I was recently asked by a client about what I do when I produce a set of prints, and what the advantage was when I do the printing. Since all of my clients receive the full resolution digital negatives- this means that they can do all the printing that they want on their own. However, there are some good reasons to get your important prints done professionally. I’ll share a few of my considerations and steps for when I produce prints- and of course include a few before/after shots from my last few print orders.
One of the most difficult things about digital photography has to be the effective transition from a digital file into a physical print. In the old days with film, the lab would do exposure correction and make sure that the print came out just about how it was supposed to look. Many of today’s digital labs at Costco, Target etc may include an “auto correct” function, or even allow you to adjust the brightness of an image- however there’s really no telling how an image will turn out when it’s sent to a standard lab. Monitor output and colors have to be matched exactly to the printer (and re-calibrated everyday), and then the print has to be manipulated correctly in its digital form before it is sent to printing.
With my professional labs- all of these intricacies are handled in person, by trained professionals who adjust every image that comes through the lab for exposure, density, and skin tones to make sure all the prints come out exactly as they should. What’s more…I go through a lot of work on my end too. All images get a lot of time before they even go online (or out to the clients as “digital negatives”). However,, for the perfect print, there’s still things to be done. To start, each image that’s ordered online gets a full workover in Photoshop. A little bit of our special magic goes a long way towards getting the best prints possible out of a given digital file. Here are a few samples of images that have been given the full “print ready” treatment.
Original/Edited/Edited B&W #2: