Bright and early tomorrow morning we’re heading out on our first big vacation as a family of four. Flying to San Fran and then road tripping home over the next week. Hopefully along the way we’ll see some mountains, enjoy some time at the beach, and experience the dessert. Photos to come, I’m sure. In the meantime, follow along on Instagram.
Over the years, I have printed photographs a variety of ways and for many uses. When it comes to the images I have carefully created for my photography clients, I believe the pro lab I use it is the best option. But for every day snapshots, and especially photos I print and use for my Project Life albums, consumer labs are just fine.
Below are some examples of the prints I have received back from print labs. To make the differences more apparent, I used all black and white images. These were all completely desaturated images when they were sent to the lab, but some of these prints are clearly not completely black and white. This happens when a printer isn’t properly calibrated.
So here is a run down of the photo labs I have tried and why I do or do not use them for printing my personal snapshots.
Pro labs calibrate their printers regularly. By using them, I can guarantee that the colors on my computer screen will be the same as what comes back on my prints. This is very important when it comes to providing artwork for my photography clients, and it would be a huge bummer to me if the image I spent time perfecting came back looking different that how I had planned.
Unfortunately they are only for business owners and require a high minimum with each order placed, which means that it isn’t worth it to order a handful of 4×6 prints.
Their photo paper’s thickness is another reason I wouldn’t use them for Project Life albums. For a professional print, the thickness is perfect, especially for a photo than a 5×7 photo that could become wavy inside a frame. But when creating a photo album, like Project Life, a full album using thicker photo paper actually causes the album to be heavier, and for that reason, I prefer the thinner photo paper for personal snapshots.
On the complete opposite side of the spectrum is Walmart. Unfortunately, I have not had good luck with their printing. I prefer matte prints, but their matte prints are different than any other I’ve seen. I have also had issues with the contrast and coloration. While they tout that their matte finish produces brighter colors than other matte finishes, I actually have noticed that my images have less contrast. While they are super convenient, just a few miles from my house, the quality has completely turned me away.
Persnickety Prints specializes in printing 12×12 digital scrapbook layouts, but as such, they know their customers value color and quality. Their paper is thinner than my Pro Lab, but still of good quality. And my favorite part of Persnickety is the ability to print on cardstock – which I do when I use digital designs like One Little Bird. And if I’m completely honest, the only reason this company isn’t my primary personal lab is because of the cost and time of having the prints shipped to me.
Mpix is another reliable consumer lab. Similar quality to Persnickety. I haven’t used them in a few years because, if I’m going to wait pay and wait for shipping, I usually am going to have a few images printed on cardstock, and that means I’m going to use Persnickety Prints. However, I would absolutely recommend them.
I’ve had my ups and downs with Costco, but they remain my go-to printing lab. Their printers are usually well calibrated, though occasionally I’ll pick up an image with calibration (some of those are shown above). But when I weigh the occasional discoloration with the cost and convenience, they still win out. I’m sure I could mention the discoloration to them and they’d (hopefully) correct the issue, but I can usually reprint a day later and have better results, after someone has better calibrated the printers.
Tip: Before printing with Costco, make sure to turn off the Auto-Correct print preference in your account. If you like the way your images look prior to uploading, this feature is not for you.
Printing At Home
Some of my favorite fellow scrapbookers print their photos at home. I really envy them, but I cannot seem to figure out how to print a quality image from home. Perhaps it is my printer, or my lack of knowledge on calibrating my printer, but either way, I haven’t spent the time figuring it out and probably won’t until Costco closes up shop.
All this talk of prints has inspired me to go take some! So how are you getting those snapshots printed?
As a mom, I feel like we are constantly on the go. Cleaning up, school drop off, doctor’s appointments, cooking dinner, a little playtime… and more cleaning. Sneaking in time, or rather, MAKING the time, to go through the photos I snapped in the midst of these daily tasks allow me to take a breath, and reflect on our story. A story that is much deeper than what my planner full of appointments tells.
Project Life makes it so easy for me to get these photos and stories told. And this spread from late February/early March is no exception.
I used several Studio Calico kit cards and a few Becky Higgins cards for this layout, adding just a bit of text to tell our story. For instance, a funny quote from Alwyn when he was avoiding bedtime, and another quote from Ephram while visiting the aquarium. I used the ‘hello’ card to mention a few of the main events during this time period: “Hello Sicknesses. Hello Age Five. Hello Grandma.”
Ali Edwards’ digital sentiments were another great simple addition to this spread. If you’d like to learn more about adding digital text to your photos, I cannot recommend Pam Baldwin’s Text Tricks class over at Big Picture Classes enough. So informative!
In addition to photos and stories, I included our movie stubs in this spread. Little scraps of life are so fun to include and are another reason I love this physical way of documenting.
For more inspiration, check out the other ladies of 2014 Becky Higgins Creative Team:
Please note that these are fun and optional blog hops. If you don’t see your favourite former team member, please visit their individual blogs to see what they are up too! We hope you enjoyed this hop!
New to Project Life? Check out BeckyHiggins.com/Project-Life to learn more about this simple memory keeping system.
Did you know that April is National Letter Writing month?!
Just last week, I received a sweet note in the mail from a friend who lives 5 minutes away. We text & get together often, but there is something very meaningful when you receive a note in the mail. I’m so glad she is making an effort to write more and send letters to friends.
Similarily, my online friend Catherine challenged herself to write 350 letters this year. In honor of National Letter Writing month, she recently shared 30 ideas for letters to write. So many fantastic ideas and little reasons to pull out a card, write a personal note, and send it out the old fashioned way.
I am SO inspired by these two friends to send more happy mail out into the world. Who doesn’t like receiving happy mail?
Hey there! Today I’m over on the One Little Bird blog sharing a Project Life spread I created from some favorite 2011 photos. Spread by spread, that album will be filling up just like the more recent years I’ve documented. I absolutely love having those little stories and photos printed out and available for my family to look at – together – and off the computer. I also have needed to remind myself that keeping it simple is the best way to get it done. So head on over to Peppermint‘s blog and have a look at this simple spread I created featuring her designs.
Interested in learning more about Project Life? Check out BeckyHiggins.com to discover what basic supplies you need to start this easy memory keeping method.