Comparison of professional versus cheap printing service

Professional Prints vs. 1 Hour Print Services: Is There a Difference?

“Do you offer digital files?”

That’s a completely valid question. The simple answer: Be assured that you will receive a digital gallery with files specifically optimized for sharing on social media with every session.

I get it – believe me. We all need another square on our Instagram, another post on our Facebook wall for Aunt Sue to be able to share to all her friends of her sweet niece who is “all grown up.”

That being said – this post isn’t about digital files.

I’m not here to remind you how digital images can be accidentally deleted, how a computer can crash, or you can forget where you stuck that USB drive. (*V steps off soapbox*)

The question is WHY you should choose to order your prints through your photographer instead of heading down to the drugstore and picking up some prints an hour or two later.

Quality Control

The biggest reason to order prints through a professional photographer is quality. First off – if your photographer isn’t working with a color-calibrated screen – RUN!

But rest easy – I’ve got you covered. Having a color-calibrated monitor means all the colors on my monitor are exact and accurate with printer color calibrations. This means that a photo, when printed, will look exactly like it does on the monitor. This means no surprise color shifts, and prints that look just like you expect!

Comparison of professional versus cheap printing service

An example of the difference in printers can be found above. The picture on the left was provided by a local one hour printer in Houghton, Michigan. The picture on the right was provided by the professional lab I have worked with for over four years!

On the left, you can see that Desiree’s beautiful skin has a purplish tone, her black pants look faded, and the background of fall colors is too bright, resulting in the loss of detail in the foliage. On the right, all colors are balanced with the right amount of contrast and detail.

Online and drugstore photo labs use inconsistent color profiles, incorrect contrast settings, and auto “enhancements” intended for photos taken on low quality and outdated cameras. This results in discoloration (too orange or green or purple), pixelated, dark, or flat prints.

Want to see more examples of drugstore prints compared to a pro lab?
Amanda Jackson Photo has an extensive guide for you here!


One of the most important reasons to have your photographer print your photos is satisfaction.

I personally review each picture before I send it out to print and again before I pass them on to you, ensuring they are of the highest quality to protect your investment.

Ordering through a professional service ensures pictures that will stand the test of time and will not fade or yellow over the years. Prints have a protective coating to keep them beautiful for a lifetime without fading.

On top of that, if you’re not happy with how your images are printed, we’re able to reorder prints with no additional cost to you. Your local drugstores often will not honor this without a legitimate reason other than you simple do not like them. Professional photographers are able to do this because we use the best print labs in the world, and we know that our client is going to be 100% happy with the photos we present them with.


Finally, let’s be frank – you already have far too much on your plate! Why add one more thing to your to do list?

When you’re busy, it all adds up – taking the time to sit down and log in or actually GO to the drugstore, making sure you download the correct size for printing, hoping you remember to crop every image correctly so no one is missing a head or a foot. Then, you actually gave yourself another errand by remembering to pick them up later – and we haven’t even mentioned finally getting those prints in a frame and up on the wall!

We are here to make life a little simpler for you. As a full-service photographer, I assist with every step of the process so you can get back to what really matters – your family.

newborn session with big brother

Are you ready to let me help check off that to do list?

Log into your gallery and click on the cart button on the top right to select your images, and let me do the rest, no drugstore required 😉

About The Author

8 thoughts on “Professional Prints vs. 1 Hour Print Services: Is There a Difference?

  1. I couldn’t love this post more, it is so hard to explain the importance of prints being purchased from a pro lab, I love that you gave visual comparisons and such wonderful explanations!

  2. Even as a photographer this is so eye opening! It is so important for our clients to understand how to print their photos at the best quality! Thank you for sharing this ☺️

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