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It DOES Matter Where You Print Your Photos!!! | Virginia Beach Photographer| Vanessa Hicks Photography

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I have been planning this blog post for a while now! 

While I do offer digitals to my clients, which will be changing in the future, I constantly stress to each and every one of them that it DOES matter where you get these pictures printed at! I give examples, and even made it easy to have clients order prints right off their gallery. 

“Well, why do I have to spend that much when for $3 I can do to Wal-Mart and get them printed in an hour?”

Do you know how many times I’ve heard that?

“CVS is a professional lab, I’ll just print them there”


Well, I figured the only way that I could show  you guys WHY I am so passionate about WHERE you print your prints, is to actually do a comparison of these local “labs” and a professional quality print.

The end result, is pretty eye opening!

**Disclosure: None of these images are edited. All I’ve done is scan them right to the computer**

Ok, lets start off with my beautiful daughter Jasmine’s fall pictures! I must admit, when I saw these in person, even I was shocked!!!

Hopefully the first thing you notice here is that my daughter is all different colors of the rainbow here!!! 

I promise you, my daughter is not that shade of green in real life :) Photo printed at Wal-Mart

I promise you, my daughter is not that shade of green in real life 🙂 Photo printed at Wal-Mart

The other thing that I noticed with these prints were that they were not very sharp, or over sharp as well. A lot of ‘fuzz’ in these, especially Wal-Mart prints. 

Printed at Walgreens

Printed at Walgreens

While this picture printed at Walgreens doesn’t have my daughter green (see what I did there? I crack myself up! LOL), she is too light and overexposed! Her lipgloss on her lips look white, as does the rest of her!

Printed at CVS

Printed at CVS

That brings me to CVS. While if I HAD to choose between these 3 (guess what, you don’t HAVE to, you can print your prints professionally through me), I would choose the CVS one. BUT, it was a very soft picture and the saturation is horrible! Now she looks orange!

Here is the professional quality print!

This picture is the right color in all the right places, she is sharp, as the image taken was sharp!!!

Still don’t believe me?

Well, let’s check these out from my other daughter Tatyana’s fall pictures!

Oh my poor baby’s face! I wanted to show you guys the difference in a portrait shot!

Printed at Wal-Mart...why all the GREEN!!!!!!

Printed at Wal-Mart…why all the GREEN!!!!!!

So, here we are again with Wal-Mart and the green tint! Even her hair is tinted green. Not something I want hanging on my walls.

Printed at Target

Printed at Target

So I switched this one up and printed a print at Target. While Target wasn’t horrific (who also works with Shutterfly, just FYI..) there is definitely a haze tint to is. Also, it really ‘muted’ her, meaning there was no ‘pop” to this image. It is also light and the saturation is off.

Printed at daughter hasn't been tanning!

Printed at daughter hasn’t been tanning!

Again, noticing the same thing at CVS…a soft image with too much saturation! I can only imagine how this would be on different color skin tones since it seems to over exaggerate on saturation. 

And here is the professional image:

Professional Print

Professional Print

Again, here is the perfect color that came straight out of the camera. The image is sharp. There is definition or ‘pop’ in this image. 

Now, this is in NO way bashing these stores! I love Target! This is a comparison to these drugstore “labs”, who store clerks that know nothing about photography print these images, and a professional quality lab that has amazing customer service, and knows how to print prints on professional printers. This is meant to educate you on the difference.

*NOTE- I am sure that lab results also vary greatly depending on location. These are my results from local drugstores.*

Ask yourself, why would you spend all that money to book a session, get amazing images, and then have them ruined by these labs! To the untrained eye, had you picked up just one of these images, you may not have seen anything wrong, heck, I used to print at Wal-Mart ALL THE TIME! I loved the convenience of it! But with the cost of some of these prints, i.e. Walgreens and CVS were the highest cost at almost $5 for an hour print, you can pay just a few more dollars, and have professionally quality prints for years to come!

In each and every gallery that I send  to you, there are instructions on how to order prints from the professional lab that the gallery is attached to it. USE it! It’s worth it!

I will be doing a follow up post about this in the future, as I am curious how Black and White images would prints, as well as images with a lot of white in them.

Do you have questions about ordering prints or what you should do? Drop me a line and lets chat!





  1. Kristen says:

    Do you print these yourself or send the digital off to a lab? I’m assuming the latter and if so, who do you use?

  2. lila says:

    so what is the name of the professional print place you use?


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