I have had two clients in the past few weeks that wanted bulk print orders and the printing for framing, memorabilia, etc. was a new side of the house for me. I’ve got some 40,000 RAW photo files in Aperture 2 (yeah, when I get a new Mac, I’ll get Aperture 3) now on this wonderful Mac of mine, but most of the time, I’ve either posted them on the Web on the Flickr account, Facebook, or Twitpic.
But these prints were serious stuff. One was softball team photos and “buddy” prints with 8x10s, 5x7s, wallets, and then I had an opportunity to shoot my city council members for 8x10s and one 11×14. In other words, these prints had to be high quality and they had to be right.
I’ve yet to figure out why my RAW files on the Nikon D-40 seemed to fluctuate in size. I also had a few issues with making the photos printable to 8 x10 without cutting off too much of the person in it. More on that in another post.
But I got out my Scott Kelby seminar workbook and then his all things considered book, Adobe Photoshop CS4 Book for Digital Photographers, and really picked up some great tips, like upping the resolution for 8×10 pics to 360 and then setting the Bicubic SHARPER (best for reduction) settings away from the Bicubic setting in the Image Size dialogue box. Apparently, these two changes made a significant difference in the prints.
MPIX, WALMART, TARGET and WALGREENS
I’d been trying to do my prints through Walmart’s online photo booth. I had even gotten to the credit card ordering section, but then a snag popped up between using my Chase Debit/Credit Card and their Visa Verify system. After even calling Chase and getting the password verified and even reset, the system for Walmart locked up and it said my credit card would never work on ordering on their site again. Can you say LOST SALE?
I then checked out Target’s site. And then Walgreens. Guess what? The ordering mechanism is the same for all three sites. What’s different, is their pricing, and if I recall correctly, Target gave a few more options on photo sizes.
But then last Saturday, in my weekly hour chat, actually, it was 2.5 hours this past weekend, with Ron Rose, my mentor from Fort Worth who you can find at RonsFaithNotes.com, he, too, a photographer, suggested I use MPIX.
And so, the rest of my day Saturday I began the ordering process. It was easy to set up an account. And there was no Visa Verify mess. The prints were ordered. The platform also made it easy to ensure that all the essential parts were going to be framed appropriately for the larger prints, and shipping, through the USPS standard rate was reasonable without adding a huge overhead cost. On top of that, since there’s not a retail MPIX outlet here in Texas, there was no sales tax either. So with all that, I probably came out ahead of what I would have been paying with Walmart, and for God’s sakes, I would have just handed my wallet over to Walgreens.
So, my endorsement, and I’ve not been paid a penny for it, I’d highly recommend MPIX for ordering prints. Now the post office wouldn’t leave my boxes at the apartment’s mail center, the front office, or heaven forbid, they actually drive the 100 yards to my door, so I had to make a trip to the post office. But everything came nicely, tightly secured in pretty, pristine white boxes, and they were double sealed, wrapped, and highly protected in the boxes, plus, I got a guarantee from Betty that she’d inspected my order to ensure it was all there.
On top of all that, each photo back has ClaxtonCreative.com printed on it so anyone who ordered the pictures knows where to contact me to get more. (Now all I have to do is really get that site up and running!)