BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
Melissa R. Atchley

Printing at home versus through a lab

I need more information about printing my pictures at home versus using a lab. Will pictures printed at home be as high a quality and will they last? How do they measure up expense wise?

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5/14/2005 6:52:42 PM

Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  It depends on what kind of printer you have. There are some printers on the market that will rival lab quality. How long a print will last depends on the ink and paper that is used.

There are also lots of printers on the market that don't come anywhere near a lab photo.

Someone with some first-hand experience could give better advice on which photo printers are the best. I've been doing some research, but haven't made up my mind yet.

We print almost all of our photos with an online lab.

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5/14/2005 10:05:55 PM

Gregg    Ckeck out

You must be a professional business to use this lab, their prices can't be beat.

For home printing I suggest going ink-less with a thermo sub/dye printer. Kodak has their newest one out for under $500. 8x12 sheets print for around $1.75 each. (glossy or mat)

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5/15/2005 6:10:19 AM

Michael H. Cothran   The short answer to your question is "yes." You can achieve as-good-as or better quality than that of a pro lab, as long as you're comparing apples to apples. I sell fine art photography at juried art & craft shows, and do all my own printing at home on two different size Epson inkjet printers.

I DO NOT agree with using a dye-sublimate printer at home, as suggested above. They are too costly to run, and very limited in print sizes. They are best suited for photographers who need to print "on the job" away from home. At home, I would stick with a quality inkjet printer. The top brands today are Epson and Canon, but HP is introducing some new units, that may also put them in the running.

There are TWO requirements to getting good quality prints from home -
1. A good printer and supporting software.
2. An extremely good knowledge base of Photoshop and printer settings.
Michael H. Cothran

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5/16/2005 5:18:23 AM

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