So many times I have been asked to do this and I am just now finally getting to it. I went to 2 of the most popular print labs in our area with the same print to be printed, both at 8×10 sizing, both with exactly the same adjustments in photoshop. I’ve seen print comparisons before, and I have seen some of my customers’ prints after they have been printed at non-professional print labs and there is always a difference.
At the opening of 2012, I had decided that I would no longer fully edit images that went on CD with the intent to be printed at non-professional print labs. The reason was because, if I am spending all this time making sure my image is perfect for print, all the colors perfect, contrast perfect, saturation perfect, but it will be all undone at the local lab, then why am I investing this time. Furthermore, why are you paying for my time to do this if the final print you receive isn’t the quality I hand over to you when you get your CD? It doesn’t make sense on so many levels.
So today I am going to show you WHY at the start of 2012 I chose to do this. And boy, am I glad I did. The following two prints, are so far from what I originally created this image to be. It’s disappointing to look at. If I paid a professional for a service and received a product like this, I would be really unhappy. I have no problems handing over a CD with basic edits. But after these two prints, I will be sticking with my decision to leave the images I hand off on CD as basic edits and basic edits only. I offer packages with editing included and free prints to alleviate this issue and once you print professionally and see the cross-comparison, I promise you’ll thank me.
In the original version, you can see the colors are clear & crisp, clean, and the eyes are sharp and clear. In both the Walgreen’s & Walmart versions the eyes and hair are soft and not as clear or sharp. The Walgreen’s version has a severe red/magenta cast, which is typical with all of the experiences I have ever had with Walgreen’s. It just seems their machines print redder. Both images are also very dark and shadowy, not bright and cheerful like the original. Walmart’s version has a greenish blue/cyan cast, but is closer to the original print.