Service bureaus are generaly less expensive than printing at home using ink jet printers. But is there more control or any other benefits to printing at home vs the bureaus?
I have been doing photography professinally for over 50 years, and have been semi-retired, not servicing commercial clients for several years. All of that time I did all of my own B&W processing and printing, and received excellent customer response with very rare requests to reprint anything. However for color I relied on professional custom labs (the best available in Hollywood, CA), and often I was not satisfied with the results requiring the lab to reprint even before the client had a chance to accept or reject the prints. It was always a compromise because labs did not "see" the resullt I expected and desired.
Since I converted to digital 15 years ago and most recently doing my own color printing I can obtain a result that almost entirely meets my expectations. Print results from labs, although technically good (especially from the Fuji Frontier printers) are frequently not what I would do for myself in many aspects of image quality, color balance, saturation, contrast and brightness. Even custom digital print makers do not see images and color quality the same as I do, so they produce different results.
If you want the best your creativity and skill can produce as a photographer do it yourself. Otherwise you get what someone else thinks is good. Usually I don't agree.
Cheap is what cheap gets.
I agree with David Brooks completely. For me, the bottom lines of his reply are, well, the bottom line. Imagine Da Vinci sketching the Mona Lisa and then sending it to a service bureau to have the color work done. I don't think so......
Assuming that I did all the color correcting, burning dodging, all of the manipulation of the image that I desired, and then had them print the file EXACTLY as I supplied, would your comments still be the same?
If service bureaus and the printers they use were color managed it could be the same as having the printer they use in your own home. However, in most cases that's not where things are at. Most commercial printers are sRGB and that effectively throws out 30% of the color information that is in my files I print myself.
Now, the question is: what printer? I agree about home printing, even for snapshots. So, Mr. Brooks, what printers are you using, papers, special inks???
Obviously because I test and evaluate products including printers and report on them in Shutterbug, my situation is pretty atypical. However, when it came out, I was impressed with the print quality of the Epson Stylus Photo R800 (letter-size), and bought one for my personal use. Since, I have tested its larger (13 inch wide) relative the Epson R1800. For digital photographers who will be printing primarily color and want the best print image quality as well as pigment inks that are definitely long lasting, either of these printers I would recommend, especially if you are not married to printing on resin-coated papers, although both printers make good looking prints on Epson Premium Glossy paper. However the best print results are obtained with high quality 100% cotton rag fine arts papers.
Are you using Epson papers, or something like Cranes Museo?
Usually, in the context of the reports I do on printers I include some 3rd party papers profiled and tested with the printer, lately Premier Art, Moab and Perma Jet brand papers, in addition to the Epson standards like Enhanced Matte and Watercolor.
I am new at digital photography. I have an Epson 2200 printer and am trying to understand about the printing aspects when it comes to gamma and the color management. Could you enlighten me on this please? What is your opinion of this printer?
Abbott, I don't claim to be an expert on this subject, being somwhere in the middle of the learning curve myself. But, I do have an Epson SP 2200 which I love, and have done some things that really helped with color management issues. You didn't say what image editing software you're using, so I'll assume it's Photoshop. Here's what I recommend:
1. Read the section of the Photoshop manual on color management, particularly the info on editing color settings.
2. Calibrate your monitor. I just did this with Spyder 2 Pro, and it greatly improved the match between the image on the monitor and the print. There are other hardware/software options other than Spyder (by Colorvision)).
3. Go the Epson website and download the ICC profiles for the 2200, specifically for Enhanced Matted paper (which I use and recommend). You should also download Epson's instructions on editing color settings in Photoshop and setting options on their print setup menu.
One caveat: These instructions were written for Photoshop 7.0, and if you're using CS or CS2 there are some changes in the color setting options which you have to work around. Don't be afraid to play around with the settings. it may cost you some paper, but at least you can't break anything.
Hope some of this helps.....
I need your help. Not having photoshop as of yet, how can I adjust my colors? I have several children photos to print and they have black shirts on. When I print, the shirt seems more navy blue. I am using Epson Premium Luster Paper.
Since you didn't mention any editing software other than Photoshop, I assume you're printing directly from a digital camera? Anyway, try this: Go into Control Panel and open the Printers and Faxes folder. Right click on the SP2200 icon, then click on properties, and select Color Management. Then select Manual, and click on Premium Luster_PK in the profile menu. I can't promise this will work, but it's worth a try. Another solution may be to try a different paper.
Two questions: are all the other colors in your prints normal? Do the shirts still have a blue cast under different lighting?
I have been using filmfactory. This came with the printer. The other colors seem to be true. Each child was photographed individually in the same position. I took several shots on different settings. They were in a shaded area. Should I open elem. 2.0 and print from there? Would that make a difference? I am using a Canon digital rebel slr.
Thank you for your assistance. This is a great help for me.
Well, if nothing else is working, you might as well try Elements, and take advantage of whatever color management tools are available there. You can also download a tryout version of Elements 3.0 from the Adobe website.
I'm not familiar at all with Film Factory, but it doesn't sound like it's much help...
Abbott, I do not know what computer you use, but I can say from working on a mac using elements 2.0 I have good luck printing from photoshop. I use the R800 and have found 2.0 does a nice job of setting print from there. even though it does not have all the nice stuff CS does it works quite well. I have not tweaked my color settings on my Mac and so far I get good results printing color and okay results BW. If you have the chance to invest in 3.0 elements I hear that is a good program with more to off than 2.0. I am going to replace the 2 with 3 myself.
Abbott, you may hve to use levels to lighten just the shirts and bring out the color. Don't know if FilmFactory has this amount of control.