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Getting large prints for the club competitions

David A
Active Member

I've just received 13 prints from a printing website that I've used before, Photobox.  A lot of them are dark with drab colours.  I've not had problems with them when I've used them before, prior to lockdown (other than for one print that was mainly black with some streaks of light and was printed over bright).  I've found Photobox to be competitively priced and until now excellent results.

Another member recommended DSCL, but unlike Photobox (which gives the option to 'shrink to fit' non standard-sized images onto their paper sizes) they will only crop pictures to fill the paper.  In fact, they have a page showing you how to use Photoshop laboriously add white bands top and bottom, or left and right, to create standard-shaped images for their printer.

Another member suggested that I try Loxley.  They do free test prints, so I've just ordered some.

Has anyone got other recommendations?  Til now, I've not got around to getting a screen calibrator, but perhaps I need to?

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Topic starter Posted : 26/09/2021 6:17 pm
Steve B liked
Steve B
Eminent Member

Hi David.

Spectrum in Brighton. Quality and professionalism second to none. When I wanted a photo book for my daughter's wedding they recommended Loxley (they don't supply that product).

Spectrum have printed for the Natural History Museum's annual photo exhibition and they have other big name clients. When I want stuff printed for the wall I go to them. Loxley are top drawer too. The photo book I mentioned is outstanding and my daughter is hugely happy. Given Spectrum's personal standards I knew they'd only recommend an alternative at the same level.

I usually ask Spectrum to advise on paper choice; they've always settled on types I've been made up to receive.

Spectrum all the way for me. Wish you well with it.

TTFN

Steve 

 

This post was modified 3 weeks ago by Steve B

Raised by Direwolves. Warden of the north for House Stark. Dancing master. Winter is here...

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Posted : 26/09/2021 6:27 pm
David M
Member Moderator

Hello David

Having had a few failures myself, I've recently been using simlab.co.uk who are based in Hatfield.  I've only used them for prints on Fuji Crystal photopaper, but everything has come back well matched to my screen.  The prints are economically priced, but small batches of competition sized prints have a basic P&P charge that makes single prints less economical.  Like most, you can get sample packs of their different papers for comparison.

Provided you get the files to them by late morning the pictures arrive by courier the following working day.

I would be tempted to issue exactly the same files to a couple of candidates, so you can compare what comes back.  I have been surprised by variances in output in the past. Of course if they all vary from your screen image it may be time to calibrate.

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Posted : 26/09/2021 7:45 pm
David A
Active Member

Thanks, Steve B and David M.  Helpful tips.  Should have looked at screen calibrators whilst I was at at the Photography Show last week.

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Topic starter Posted : 26/09/2021 11:09 pm
brianconnollyphotos
Member Moderator

Hi David. I got my calibrator at the Photo show in 2018 and have never looked back. It is a really good investment.

You might also recall I sent around details of an offer I had some time ago from One Vision Imaging. They also use Fuji paper and I was very impressed with the image quality and colour as it matched all my expectations:

https://www.onevisionimaging.com/photo-prints?callingpanel=collapseOne

And finally, if you ever choose to go all-in, then there's this great printer I can recommend... 😏 

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Posted : 27/09/2021 11:15 am
David A
Active Member

Thanks, Brian C.  If the Loxley test prints come back looking grim I'll know it's me (and lack of calibrator) not the printing firm.  Perhaps should consider one anyway as my work monitors side by side do vary in shade.  We're a bit of a clutter in our office already with a laser and an A3 scanner without considering a photo printer too.

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Topic starter Posted : 28/09/2021 12:38 am
DJ
 DJ
New Member

Hi All

I was thinking of having a crack at printing some pics off for the upcoming event in October. I am new to the printing game, and wanted to know if (on this site) there is a guide to assist on what is required (size, mounts etc). I have had a look but cant find anything. Any pointers would be much appreciate thanks.

DJ

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Posted : 28/09/2021 10:51 am
David A
Active Member

The Loxley test prints I ordered are nice and bright, matching what I saw on my screen.

Any recommendations for screen calibrators?

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Topic starter Posted : 29/09/2021 9:01 pm
brianconnollyphotos
Member Moderator

If I were getting a calibration kit now, it has to be this one:

Datacolor SpyderX Pro: Monitor Calibration designed for serious Photographers and Designers https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07M6KPJ9K/ref=cm_sw_r_apan_glt_fabc_Q68T77MK8KJJ2DYGS91B?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

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Posted : 29/09/2021 10:12 pm
brianconnollyphotos
Member Moderator

Hi DJ,

There really isn't a set of "rules" for entering print competitions. But you can certainly follow some accepted guidance as to what is the most straightforward print style. 

For the mount size, 50cm X 40cm will always work. As for colour, a shade of white is the usual choice when working with colour prints. 

The size of the opening for your prints is yours to decide. I will always use A4 paper but the next thing to consider is the image size. You will no doubt have an aspect ratio that your image works best at, so you need to keep to that within your A4 paper size. 

Then you need to get your mount to have its opening to fit your image size, perhaps allowing a little more to give it some space "within the frame".

One of the more accepted things in print size is that smaller is better. It doesn't need to be big. So A4 as your paper size, your image in that at the best aspect ratio for it then the mount opening cut to best fit around the image, leaving a small border.

This is just my way and I'll be happy to follow up if you wish DJ. Cheers.

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Posted : 30/09/2021 7:41 am
David A
Active Member

The, B.  I'll put some overtime in for one of these.

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Topic starter Posted : 01/10/2021 12:11 am
Admin
Member Admin

Perhaps I need to calibrate both my screens as my images came back from Loxley very dark, the images look more like autumn that summer.

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Posted : 04/10/2021 9:36 am
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