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  1. #1
    VIP Member CzarJunkie's Avatar
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    Default Advice on Printing Photos

    I'm looking for some advice on the best way to print photos. I've recently had some done by photobox that I uploaded and everything is fine but they are incredibly dark while on screen they look ok and I don;t fancy having to go through lots of trial and error to get things right. Does anyone have any tips for having photos printed by the likes of Photobox or any tips in general for printing to a decent photo printer?

    As regards a solution for home, I'm considering the Epson Stylus Photo R2880, anyone any thoughts on this?

    Thanks

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    Roach-Rampino's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    I asked something similar a while back pal:

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    The general consensus seemed to be give photo printers a wide berth.

  3. #3
    VIP Member CzarJunkie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    Quote Originally Posted by Roach-Rampino View Post
    I asked something similar a while back pal:

    [Only registered and activated users can see links. ]

    The general consensus seemed to be give photo printers a wide berth.
    Looks like I'll have to make sure my photos aren't as dark.....

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    DF Admin Mr Olympia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    I would have to agree with RR's thread. More often than not you'll get better quality prints from a lab rather thatn a photo style printer, unless of course you're gonna spend a fortune on one.

    Also if you're going to knock out quite a few prints, with the cost of 'running' your own printer it could work out cheaper in the long run to use on-line lab printing anyway.

    I've used photobox quite a bit in the past, having excellent prints but also on occassion certain prints have been darker than I'd expected. The first time I let it ride, but after that, when I sent up over 30 photos to be printed I gave them a call and told them I wasn't really happy with the photos. The response I got was great, they apologised and re-sent the prints, looking a lot better. Done this a couple of times now and to be fare, they've been helpful each time.

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    DF Jedi willp2003's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    i use photobox on occasions and they've always been ok. I got 50 free prints for kodak, and all the pictures came back looking really vibrant, so they must have done some processing work on them - which is ok for most normal pics, but you may not always want that.

    the few pics i've printed out for my mum (on her printer) seem to fade quite quickly, but i'm guessing home processing has improved over the last few years
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    DF Moderator {{909}}'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    photolabs vary massivly, the mainsteam ones will generally deal with numpties holiday snaps and so on which are generally pretty bright and high contrast, any dark ones they send are generally under exposed and benifit from the lab lightening them.

    if you send them some shots you have spent hours tweaking in photoshop to look exactly how you like them, chances are their generic processing wont deliver the same results. If you are using an LCD monitor or even an uncalibrated CRT, its unlikely the actual colours you are seeing on screen are anywhere near accurate to the info stored in the file too.

    You could try sending a few prints to each lab and see which come back the most accurate to what you see on the screen.
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    DF Super Moderator DJ Overdose's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    I've used photobox, snapfish and photodeal (The panasonic one, that's now stopped).

    Not tried Jessops or Truprint. Snappy snaps may even do the same service.

    Best option is to try sending the same few test prints to all of them and see who comes out best.


    DJ OD
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  8. #8
    VIP Member CzarJunkie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    Thanks, some good advice there. I think I'll try a few of the contenders as suggested and see who gives the best results.

  9. #9
    VIP Member CzarJunkie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    Just done a little reading on Photobox and they will send you a calibration print to compare with your monitor free of charge, so I'll await that and hope it makes it easier to get decent prints.

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    DF PwNagE casio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    i used to get mine printed at a kodak kiosk in asda and they came out fine and cost about 15p each for 6x4's but i needed to print some dvds so i bought an epson stylus photo r285 and that when set to photo and best quality gives out much better pictures, the highlights dont look as blown out and the dark areas have alot more detail, i printed ones id had printed at the kodak place and it came out much better composed with (id say) better clarity

    at the end of the day its up to you, i spent £70ish quid on the printer and £2.50 a cartridge (takes 6 colour and 1 black "i think" ive not changed them in ages) and i get not only dvd's printed from it but also cracking photo's, if i can find the power supply for the scanner i'll scan the one from kodak and the one i did and you'll be able to see what i was on about

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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    I have a specific canon photo printer and a canon ip4300 standard inkjet printer.

    The photo printer is horribly expensive, uses expensive inks and can only print on 6" by 4" paper so if you have to clean the nozzles on the inks you generally have to waste a sheet of photo paper.

    The IP4300 is much cheaper (obviously), uses cheap generic inks and will print on anything up to A4 (or slightly bigger). As you can print on standard paper it's easy to do a test print and get any tweaking done before you switch to photo paper.

    I would actually say that the prints from the ip4300 are better quality than the photo printer and even professionally processed photos - reason being that I can have full control over the finished article. It can also do cheap A4 photos.

  12. #12
    VIP Member CzarJunkie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    One other question, I've done a lot of artwork in the past for print jobs and have always used CMYK. However, this has been for corporate stuff such as business cards etc. and never photos.

    Whats the situation with photobox et al and their printing methods in terms of RGB against CMYK?

  13. #13
    DF PlaYa mmg's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    the best advice i can give you is have a look at peoples prints to get an idea of the printer you like, I bought myself an R340 for small & upto A4 size prints, and bought an R2400 for canvas and A3+ stuff. After a few runs of trial and error, Ive experimented with different ways that either photoshop or the printers handle the colours, and ive got my R2400 printing spot on on either canvas or photo papers, regardless of size. I reckon that as long as you spend a wee bit of time post processing each image in photoshop (as im sure you will do already) that your prints will come out as you see on screen

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    DF Jedi karlos130's Avatar
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    Info Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    I use Photbox myself and have always been satisfied.One one occasion I had about £20 worth of prints that appeared over dark, I contacted them and they sent replacements that were much better.

    I think home printing these days is way to costly as you would really need to use "original" inks to get the quality you require and be satisfied with.

    To be honest though CJ arnt most of you prints To DARK

  15. #15
    DF PwNagE neo2810's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    Home printing is fine, and there are a couple of printers which will give you quality you would get from a lab initially, but only the expensive inks will last as long.
    Get your monitor properly calibrated, then print using Photoshop colour management to ensure what you see on screen is what you see on paper. Don't let the printer manage the colour.

    My local Tesco superstore has a printing lab and to be honest, their canvas and acryllic prints are as good as any I've seen. Very well priced too.

  16. #16
    DF Jedi [wingnut]'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    Personally I would always use photo labs over home printing, mainly due to limited printer equipment and time. I just haven't the time to get 50-100 prints done for every wedding or portrait sitting I do, the cost and hassle is just to much, so I always farm my work out to pro print labs not the high street ones. I may pay a few pennies over the odds for the prints but it shows in the higher quality you receive, plus the ones I use always have a 24 hour turn around.

    I have avoided Photobox like a dose of the nasty stuff for the past year now. Had several really bad batches from them. Twice I complained and they sent out replacements the same day but the print quality really differed, you have to watch them. I got the same print printed in 4 different sizes and each version had a different colour cast to them, I was asked to send them back for quality control and they ended up refunding me plus some free prints which I have used for basic test print stuff. Following on from several strong recommendations from various other togging forums I now use Lee at [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] for the finer art stuff, such as canvas prints and textured prints plus the odd sized stuff and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] for everything else And I have to say I have received nothing but exceptional prints and quality of service from them both.
    On SUnday night I order nearly 200 prints from DS colour Labs ranging from 6x4's up to a 20x30 print and they all arrived 9am on Tuesday, plus I got some extra prints in with them as their QC was not 100% with two of the 18x12 prints so they sent me the "bad ones" plus another two which were 100% perfect and TBH I can't tell the difference except the small pencil comment on the back saying inspection failed? Oh and they supply you with ICC colour profiles to help you too. Which is a real bonus.
    For all it is worth unless you are prepared to use genuine inks get your monitor and printer calibrated regularly and have the time I would suggest farming your prints out to a dedicated print house.

  17. #17
    DF Jedi karlos130's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    Great post there Wingnut not only usefull to myself but im sure to others

  18. #18
    DF PlaYa Eddie101's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    I just had the same thing happen to me from photobox ,it seems adobe rgb prints darker with them as opposed to srgb ,done a few now all at 300dpi ,set them up ,looked great ,after upload they become dark .If you are after a home printer the epson R2880 is one of the best ,use it myself .Another great printer is the R800 ,which i replaced with the R2880 as i print a lot of A3 ,need to fiddle about with the colour settings for the first few prints .

  19. #19
    DF Jedi [wingnut]'s Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    sRGB is a RGB color space proposed by HP and Microsoft because it approximates the color gamut of the most common computer display devices. Since sRGB serves as a "best guess" for how another person's monitor produces color, it has become the standard color space for displaying images on the internet. sRGB's color gamut encompasses just 35% of the visible colors specified by CIE (see section on color spaces). Although sRGB results in one of the narrowest gamuts of any working space, sRGB's gamut is still considered broad enough for most color applications.

    Adobe RGB 1998 was designed (by Adobe Systems, Inc.) to encompass most of the colors achievable on CMYK printers, but by using only RGB primary colors on a device such as your computer display. The Adobe RGB 1998 working space encompasses roughly 50% of the visible colors specified by CIE-- improving upon sRGB's gamut primarily in cyan-greens.
    Grabbed from here - [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] - The whole article is well worth a read to help you understand colour spaces and profiles.

    As for Photobox, they use a mix of colour profiles (they make reference to both sRGB and RGB colour profiles on their site) hence the variations across machines and prints and their reluctance to offer ICC profiles, although a quick look on their site tonight does reveal a beta ICC profile to try. Yeah right.. I say if a print is worth it you will entrust it to someone who will take time over printing it. Not some automated chimp in a warehouse. Think back to film days. Photobox are the truprint and bonus print of their time. Give me Metrolab anyday.

  20. #20
    VIP Member CzarJunkie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advice on Printing Photos

    I have been opening RAW images in CS3 using Adobe RGB, so maybe that's an issue as Eddie points out as regards the darker images. It's amazing how little I know about colour profiles etc., the learning curve for this photography lark is a little overwhelming at times.......

    @wingnut - Thanks for the recommendation of Metrolab, I've just spent a fortune on picture frames and want the best possible prints to go in them so price of the print isn't really a consideration.

    *edit* - Err, what is Metrolab.......? I can't find it online, Am I showing my inexperience again?
    Last edited by CzarJunkie; 3rd December 2008 at 11:10 PM.

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