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Printing houses?

Forums Forums Get Technical In the darkroom Printing houses?

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    I’ve been using Shutterfly for years, and while their quality and delivery is fine…it’s time for me to start looking around at other places, I think.

    One of the things I don’t like is the limited number of paper sizes they have available. I tend to print the way I see & frame things in the camera – which is a 2:3 aspect ratio – and that doesn’t work out to the ‘standard’ sizes, so I end up with white space along two edges. Not a big deal, I know, because they get matted anyway (if you don’t have a mat cutter, they’re totally worth the $100 for a mid-range home model).

    The other thing is.. I get a ‘feeling’ that they’re really geared towards the consumer market, not the pro-sumer market most of us run in (not professional, but want professional quality). They print on pretty good quality paper, and it doesn’t seem like an ink-jet process, but they don’t talk about it anywhere, and I’m not terribly comfortable giving/selling prints to someone if I don’t *know* that they’re going to last…

    That said, I’ve heard good things about mpix (though I’m not sure I’m ready to lie my way into the ‘pro’ side yet), and am thinking about trying them out. Is there any one else out there worth considering? What’s your favorite print house? Anyone? Bueller?

    /another part of my interest is mpix’s silver-halide coated papers. I do a fair amount of B&W, though not exclusively

    edit — tl;dr, I know.


    You don’t have to lie your way into They have a pro side, too, but itself is for anyone. Quality is excellent, and their shipping is fast. The metallic paper is really cool, but the effect can be a bit more subtle than you might expect. They also have true B/W paper, but I’ve only see someone else’s print with it and couldn’t tell you much about the differences. I want to say it printed warmer, but I don’t remember. I generally print on E-Surface, and it’s nice.

    I’ve also printed through White House Custom Colour, but they are pro-only, and they weren’t any better than mpix, honestly. Of course, that was about 3 years ago, so things could have changed.


    I’ve done books and calendars through mpix and haven’t had any complaints. I give them away as Christmas gifts, and quality is good.

    I just started hosting on smugmug, and I’m going to order a few prints to see how they turn out, but haven’t done so yet.


    I use Adorama and Mpix. Print quality is comparable, and adorama is a bit cheaper, but they tend to be significantly slower.


    Yeah, I was thinking of the straight side, at least for now – though I haven’t been able to see what the advantage is of the pro side, except maybe for tax-exempt ordering (which doesn’t matter unless they have a location in CA). I’ll probably give them a go then, since I’m an impatient SOB and don’t like waiting for my stuff 😉

    I’ve ordered other stuff from Adorama – my backdrops, lights, and a few other things come from there, so I can’t say enough about that side of the house, but I’ll keep them in mind for that too 🙂


    if you want to get serious about monitor profiling and whatnot, White House Custom Color is great to work with. I think they have that side of things down better than mpix. They will let you do test prints for free so that you can calibrate your workstation’s display to what their printers are going to give you. I wish to hell this kind of thing wasn’t more critical to prints than it really can quickly become, if you’re trying to get any sort of series run of similar photos.


    Thanks Soosh – I’ll certainly check them out too when I’m ready to get to that point. Other than that, is there a good reason to go to the pro side of any of these houses?

    I’ve been using the 5×7 test print method up until now


    not that I know of. I think it’s more to get a run of prints with no variance, and just having an account that easier possibly to invoice for tax purposes.


    Good to know. But ordering from the same printer, especially in the same order would be the same thing for the former, right? I’m curious now…


    I prefer Adorama it was great.

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