Okay. You've had family or newborn or engagement or whatever photos taken recently and now you need to print some of those gorgeous images for your walls! Every photographer has their business set up differently and some will require you to buy prints through them, so you don't really have a choice where to print, unless you purchase the full rights to the images. They will have your chosen images printed through their preferred printer, which will be beautiful! They've chosen that printer because the colors, contrast, sharpness, etc are true to how they've edited their photos, and the quality is outstanding. Truly, you will love the prints.
Other photographers, and I fall into this category, are all inclusive. I charge one price for a session fee and printing/downloading rights. This means that where you print your images from me is out of my hands. You can choose to print wherever you wish. I do offer the option to purchase prints and other products like canvases directly from your gallery, but I've found that most people don't do this. Because of that, I wanted to show you why you should be selective when printing your images, instead of running to the closest kiosk or one-hour photo place, like CVS, Target, Wal-Mart, Costco, Walgreens, etc.
Here are a couple of comparisons for you to look at. This is the original (edited) digital file of an image that I took last summer:
Do you see how overly yellow/green the photo printed at CVS is? Their skin looks odd, especially on my son all the way to the left, who is in more shade than the rest of the kids. The whole photo has a yellowy-green haze, most noticeably in the bright neon greenery in the background. The bright spots on their faces are blown highlights in the CVS photo, and lose all detail. It's slightly blurry, as well. Admittedly, the image I have shown here that was printed at MPix has some glare from when I photographed the photo (having a scanner would have made this much easier!), so it's not as close to the digital file here as it is on the actual print, but the colors and sharpness are much closer than the image printed from CVS.
Here is another comparison, this time in black and white:
The original digital file (edited--all photos you receive from me or any other photographer will be edited):
The photo printed at CVS is almost bluish-green in tint, and the highlights (specifically in her hair) are brighter, eliminating the detail from it. The MPix photo is just about identical to the original digital image, which is how I intended the photo to look.
I purposefully did not do comparison shots through the company that I use for galleries (though their prints are beautiful) because I don't want people to think that this post came from a place of me trying to convince clients to purchase their prints from my galleries for my own benefit. I do not benefit financially if people buy from the galleries that I deliver. I DO get print credits that I can use to gift to clients. They can use those as a gift card for their own prints. That's it. The ONLY reason I care where you print your images is because I want them to look in print the way that you see them in your gallery. I would hate for you to get a print and be disappointed in the image because it's so different from what you see in the gallery. So, if you prefer to download and print yourself, PLEASE be selective. Companies like MPix (which is owned by Miller's, a professional photo lab available only to photographers and is the gold standard for prints), Shutterfly, Mootsh (a print subscription company), Artifact Uprising, etc will give a far better product that will look far more like the image you see in your final gallery. I have also (as mentioned in my previous print post) used Framebridge, Smallwood and the Etsy shop Pretty In Polka Dots to have specialized prints made, and all of these came out absolutely beautifully. I'd recommend them each 100%. If you usually print at another location, like Target or Costco and want to see a comparison done with those print services, here is a link to a similar article written for Click Magazine where one photo was printed at five different locations and you can clearly see how different each print is: https://www.myclickmagazine.com/blog-print-lab-comparison-pro-lab-versus-consumer-lab/
Moral of the story: it matters where you print your images. If you are paying to have professional photos taken, and you really like or even love the images that you see in your finished gallery, you should be printing them through a company that will ensure a high quality print, one that will look like the image in your gallery. Especially if you plan to display them in your home for years to come!