As my business evolves, I am incorporating more options in the session packages I offer you. Some of those being a print credit and an in home or in studio ordering session included in the package you purchase. I've always offered professional printing through your galleries, but let's be honest...an overwhelming majority of you (something like 85%) have never ordered anything from your gallery.
Part of me understands why.
I've been thinking a lot lately from a client's perspective and I realized something...why would I order prints or canvases through my photographer if a big box store, like Costco or Wal-Mart, were offering me prints or canvases for a lot less?
Here is how I used to feel about Costco/Wal-Mart/Drug Stores photo printing services for my personal family shots:
"They turn out just fine."
"I'm not paying that much more just so you (the photographer) can make even more money off of me."
First of all, I choose to not mark up my prints and canvases as much as other pro photographers do. This is because I WANT you to enjoy professionally printed images in your home. I WANT you to look at them and be proud of the work WE did together.
I'm going to be honest with you as a fellow client (and friend!) and tell you that when you trust your precious images to Costco/Wal-Mart/or a Drug Store, your trust is not being appreciated on the other end. The way these "labs" process your photos is such:
1. They receive your files.
Your digital files get compressed through the store's ordering system so as to not overwhelm their storage in the "lab." This means that pieces of important printing data from your image are lost.
2. They process them through a printing machine set on one setting or "auto" (along with every other picture they receive), without any consideration to the various colour settings that are on any given camera.
This will result in incorrect printing of the image in areas such as too bright, too dark, too many shadows (contrast), colours in clothing, skin, eyes, hair, landscape are off from what you see in your gallery, etc.
The labs that I use are industry leaders in North America and have a lot of professionally trained people who handle each image individually and adjust the settings on the printer as necessary.
Your prints will look exactly like what I have on my calibrated computer iMac 27" monitor.
3. They are printed on one type of paper.
Did you know that I offer around 7 different types of paper for your prints? (I have samples for you to touch, see and hold up against your walls).
4. If you're wanting a canvas: You submit your image and they wrap it to the size frame that you order...without regard to whether your child's forehead is wrapped to the back, or your legs are cut off at the ankles because your feet were wrapped around the back.
When you order canvases through me, I take the the time to properly size your image to the canvas frame that you desire so that what you get is a canvas to treasure forever...not an "oops" surprise. I will also be honest with you and advise you if a certain image will not properly fit a certain canvas size. Unless we specifically shoot for a certain sized canvas, there is a possibility that your image will not work for certain sizes.
Your time is worth something! If you think about your time in reference to $$ (money), think about what you're really "saving" when you order your prints or canvases through a big box store. The entire process includes: downloading from your gallery on my website + submitting what you finally decide on to their website + picking up the prints or canvases from the store + and mostly, wasting the time and effort you and I put into your session. Waste! And now you're left wondering why your prints and canvases look different than what you saw in your beautiful gallery on my website.
Now, the last thing I want is for one of you to see me in line at the Costco photo lab and triumphantly declare me a hypocrite! :o) Costco has it's place...for vacation photos, for school projects... BONUS! You get a print credit with each session you have with me! It just doesn't include shipping. Yay!
Here is an example that I put together two years ago between three labs. Two are local, and one is in the US. I work with one lab for my prints and another for canvases. This was a decision I made after a lot of research into quality, prices, and shipping costs. When you trust me with your investment, I take that trust seriously. Thank you for taking the time to read, and as always, feel free to respond with your thoughts, questions, comments, or confessions! :o)