High quality photo prints and format?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by duncanapple, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. duncanapple macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #1
    Hi all,

    A couple questions on printing photos. I am getting married this fall and we are paying extra to get the "full resolution" DVD (that includes personal printing rights).

    First one - who can recommend a good place for high quality prints where I can upload my photos online and get the best quality (when I say that, I mean clarity, resolution, accurate color, good long lasting paper, etc). I am not talking about 100 5x7s, I am talking a handful of large (anything from 8x10 to 24x48) frameable prints.

    This leads me to my next question... I know from our engagement photos, the photog puts the pics in jpeg form on a DVD. I also know he shoots in RAW.

    Once the photos have been touched up and run through photoshop (which he also does to all the pics), is there any reason, resolution wise, that I would still want to ask for something other than a lossy format such as jpeg? I don't need to go back and edit them or anything, I just want to be sure I have the best quality image file to go and get medium to large prints out of down the road.

    I really have the same question for all the photos I take too - do I want to upload my photos in anything other than jpeg to ensure I am getting the best quality? I of course shoot them in RAW, and if they are decent, I will play with them in photoshop (still learning) - but what should the finished product be if they will then be printed?

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. steeveage macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Location:
    Redwood City, CA
    #2
    First of all, congrats! I'm in the same boat as you are (getting married this fall) and we also got the digital files for our photos.

    I live in SF, so have been using Photoworks SF (http://www.photoworkssf.com/) to do prints from our engagement photos so far. They offer gallery wrapped canvas as well as fine art giclee prints, and they do ship orders as well (or you can go pick up). I've only tried a 24 x 36 gallery wrap so far which came out quite stunning, but the giclee samples in their office look amazing.

    I've also found another online website that I wanted to try, http://www.mpix.com/. They seem to offer similar services.

    As for your lossy vs lossless question, I'll defer to someone more knowledgeable. the JPEGs from our wedding photog seem to work fine for me.
     
  3. duncanapple thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #3
    Congrats to you as well! Thanks for the links, I will check those out. My photog has a partnership with a company called pictage (I assume most of them do, i doubt too many one/two man photographer companies maintain and host their own photos, thats a job in and of itself), just curious what the competition was doing and how they stacked up in quality and price. Also curious what to look for.

    Does anyone else have any input into the file type aspect? I would also assume jpegs are fine, but if I had the choice, curious what optimal would be. If for nothing else my own curiosity.
     
  4. sonor macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Location:
    London, UK
    #4
    Maximum quality jpegs of the correct resolution should be absolutely fine for prints. You won't notice any difference if you compare them to prints from tiffs.
     
  5. steeveage macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Location:
    Redwood City, CA
    #5
    I don't know about your photog, but mine was charging a large markup on photos purchased through the online gallery, where he had uploaded our engagement proofs. I got suspicious when I saw the prices for large gallery wraps ($800-900!). I read the source code on the gallery, which was hosted through a third party, and figured out what printer he used, and went to the website of the printer to find out the true prices, which were $150-$200. That's a 400% markup!

    More power to them if people who don't know any better are willing to pay that kind of markup, but in this day and age, it's easy and more cost effective to DIY.
     
  6. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2006
    Location:
    Redondo Beach, California
    #6
    One of the best print labs anyplace is A&I in Hollywood out here in So. Calif. They are setup mostly to handle pros but you see a few amatures in there as well. They mostly do walkin and "courer route" bussines. (That is they have a truck that does pickps at the various studios.) But they also will ship via FedEx. You can send them your files for printing and they will follow detailed instructions for color and other corrections. They will work to get you the look you want.

    http://www.aandi.com/services.html
     
  7. duncanapple thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #7
    Wow, yeah, the MPIX place linked above charges $25 for a 20x30 print. My photogs place is $125 :eek:

    Canvas wraps are $170 for a 24x36 at MPIX, and were $311 at my photogs place.

    As far as I can tell, they are both printed on Kodak paper (or canvas) and inks guaranteed to last 100 years. Could there be a quality difference I should be worried about or is this all about the photog getting a kick back?
     
  8. dlegend macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2009
    Location:
    Northern VA (outside DC)
    #8
    for an online place Adorama does an awesome job. Tons of different paper too!
     
  9. steeveage macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Location:
    Redwood City, CA
    #9
    I think you know the answer :) My 24 x 36 from Photoworks SF was around $170 as well, and the quality is just as good as what my photog had in the studio. If you were the photog, you'd try to leverage your work to make money any way you could...
     
  10. Rockies Photo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    #10
    Look at this from the Photographers' point of view. They gotta make money. I'm not sure what their fee is, nor where you live, nor what the market average is for where you live, BUT, most photographers, make their money from Weddings, on prints. If you feel their prices are unreasonable, compared to other photographers, then talk to them about it.

    But, comparing us (photographers) to an online house is not fair, as with the prices of an online house, you are paying below retail standard. Online print houses, do not have much overhead, except for cost' associated with printing, therefore they are making profit even with rock bottom printing prices. Photographers' don't make profit on prints, unless we mark-up prices. What I'm saying is, don't undercut your photographer, because their prices are higher than the online houses. Talk to them, and find a median/ middle ground.

    Another way to look at this is, whatever career your in, do you work for free? Or do you expect to be paid for your skills & knowledge?

    Hope this helps with perspective, instead of just looking for the lowest price no matter what.
     
  11. duncanapple thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #11
    A couple points here - number one, he isn't working for free, he is still getting paid over $3K for a day of work plus of course maybe one more day of post processing.

    Second, we paid $500 more for the rights to the digital copies. Obviously these are expensive b/c the photog potentially wont make any money off prints. I understand this and I feel its reasonable, hence why I bought them.

    I don't feel like I got ripped off, he does excellent work, camera equipment is expensive, etc. However the place he has decided to partner with to do prints is way too expensive. They are an online place based out of california just like the other places mentioned above. There is really no difference in quality it seems (though I will prob order a small sample image or two from each to compare). Our photog is good and he is being paid more than fair. I want his work as a photog but his partner printer is not doing him any favors. I seriously doubt he is getting the difference in price between mpix and the place he uses ($100 on one print?).

    I am going about this in a 100% honest fashion. But I am not going to overpay just to help someone out lol. I am playing by the rules, its not like I am stealing the pics :rolleyes:

    edit - one other thing I am not sure I made clear - My photog uses a 3rdparty online photo printer as well - so comparing his print prices to mpix or whoever else *should* be an apples to apples comparison. I also would gladly pay a few bucks towards the photogs printer just for ease of use however when a $25 print becomes a $125 print, for exactly the same thing, thats nuts. Hence, I paid $500 up front for the full res digital files, and will make that money back it appears in the long run (or after a few pics).
     
  12. MacNoobie macrumors 6502a

    MacNoobie

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado
    #12
    Try EZprints or Bayphoto.com

    Use em both through SmugMug.com (as that's what they use to print orders) for clients orders band shots to wedding stuff and I've never had a complaint on the quality of either other then WOW These look great!!!!!!!

    mpix I've heard of and they do a quality job from what I've heard also.
     
  13. MacNoobie macrumors 6502a

    MacNoobie

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2005
    Location:
    Colorado
    #13

    Reminds me of all the kiddies with rebel XT's slapped on kit lenses, access to a cheap inkjet printers and a few sheets of photo paper.. already couples are hiring them because they're cheap and they "have a nice camera". I'm a working photog too that's trying to find creative ways to try and stay a step ahead of the kiddies out there but it just really comes down to price and I've invested upwards of 10k on gear so its hard to compete with the kid and his rebel for $800.

    TO THE OP:
    Absolutely talk to your local photog about prices as I'd rather get a little bit then nothing at all when it comes to prints and possibly keep you printing through me rather then walgreens. If he's not willing to budge or gives you something like 5% off then I really would take the digitals and go elsewhere to print.
     
  14. steeveage macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2004
    Location:
    Redwood City, CA
    #14
    Agreed. Customers in the age of digital photography expect to be able to purchase digital negatives. I think the business model of making lucrative returns off of prints is going to see diminishing returns, unless as the printer you are really offering a value add that cannot be had from an online print shop.
     
  15. G5Unit macrumors 68020

    G5Unit

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2005
    Location:
    I'm calling the cops
    #15
    Agreed. Too bad people are no longer actually printing photos anymore(generally).
     

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