Friday, October 2, 2009

McDonalds, Panera, Bistro

Did you know Bacon has one eye? I just wanted to post a picture. Now I'll go on talking about other things.

I got lots of emails and some comments after this post, asking where I get my pictures printed, when I once in a blue moon actually print a photo. I take several hundred pictures a month just of my own family, and they stay nicely archived on my hard drive, and also organized neatly in my Flickr account, safe out there on the Internets for good.

Side note: Flickr is an incredible resource, by the way. If you don't have an upgraded Flickr account, and you take a LOT of pictures, I'd highly recommend it. You have unlimited storage, and Flickr's uploader is very, very quick and convenient. You organize your photos into as many files as you'd like right there in the uploader, before you even begin to upload. There's no work later- you can place one picture of your sweet cherubs into three different folders online quickly, right there before uploading. And folders get placed in collections if you'd like...and you can choose which photos will be public or private from your Flickr account...and you can link to easy slideshows when you want to post and share a LOT of photos to your blog at once...It makes my organizing-loving, photography-loving heart sing. I can reference past images in so many's fantastic.

But there is something fantastic about printing them and being surrounded by great moments in your home. Really, it just depends on you, your pictures, and what you're looking for. Picking up prints quick at Target or Walgreens can be great for quick, affordable, in-hand snapshots, or when you need something fast.

I'd now like to compare photography in terms we can all understand: Food. You can eat at McDonalds (quick, cheap, not great but it gets the job done), or you can hop over to Panera (still pretty quick, exceptionally better, not so cheap, but not bad, great experience), or you can head to that cute brick-walled Bistro downtown (you wait longer, but it's the total package- ambiance, exceptional service, incredible options, amazing food...higher price tag- but it's not fast food. It's an art.)

How a photo is taken, and how you print it really goes hand in hand. We all eat at all those places at different times. If you've got a McDonald's picture, print it at McDonalds. (Just some slam-bam straight out of camera with your point and shoot, no editing done but you need them printed.) If you've got some Panera on that memory card, respect the Panera and step up a little (still a basic photo, but you've done some cropping, perhaps some slight editing like red-eye or adding black and white etc. on whatever software you use on your computer or online).

If you've labored to gain skills and quality beyond the everyday snapshot, respect the art, and show that print some Bistro love. Go all out. And get linen texture to boot. You will not regret it.

If you're looking for a step up or two (and if your specific print needs call for it and your budget allows, I'd encourage you to try), there are a few places to give a shot, to find what's best for you.

You're probably aware and already use one of the widely-known online printing and storing places, like Snapfish, or Shutterfly or the like. And I'm sure you know where your local drugstore/discount store is located. These are perfect for most people.

Flickr - if you take a lot of Panera pictures, I'd recommend Flickr. Just don't use too many of their editing tricks (they are a great beginner's alternative to Photoshop) if you want to print a larger size, or the resolution will just be lacking. Online it will be fine, but they're going to warn you if the res is too low for a certain size when you order- no worries. And you can have them sent to your home, or sent to Target for pickup. Which gives you an excuse to go to Target.

If you really want to step up to Bistro dining, do some online are a couple of great ones...but there are more- an internet search, followed by careful reading of pricing, quality, and service policies will help you out. Then, take advantage of free test prints before you commit, if possible, to see the real deal.
Color Inc.
And I'm adding White House Custom Colour too, though I haven't used them, and didn't know anyone personally that did, until Mrs. Staff Sergeant confirmed that they're awesome too.

These are really great companies- you just have to try them out. And I'm sure maybe a few people will leave helpful comments of other companies they've tried and love.

It's all about what you think- so try them out. See how the colors and quality look, if things are looking sharp, and right. It's really just something you need to see and hold in your hand, rather than hearing exactly what I do. See how they work to gain your trust, to serve you as their customer. To help you out when something isn't right, especially if it's their fault. There's a lot of great companies out there.

What I will say is, there is a difference. And if you're printing something that will be prominent in your home, something that you love, something that is so very your family, it's absolutely worth it to spend a little more for the quality.

And now I just want to eat some Panera. Shoot.


Keri said...

Bacon is cuuute! One eye and all :)

I use White House Custom Color and have been very happy with them. Their customer service is awesome!

On another note- I'm in love with Flickr too. I have most of my "keepers" saved there just in case my computer ever crashes. They're on an external hard drive too...Is that overkill?? I'm just a tad obsessed about the possibility of my computer going kaput and losing everything. Are we Flickr friends? I cant remember. I'll have to check later :)

Danielle said...

I love Mpix and use them ALL the time. I've also used WHCC too.

Tara. said...

I LOVE your dog!! So cute!
Thanks for your sweet comments on my blog-made me smile! I was planning to come erase it this morning because I was so tired and I didn't think it made sense. But then there were 2 comments, so I guess it wasn't as awful as I thought. LOL!

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog today and I'm in love for several reasons. I'll list two:

1.) Bacon. I love Bacon. Both the food and the dog. I have two kittens [brother and sister - don't look anything alike] who are each missing one eye!!!

2.) I tell people EVERY DAY not to print their photos (or worse, MY PHIOTOS) on Wal-Mart photopaper or I'll give them a wet willy.

I'll be back!

Anonymous said...

I had no idea I'd be back so soon, but I do want to say - Nations! I use Nations photo lab [online] for my photos and they're great! They even offer premiere packaging like White House does.

Kimberly said...

Im all about WHCC. I had heard their colors were off compared to ACI but so far my experience has been great. And the customer service is amazing.

Joe said...

Enjoyed your post, though you may want to Find & Replace Flikr for flickr (with a c). And hey, where's the McDonald's love anyhow. :o) I enjoy a Sierra Turkey sandwich but it was eye-opening to learn the calorie comparisons. ciao

anne said...

I heart you very much!

Eva said...

I have been wondering where you print your photos since you're doing professional stuff now. I have all my stuff on snapfish but am sometimes disappointed that the photos I get back aren't as crisp as the pic looks on the computer. Dunno if this is my camera or their printing though...

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