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Photo prints

TNmikeTNmike Posts: 643
edited 9:18PM in Off Topic
Does anyone have a recommended online place to get digital photos printed? I live in a small town so local options are Wal Mart and Walgreens so you know what type of prints I can get. Recently upgraded to a decent digital camera and on occasion would like to have a decent one printed. Thanks for any info or experience anyone has. Mike


  • Hi TNM
    I know professional photographers whom have their printing done at Walgreen's. Those machines are $400K and they print on Fuji Crystal Archive paper. Order glossy and you will be suprised. JMHO
    BGE'er since 1996 Large BGE 1996, Small BGE 1996, Mini BGE 1997
  • TNmikeTNmike Posts: 643
    Just tried a few at our Walgreens and the results were just fair. Most were pretty light (maybe me and not Walgreens) I had checked how they looked on 2 different monitors. Also they cropped the pics so if there were anything near the edges of the pics I wanted it got cut off. Small town so maybe we got an older model printer, or a worn out one from a higher volume store, at our Walgreens. May have to give them another try. Thanks, Mike
  • Capt FrankCapt Frank Posts: 2,578
    Do you not have a printer with your computer? Most all of them these days will print good quality photos and a decent one can be had for around $100. You will spend that much at Walgreen's pretty quick B)

    Capt Frank
    Homosassa, FL
  • TNmikeTNmike Posts: 643
    I haven't tried home printing in several years and the printer I have now is much better than the old one I used before. I'll get some photo paper and give it a try. The paper is probably better than it was before also. Thanks, Mike
  • Capt FrankCapt Frank Posts: 2,578
    You will probably need a "photo cartridge" for your printer also, but you will still be money ahead and I get excellent results from mine.
    Good Luck :)

    Capt Frank
    Homosassa, FL

    Where are you in Tennessee? My son lives in Johnson City.
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    Often Walgreens and other companies run specials for 'free' pictures. There are quite a few picture hosting sites that offer printing with also good results and free picture specials.

    Shutterfly (guessing also often offers 50 free prints. Not sure how I got on their email list but I did.

    Printing from home, there are a lot of good printers. If you are buying new find one with separate cartridges for each color and get a printer that offers the extra colors light magenta & light cyan. Those printers will print fantastic pictures. Cartridges on some printers are expensive, HP has been very expensive. Using refilled cartridges will save money but the longevity of the prints are not always good. Kodak has been offering a supposedly low cost print printer which produces lifetime quality print.

  • TNmikeTNmike Posts: 643
    Thanks GG, been reading reviews of my printer and seems to be getting poor reviews for pictures, I've never used it for photos. HP Photosmart c4385. I'm looking around on the net to possibly find something better without breaking the bank since I likely won't be printing a high volume of pictures. I would like to have a decent quality print though. If anyone has specific brand and model to recommend please post. Thanks, Mike
  • Hi TNM
    If you add up paper & ink cost it is double what Walgreens can print them for and they are using a much better machine and print quality, besides the fact of the cost of a new printer for you. JMHO
    BGE'er since 1996 Large BGE 1996, Small BGE 1996, Mini BGE 1997
  • TNmikeTNmike Posts: 643
    G&C, that was really my original question. Local service is really poor so was looking for maybe an option from an online/mailorder service that maybe someone had used. We really like living small towns but this is one of the many things that you have to deal with. If you want to go out for a meal it is A or B and maybe C if they are still open this week. :) What really got me started was I took some nice pics and used a nice photo editing program of our step-grand daughter. The bottom edge was mid chest and when we got the Walgreens prints part of her chin was missing. This is not acceptable to me. So my options seem to be finding an online service or buy a photo printer. With the small number of prints we would use in a year I thought maybe a service would be a better option than buying a new printer. Still looking at options and any input. Thanks, Mike
  • RRPRRP Posts: 21,920
    By chance do you have a Target in a nearby town? Several times now I have used Photo Bucket which has a link to Target and the pictures come out extremely well and are inexpensive. They may even mail them, but I'm not sure.
    L, M, S, &  Mini
    And oh yes...also a 17" BlackStone gas fired griddle! 
    Dunlap, IL
    Re- gasketing AMERICA one yard at a time!
  • TNmikeTNmike Posts: 643
    RRP, about 40 miles each way to our nearest Target. I'm not sure if they print pics or not but will check. A couple of forum members have sent emails with contact info and are willing to help. Ignorance is just a lack of knowledge and that seems to fit me too often. :) Thanks, Mike
  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    Poor review really surprises me...

    I am not sure about the model differences but HP has a great reputation for inkjet color printing. The larger HP printers 40" and above are very commonly used by professional photographers. The results are nothing less than stunning.

    All this depends on the ink and paper used. 6 color + black will have the best results.

    I have used epson wide printers for color prints which we sold commercially. HP had equally good results but getting a 17" wide printer was a bit expensive so I went with epson. A while back I got a 6+1 color epson and if I use proper paper the color prints are as good or better than film/paper results. The samples I have seen from the newer Kodak color printers are fantastic as well.

    I have looked closely at epson, hp and kodak and it is hard to tell any significant difference between the results.

    When looking you will probably notice printer that are cheap usually have all in one print cartridges and the cartridges are more expensive. More expensive printers will have separate cartridges but the ink will be a bit less expensive.

    Some printers will have heads (jets) in the print cartridge itself. Those will be the most expensive cartridges. The advantage is one will always have newer print heads to work with.

    I picked up an Epson Artisn 610 all in one, 6+1 ink. The color results are very crisp. Price for cartridges are middle of the road. The printer seems to be pretty frugal with the use of the blank ink in normal printing.

    I am not pumping the 610, that is just what I ended up getting. My main goal was wireless connectivity in a printer. The scanning capability is really good and I am very pleased with the color print quality.

    In the past I have found that using third party ink and ink refills ends up clogging the printer heads more often and the ink fades when exposed to UV. I found this with 3 or 4 different ink providers.

  • Grandpas GrubGrandpas Grub Posts: 14,226
    As for getting results from any printing service. These folks are going for speed and they will crop a picture as they 'feel' is best. However, what some person may feel is best for you may not be what you may not want - as you described above.

    Use your photo editing software to compose your final result matching the print size outcome you want to achieve. This will leave any cropping by a third person.

    That is, using your original image size the overall print size you want printed. Crop the image so it will fit that finished size. Then take the image to your local or internet service and the end result will have to be sized and cropped as you want it. You may need to say no cropping or resizing.

    Then the only variable with be the print quality and color balance. You may need to find different services to find the quality you really want.

    Keep in mind to provide an image with enough data to achieve the results you are looking for. For example providing a 72 dpi image will result in a very poor quality 5X7 or larger image. Providing too much data will also render poorer results.

    In the print world 72 dpi will result in what you see in a newspaper. National Geographic quality image needs about 300 dpi.

    An 8X10 print in high quality will need about 2400 dpi (8") by 3000 dpi (10").

    The term dpi is used in several different references.

    When looking or preparing an image to be displayed on a screen a 72 dpi image is sufficient. Providing any higher dpi will achieve no better results and can in some instances produce a poorer quality image on the screen. Most screens will only display 72dpi (to 90dpi). A 8" wide image viewed on the screen can be very crisp with the horizontal dpi of 576. However, printing that same image will have very poor results.

  • if you want it done right, do it yourself. that is the unfortunate truth.

    printers can be had for free, with mail in rebate, because the manufacturer will make it back in ink refills. but quality is sometimes (often?) lacking. FWIW, i have had good luck with epson printers, but i always buy a so-called 'professional' printer (still only a few hundred bucks at the top end).

    for snapshot photography, don't muck around with re-sizing files at various resolutions. what comes out of your camera is likely to be at least a couple/few thousand pixels wide in the narrow dimension, good enough for high-quality prints at 8x10 inches certainly. the standard most people use is 300 dpi for fine printing. that means that if your file is an 8x10 at 300dpi it would be 2400 pixels x 3000 pixels. ...and it will look good as far as resolution goes. some people demand 400dpi. i take great joy in resizing my original 300dpi images and resampling them to 400dpi and getting the inevitable (looks much better" reply email from them.

    truth be told, you can get away with 150 dpi for a print considered "photographic" in quality in the vast majority of cases. you can actually print the same 300 dpi 8x10 file at 16x20 inches (which means the output would now only be at 150 dpi, because it's 2400x3000 pixels but those are spread out over twice the dimension at 16x20).

    color is another issue.

    your monitor and what they print are completely unrelated. there is no connection... your monitor can't display print colors, and printers can't print monitor colors. most, but not all.

    if you want to guarantee a dead match, it's trial and error, unless they let you download color profiles. honestly, your monitor is probably LCD. there are colors your monitor can see but that they can;t print, and vice versa. good luck getting them to print true neon, for example. but again, will you notice a difference unless side by side? likely not. you used to be able to really calibrate CRT monitors. LCD, nah. you get what they give you for the most part. I used to keep a CRT next to me for color fidelity, but if everyone is looking at LCD, why bother?

    their equipment will understand what "colorspace" your photo is in and will print it accordingly. any vast differences in expectation can usually be attributed to simply the diff between the gamut your monitor can show (assuming it is calibrated too) and their printer's range (also, assuming it is calibrated ).

    remember that when you got back prints from physical roll film, from true negatives, that you likely never said "the colors don't seem to match". you only see a color shift because you have the luxury of looking at them on a monitor. unfortunately, the monitor and printer aren't matched.

    back when we had CRTs, it was wise to have a "color guy" come in and match the printer to the scanner and monitor. now? losing battle. i work in my little world, and when i send off a final file for someone else to print, i give them a print from MY printer showing them what I intended. any difference when they print is a printer issue on their end.

    i think you should look at the best of both worlds.

    standard prints straight from your raw camera files should print fine from online services with a decent reputation.

    but anything critical should be done at home. you can be certain that your inks are archival (won't fade when taped to the fridge), are water proof (won't blur if they get wet when you go into the fridge), and the paper won't yellow (that it's acid free). you can also crop and print to you hearts content, and view the prints on your screen using a "profile" of your printer's range that approximates the printed colors.

    i know ink can be expensive (i have bags of empty cartridges that are $15 each), and good paper is too (hundred bucks for 50 sheets of the good stuff), but never before has this much control been in YOUR hands. don't let some uncalibrated machine at walgreens run by a 16 year old kid be the image you frame and hang on a wall for 50 years.

    but the 4x6s you keep in your shoeboxes under your bed? fine to print them at a discount printer. just expect discount-looking results.
  • TNmikeTNmike Posts: 643
    Thanks for all of the info/lessons. I guess I was spoiled in my old 35MM SLR film days. There was a small local print shop that I would use when I want a nice print or enlargement made. I have just gone from digital point and shoot to digital SLR and wasn't satisfied with the print results I was getting from what was locally available. I think I will give my printer a try and see how it does, it's supposed to be a photo printer. Mike
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