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recommendations & info for online lab
Old 06-19-2005, 03:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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OK, so I'm a little slow to the party here, but I'd like some recommendations for those online lab services where you upload your files, and your friends and family can access them, order their own prints from the lab, and have them mailed to their homes. I'm primarily looking for simplicity (for them, not necessarily for me), flexibility (cropping, brightness control, etc - if such tools exist). ease of selection (proof sheet format vs viewing one at a time) and print quality. Price and speed are not critical, but of course are worth consideration.

As I understand it, sites like Yahoo, Kodak, and others offer this service, and I assume they let you upload for free because they make their money from the prints? So I have a few questions: 1) I know they only want JPG files, but how large can/should they be - is there a maximum size allowed? 2) How long will they keep the files? 3) Should I attempt to pre-crop, color correct and retouch (or let the user do that), and then re-save as a large (or larger) JPG? 4) Do I get a report on what was purchased, and can I remove the files whenever I want?

I know this seems pretty elementary, but I rarely need to make prints for anyone, and the tools have certainly changed in the last few years. Being the family-event photographer, this seems like a pretty stress-free way to solve that "when do we get prints?" question I get all the time.

Thanks, and speaking of families, Happy Father's Day to all you Dads their kids who made that possible.

Regards,
Andy Pearlman
Andy Pearlman Studio
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Re: recommendations & info for online lab
Old 06-19-2005, 04:05 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Printroom.com

I order all my prints from here. Printroom is actually faster than local photo labs around here. Take a look at the link below that describes more of the services in detail:


Services/Prices

You can make the photos public or not. Your choice.

Hope that helps.

Allen
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Re: recommendations & info for online lab
Old 06-19-2005, 04:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Andy

I have friends that use Smugmug.com. I'll use it if and when I decide to sell direct. You can set up your own profile and even name prices - so you can charge what you want for a print, the smugmug guys deduct their cost, and you get the rest. They charge $99 a year for this.

Smugmug is just the front end. They use EZprints for the print fuilfillment. I'v ehad great luck with EZprints.

As far as your other questions, I think it's right for you to only put up what you want people to buy - that means any retouching, cropping or color correction is done by you prior to the upload. For the size -- I think that smugmug doesn't restrict how big the images can be, so I'd send up full size images. Just in case someone wants to order a 16x20. That's an issue of transmission time and storage volume. If smugmug doesn't limit you and you have broadband - no problem.

As far as control - you can put up or remove stuff as you please. I think you can also password protect galleries in case it's a private party.

Check them out. Like I said, I have friends using it -- they've tested it out by ordering their own prints and every report I get is that it works well.

Bob

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P.S....
Old 06-19-2005, 04:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Andy McFarland uses this site for his photo store. Might want to email him and ask about it.

Andy's store

And no, Andy is not paying me to post that link [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]

Allen
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one more thing
Old 06-19-2005, 04:27 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Do I have to leave the verticals sideways for efficient print ordering, or can I rotate them and assume the service will print them correctly, or should/can I have the website rotate for proper viewing only, after I've uploaded them?

Thanks
Andy
Andy Pearlman Studio
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Re: one more thing
Old 06-19-2005, 04:34 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Andy

In my experience the print service will print whatever is uploaded - so if you upload verticles as horizontals (which is what I think you were asking) it prints fine. I always rotate them before uploading so that the user sees what they get.

By the way - on cropping. We all know that on a 2:3 / 35mm format there's lots of cropping if people order an 8x10. The way ezprints does it is that you have a button that says "crop/fit." If you chose "fit" it gives you the biggest borderless print and leaves white on the edges that the image can't fill the paper. If you chose "crop" it pops up a page where you have the print and a little red "window" that you can position on the print. The red window goes 100% in the smallest dimention and then lets you position the largest dimention to give you a borderless print.

I've used both and never had a problem.

Bob

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Re: recommendations & info for online lab
Old 06-19-2005, 04:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Andy, I use smugmug.com. You can do all the things you wanted to do, crop rotate, adjust colors, whatever. Set your own price on prints by catagory or gallery. On the "pro" version you can protect the images from downloading or let people download them, you can also password protect galleries for private viewing. With alittle work you can set it up so you can hardly tell its smugmug. I's also about the only one I've found that you can have massive amounts of images without running out of space. If you want to see my site it's at fosstonimages.com

Good luck on your choice.

Bill
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Re: recommendations & info for online lab
Old 06-19-2005, 08:21 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Another one to consider is:

www.whcc.com


Nice people and they do good work.....
They ship 2nd day UPS at no charge....
Extremely reasonable prices......





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Re: recommendations & info for online lab
Old 06-19-2005, 08:37 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Andy, another is dotphoto they are free if you do not mind the adds and only like $4.95 a month if you want to get rid of them.

Great service and if you need help you can call and get a person most all of the time.

The photos are hosted free for 2 months. If you wish for them to be hosted longer you can upgrade and for a small amount keep them on line much longer.

click here to check them out. dotphoto

Rick

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cheap, fast and free - but some limites
Old 06-20-2005, 12:46 AM   #10 (permalink)
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if your talking about photos just for family you can always try www.costco.com and select the photo lab.

free to upload, no limits on how many files or size (that I am aware of), 4x6 are .17 cents and 8x10 are $2

the only disadvantage is the photo would have to be cropped for a particular print size. but if you leave enough space around the image, then this shouldn't be a problem.

smugmug is nice but I am in the middle of disagreement with them about the merits that the low res images should keep the attached icc profile
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