Finally, my printing lab comparison!

So, here it is, all laid out…

Printing lab comparison
From left to right: Walgreens, Ritz/Wolf, Mpix.com, and my pro-lab through http://www.seemyprints.com (And click any photo to make it full-size)

To start, Walgreens sucks. Okay, it’s not THAT bad, and I *might* still use them for bulk prints in a pinch since they’re open 24/7; but their accuracy is crummy, they’re only available in glossy (I much prefer matte), and they jack up the color royally. The skin tones are grey and dead, and the color accuracy is all over the place.

I was pleasantly surprised by Ritz/Wolf (www.ritzpix.com). For a one hour lab where I can pick up in-store I will definitely be purchasing from there when I need a lot of 4x6s fast. I love that matte is an option, and while they’re aren’t 100% true to what I see on my monitor, it’s pretty close–LOADS better than Walgreens (which I’m assuming represents Walmart/Target pretty accurately too).

Mpix.com is great, as always. This will continue to be my recommended consumer-available lab. The paper weight is slightly lighter than through my pro lab, and the calibrated accuracy to my computer is just eeeeever so slightly off from true, but it’s pretty much negligible; they’re a great lab to order from.

Hands-down my favorites are the ones through http://www.seemyprints.com. They print through Black River Imaging and the quality is fantastic. Checking the prints against my computer monitor they match wonderfully. I was looking for problems, and the most I can come up with is the colors are very rich, almost dark, but I compensate for that in my editing; when you see my digital images they are always a touch bright, and printing them brings them down just enough.

Here’s a little spreadsheet I used to help organize my thoughts, that can perhaps help you too…

Photo lab comparison

Photo lab comparison

And going through one-by-one: upper left is Walgreens, upper right is Ritz/Wolf, bottom left is Mpix.com, bottom right is my lab…

Printing lab comparison
I knew this photo was a bit cooler than my normal editing, but you can see how my pro lab didn’t make my friend and her husband and child look like vampires.

Printing lab comparison
Walgreens has turned these beautiful girls into Twilight characters; Ritz/Wolf brightened an already bright photo.

Printing lab comparison
Seriously, Walgreens? YUCK.

Printing lab comparison
Everyone but my lab made this photo noticeably yellow. Surprisingly, Wolf/Ritz was second best in color representation on this one.

So, a summary probably isn’t needed, but here it is anyway: Yay for my lab, it rocks. Boo to Walgreens. And thanks to Ritz/Wolf and Mpix.com for filling the need in between. While I recommend–and greatly appreciate–ordering prints through me (support your local starving artist, yeah? :) and it’s also the fastest/easiest method with just a few clicks), if you’re going to take ordering into your own hands (which I don’t blame you! I totally understand the appeal!), please do so knowing the quality you’re going to receive.

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4 thoughts on “Finally, my printing lab comparison!

  1. Pingback: Chester County Wedding Photography | All About Fine Art Prints » Ashley Gerrity Photography

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