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Thread: Photos never match print labs... How?

  1. #21

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    Mods: please consider making Sammy888 and Sanver's replies a sticky. This is useful information on a frequently asked question.

  2. #22

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    Hi Sammy888,


    Just a thought. I'm wondering is there a way to stop these professional photos labs from keeping copies of your best and very high quality photos? They may in turn sell them somewhere ... What do you think?

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by espn
    raid: Do your processing in sRGB and read sanver's reply, visit his shop if you can, maybe he'll be able to help you figure out your headache
    Processing in sRGB? But colours dun come out lei.. I find when I edit in Adobe RGB.. wah.. all the colours just pop out.. only that the skin tones abit weird.. anyway.. maybe it has to do with whitebalancing... going to play around some more...

  4. #24
    Senior Member sammy888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by philshots
    Hi Sammy888,


    Just a thought. I'm wondering is there a way to stop these professional photos labs from keeping copies of your best and very high quality photos? They may in turn sell them somewhere ... What do you think?
    HI Philshots,

    Well there is the element of initial trust. If that is what they would do, there really is no stopping them from doing so behind your back. You could say it is harmless and maybe even complimentary to you if they were to print an extra copy and stick it in their shop to showcase some of their best work reproducing well shot photos. Of course it would be common decency that they ask you first. Same goes for those poster making shops you see in places like Bras Basah Complex. On one hand, they are showcasing your photo(credit you for it or not..that is also another matter) on the other hand if you took the time to plan a shot and then people who sees it, start to mimick the shot and style. Would you be fine with that? Pros are very good at protecting their interest but of course even the Sunday shooters should be protected too if that is what they desire. These options open to you are more or less define by the same procedures or paperwork pro shooters take to protect their intellectual properties.

    Personally, I have only sent selective digital photos for making multiple prints for friends. Meaning shots like party scene, group shots...etc. For those I consider creative expression shots, typical "money shots" or very personal to me, I would rather do that with my own printer where I have full control on how the photo gets printed plus who I give them to.

    It would be too much to ask of the shop that is processing your photos to sign special copyright clause forms each time you bring stuff down to print With any business establishment, due diligent and trust is usually expected to be the prevailing practice and goes without saying. Usually it is when that line is crossed that you are then made aware that so-and-so photo shop had taken your picture and sold it or use it for commercial gains. Then and only then could you cast an accusing finger as you have proof about it unfortunately. Thus the only way to safe guard your best photos from being used would be to DIY in my personal opinion. Sometime it is not just your best creative shots that gets "kapor". I have heard of cases where nice photos of customers pretty girfriends shots had additional prints made and kept by the male technicians for "medicinal purposes". Now are you comfortable with that?

    As I said, I am on one extreme end in that I personally do my own printing 90% of the time. But is that for everyone? I don't think so. I am a designer and basically very comfortable working with graphic softwares, colour managing, hardware knowledge( self confess IT techno toy geek) and various printing processes..... so it is productively more efficient and pratical for me to do my own. And well..sometime I am not that anal retentive to being fanatically fussy with precise colours to that extend. Why? Even if I am trained as a designer to look and manage colours....99.9% of the people I show my pictures to are "artistically and professionally colour blind!" hehe. So if you are particularly concern about your pictures being rip-off and suffer from colour related issues, then investing your time and some funds to purchasing a good printer, quality papers, a few good books and then spend time experimenting making your own prints.

    For those who have not had an issue with bad printing at a photo shop nor had their photos been rip off..I dont see why they can't just carrying on with it. Let's try not to get too paranoid just because once in a while we hear some stories about crooked people or shops taking advantage of us.

  5. #25

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    Hi Sammy888,

    Thanks for such a lengthy reply. I did think about printing my own photos to pass on to friends. Its just the cost of printer and good quality photo papers that hold me back. And also, if you give a friend a very high quality print (colours are all very rich and perfect) - say 8R size print. In this digital era, can't someone scan it and they too now own a "digital copy" of your originals? What say you?

  6. #26
    Senior Member sammy888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by philshots
    Hi Sammy888,

    Thanks for such a lengthy reply. I did think about printing my own photos to pass on to friends. Its just the cost of printer and good quality photo papers that hold me back. And also, if you give a friend a very high quality print (colours are all very rich and perfect) - say 8R size print. In this digital era, can't someone scan it and they too now own a "digital copy" of your originals? What say you?

    Most of my friends has already "evolved" to that point I was talking about earlier. Meaning..they get soft copy of my pictures of social events we attended together or shared outings.etc So what I do is make a slide show version which I then burn into a disc which they just pop into the vcd to play back and another version in which they contain all the high res picture in case they want to display on their PC or do their own printing. And I already corrected the colour and convert them to sRGB so that compatibility issues are reduce to a minimum. Window OS itself uses sRGB colour space. And let's just say so far I have no one come crying to me about printing problem..etc. Previously, just imagine what it cost me to print.... which brings me a bit off topic and it relates to that other topic about the cost of shooting in film or digit in another thread.Which cost more? I can say at this present junction for the past 6 yrs, digital photography cost me alot more in terms of the quality to some extend, adopting the early technology, learning curve and printing problems.

    To printing out 30 pcs of the same full colour A4 size printing for various reservist mates for example. First it takes a long time to get the printing design..with wordings overlay..etc and then calibrate the colour and then to print them out. One set of colour cartridges is barely enough for just this 30 pcs and then there are the smaller post card types of less important shots that does not need to be printed large. It can cost me about $300 just for the printing ink ( 2 sets at least) and special colour bubble jet cards!!!! And I like that pearl look colour paper so that is what I used quite often. The good news here is that...it use to cost me that much a few years back but base on today's reduce cost in purchasing a good printer and photo cards..it would be alot cheaper now to print your own.

    But nowadays just doing them on CDs...well I have more time to get abit more creative and also when I am done, I prepare the VCD and data versions. Now if I only need to make a few CDS, I do them myself but if I need to do more..I sub out to some supplier to do mass duplication or even better, sometime I pass them to a few frens and they will in turn dub them and give out. These days...1 CDR is like 40cents or cheaper!!!. Dirt Cheap now for those just getting into it unlike me. And if there are any nice pictures in there that is nice enough to be considered usuable for commercial purposes...then place your BIG NAME over it heheh... Your friends will not mind and if they do...just print them a copy. ( also a very rare occasion lah)
    ANd I also have alot more money left over!!!!

    For those very scare that PC or CDs will not be around years from now...chey!...I can tell you YES it will not be around!!..not in the form you are use to seeing and maybe not with a CD drive but it will be close to it....but it will still be around...maybe in 10 yrs time.

    I still have CDRs made almost 9 yrs ago with a 1x or 3X speed CD recorder from Yamaha and they still play on my 52X cd player! And as DVD recodres becoming cheaper in maybe another 1-3 yrs..then I will take all my CDRs and transfer them to DVD.( btw, you can still play cdrs on a DVD too )And DVD will last at least another 10 yrs. And maybe just shy of that DVD going the way of CDRs dinosaurs then I will transfer them to whatever media will be popular by then....if i am still alive that is!!!!... heh. Memory chip like SD or MMS or CF will never take the place of CDRS and DVDs. They are fine for temporary storage like digital cameras but not a good idea for permanent storage or semi long storage like those rewriteable disc. (btw I have never liken Rewriteable CDRs...too often they spoilt and refuse to let you erase and rewrite on them. CDRs is cheap and more expendable and always my choice..dont like just break and throw away)

    As price of paper, ink and printing technology gets cheaper and more easy to use...I can say with confidence ..your neighbourhood photo labs will go the way of the T-rex, mom & pop provision shop and mama store. In fact those slow to change in the last year to take in digit printing projects, I have already seen many close down. Soon you will not even be able to complain about bad colours...as photo labs gets so small to maximise cost ( and profit)it will bascially be a staff-less machine outside the shopping mall with various memory module slots for you insert your picture data to make prints on the spot. Get your colour profile wrong and I am wondering if you can complain about it at all. By then you would really be force to learn to do your own colour work and printing. Now you might be able to consult a mini lab assistance as these e-pic prinint machines are situated at mini labs. But one day that will all change.

    For those like me who are serious about quality or just that we take our interest a few levels higher ( and in a way maybe easier for me due to my work in design) and have more professional needs, we already are looking into or are already adopting our own printing system in-house. That will be the way to go and it is almost parallel to the way it was like for pro-photographers who sets up their own DARK ROOM to process and do their own printing. We will mirror that similarity with the digit form of photography too.

    6 years ago... I did shot digital with the first floppy disc digital camera from Sony..that time no way I could share it ....and printing those low res stuff on a still quite new generation of bubble jet printer from Epson with no such thing as a colour profile driver for non professional printers.

    Recently I went back to Malaysia to shoot my cousin wedding and there was my 60yr old uncle and a few other old croonies..quite a few of them are all deckout with those sexy slim Canon, Casio, Fuji or Nikon P&S which they now just shoot all over the place...take out the memory modules....switch on the PC...plug in the CF and it auto download. They then use a picture viewer like ACDSEE to call out the picture and if they like the picture...they just print them out! No brainer! My this uncle in particular is no PC savvy person but he did it all with ease just after a few lessons from the sons. Prints came out pretty good and without photoshop help or RAW files. FOr your info, I took about 1,400+ pictures of the wedding and then I compile them into 4 disc. Made a few sets and give them the master copy which they then duplicated them into like almost 100 sets and give them out to all. This is just in a smaller town in Malaysia...not KL heheh.... Thus I dont see why you can't use that as a means to share your pictures in these day and age in Singapore.

    As always...just my two cents worth of ranting......

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by sammy888
    Not to make fun of the situation but ...if you can find it, that will be a first I have ever heard of such a thing heheh... good luck.

    U can find ICC or colour calibration driver for four colour separation machinese and even some digital offset printing machine but one that included those photo shop's film and photo print machinese..that is almost unheard of. Unless the e-pic and prints they make are done in newer and more specialise machine to handle digital film work and printing.
    http://www.digipro.com.sg/Tech.html

    a pity the link doesn't work...i just sent my photos there for printing and wonder how they will turn out...

    *crosses finger*

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by David
    I'm still grappling with the tough topic of color management... see my other post. (Think they should have a local degree course in the uni for this!! Seriously.)
    Indeed, the topic of colour management is quite complex to a lot of people at the moment. There are really quite a number of factors that affect the colour accuracy of images.

    When someone says the colour of the photo print does not match the colour on the monitor. I suppose he or she is saying that there is a very significant difference. From experience, the following are the three most common reasons, assuming that there is nothing wrong with the photo printing lab.

    1. Does the colour monitor has colour temperature settings? Is it set at 6500k (recommended) or 9500k (usually the default for new monitor)?

    2. If he or she is a more 'advance' user who is using Adobe RGB colour space, did he/she convert to sRGB first before sending for general photo printing? (I think someone has already mentioned this point). Otherwise, the colour will appear desaturated.

    3. What light is he or she using for viewing the photo print when comparing to the image on monitor? Yes, many people do not know that the quality of light plays an important part when comparing the print to image on monitor. Forget about the fluorescent light in your house (some causes the difference more significantly while some less). For amateur, the cheapest and best light source is sunlight.

    Of course, there definitely will still be colour differeces after doing the above. However, it will significantly improve as compare to not doing right in the first place.

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