This question comes up every now and again when a customer sees the price difference between ordering a print or deciding to spend the extra money on buying the digital files and then print them themselves.
The idea, and I totally understand it, is to save money.
This is the age of Do-It-Yourself. Some people think that if you can do it cheaper it must still be good.
But, this is often not the case.
Lets look at some of the main differences between Professional Prints and Retail Prints.
1. The photographer has used a calibrated monitor to adjust all colors and sizes to match perfectly with the end result.
2. The photographer can set the print to a resolution of about 300 dots per inch. (This is editorial quality which you see in most of todays magazines.
3. Some images are taken with the specific intent of fitting a 4x6 better than a 8x10.
4. Given the high resolution of the files these can be printed rather largely without losing any detail.
5. Professional printers CAN print in over 250 dots per inch.
6. Professional printers CAN be more true with colors as they have a larger palette to work with.
7. Lustre coating can be added for very little cost which will help guarantee the photos for up to 100 yrs.
8. High quality photo paper is used to insure longer lasting images.
1. Computer used for printing is not calibrated and often has built in presets.
2. Even if the resolution of the file is set to 300 dots per inch most retail printers don't go over 200 = less detail
3. Cropping is a nightmare as it is never exact, or is set to auto crop your photo.
4. Lower end printers are more prone to bleeding. This means that some of the major colors might shift into other areas as well.
5. Photo paper used in retail settings is not made for durability. Possibly after only a few years you will notice significant fading.
But, best way to see and feel the difference is to book a session with me and I'd