One of my favorite things is walking into a home and seeing my work hanging on the walls. Call it pride, but it always makes me happy!
A large percentage of my Pink Coffee Photo clients purchase a high-resolution DVD of their images, and I love that! It means they want to print lots of pictures to give to their Grandmas and plaster all over their homes. Yay! But it also means they will be printing their pictures anywhere from Walmart to more high-end online printers, and I always get nervous about the quality. When I buy my personal prints I always use my professional printer. It’s one of those situations where once you start using the best you can’t bring yourself to go back. Kind of like when you get your first pedicure. After that it’s hard to go back to doing it yourself at home. Sure, it gets the job done, but it’s just not the same. I mean, do you give yourself a foot and leg massage?!? So let me just say that I totally recommend getting your prints from your photographer. But I have to warn you — you’ll never want to get them at Walmart again. It’s a line that you have to be ready to cross. 🙂 Okay. Now that I got that out of the way… I realize it isn’t always financially feasible to order prints through me or another photgrapher, so here are five simple tips for getting the best prints of your images no matter where you have them done:
1. With a high-res DVD you will most likely have permission to print your images at home or at any photo lab of your choice. But your photographer can’t guarantee the quality of images printed by outside labs. And you won’t get professional quality prints from most labs. Keep that in mind. This is definitely a situation where you get what you pay for! If you’re using small pictures for crafts and scrapbooking you can get away with cheaper prints. But if you want a massive image above your couch you might want to bite the bullet and pay a little more for it.
2. You will probably need a Photo Release Form to take with you when you have your images printed. Some photo labs will not release the prints to you unless you have it. Save yourself the embarrassment and frustration and get one from your photographer.
3. For a more professional look, print your images on matte paper. Glossy is a big NO. Trust me!
4. Here are two online printing services that I recommend: Mpix and Persnickety Prints. Both produce high-end prints that are closer to professional quality than you will get from Walmart, Walgreens*, Costco, etc. But you don’t have to be a professional photographer to use them.
5. Print big! If you’re going to hang prints in your home order large ones. They make a bigger statement. Think you want a 5×7? Go for the 8×10 instead! Just do it! Bigger is better, people. Duh.
The picture wall above is 12×12 prints that hang in my living room. They’re some of my favorite images, and I love looking at them!
Top Row: Vegas Photoshoot, Brooklyn Bridge, Monkey Kingston, Giant Soccer Ball, Jacksonville Beach
Middle Row: Crazy Kid, Downtown Jacksonville, Vegas Photoshoot, Self Portrait, Vegas Photoshoot
Bottom Row: Hawaii, Vegas Photoshoot, Family Pics, Hawaii, Baby Kingston
*In my personal experience Walgreens has produced the absolute worst quality prints (and ruined a few rolls of film from my Mini Diana). Beware. 😉