Posts tagged ‘girl’

February 3, 2011

Pro or No? Choosing a Print Lab

Do you take a lot of pictures? Do they all live as virtual recluses on your hard drive? Too often these images get trapped on our hard drive in endlessly complicated files and folders. Honestly, when is the last time you looked back through those folders to revisit your images? Many of us don’t back-up our hard drives regularly, so we take a risk that we’ll lose all of our precious memories with an unlucky computer failure.

It’s time to pull the images, the best ones at least, out from hiding and give them a new life in the real world.

I enjoy the photographs hanging on my wall every day, especially the beautiful ones by local Albuquerque baby photographer Tammy Staley. Jerry and I hung her photographs of our precious baby girl in our hallway so we can appreciate them each time we walk through our house. Baby girl even likes to blow them kisses on her way to bed. (I hope she’s not becoming to narcissistic).

Now I’m taking more of my own photographs and spending time perfecting my images in Adobe Lightroom. I’ve been searching for a photo lab that would create the best prints of my images.

I sent test prints to a number of professional labs, and also a few common consumer labs for comparison. Because I chose to do my own color management rather than opting for each lab’s color correction, the images from the pro labs were almost indistinguishable. All the pro labs printed the images on Kodak Professional Endura Paper. This paper is relatively heavyweight and sturdy. Most labs also offered a luster finish on the prints. This finish gives a subtle texture for the print that helps protect them from smudges and finger prints. All of the pro labs closely match my screen images. (Please ignore the dust specks in the image below.)

scanned print from professional lab

Isn’t my niece gorgeous? I love those deep, dark eyes and her pouty cupid lips.

I also had my images printed by 3 consumer labs: Walgreens, Shutterfly, and Walmart. I don’t have much to say about Walmart’s print because they managed to lose my order. After navigating through the mess of our local superstore, waiting in line for service, and then being told to go home and try submitting it again after they’d sent me a text message to say my photo was ready to be picked up, I decided to not waste any more time.

Shutterfly’s print was not equal to the professional lab, but it was at the top of the consumer lab prints. Shuttefly prints on Fujifilm Crystal Archive Paper and I was able to select a matte finish that is similar to the luster finish offered by the professional labs. When uploading my images, I had to check each image I ordered separately to turn off their color correction services and it was really a pain in the rear. In the end, the print lacked some of the rich color seen on from the pro labs and I especially noticed the difference in my niece’s skin tones. And those are probably the most important colors in portraits, right? Can you see the slightly pale pallor? Not so pretty.

Shutterfly test print

Walgreens pick was my least favorite. Actually, let me take that back. At least they got the print to me. Their print was my second least favorite. I only had the option for a glossy print. I don’t like the glare on glossy prints. The no-name paper Walgreens uses is flimsier and cheaper in feel. The skin tones are closer to real life, but I noticed a too strong red tint in her hair.

Walgreens test print

If you’re looking for a place to print your next masterpiece, I definitely recommend trying a professional lab. If that’s not possible, Shutterfly would be my second recommendation.

PS I definitely recommend that you avoid scanning prints if at all possible. Each time you have to retranslate the image, you’ll lose some sharpness and detail and introduce the possibility of dust and funky color changes due to inaccurate color calibration.

January 30, 2011

Sunday Slideshow: Who Knew Homework Could Be So Fun?

Jerry spent most of the day doing work towards his Master’s Degree. We decided to have some family fun time at the park before dinner. We wanted to enjoy the warm weather since snow might be on its way to visit and I needed to get a few more photographs for my Wednesday night class.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

My homework was much more entertaining than Jerry’s. Look close at the slideshow. Can you spot the funny oopsie?

January 22, 2011

Cloudy with a Chance of Smiles

Albuquerque has something like 300 sunny days per year and that’s usually a good thing. I love the sunshine and warmth…especially in the middle of winter.

Today, however, I learned to be thankful for the partly-cloudy sky. Jerry and I took our little girl around Corrales to enjoy the warm afternoon. The clouds provided an excellent filter for the usually harsh midday sun, and I got some beautiful shots.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Little girl has on a cute vintage  hand-knit sweater. The hoodie zips up the back like a backwards cardigan. Jerry thought she looked a little goofy in it, but I love the neutral color and texture of the knit. Plus, I wore it when I was little, too.

As usual, I did most of my post-processing in Adobe Lightroom. I love that program! For this round of pics, I did some extra editing in Photoshop Elements to get rid of some milk that dried on her face while we drove around town.

%d bloggers like this: