Thank you so much for all the responses to my post yesterday - if you missed it, you can read it HERE. In one way it makes me feel better that I am not alone in my frustration, but it also makes me really sad that there is such a lack of consistency and quality in the reproduction of our photos. As a storyteller, scrapbooker, memorykeeper, etc, etc, nothing means more to me than my photos (other than the actual time when the photos were taken, of course.) - Just an aside... we took a family vacation to Virginia Beach and Williamsburg when the boys were little, and I had borrowed a camera because mine was broken. I took several rolls of film on the trip and got home and found that every single photo was blank because, although the camera clicked and the film advanced, the shutter had never opened, so I don't have one single picture from the trip. It almost seems like it never happened since I have nothing other than some postcards to look back on. The photos are the tangible piece of a memory - the thing that you can hold in your hand.
ANYWAY - in one of the comments on my post yesterday, Heather left a comment about a company here in Buffalo called iPrintfromHome. She said she was very happy with them, so I went right to their website and uploaded an order of prints. It was very easy and straightforward to do. I placed the order at 10:25am and got the email that they were ready to pick up at 11:26am. I went to pick them up in the afternoon, and I am so happy to tell you that I am THRILLED with them.
Let's review what I listed as my criteria for printing:
- Accurate reproduction of colors - the MOST important!
- Good price
- Fast shipping
- Good paper
- Prints available in a variety of sizes for printing instagrams, etc.
- Easy to access customer service
How did iPrintfromHome do on each of these things?
- Accurate reproduction of colors: the color is amazing! The colors are just like I intended them to be. (They do not color correct at all.) It's hard to describe but there is a depth and richness to the color that most prints of digital photos lack that I have seen.
- Good price: They are not the cheapest, nor the most expensive. They are 30 cents for a 4x6 print - if I can get an excellent photo for that price instead of a crappy photo for 14 cents, then I'm willing to pay the difference. Maybe I won't get every single photo I take printed, but is that really necessary anyway!
- Fast shipping: They are very fast if you can pick them up in the Buffalo area. (They are located in Kenmore, on the corner of Elmwood and Shepard (my niece who lives on that street will be happy to know that!) If I needed to have them shipped, I think I would have had them very quickly too. If you read the Yelp reviews, there are several comments about the fast shipping. A great way to save money on your prints is to get to the $36 threshold where shipping is free!
- Good paper: They have many paper choices - for 4x6s you can choose from glossy, lustre, or matte. I chose the lustre and really like it. In your first order they include a pack of samples of their papers. They have gorgeous papers for art photos, etc.
- Prints available in a variety of sizes for printing instagrams, etc: They have many, many different sizes, but they do not print smaller than 4x4. I will definitely use them for Instagram photos that I want printed in that size. If I want smaller than that, I will either collage them on a 4x6 or order them from another company. (I'll do a how-to post on that soon.)
- Easy to access customer service: They have a toll free number to call and talk to someone and if you are local, you can stop in and talk to them in person.
One other thing that I didn't list, but wrote about in my last post, was that I didn't want my photos to be cropped during printing. I did call to ask about this before I placed the order and the girl told me that there could be a very slight crop but that it is seldom noticeable. I was a little nervous about that but when I picked them up, I couldn't see any crop at all. Here's the example I showed in my last post...
On the left is the photo printed yesterday by iPrintfromHome and on the right is the photo printed by Costco. You can see that Costco cropped off the top of the picture, spoiling the shot of the frame on the wall. Costco told me that is just the way it is with their printing. Both photos were identical files uploaded at a 4x6 size, so no crop was necessary.
I want to show a couple examples of the color... the top photo is from Shutterfly, the middle one is from Costco, and the bottom one is the one from iPrintfromHome (let's call them IPFH). You can see that everything about it is richer looking. You might think that I am being too picky, but if you saw them in person, you would be impressed by the difference.
Although these next pictures are of the same subject, they were taken on a different day as you can see from the clouds. The photos are from Shutterfly, Costco, and IPFH on the bottom.
In this next series, the top picture is from Shutterfly, the bottom left from IPFH, and the bottom right is from Costco. There is so much more depth and richness - that is the best way I can think to describe it - to the IPFH print.
Here are two more photos that I had printed by IPFH that are excellent, I think. They are so incredibly sharp - they could be postcards! (It's very hard to take photos of photos!)
I'd encourage everyone to give them a try. They aren't giving me anything special for recommending them - other than the program they have in place for everyone. If you put the name of the person who referred you and the word Tweet-, they get some kind of credit (I'm not sure how much.) (So if you put Tweet-Debby Schuh, I get a little credit.) I put in Heather's name. :) You get $10 off your first order anyway, so it's easy to see how you like their printing. If you do, please let me know how you liked it. I'm very excited to upload more pictures and get going on some scrapbooking and memorykeeping and storytelling that I'm itching to get done!! Here is the link to their website again: iPrintfromHome.com.