Printing photographs is a very tricky job. When I first got into this business, I was lost when it came to prints. I was lost even before it came to prints. Colour profiles on my camera, computer screens, editing programs, and websites were all set to different settings and I just could not figure out why my photos were appearing to be very different everywhere I looked. And then there was the actual printing of the files.

Yesterday I decided to send a voucher & a print to my client. Since I was printing the voucher on a nicer paper, I went to one of the biggest printing stores here in Prague. The voucher is beautiful, but today I want to talk about the printed photo which I also had made there. Since this store is huge in the graphic design area and they provide large photo prints, photo books and other photo products, I didn't think twice about printing the photo there. But I made a big mistake.

They printed my photo at a self-service Kodak kiosk. I've never used one of these machines before, but I thought, Kodak is a huge film company, it's gonna be great! It wasn't. First of all, the software did not allow me to choose between glossy or matte finish. The options were very limited and the price per 1 photo was quite high. That should have been a warning signal. When the photo popped out of the machine like the train tickets in Belgium do, I was immediately disappointed

The colours were off. The photo was cropped and cut crooked. The sharpness of the print was not good. I decided not to send this photo to my client and went to another printing store where I've had some prints done before and I knew it was going to be much better. You can see both photos down bellow. I took these photos this morning in a rush, they are slightly out of focus, but they do the job and you can clearly see the bad print quality. The original digital photo is on top of this article. The first photo bellow is from the Kodak machine at Copy General, the second photo is printed at Foto Škoda.  One more thing to notice: the second photo also has some colouring issues. The tones are much cooler than they show in the digital photo on my laptop screen. Photos from this lab always seem to be cooler, but you can always talk to the service there and adjust it together to your liking.

Moral of the story is: before printing, always read the reviews or talk to your local photographer. Ask them where they would go to print their photos or have it printed with them. Having good quality print is important, because it sucks to have your beautiful professional images (for which you have payed a lot of money) ruined at the lab.