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Old 20 Oct 2012
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Digital photo printing in UK

Hi,

I would like to get some of my digital photos printed into photos. When I have done this before (4 years ago) I was disappointed at the results. My lovely crisp image on my high res screen didn't look anywhere near as good when printed.

1. Can anybody recommend an online company (UK based) who can produce high quality print outs?

2. Is there anything in Photoshop that I should do before sending them off? Reduce the size myself etc?

Cheers, Darrin
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Old 22 Oct 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roamingyak.org View Post
Hi,

I would like to get some of my digital photos printed into photos. When I have done this before (4 years ago) I was disappointed at the results. My lovely crisp image on my high res screen didn't look anywhere near as good when printed.

1. Can anybody recommend an online company (UK based) who can produce high quality print outs?

2. Is there anything in Photoshop that I should do before sending them off? Reduce the size myself etc?

Cheers, Darrin

Hi Darrin

I use Photobox for on-line printing frequently and haven't had any problems with them in years.

Getting accurate prints back is slightly tricky as there are many steps that can go wrong between clicking the camera and the print coming out of the machine. A quick list contains -

1. Has your camera got everything like exposure, colour balance etc right
2. When you look at it on the computer screen are you seeing an accurate image (almost never unless you've calibrated the screen)
3. When you send it to the print lab is it in the correct colour space for their machine.

I usually resize and/or crop my images before I send them off but most labs will do it automatically. Whether the result is what you had in mind is another matter. Generally for me the biggest source of error is inaccurate exposure by the camera. That's fixable (usually) in Photoshop and all my files are 'shopped before printing.

There are pro spec labs out there who will do the adjustments for you but as you're paying for someone's time they are more expensive than the likes of Photobox. Might be worth considering though if you're uncertain with Photoshop and you've only got a few special pix to do.
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Old 22 Oct 2012
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For large prints (i.e. 8"x10") for framing and hanging up, I use a local professional digital print shop. They do excellent quality digital prints for a couple of pounds each (from memory). They will tweak your pic to match their printer if you ask, but I'm not sure what this costs as I've never had to do it.

One way would be to get your pix printed off and any that aren't quite right you can ask to have done again with an extra stop or a bit more contrast etc (or do it yoursefl and resubmit). At a couple of quid a pop its not going to break the bank if you are only getting a few done.

Go to a pro print shop and you shouldn't be dissapointed.

Matt
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Old 15 Nov 2012
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Most common issue I found was that the pictures need to be resized for the size that you intend to print out before you gave the image to a lab.
10x15 cm printed at 300 dpi, even back 4 years ago, from a 6mp camera at full whack was too much information for that 6x4 inch print, hence some information had to be dropped.

Ironically printing grew significantly when they developed the process of translating a digital format from an analogue image, now the initial image has to be translated into the digital image format that was developed from the analogue format. so there has been a step added into the process, which created a range of perceived changes.

There is also some argument that the technology to create the image and represent it on the screen is significantly different to that used to represent it on a print.

But the core problem is that digital images are essentially linear, whilst film was randomly arranged, hence the images from the two sources will be different (despite the printing process being linear). Fuji have gone to great lengths to attempt to replicate this randomness at point of source, and it is just noticeable. See a comparison shots of the Nikon D100 and the Fuji S2 Pro pictures, where the image quality from the FUJI eclipses the nikon, for fundamentally the same camera.

This is why the inkjet printers actually produce a more aesthetically pleasing print than the Laser printers, because the inks have an opportunity to mix if even only mildly before drying.

Using a lab that has a fuji frontier digital printer is a good starting point on their crystal archive paper.
I did notice differences between Various Labs using the same hardware, which I can only draw to change of Chemistry.

There is also the issue of sensor sizes relative to the depth field in the print, with smaller sensors creating less image depth in terms of focus separation than larger sensors for any given combination of shutter speed and aperture for the same lit picture. My 5D compared to my Fuji E900 were completely different. and I dont think that this is just software.


Also note that the Lab technicians take it upon themselves to mildly tweak the image to the perceived best point. This may or may not help!

So in short resize and export your files to be printed out specific to the size of the print. Dont believe me - Print out a 10x15 inch and 6x4 from the same file and see if you notice the difference.

Where we stand with the New Nikon D800 and its stupidly large files I dont know!

there is then the fact that
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