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05/12/2008 09:56:50 AM · #1
I would like to know of people's experience using online print services, particularly Adorama, for professional quality prints (e.g., for headshots, professional portraits etc.).

Why Adorama? For what it's worth, I've ALWAYS been happy with DPCPrints for images from my porfolio. I have a job to print headshots to be used in a local production of A Chorus Line though, and I think I am going with Lustre paper, offered by Smugmug or Adorama but not DPCPrints. I need them to look glossy, as headshots are, but not be super reflective because the cast will be holding them up on stage and all the spotlights will reflect. (Note that these are BW prints...the set is here, if you are curious.)

I'm also under a bit of time pressure too. I could get one set from anywhere (I have a little less than two weeks till show time), but if I have to redo any of them, my time goes critical). Plus, it would be nice for them to have the finals for the dress rehearsal this Saturday.

So one advantage of Adorama over other online labs for me is that they are close--I imagine regular shipping will basically be 1 day shipping (NYC is three hours away). Some web feedback I've seen seems to be good, and as a bonus, their prices are actually a bit lower than the others, and with "regular" shipping, price wise they represent a significant savings.

Some questions about the service:

1) Did they process the order quickly?
2) What were you printing for, and what paper did you select, and how did you like it?
3) How would you compare their service and quality to Smugmug, DPCPrints, or other services?
4) How was customer service if you used it?

Thanks in advance!

PS. I don't think they are an option for this job, but I'm also curious about MPIX, particularly their BW print service.

Feel free to chime in and offer a mini-review of any print service here...I left the subject generic for that reason as a useful informational thread!


05/12/2008 12:26:05 PM · #2
For general info, here's a follow up. I went ahead and placed the order with Adorama. They had the bordered prints I needed, so I didn't have to use "added borders". And they got a good review at: here.

My own review (so far, will update)

1) I had to pay $5 extra to get 1 day turnaround in the lab. The other option says "up to three days in lab". Still ended up cheaper than Smugmug because the prints were 2.11 versus 3.99 each, but this extra charge seems to conflict with their self-description: "Adorama will process and deliver most print orders in 24-48 hours - many orders are packaged and in the mail the same day you submit them." Anyway, base shipping was 4.95 compared to Smugmug's 8.95, so with the added charge, they're close--with Smugmug now being $1.00 cheaper for shipping.

2) I used the "apply corrections" option even though it shouldn't be needed (and on Smugmug they advised me not to use that), because on Adorama, they say: "An exclusive AdoramaPix benefit. Our highly experienced lab technicians thoroughly review every photograph for color and density correction. All our techs are professionals with 10+ years processing experience." Although I hope there's no need to adjust, and I wouldn't want "autolevels" type adjustments, having someone "look over" the output and adjust if necessary just seems like the right approach.

3) A total nitpick, but it's a little disconcerting the paper choice was "Kodak Professional Endura Supra Lustre" but the order confirmations just say "Luster" (note spelling). That's more a comment on their website for ordering, which wasn't bad, but I hit many bumps while uploading (and their FTP process doesn't handshake properly, so my FTP program kept resending. My 15 print upload turned into 450 prints in my album).

05/12/2008 12:36:32 PM · #3
We have been using Adorama for all of our prints recently. We have had a couple of issues with consistency in reorders and the use of the color correction - they didnt come out the same in the different orders. That said we are working towards figuring out what a non corrected print will be like compared to what we see on our monitor so that we can bypass the color correction all together. In general the color correction was fine per image but we really want the consistency when it comes to separate orders of the same or similar images.

Beyond that though we have been very pleased with Adorama. They are consistently faster in getting orders out than what they have posted on their site. The turnaround time is top notch (even after their 2 week shut down for passover we still recieved our prints order that was placed while they were closed 4 days after they reopened).

And then the icing on the cake is their pricing. Excellent regular prices and phenomenal specials that they run often. 8x10s come around for .99 a piece regularly, 11x14s for 2.95 right now and 16x20 for under 5 bucks happens too.

For us they are our primary lab. We havent found anyone local yet that can come anywhere close to their pricing even with shipping figured in. At some point we may shift to smugmug for their online ordering if and only if our business gets to the point where the extra cost would be worth having customers order direct and have them shipped right to them. For now though we prefer to have the images in our hand before we pass them on.
05/12/2008 12:39:48 PM · #4
Hello,
I have been using mpix. Have not had any problems. In fact prints are at my door in a matter of a few days & they are well packed & mine at least have come out much better then I expected.
05/12/2008 02:12:40 PM · #5
Originally posted by timfythetoo:

We have been using Adorama for all of our prints recently. We have had a couple of issues with consistency in reorders and the use of the color correction - they didnt come out the same in the different orders. That said we are working towards figuring out what a non corrected print will be like compared to what we see on our monitor so that we can bypass the color correction all together. In general the color correction was fine per image but we really want the consistency when it comes to separate orders of the same or similar images.

Costco uses printer profiles from Dry Creek Photo and has an option to turn off the "Auto-Correct" feature -- I get pretty consistent results from them. You can upload the photos and either pick them up in-store or have them mailed, though I believe mail-orders are processed and shipped by Shutterfly (which handles the ordering system), not by your local store; I've never ordered by mail from them though ...
05/12/2008 03:29:10 PM · #6
Originally posted by GeneralE:


Costco uses printer profiles from Dry Creek Photo and has an option to turn off the "Auto-Correct" feature -- I get pretty consistent results from them.

Adorama has printer profiles from drycreek as well. But I must be a complete idiot as I dont have a clue how to use them. Not really sure what I am supposed to do. I downloaded the Microsfot color settings manager for my control panel, and I can see the name of the adorama print profile that I want but i am not sure how to load it up proper or how to use it in general. Any tips?
05/12/2008 03:40:08 PM · #7
I'd start with the postings at Dry Creek -- I think they explain as well as anyone how to install and use the profiles.

To be honest, I don't use profiles or calibration tools or color-management ... my cameras have always been limited to shooting in sRGB/JPEG anyway, so I just leave it in that form. I have a Sony Trinitron CRT monitor adjusted to shot the DPC voting-page grayscale in all its shades, and I use Photoshop's densitomiter (the Info window) to check the values at the ends of the scale -- no monitor is completely accurate. I'd say most of my prints come out as I expect or slightly darker -- which can be a natural consequence of viewing reflected rather than transmitted light.
05/12/2008 04:34:14 PM · #8
I have ordered over 100 prints from mpix and never had one problem. They produce incredible images!
1) They process the order right away, send an email letting you know they recieved the order, and the last email letting you know its being shipped. I usually order about 10-20 large pics at a time and they ship them the same day.
2) I usually print landscapes and nature photos. I use their matte and metallic finish. They both come out great and metallic looks amazing with landscape images. Colors are incredible and it matches the image on the computer dead on.
3) I have tried Winkflash,Costco, and Adorama but when compared to Mpix they lack the quality and their colors didn't seem as vibrant. I won an arts and film festival and had a professional from az highways and few other photographers from local magazines asking where I printed the image and how incredible of a job they did.
4) I used their customer service a few times to just ask questions about various things and they have always responded within a hour or two.
5) My sister ordered about 25 b&w shots from her wedding using Mpix's true digital b&w paper. They came out beautiful!
6) They offer mpix roes which is quicker to order images and I have never had a problem with it.
7) Only negative is when ordering they all have to be matte, metallic, or b&w. They don't let you combine different finishes into one order.
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