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  1. #1
    Liz
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    Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Do most of you print your own images? Or, if not, do you edit the images before getting the prints? Also what is the difference in cost?

    I had been using the local Walmart for 4x6 prints for a couple of years because they do an excellent job believe it or not. I would edit the images and the results always matched - believe it or not again. Now the same Walmart isn't doing any work from CF cards because it's the only card they need an insert for in their machine. They said the insert is expensive and every one of them has been stolen so they decided not to accept CF card images.

    Until lately I had a good experience with Winkflash too. They never edited my prints, but the last batch was awful! So much for that.

    I cannot find a place that doesn't edit the images, so am wondering if it would be cost-effective to get a printer. If it means taking a lot more of my time or it is a big learning curve to print my own, I can't go that route because I simply don't have the time.

    Thanks for your experience and/or advice.

    Liz

  2. #2
    Viewfinder and Off-Topic Co-Mod walterick's Avatar
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Hey Liz

    I just recently started printing my own pics. For use around the house, not for "profesional quality." I hate to have to tell you, for me there is a learning curve. The colors in your camera, monitor, and printer have to match. Mine are a bit off, and I don't want to have to buy all the color calibrating software to repair it. My ink costs about $5 off the internet, and Kodak gloss paper goes for about $20/50 sheets. So it more cost effective for me to print at home (plus I'm saving travel time.) But the quality is not as good as sending it out, yet. Whether or not you'll find it effective depends on how closely your prints match your screen, I think.

    On the other hand, I have heard that Adorama.com doesn't change your colors if you tell them not to. You might give them a shot. Look in this thread for some more ideas:

    Where's the Best Place to Have Prints Made?

    Good luck!
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  3. #3
    I can't member!?!? dmm96452's Avatar
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    I just bought an Epson R320 inkjet printer (mostly to print on printable cds) but I may play with in just for the experience. I usually have prints up to 8x10 done at a local lab and larger prints from MPIX.

    I tried the local WalMart a few times but they don't maintain their equipment very well and I was not happy with the prints.

    I will probably continue to have prints made the same way but may use my printer to proof larger prints before getting them done by pros. Between the cost of ink and paper and the time and expense of calibrating the monitor and printer to get the best results I'm not sure printing yourself would be cost effective for most of us.

    How were your prints edited? Were they cropped or was something else done?
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  4. #4
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Quote Originally Posted by Liz
    Now the same Walmart isn't doing any work from CF cards because it's the only card they need an insert for in their machine. They said the insert is expensive and every one of them has been stolen so they decided not to accept CF card images.
    If you're happy with their printing, you could get a memory card they do support to take photos to them. A pretty good size SD card and reader certainly won't cost nearly as much as even a really cheap photo printer.

  5. #5
    Erstwhile Vagabond armed with camera Lionheart's Avatar
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Except for anything above 8x10, I've always printed my own. In the days of film, I used local labs, but now I print my own on dye sub printers. For 4x6, I use a Samsung SPP-2040 printer, about $80 to $130 depending on current rebate offers and where you buy. For 5x7 to 8x10, I print on my Olympus P-400. I love dye sub because they're better than inkjet and they're water proof, unlike inkjets and real photographs, and indistinguishable from real photo prints.
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  6. #6
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    I don't own a printer - used to but didn't use it enough and it stopped working because of it. Locally, I can get 4x6's (unedited by them) for $.15 each and the quality is great from their Fuji Frontier. It's even at a grocery store I normally shop at.

    I always edit and re-size so all they have to do is print exactly as I submit the image. I burn to CD and bring them in that way but if the kiosk took a USB flash drive that would be even more convenient. At their prices, I have a hard time believing that I could do it cheaper myself (cost of ink and paper, as well as printer itself). I don't make many prints and this store is very convenient to get to. If you have a printer, you will need to use it occasionally to keep the ink cartridges from getting clogged.

    Mpix has a way to order prints unedited - after you upload, check a box for "no corrections" or something like that... Never had a problem with them.

    I agree about having a calibrated monitor - with experience and an uncalibrated monitor you can get pretty close but usually not consistent. Really, this is important for any image editing - whether or not you print yourself or send the files to a lab.

  7. #7
    Liz
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Thanks Rick,

    I'm give Adorama a "shot" excuse the pun. I'm going to also try mpix. From what everyone has said, I don't think I'll put any money into a printer.

    To be honest, Walmart did such a good job on my prints, that I had gotten spoiled. I may try them online before I go to another place. This might work. I'm very disappointed.

    The last time I gave some prints to some friends, they were of their son and daughter in a play. The prints were awesome. The family said "what kind of camera do you have, as we have never seen such beautiful photos."

    Thanks again.

    Quote Originally Posted by walterick
    Hey Liz

    I just recently started printing my own pics. For use around the house, not for "profesional quality." I hate to have to tell you, for me there is a learning curve. The colors in your camera, monitor, and printer have to match. Mine are a bit off, and I don't want to have to buy all the color calibrating software to repair it. My ink costs about $5 off the internet, and Kodak gloss paper goes for about $20/50 sheets. So it more cost effective for me to print at home (plus I'm saving travel time.) But the quality is not as good as sending it out, yet. Whether or not you'll find it effective depends on how closely your prints match your screen, I think.

    On the other hand, I have heard that Adorama.com doesn't change your colors if you tell them not to. You might give them a shot. Look in this thread for some more ideas:

    Where's the Best Place to Have Prints Made?

    Good luck!
    Rick

  8. #8
    Liz
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Thanks Dan,

    How were your prints edited? Were they cropped or was something else done?

    The color mostly. Also - they weren't sharp. I don't know what they did, but most of the images came out with a very pink hue. They just looked awful!

    Thanks for taking the time to read and reply.

    Liz

  9. #9
    Liz
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Quote Originally Posted by Erik Stiegler
    If you're happy with their printing, you could get a memory card they do support to take photos to them. A pretty good size SD card and reader certainly won't cost nearly as much as even a really cheap photo printer.
    Well, the problem being money. I have invested in so many CF cards that I wouldn't want to begin a collection of other cards. But that would be a good idea if I could afford it.

    Thanks for taking the time to help.

    Liz

  10. #10
    Liz
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Leon,

    Thanks for the reply. I admire anyone who can do the whole process. I've never been good a technical things, and do minimal post processing, so another learning curve probably wouldn't work for me.

    Liz

  11. #11
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Quote Originally Posted by Liz
    Well, the problem being money. I have invested in so many CF cards that I wouldn't want to begin a collection of other cards. But that would be a good idea if I could afford it.
    You wouldn't need a collection, just enough to take your photos to their machine. Unless you're having hundreds of photos printed at once, a single 512MB or 1GB card should do.

    Can they use CDs? CD-RW discs would be a super cheap solution.

  12. #12
    Liz
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    I always edit and re-size so all they have to do is print exactly as I submit the image.

    Steve - can you tell me how to re-size for printing? I know this sounds like a dumb question, but I always put the size at 1600x1067. Is this what you mean by resizing? I got this size from Winkflash - it was what they suggest for high quality 4x6 prints. Do I have to do anything else?

    Mpix has a way to order prints unedited - after you upload, check a box for "no corrections" or something like that... Never had a problem with them.

    I'm going to try Mpix and Adorama and see the results at these 2 places. I checked out the thread from last week about online printing and these 2 seem to be the most popular. I like the idea they give the option of no editing.

    I agree about having a calibrated monitor - with experience and an uncalibrated monitor you can get pretty close but usually not consistent. Really, this is important for any image editing - whether or not you print yourself or send the files to a lab.

    Hmmmm, I think the expense is more than I anticipated, but what I feared. I don't want to invest in the calibration software - and/or other expenses - and all the time that printing will involve.

    Thanks a lot, Steve.
    Liz

  13. #13
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Quote Originally Posted by Liz
    Steve - can you tell me how to re-size for printing? I know this sounds like a dumb question, but I always put the size at 1600x1067. Is this what you mean by resizing? I got this size from Winkflash - it was what they suggest for high quality 4x6 prints. Do I have to do anything else?
    Liz - first off, it's not a dumb question. Some people worry more about this (like me) than others but it really doesn't take long to do it. With smaller prints like about 8x12 and smaller, I just go ahead and use the supposed industry standard of 300dpi. Larger prints may be lower than that, like 240, but the file size is still pretty small with 8x12 and smaller that I don't worry about it too much. If you're on dial-up then really any printable resolution will take almost too long to do, btw.

    I think you're using Elements so the commands are probably a little different but should be close. Go to Image > Resize, enter the size dimensions and resolution of 300dpi. If you do your sharpening in Photoshop, do it after this step. As long as your prints are "full frame" which would be 4x6 or 8x12 on a DSLR, you're all set. If you need another print size (proportion, really) like 5x7 or 8x10 then you will have to crop to that size. What I would do for an 8x10 is to first make an 8x12 as above, then set the crop tool to 8x10 at 300dpi - and make the crop selection from there. After this step, do the sharpening. If you have questions about this I can probably get a little more detailed - let me know. It will only take a minute or two to do this, but you won't have any surprises when you go to pick up your prints.

  14. #14
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Hi Liz,

    Printing your own images on a printer is time consuming to say the least. I gave up because it was so unrealiable for my purposes.

    So far, for 4x6's I've been happy with Snapfish.com and I use them to print out wedding proofs for my wedding clients. Otherwise I use Calypso or West Coast Imaging for my large prints. I've wanted to get a large Epson printer, but just cannot afford the time to calibrate, buy ink, and maintain it.

    Loren
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  15. #15
    GoldMember Lava Lamp's Avatar
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    I spent several years trying to get prints that rivaled a good lab and never could, so I gave up and haven't printed anything at home (except in a pinch) for about a year and a half. It's also MUCH cheaper to outsource them.

  16. #16
    Sleep is optional Sebastian's Avatar
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    I stopped using my printers months ago. I send everything through a lab.
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Have you tried uploading the pictures to the walmart website and just go in to pick up your photos? We recently gave wally-world a try with suprisingly good results, better than snapfish. Snapfish was using some really thin photo paper, not the normal thickness we were used to for our film 4x6 prints.

    And I do beleive in doing all my editing, cropping, and resizing for the size to be printed at 300ppi, like another view said.

    BM

  18. #18
    Liz
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Thanks Steve,
    I printed out your directions. I'm doing some of this. Here is a copy of the box I have to fill out. If I try changing some of the numbers, etc., other things change. For instance. I can't change the document size without the pixel dimensions change. When I sent the images to Winkflash they wanted highest resolution to be 1600. If I change the document size to 4x6 - it changes the pixel dimensions to 1800.

    Is this okay? (I've had good prints done with this as is)

    Image Size
    Pixel Dimensions: 4.88
    Width 1600
    Height 1067

    Document Size
    Width 5.333 inches
    Height 3.557 inches

    Resolution 300 pixels/inch

    (x) Constrain Proportions
    (x) Resample Image


    Thanks. I really appreciate all of your help here. This isn't what I do best....thank goodness!
    Liz

  19. #19
    Liz
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Can they use CDs? CD-RW discs would be a super cheap solution.

    I may consider learning how to burn either CD's or DVD's. I've never done that. It's not expensive, so maybe I'll go there next.

    Thanks Erik

    Liz

  20. #20
    Liz
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Loren,

    Thanks for sharing what you do for prints, and which place you use. I'm keeping a log on these online places.

    I'm beginning to understand why many persons like yourself don't do their own printing. :-)

    Liz

    Quote Originally Posted by racingpinarello
    Hi Liz,

    Printing your own images on a printer is time consuming to say the least. I gave up because it was so unrealiable for my purposes.

    So far, for 4x6's I've been happy with Snapfish.com and I use them to print out wedding proofs for my wedding clients. Otherwise I use Calypso or West Coast Imaging for my large prints. I've wanted to get a large Epson printer, but just cannot afford the time to calibrate, buy ink, and maintain it.

    Loren

  21. #21
    Liz
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lava Lamp
    I spent several years trying to get prints that rivaled a good lab and never could, so I gave up and haven't printed anything at home (except in a pinch) for about a year and a half. It's also MUCH cheaper to outsource them.
    I'm sure I'd do a lot worse with printing my own. Thanks for sharing your experience. It adds to the conviction that I'll find another lab.

    Liz

  22. #22
    Liz
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Thanks Seb and Bmadau,

    I appreciate your input....Final Answer: I'm not doing anything at home!

    Have you tried uploading the pictures to the walmart website and just go in to pick up your photos

    That's my next test.........

    Thanks.

    Liz

  23. #23
    Senior Member payn817's Avatar
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Over the net is simple, and you wont waste time/fuel going back and forth. If you send them online, they are not touched at all. If you go into the store, they should print the photos for you from the CF card with the terminal behind the counter. If one of my associates told you they couldn't do your order, it'd be on.

    Still, the best bet if you want the 1 hour 4X6 from the mart, try the online thing, it's very simple. Plus you can send them to any store. For example if you want to send some to family on the opposite coast, just enter that zip and select their closest location. I've seen some 20X30 prints recenty, and was impressed (that is two day service though).

  24. #24
    Liz
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    If you send them online, they are not touched at all. If you go into the store, they should print the photos for you from the CF card with the terminal behind the counter

    Well, they did that for me once. However, this time I was told "we aren't doing CF card processing anymore."

    Maybe the tech was wrong. I'll go back and check, but first I'm going to try them online. It may work - and it may be easier.

    Thanks.
    Liz

  25. #25
    has-been... another view's Avatar
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    Re: Prints: Do-it-yourself or?

    Quote Originally Posted by Liz
    Thanks Steve,
    I printed out your directions. I'm doing some of this. Here is a copy of the box I have to fill out. If I try changing some of the numbers, etc., other things change. For instance. I can't change the document size without the pixel dimensions change. When I sent the images to Winkflash they wanted highest resolution to be 1600. If I change the document size to 4x6 - it changes the pixel dimensions to 1800.

    Is this okay? (I've had good prints done with this as is)

    Image Size
    Pixel Dimensions: 4.88
    Width 1600
    Height 1067

    Document Size
    Width 5.333 inches
    Height 3.557 inches

    Resolution 300 pixels/inch

    (x) Constrain Proportions
    (x) Resample Image


    Thanks. I really appreciate all of your help here. This isn't what I do best....thank goodness!
    Liz
    Liz, 1600 is "close enough" for a 4x6 or 5x7 but beyond that you may start seeing signs of the resolution being too low. Every shot is different, but at 300dpi you won't have to worry. I say "close enough" because 300 dots per inch x 6 inches = 1800 dots (pixels). The difference between 1600 and 1800 is a small percentage and like I said 300 is very safe anyway. At 4x6 and 1600 pixels on the long side, you still have 267dpi. I'd still get in the habit of using 300dpi though, it makes life easier.

    Your print size (document size) is slightly smaller than 4x6 because the resolution is set at 300dpi and the maximum pixel dimension is 1600 pixels. 1600 / 300 = 5.33 inches as shown above. This part of it is just math, same with the height of 1067 / 300 = 3.56 inches.

    If you changed the resolution to 267 dpi, the document size should change to 4" x 6" (or very close to that). You don't have to worry about doing this because the machine is set to make a 4x6 print and will stretch your 3.56 x 5.33 document into a 4 x 6 print automatically. Again, since it's close you're very unlikely to see any difference between that 267dpi that it works out to and a full 300dpi.

    So - to use your standard of 300dpi, you could use pixel dimensions of 1800 pixels wide (or high for a vertical shot) by 1200 pixels high (6" x 300dpi = 1800 and 4" x 300dpi = 1200). Keep the two boxes at the bottom checked (always, I'll say). Actually you may be able just to plug in the 6" and 4" dimensions, leaving 300dpi as it will change the pixel dimensions to what the math works out to.

    Again, this is for full-frame shots only such as 4x6, 8x12 or 16x24 on a DSLR. If you need an 8x10, first make an 8x12 and then crop with the crop tool set at 8" x 10" at 300dpi. Hope this helps!

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