There’s nothing better than seeing professional photos printed. But not all printing is equal. This blog takes a look at professional printing differences and discusses why your prints are not only better quality but also last longer when a professional printing house prints your images.
Where can I get professional photos printed?
Before we get to that, let’s go back in time for a minute when we would all go down to the local printing and framing shop to print our favourite photographs. Do you remember your parents doing this?
Somewhere along the way, retailers began to offer a cheap and cheerful style of printing that promoted a convenient wide range of printing solutions with quick turn arounds.
Whilst the cheap and cheerful style is appealing and the price point can be attractive, I want to draw your attention to the limited longevity and quality of the prints provided by these outlets.
The scale of quality (or lack thereof in some cases) is so vast and oftentimes people find themselves clueless about the printing process.
To demonstrate the idea that cheap and cheerful outlets have a long way to go in trying to deliver the same quality as specialist printing professionals, I decided to run a controlled print comparison whereby I printed the same image at four well known, cheap and cheerful printing outlets.
Take a close look at four photos which we will call Photo A, B, C & D.
Photo A- Was printed through a department store retailer. Firstly, the image is slightly cropped and secondly the print is overexposed which is clearly visible around the bride’s shoulder in the centre of the frame. Because it is overexposed all the details of the dress have been lost.
Photo B- Was printed through a professional print lab. This is a true black and white image.
Photo C- Was another big branded business who has a printing kiosk service. The colours are poor and this once black and white photo is now green. Similar to Photo ‘A’ the print is overexposed. The over exposure is visible around the bride’s shoulder in the centre of the frame. This print has also been slightly cropped.
Photo D- This image has been printed with a purple tinge and slight cropping.
I wasn’t surprised with the results of the comparison experiment and after running this print comparison I now have clear results showing big retailers or kiosk style, cheap and cheerful printing vendors are not the best option for printing.
So where do I get my images printed? And how do I know if a printer offers high quality printing? Is there a recommended online high-quality photo printing business?
These are all great questions to ask and because it’s confusing to know the best places to print, I will happily provide details for the best businesses whenever you need them. You can contact me anytime and I’ll guide you in the right direction.
Now I want to draw your focus to an image of my grandparents on their wedding day on the 8th of April in 1942 (78 years ago). This is the original printed image and considering its age it’s in good condition.
The photo is helpful in revealing some important details about the printing process. Firstly, I know it was printed on quality paper and secondly it was printed by a professional who specialised in printing.
How do I know?
Because 78 years later I’m able to hold this memory in my hands and I’m even able to appreciate the intricate details and textures in the fabrics of their clothes and bouquets. The quality of this photo has lasted a lifetime and whilst I’m sure my grandparents would never have thought about the longevity of the print, I know they would be overjoyed that their great grandchildren are able to enjoy this photo.
You might be thinking, ‘How do I know if a printer provides high quality photo printing?’
There are a couple of questions you can ask:
Ask about the quality of the paper they use.
What makes high-quality paper so exceptional? – High quality paper will come with a guarantee. Ask your printer what guarantee (how many years) they offer. If they don’t have a guarantee you will know this is not the printing place for you.
Ask about the quality of the ink they use. What are the characteristics of high-quality ink?
High quality ink always come with a guarantee (and not the type of guarantee that has so many criteria’s you decide it’s too much of a hassle to pursue).
Most printers who work with high quality ink are happy to offer satisfaction guarantees because they know there will be very few people who won’t be satisfied. They know they consistently deliver prints at the highest standard.
The richness in the colours of quality ink cannot be compared to the cheap and cheerful options. Whether black and white or full colour the printer will guarantee the print colours for decades (Some printers even guarantee up to 75 years).
Now let’s take a look at one final image. This print is an image of my two daughters on Christmas Day 2012 (8 years ago). It was printed through a department store printing service and it’s easy to see the image has drastically faded, changed colours and overall looks damaged. If you were curious to know how an image looks like when printed on poor quality paper and using poor quality inks this is it.
My final thoughts on this topic are – What will our grandchildren have to look at in the future? An unusable USB? An unreadable CD, a phone that no longer turns on or an old computer? or cheap faded prints? (My next blog covers information on how digital images last- spoiler alert they don’t last).
In summary, home printing or convenience-based printing outlets cannot provide any long term guarantees for fading and discolouration concerns.
I am passionate about ensuring the highest print quality is obtained for you because I don’t want you to unnecessarily repurchase prints due to fading.
I’m very pleased to say I remove the printing gamble because I’ve built a network of specialist printers who I trust and rely on to deliver superior quality prints guaranteed to last for minimum 50 years.
To explore the printing product range I offer, take a look at my products page.