Camera Store Northern Virginia
Okay, I am totally cracking up about this comparison of a pro photo lab and several consumer photo labs. If you think you know what you’re going to see here, please believe me that you will be shocked! Shocked, I tell you! I mean, I literally laughed out loud and am still giggling about the results even several days later! So read the ENTIRE post… you won’t regret it. Promise!
Lots of photographers have done these comparisons in the past, but I’ve always wondered if they really sent a different photo to the consumer lab or something to skew the results. The only way to know for sure was to do it myself. This is totally unscientific, but I swear to you that I sent the same photo to all four labs, with the exception only of printing the consumer lab names onto the front of the photo (otherwise, I would totally have mixed them up later). So you’ll just have to trust me, or try it yourself, like I did!
It’s sharply in focus, and it makes me happy! 🙂 I had the print mounted on art board just as I do for my clients. See, here’s me in an awkward photo holding it with my one (giant-like) hand, and it’s not bending. Mounted photos are awesome!
The first consumer lab I chose was Target because I am in Target about every other day and figured it would be super easy to order it and pick it up. And it was! Well, there wasn’t anyone actually in the photo lab when I got there, but hanging out with two kids by a photo counter while they are yelling, “Hello?! Where are you photo person?!” is really fun and not at all embarrassing.
I opened the photo envelope when I got home. At first I was kind of disappointed because it didn’t look that bad, and I was hoping for crazy dramatic results like I’ve seen other photographers post, but then I put the professional print up next to it and was actually quite amazed by the difference.
Here’s a photo of the Target print:
Here it is side-by-side with the pro-lab photo:
Here’s what I want you to notice about the Target photo…
Additionally, the whole photo has lost some of the contrast and looks a little more flat (lack of depth).
Okay, so the next one I ordered was through Shutterfly. I have to say this was the worst one of the bunch (though not the most shocking one… hang in there, I’m getting to it!)
Here’s a photo of the Shutterfly print: