Monson Photography FAQ: I purchased digital images. Now what?
First of all, thank you for your purchase! Secondly, thank you for caring enough about the quality of your portraits to ask about printing methods.
The production of a professional photograph begins, of course, at your session, with a knowledgeable and skilled photographer. But it doesn't end there. When I edit my images, I am processing them on a computer that has been calibrated for accurate colors of clothing, backgrounds, and skin. When you view your images in your gallery on your home PC or mobile phone, they may look slightly different than on my device, as your PC or cell phone have most likely not undergone calibration. However, when you send them to a decent lab for printing, the prints should end up being an accurate reflection of the true colors. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case.
Professional photographers, including myself, use professional labs with high quality, calibrated photo printers and archival quality papers and inks. Consumer labs, such Walgreen's, Snapfish, or Wal-Mart, use a much more cost efficient method of producing your photos. And although this is fine for most snapshots that we take with our personal cameras or cell phones, you certainly wouldn't want the professional photographs you paid for looking anything less than that while hanging on your wall.
Although I haven't personally done a side-by-side print comparison, many other photographers have, and the results are astounding. Take for example, this comparison done by the incredibly talented Corey Ann Photography out of Ohio. Do you see the difference?
For these reasons, I like to refer my Clients to a consumer lab I trust for their printing needs. One that I have used personally for snapshots and vacation photos is Mpix. Their printing is close to being on par with some pro labs I've used, and they offer endless options for products, including wall art and photo books, at an incredibly reasonable rate. Further, their customer service is outstanding.
If you looked at Corey Ann's comparison in the link above, you will see that Mpix is one of her comparison labs. And although in her example, she notes that Mpix prints a tad 'warmer' than some other labs, I can testify that this has never been an issue for me, as I tend to prefer warmer tones in my photos, and the prints have always been just as sharp as from my pro lab.
I would still recommend that you order any item larger than 8x10" through me, where it will be printed by a pro lab, but I would definitely recommend Mpix for anything else.
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