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How can commercial prints be so bad vs home-made prints?
  
 
agrumpyoldsod
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p.4 #1 · p.4 #1 · How can commercial prints be so bad vs home-made prints?


Steve Perry wrote:
I tired a variety of commercial print labs and came to the same conclusions - I'm better off doing it myself. Every time I tired a print from a lab and compared it to the same image done from my own printer, it wasn't even close. I went through a period where I think I tried about a half dozen of the big name labs, and while some did better than others, they just couldn't beat the detail, color, and tonal range I was getting at home.

Sad thing is, I hate printing, and I'm never going to be accused
...Show more

The challenge of big name labs is their business is not high quality prints on good/fine art paper - its volume business. If you are lucky and soft proof the image before sending it in, you have a chance of obtaining a good print. The OP should try to find an online printer who advertises Fine Art Giclee Printing, not just any print shop

Home printing high quality / fine art prints is really only for those who print regularly -- otherwise the incremental cost of each print can be very high -- print cartridges dry out quite quickly and this made the marginal cost very high for me.

The OP would be better to find a printer local to them who regularly produces fine art/ reference quality museum reproduction prints for artists. This is what I did. While I used "the Printshop"in London for over 15 years - a fantastic online Fine Art Giclee Printing shop - the quality of my prints was transformed when I found a local printer -- his prints were 10-15% more expensive, his workflow, choice of papers and end products were simply extraordinary. Working with a printer, rather than learning this and buying the gear is a very rewarding exercise too -- it is good to have a 3rd party view of your shots too.




May 30, 2017 at 09:14 AM
agrumpyoldsod
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p.4 #2 · p.4 #2 · How can commercial prints be so bad vs home-made prints?


lara_ckl wrote:
The original cropped RAW image was, as reported by Lightroom, 4333x3095px.
From the same cropped RAW image, Lightroom exported a JPG (quality = 100) at 360dpi.
Opening the JPG in a JPG viewer (Apple's Preview), showed a file that was 1800x2520px.
That same JPG file was sent to the 2 commercial printers and printed on 5x7 paper.

What I posted were scans of a very small area of the resulting 5x7 prints.

Again, I am not complaining about the absolute detail/resolution. I am questioning how a home-made print can be so much better than the commercial lab prints.


Hi -

a) at your 4333x3095 should give you a very good 15" x 10" or 16.5" x 11.7" Fine Art Print (260 ppi) when viewed from a few feet. Your crop ratio at 1.4 is a little unusual for photos - it fits ok on 'A' series paper sizes and should give you high quality up to A3. You could print it on larger paper at 200 ppi but you will begin to see quality issues, particularly if you go larger (Enlarging adds no more data - you have what you took/ left after cropping), so larger images would need to be viewed from further away.

b) any commercial lab that only allows you to submit images in 8-bit sRGB OR only prints in 8-bit sRGB is really doing you no favours - you will be throwing away a lot of tonal data (so shadow and highlight transitions will look ropy) and the sRGB gamut is much smaller than Adobe RGB so you may also find colours that look good on your screen look crappy on your print - so don't do this;

c) printing at home (or working with a Fine Art Giclee Printing Shop) you get to choose bit-depth and colour profile for the paper you want to use - I only send my printer (Martin) 16-bit tif files in Adobe RGB.

If you also have Photoshop - might I suggest you edit in PS from LR and finish, convert to Adobe RGB, finalise tone and colour adjustments, resize and sharpen in PS before saving and returning the LR where I exporting/saving the image as a 16-bit TIF. Please do not add sharpening on export from LR.




May 30, 2017 at 04:08 PM
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