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Online printing services

Discussion in 'Printing' started by jmw, Sep 29, 2012.

  1. jmw

    jmw Mu-43 Regular

    May 20, 2012
    San Francisco, CA
    I'd love to make prints of some of my work but don't want to own a printer (concerns about space & will I use it enough to justify the cost). What have people found about ordering prints online? It appears the big ones I've heard about (snapfish, shutterfly) are not oriented toward serious amateur photographers. I'm trying to find a service where I could ship them an Adobe RGB image and they will handle it right. And of course, I'm willing to pay for that extra service and cost.
  2. Ranger Rick

    Ranger Rick Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Apr 11, 2009
    Tempe, AZ
    I've been very pleased with Aspen Creek, a subsidiary of premiere lab West Coast Imaging. They have weekly specials, and you can save even more if you "store up" your print jobs. I've used other labs, but I prefer Aspen Creek.

  3. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    Printmakers Inc, out of Rhode Island. Color correction, lab sharpening, an app client you can download. The app is a bit rough imo, but once it's learned it's a breeze. A bit more than your shutterflies and whatnot, but you get what you pay for...
  4. Mellow

    Mellow Mu-43 All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2010
    Florida or Idaho
    I've had great results from adoramapix, the printing division of adorama.com. They also offer occasional amazing deals, such as the 16x20 prints for $5.00 (I had 5 made). You can download the color profiles and do all the color management yourself. Overall, I've been very pleased with the photos and it's much, much more economical than owning and maintaining a printer + inks for just a few photos per month.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. mister_roboto

    mister_roboto Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 14, 2011
    Seattle, WA, USA
    I double recommend Adoramapix. They're cost effective, and have a wide variety of options. Also when I hit the "do not adjust image" box, they really do just leave it alone.
  6. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    IMO, always use lab adjustments. It's worth the extra. Otherwise might as well use a shutterfly or like service. If you're paying for professional printers expertise, use it. Lets face it, it's their job, they've gone through the process thousands and thousands of times, and have an intimate understanding of how to make a good print, even from a bad picture. Otherwise it's just a proof.
  7. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    Depends. The printer adjustments made to images are fully automated to look good to the average viewer if we're talking tick boxes with 'do not adjust image'. If I spend a good while in photoshop, on a calibrated, color-accurate IPS monitor, working with an ICC profile provided by the printer (which is often available) I want my own processing to prevail.

    Companies that offer proper color adjustment services get paid for the time spend post-processing and preparing your image for print.
  8. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    Why would you not print locally then? Local printers offer the best service and will allow you to proof. If you're looking for the best service then online is the last place you should be looking. Pick up a phone book, and ask other photographers and graphic designers in your area who they trust. The best service is found under Printers in your local yellow pages.

    Printers are like photographers that way. You hire a local photographer because only a local photographer can service your personal needs.
  9. pxpaulx

    pxpaulx Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    I've used Adoramapix for several photo books and would definitely recommend their books for photos as well as their standard photos (they also run regular good discounts and discounted pre-purchased bundles of larger photo sizes, i.e. 50 8x10s pre-purchased might be half the cost of single photos).
  10. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    There is someone sitting behind a printing setup you can never dream of affording, with the expertise to use it to its fullest. It's hardly automated, unless nothing is said to the printer. It's important to keep in contact with the print house with specific instructions, and they will work with their customers to get as close as they can to the clients image in mind. If they don't or can not accomadate on a regular basis, find a new place. The truth is most people are not that good at setting up a print, from color, sharpening, contrast, paper, etc.

    Checking that box means you get a proof, not a print. That's fine if you are confident in your abilities, and equipment. However, most people just don't have the experience, technology or knowledge to figure out what is best, or even availible, for what they are trying to do. Paper alone is a vast esoteric topic that could rival camera gear debates if there were enough people that bothered to learn about it.
  11. sammykhalifa

    sammykhalifa Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jun 22, 2012
    Pittsburgh PA
    Haha. How about those of us that are confident that our abilities and equipment are lacking? :smile:

    I have just a few shots that I'd like to print, but that whole end of the process is just a vast mystery to me. Who do people use for a case like that?
  12. digitalandfilm

    digitalandfilm Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jul 18, 2011
    I also recommend AdoramaPix.

    For metal pic's, I recommend Ivoke
  13. Just Jim

    Just Jim Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 20, 2011
    Go to a printer and just explain in any terms what you're looking for. Like Ned said earlier, try to find a local where you can go in and discuss. A big place like Adorama may not be the best option at first, but with a little learning you'll be able to order what you want without much difficulty. Don't be afraid to talk either, most places are pleased to build a relationship with new clients. Well, at least they should be... if not, find another place that is.
  14. du301

    du301 New to Mu-43

    Feb 21, 2013
    Anyone knows any printing services that have uncoated papers?
    I kinda want to print small photo book with uncoated papers.
  15. woody112704

    woody112704 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 13, 2012
    For using Adoramapix.com would it be better to send Tiff files or just send the JPEGs? Oh and should I do the output sharpening for print on LR and should I crop it if I want it cropped?
  16. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    I always crop my photos, regardless of who I am sending them to for printing. Regarding output sharpening, I set it in LR on export, and usually set it to low for the paper, but that is a personal preference, as I do not care for overly sharpened images.

    Resizing is another factor that you did not mention. I have sent images both resized and native from LR to various printing services. When I had Adoramapix publish a large book for me, I did not resize the images from my D300, and I was very pleased with the look of all of the images.

    I recently sent 2 identical 20x30 images, one resized and one at native resolution, to my local Costco lab to be printed on their Epson 7800 series printer. They were printed a week apart by the same person, but I could tell no difference between the two prints except that one file size was much larger. So, I am assuming that the software that Costco uses to control their Epson printer is equal in capability to LR for resizing my image.

    I am now waiting on my first 20x30 test prints from MPIX via Zennfolio. They recently had a sale, and it was a good chance to try out their service for a reasonable price.

    Soon I will also be working with some local labs for scanning and printing services. There are a few that I like and trust, and there are a few that left me wondering about their skill/price level. I would like to be fair and try them all, but I am definitely going to start with the A list first since it can be an expensive proposition to shop around for a service that may not get used on a routine basis.

    Good luck,

  17. woody112704

    woody112704 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Dec 13, 2012
    Thanks, local printers would be interesting to check out but where I live I highly doubt there are many if any around and if they are I'm sure it'd be more expensive than having adoramapix do it.
  18. jamespetts

    jamespetts Mu-43 Top Veteran

    May 21, 2011
    London, England
    Can anyone recommend a good printer in the UK, preferably one that will receive submissions online?
  19. EdH

    EdH Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jul 14, 2014
    Devon, UK
    Here in the UK I was using Snapfish for a while for P&S and camera phone shots but since getting my E-PM1 they don't really seem up to it. Everything seems to come out too dark. I've been getting 6x4s of all my selected images and then adjusting them, using their prints as a guide before ordering bigger prints or canvases (which come out even darker).

    I recently searched for some reviews of UK online printers and found Peak Imaging (http://www.peak-imaging.com/). They're based in Sheffield and have their roots in film processing (which they still do). I thought I'd test them out and uploaded five images and ordered them as 10x8s. They've just arrived and they're all spot on. My shots look better than I thought they were! I didn't know I was so good!

    They can send you a calibration print for Monitor calibration and you can ask them not to optimise your image, otherwise they will autocorrect, which is what went for and it turned out great.

    I'm so impressed I felt the need to tell everybody about them. They're not the cheapest (my 10x8s cost roughly twice what Snapfish charge) however, but it's well worth paying the extra.

    If you're in the UK (but I think they do overseas too), I heartily recommend you give them a try.
  20. Highlander

    Highlander Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    USA, Northeast Coast
    Richard Correale
    If you upload your image to my web site: www.gicleeone.com you'll get a whole range of possible sizes with corresponding pricing, no cost or obligation to purchase. 1 person shop and 40 years experience here in color printing, do tons of exacting work for artists (reproducing paintings) and photographers in New England. I convert all files to Prophoto RGB color space and 16 bit, all of which gives a print with a larger color gamut than other color spaces. This enables the file to take full advantage of the 11 color high dynamic range ink set that utilizes a dedicated orange and green color in addition to the other standard colors. I use best in industry media and inks, third party tested to show no visible signs of fading for 100 years. I will treat your image like I was making it for myself and will work with you on any custom color correction or retouching you may need at no additional charge. Contact me through the web site for the discount code and any questions.
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