our images at home, they must think we SUCK! After hours of printing and testing, I finally found an ACCEPTABLE, though not perfect print from my consumer Epson printer.

Final results are on the right.

Final results are on the right.

This took me a few tries and about 1.5 hours to dial in my printer, most people are not going to give the effort we did and settle for the grey look or oompa loompa look and think we SUCK!

With anything in life, you get what you pay for and when you are buying prints nothing more can be true.  Sara and I are grateful we have found a quality professional lab in White House Custom Color where we get consistent high quality photos from professionals that know our work and high standards for quality.  When you pay more for a print with us, you get a mounted, and finished 8x10 framed piece of art, something you and future generations can be proud of.

Please don't get prints at Wal-Mart, Shutterfly and all the other cheap alternatives to beautiful printed wall art from your professional photographer. Your photographer is a professional, that is why you hired him/her in the first place right? You deserve to have beautiful photos from your memories displayed in your home, do not settle for these awful results just to save a few dollars. These are the precious moments from your life that tell your story and you deserve nothing but the best.

Contact your photographer today to see how they can help you create beautiful wall art from your photo session to display in your home. Also what else makes for better gifts for Valentine's Day, Birthdays, Anniversaries, then given some one art of the people they love?

Go BIG or go home! Image size comparison....20x30 compared to 8x10 in a standard bedroom.

Go BIG or go home! Image size comparison....20x30 compared to 8x10 in a standard bedroom.


Sara and Tony Makris are professional wedding and portrait photographers from Columbus, Ohio. Thier work can been seen at www.makrabbitt.com.  For more information on scheduling your photography with Sara & Tony, contact them at info@makrabbitt.com or 614-943-3686.