Are Professional Prints Really Better? – Simply Newborn Photography – Jacksonville Newborn Photographer – Lab comparison

As a photographer I get a lot of inquiries and sometimes surprise when pricing of prints are concerned.

Why would you pay $25 for an 8×10 when you can go to your local Wal-Mart and print the “same image” for $1.50?  Well, if you’re not worried about quality absolutely use the cheaper print.

I used quotes on same image because what you are getting at Walmart or Shutterfly isn’t actually the image your photographer created for you.  It has likely been subjected to editing of someone who has no idea what white balance, exposure or aperture even mean.

Best case they just let the machine do the work and PRESTO.  You got yourself an 8×10 glossy.  Devoid of depth and skin tones.  Maybe the lab tech felt the image was a little off so they added some of this and some of that and now you have orange skin or are overexposed.  Am I saying this to diss these people?  Not at all.

I am saying this to remind you that YOU hired and PAID someone to created beautiful images…then you sent their hard work to someone else to be printed and to profit off of.  Kinda crummy when you think of it that way huh?  Maybe you got lucky and the prints aren’t that bad….did you really spend $200, $300 for a session to print images that “aren’t that bad?”?

Still don’t believe me….maybe you have just never held or seen a professional print before…it is ok. Until about 10 years ago neither had I. Let me tell you.  Just the weight of the paper is different.  Don’t believe me…come on over to the studio.  I will let you fondle my prints. Lol

Ok so now that I have said allllll that. To the point lady!


Let’s put big box labs to the test!

CVS: This image is almost identical to Wal-Mart’s image.  They are likely printed at the same lab.  I give this image 2 out of 5 stars.
Walmart: Walmarts image is matte and thin.  They, again lightened the image to the point that all contrast and shadow is gone.  Sigh.  This images is more yellow than the original.  I give this image 2 out of 5 stars.
Shutterfly: The image is the best of the consumer labs, but that being said the image is “just ok” to me.  Printing for the in-laws…save that $$, lol.Seriously though, lets talk technical features. The paper feels like ink jet photo paper and is matte in finish.  The weight of the paper is better than the other three.  They have lightened the entire image and warmed it to a nice orange. You can see that baby is now orange and lacks contrast & shadows. The emphasis is now no longer baby as the image lacks depth.  I give it a 2.5 of 5 stars.
Walgreens. Walgreens…just stop. This photo is terrible. The image is sharp like the original but the positives end there. The paper is very thin and is super glossy. They lightened, warmed and just royally screwed this image up. The colors are So off. Can we talk about the highlights on baby’s head…I can’t. I am crying. I give it a 1 out of 5 stars.