So you just had professional photos taken, paid for the CD and the rights, and now you want to print a beautiful large portrait and hang it on your wall. Or maybe you took a beautiful picture of your baby with your new camera and would love a copy to put on your desk at work. So you get your images on a CD or flash drive and head over to Wal-mart, Target, CVS or some other major store with a lab. You order some photos and an hour later they are ready. But wait, why is your baby blue? Or your portrait make you look reddish? Why does your picture look a bit flat? Where did all the beautiful colors you saw on your computer or on the samples you pro showed you?
The first step to having great prints is having a calibrated monitor. Most professional photographers have calibrated theirs to make sure what they see on their computer is what they get from the printer and they aren’t surprised. You can calibrate your monitor by buying software that helps, using an online guide, using the built-in calibration that comes with Windows or paying a professional do it for you. If you’re ordering prints from a photos taken by a professional photographer, ordering through your photographer may be your best solution.
The other important part of getting great prints is using a great lab. Being sure your photo lab will deliver consistent colors, contrast and paper quality every time. Consumer labs like the ones mentioned above are cheaper than other options, and they deliver photos pretty quickly. However, they don’t offer some of the larger print sizes, and they don’t take the care that more professional labs do in making sure your photos look great. Professional labs also offer additional services, such as mounting your photo on matboard to give it some rigidity and increase the life of your photos, or matte/metallic paper. Your photographer probably has a preferred lab or two and may have some recommendations on where you can order prints if you want to do so yourself.
Long story short your photographer does a lot of work to make sure that your photos turn out beautiful and last a long time. Ordering through them is the best option. They are also a great resource for when you choose to take and print your own photos. Some photographers will even offer consultations for a fee to help you determine which photos best complement each other and how to get prints.
For more information here are some photo blog comparisons: