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    August 28, 2007


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    I've always used Millers or Mpix

    Tammy Cravit

    Back in the film days when I worked as a photo assistant, the consensus was that labs -- who can take advantage of economies of scale that few working photographers can match -- were almost always a better deal. The photographer I worked for did her own processing, but that was chiefly because getting the kind of custom handling she wanted for her work -- processing 4x5 sheets of Ektachrome and running 20x24 Cibachrome and Duratrans sheets -- was costly enough that she decided the added control of doing things herself was worth it.

    I don't think digital has radically changed the picture economy of scale-wise. Digital printing gear is still expensive, and unless you do enough printing to make one of those continuous ink delivery systems (like the ones from or worthwhile, you're still fighting a losing battle. Excellent labs are plentiful (I use H&H Color Lab, myself), and the equipment to really compete with the services they can provide is just too expensive.

    Besides, I'd rather be out shooting than spending all day feeding paper and ink to a printer. If I wanted to spend my day helping Epson's corporate bottom line in that way, I'd close my photography business and open a color lab.


    Tammy, Thanks for your comments. Writing this post forced me to take a hard look at my process and after sending all my orders in the past couple of weeks through White House and loving the results I've decided to try to sell my 9800. Honestly, it has been lovely to just upload my order and a few days later it shows up at my front door ready to deliver to customers.


    I found your post after searching on "Breathing Color." Nice info about setting up for printing. I am an amateur, and therefore don't have a lot of money for experimentation. I tried Mpix and and other online photolabs. The sharpness, color correctness and overall quality of the print never matched what I do at home with my inkjet. I suppose if I were to be a working, paid photographer that dealt in high volumes of print sales, I would consider outsourcing that function.

    Thanks for the post.


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