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How does one find a high quality digital print shop?

Larry Mullin , Nov 20, 2006; 09:01 p.m.

I want to find a print service that will work with me and help me get very high quality enlargements from my digital files. I have read Harald Johnson's Mastering Digital Printing, so I have some idea of what I'm talking about, but to put into practice what I've learned, I'll need a print expert who is willing to work with me and help me figure out a sensible and affordable strategy. Any suggestions on print services or on how to find such a print service?

For what it's worth, the images I want to print are mostly, but not exclusively, from 35mm negatives that I have scanned in using a pretty good scanner (Minolta Scan Elite II and Vuescan software). Thanks for any advice.


David Gillespie , Nov 20, 2006; 09:13 p.m.

Are you looking for an online printer or local? The easiest way to determine their quality is to send them prints and gauge for yourself. I have a local printer that has my complete confidence. Two other shooters who's work I respect won't let this guy print birthday snapshots. You are the judge. Talk to them on the phone or in person, discuss your needs, expectations and desires to establish a working relationship and see where it goes.

Robert K , Nov 20, 2006; 09:32 p.m.


if you tell them you want to use the large files, they will create an ftp site for you to upload your large file directly to their server vs. their online ordering system.

they are very reasonably priced too, specially for the large format.

give them a try they are pretty good.

Mark M , Nov 20, 2006; 10:07 p.m.

A lot of people, including myself, are quite happy with West Coast Imaging

Robert Lee , Nov 20, 2006; 10:37 p.m.

Haven't tried them myself, but seems popular: www.calypsoinc.com

J Sevigny , Nov 21, 2006; 12:53 p.m.


A lot depends on how much money you want to spend. West Coast Imaging has an outstanding reputation, but frankly, I can't afford their services.

For less money, if you can find a local print shop with a Fuji Frontier or similar machine, you may be able to convince the "tech" to let you work with him-her. Or you might simply have to make proofs until the prints look the way you want them to look.

I've gotten some fantastic prints at small labs but also some miserable ones.

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