Liz here again! In last week’s blog “Cutting corners on your wedding prints? You’ll pay later!”, I illustrated the long-term cost of having prints made at a big box store in order to save money. Now before I continue, let me assure you that I am well aware of the financial status of most newlyweds. I know because I was one! Especially after a wedding, your budget is most likely stretched thin, and every penny counts. But, what I will tell you is that in the long run, spending even $50 more on your prints means a world of difference! You’re welcome to make a price comparison between our prints and that of the big box stores, however, you’ll soon see that, for the quality, our prices are very competitive.
To begin this blog, I will mention that our top two wedding package include a custom, archival wedding album (check out our Weddings page). This means, by using our photography services for your wedding, we are giving you a head-start to preserving your memories for generations! Now, most newlyweds, family, and friends always want to order prints… which is wonderful! Last week I gave a scenario that ended more or less in the heartache which begins with cheap prints from a general store. This week, I offer a scenario of where your prints will fair much better having been ordered through a professional photo lab like the one we use!
You just got married (yay!) and have returned from your awesome honeymoon. You’re ready to see your beautiful portrait proofs…and your photos are amazing! They’re just how you remembered your day, and you know just the photos you want to pick. Now it’s time to decide how you would like to enjoy your finished prints. This is no easy process, I assure you. With so many choices, it can become overwhelming. You decide, even though your budget is tight, the investment in your prints is important to you.
Your prints arrive at your doorstep within a couple of weeks of ordering. And, whether you’ve chosen to order online or in-studio, you feel great about the photos you’ve picked and enjoyed the ease of your purchase. It was just as convenient as taking a disc to the big box store, except you didn’t have to deal with broken equipment or noisy crowds!
You’ve also made it a point to visit your local art and craft store to pick out a nice, archival photo album with acid free pages, just as those nice folks from Abanathy Photography, LLC recommended 😉 Those Abanathy Photo folks were so helpful and gave you specifics to look for when choosing the right album! They also recommended having any large prints custom framed by the pros and even recommended a couple of local frame stores which were very helpful in choosing just the right preservation options. Wink wink!
After putting all your prints into your archival album, you keep your album somewhere safe, away from direct sunlight and dust. As far as you can tell, your album looks good, for now.
Ten years from your anniversary date, you and your spouse decide to spend a nice evening reminiscing over those good times. You pull out your wedding album to re-live those wonderful moments and, to your delight, your prints look the same as they did when you first slid each picture into the page sleeves!
Now, it’s a quick forty years later, it’s time to celebrate your golden wedding anniversary with friends and family! Your adult children have really planned a special party, and have asked to display your wedding album for guests to go through and re-live that wonderful day. You take out that album you’ve had stored safely for what seems like a blink of an eye, and, when you open it up, you realize just how spectacular your photos still look! You remember your wedding like it was just yesterday, and, now, your children get to see photos of your day, just as you remember it!
One hundred years from now, your children and grandchildren have inherited your most beloved possessions. As they look over their heirlooms, they come across your wedding album. Turning the pages, they might see a little fading in the portraits, but quickly realize they are still in very good condition! Even at a century old, they are still in good enough condition for reprints and retouches so that they may be passed forward to future generations.
Of course, this is only one scenario and life happens in so many different ways, however, we all desire to be able to remember the important events in our lives, and to be remembered by those who we leave behind when we’re gone. I won’t get too sappy here, but if you really think about the physical things in this world that document our footprint and our lives, photography is always going to top the list! After that, life’s treasures include faceless documents, journals, homemade items, and other valuables.
Wouldn’t it make sense then, that those heirlooms be worth the extra investment?
Now, you shake yourself loose of this heartstring-tugging scenario and say: “Liz. I see several big box stores who advertise their prints as ‘archival quality’. Why should I go to a professional lab and pay any extra?” Well, without putting down specific chains or making too many assumptions, this whole two-part series was to get you to see the difference between the big box prints and professional print labs. With that in mind, let’s look at a bit of logic:
Big box stores often use photo processing as a loss leader. In other words, they use it to get you into the store and hope you pick up some more, profitable items while you are there. So, if they lose money on it, do you think they put that much effort into it? Photo labs, on the other hand, are dedicated to photo printing. It is not a loss leader for them. If they don’t have a great product, they will be out of work.
Also, big box stores claim a lot of things. If any of these things turn out to be false, well, good luck fighting them. Best you’ll get is a refund in lieu of your memories and that is only if you decide to pursue it to the end. In other words, making a claim of quality on this type of product is very low risk to them for a variety of reasons.
Lastly, big box stores also focus more on their bottom line than their quality. In this light, yeah, they might use “archival quality” products, but I guarantee they are the cheapest ones they can find. And this is to say nothing of their attention (or lack thereof) to details of proper color balance or faithful image reproduction.
The good news is you don’t even have to take our word for it. Here is another professional photographer discussing this very phenomenon (Where To Print). We use a different print lab than she does, however, the general idea is the same: In short, do you believe that highly automated, idiot-proof printer at your local big box could realistically compete with a professional print lab?
Think about it.
If you would like to know more about preservation and your photos, feel free to call our studio at 270-767-1163 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m more than happy to answer any questions you may have!