Disappointing Prints


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alastdin

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Feb 18, 2004
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#1
I've been disappointed by the results of the prints of the photos I've taken during a recent trip down south.

Has anyone ever had problem getting a photo lab to print out 4"x10" or 6"x6" digital images with a white border?

I've been to three labs and they all gave me three different results. :( One of them (the first one I went to) was kind enough to call me ahead of time to tell me that he had problems with image, so I agreed that he can go ahead to print it without the border. Sadly, that was the best result so far I've got. The second just printed out the image, happily cropping it the way she thought best without as much as asking. While the third just printed the image with the borders of different widths.

I don't know what's the problem. I cropped 4"x10" the first time, then 3.875"x9.875" and 6"x6" finally. Can anyone shed some light on the problem? or am I dealing with people who don't know what they're doing? I don't blame the first guy, but the rest is just downright disappointing.

Thanks!
 

Stoned

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May 7, 2004
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#2
4"X10" and 6"X6" are odd sizes. What size exactly did you ask them to print? I've never known labs to print such sizes before.
 

gryphon

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#3
Weird sizes of photos u are printing.
If you want them to have the exact special size you want, specify to them and ask them to print in larger standard paper size and cut away the unused areas.
 

catchlights

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#4
If you want to add in your own borders on the prints, don't expect it will come out perfectly without running any test prints with the lab, even you are doing a very precise dimension, it will not work out as what you think.

you have to run a few tests, so you will know much the machine crop away the top, left, right and bottom, then go back re-do the image files, factor all this into your borders.
 

V

vince123123

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#6
What I do is make the borders myself - in that way you control the width/proportions/cropping etc. After the lab just prints as is. This is the best and most reliable way for border printing.
 

catchlights

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#7
If you are doing a borders like [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]¾~[/FONT]1" thick, it will not so noticeable all borders are not balance/same thickness due the lab printing mis-alignment.
 

user111

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#8
just do without the border
 

alastdin

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Feb 18, 2004
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#9
Stoned said:
4"X10" and 6"X6" are odd sizes. What size exactly did you ask them to print? I've never known labs to print such sizes before.
The 4"x10" is the panoramic print size for APS format, while the 6"x6" is just a square print size that I wanted.

What size do you print for panoramic and square prints? And how do you make sure the borders are right?
 

alastdin

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Feb 18, 2004
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#10
gryphon said:
Weird sizes of photos u are printing.
If you want them to have the exact special size you want, specify to them and ask them to print in larger standard paper size and cut away the unused areas.
Weird perhaps if one is not familiar with such print size, but not unusual for some who print panoramas, I think.

I ask if they can do it. And they all say it's do-able. But they can't even get the borders in right.
 

alastdin

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Feb 18, 2004
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#11
catchlights said:
If you want to add in your own borders on the prints, don't expect it will come out perfectly without running any test prints with the lab, even you are doing a very precise dimension, it will not work out as what you think.

you have to run a few tests, so you will know much the machine crop away the top, left, right and bottom, then go back re-do the image files, factor all this into your borders.
Thank you for the suggestion. I was going to do it again with some test prints and was hoping to get ideas of how to short-cut the process. Each print cost $4 (the cheapest I've found) and some even charge a processing fee of $3 (swear I won't go back to them again!)

I understand if there is a minimum charge, that's why I usually print about $50 worth of prints.
 

alastdin

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#12
arttl said:
Do you have any slightest understanding of what is cropping?
Tell me how difficult it is. I'll appreciate any comment from an obvious expert like yourself.
 

Jan 23, 2005
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#13
Stoned said:
4"X10" and 6"X6" are odd sizes. What size exactly did you ask them to print? I've never known labs to print such sizes before.
I've seen photofinishing services offering custom sizes that match the aspect sizes of the submitted files. Since modern systems operate on roll paper, only one dimension of the picture is fixed. It shouldn't be a problem on laser printing machines to get any aspect ratio the customer wants (within reason). It's beyond me why most finishers don't offer this option. It makes the most sense in a world full of different image formats.
 

KenChua

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Jul 15, 2005
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#14
From what i know, the white border is caused by the machine software. I send my photos to the Kodak Express and the staff mention that border is caused by the developer machine. It will either crop the top-bottom or the 2 sides.
 

alastdin

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Feb 18, 2004
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#15
vince123123 said:
What I do is make the borders myself - in that way you control the width/proportions/cropping etc. After the lab just prints as is. This is the best and most reliable way for border printing.
Ironically, that's exact how I sent in my order. I cropped the image to the exact size of 1200x3000pix at a resolution of 300 ppi, then PS in a white border. I even double checked all the images to make sure that the size is correct before sending them to the lab, and telling them to print as is. (and this was my third attempt :( )

I'm thinking that maybe the machine software at the labs can't pick out the border and the photo is manually adjusted by the person behind the machine. Therefore, if the person happens to adjust it wrongly, some pictures will have borders, some have one side missing etc....
 

alastdin

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Feb 18, 2004
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CCK, Singapore
#16
catchlights said:
If you are doing a borders like [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]¾~[/FONT]1" thick, it will not so noticeable all borders are not balance/same thickness due the lab printing mis-alignment.
I think what you mean is what I speak about manual adjustments by the operator behind the machine. Yes, I think that would certainly help, except that a 1" border is kind of big ;)

But I think you have an idea that I can work on. Thanks!
 

alastdin

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Feb 18, 2004
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#18
KenChua said:
From what i know, the white border is caused by the machine software. I send my photos to the Kodak Express and the staff mention that border is caused by the developer machine. It will either crop the top-bottom or the 2 sides.
I know what you mean. The second test batch was sent to a Kodak Express. The output was really the worst of the lot so far. Don't mean to flame them...but for my purpose it just ended up so.
 

catchlights

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Sep 27, 2004
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#19
alastdin said:
Thank you for the suggestion. I was going to do it again with some test prints and was hoping to get ideas of how to short-cut the process. Each print cost $4 (the cheapest I've found) and some even charge a processing fee of $3 (swear I won't go back to them again!)

I understand if there is a minimum charge, that's why I usually print about $50 worth of prints.
A short cut way.

catchlights said:
If you are doing a borders like [FONT=Times New Roman, serif]¾~[/FONT]1" thick, it will not so noticeable all borders are not balance/same thickness due the lab printing mis-alignment.
 

alastdin

New Member
Feb 18, 2004
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CCK, Singapore
#20
LittleWolf said:
I've seen photofinishing services offering custom sizes that match the aspect sizes of the submitted files. Since modern systems operate on roll paper, only one dimension of the picture is fixed. It shouldn't be a problem on laser printing machines to get any aspect ratio the customer wants (within reason). It's beyond me why most finishers don't offer this option. It makes the most sense in a world full of different image formats.
I was hypothesizing about this myself. Your observation will just about conclude it for me.

Have you tried printing out a panorama digitally with a lab that came out right for you?
 

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