I am posting this picture that Amy Cook posted on Facebook recently so that you can be aware of what happens when pro photographers give away their digital files to clients who then go and get them printed at places like Walmart, CVS, Walgreens…the list goes on. As a professional photographer nothing drives me more crazy than to see my photos printed at places like this. Professionals spend time and money with very expensive cameras and sometimes with expensive studio lighting to make sure the exposure, color, etc. is perfect, and then they get printed at these places. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not necessarily that the equipment being used is inferior, rather the people they have running them are typically under paid employees who know how to turn on the machine and press print. They know nothing about getting the colors, contrast, saturation correct, or do they really care. They get their paycheck at the end of the week and all is grand. They might even get a pat on the back for doing such a great job that week and printed a record number of photos. Please understand I am not blaming these employees, rather I blame the companies who don’t train them correctly. I also believe the turnover in these stores is quite high so training is held to a minimum. I’m not sure about you but I doubt it if anyone wakes up one day and says “I want to be a photo processor at Walmart for my life long career”. This is an art that takes time to learn and most companies just want to show their employees how to get to the next order in a timely fashion, especially since they don’t know if that person is going to show up the next day. So then these pictures get printed like this and get hung in their homes, usually above their expensive furniture, or in their awesome library, and people say, “who was your photographer?” Ouch!
I have had this happen to me already so I always recommend Mpix.com to my clients. They are the consumer division of Miller’s Professional Imaging, who I use exclusively for my portrait work. I also use Pictage for all of my wedding work. If I haven’t yet made my point I think the photo below does.