And We're off... Photo-Chemical Prints & Quality

The amount of time it takes to organize a new website and to conduct business day-to-day has made it surprisingly difficult to get going with this blog.  But finally I’m ready to rock ‘n roll……….

I want to thank all the folks who’ve called and written to compliment the new website.  It seems to be achieving its purpose.  I wanted an elegant site that reflected the many different styles of photography and the multitude of services we do here at Avalon Photography Studio and to hint at more that’s coming.  I hope anyone visiting the site will see something that speaks to them, something they would like for themselves.  We are here only to serve you, our friends and customers.  To that end, we’ll do whatever it takes to provide you with the images and products you wish to have.  And don’t forget to visit us online frequently; we’ve posted money-saving specials that you can use now, and we’ll have lots more as time rolls along.

Let’s begin with a discussion of prints.  I’m troubled by the buying public’s lack of understanding of the difference between prints delivered by photographers.  In today’s market, people can easily produce their own physical prints using their own printers.  And those prints can be stunningly beautiful.

Except that too many are not that good, some are even pretty bad.  When we here at Avalon produce video scrapbooks (photo montage) for customers’ weddings, birthdays, and memorials,  I frequently see home-made or other photographers’ prints that are terrible. I’m not talking about bad photography; the physical prints are bad.   I often have to make color correction in Photoshop to be able to use them.  I’ve seen enough of these prints from many sources over the years to offer some generalizations.

First, a lot a folks don’t really know what a good print looks like, or they don’t care.  If they don’t care, they probably aren’t reading this blog.  If they don’t know, it could be that they haven’t been exposed to really good photographs or they haven’t taken the time to learn about how to make great images (most photographers I know personally-pro or amateur- who go to great lengths to make a great image certainly don’t want that image printed badly).

The quality of Epson-style prints often depends on the equipment, software and paper a person uses and, the results can vary widely.  Some folks can stumble into getting great prints of their images. But too manyphotographers are selling Epson-style prints to their customers and not giving the customer the best that those images can be.  It also appears that those customers, relying on the ‘professional’ photographer, assume they got great prints, when in fact, they didn’t.  Ignorance propagates.  I could conclude because those customers are happy with what they got, so what?

I’m more interested in customers becoming better consumers of photographic products.  Ihave been a professional photographer for more than forty years and I’ve been shooting all-digital professionally for seven years.  My one concession to the old photo-chemical world of photography is in the finished print.  I’ve yet to see an Epson-style print of the same image that beats the photo-chemically produced prints we produce for our studio.  I use a specific photo-finisher in St. Louis that works magic with the images I send them.  The prints they produce trump anyphoto-chemical prints produced by Walmart or Walgreen.  Those venders do not do much better than the Epson-style prints.

When you contact a photographer for their services and you wish to receive finished prints, be sure to find out what kind of prints you’ll be receiving.  And think twice if the answer in an Epson-style print.  There are occasions when the convenience and speed of self-printing is more important than the best quality photo-chemical print.  But most studio or wedding photography does not need that speed.  Order photo-chemical prints, or choose a photographer that provides them.

Note to anyone ordering a print:  Whether or not those finished prints will survive will depend on how they’re cared for in the future.  The same concerns about photo-chemical prints applies to your home prints – protect them from direct sunlight for long periods of time and store them carefully in a cool, dry location.