How do I order prints?
How can I be sure what I see on my monitor will match the prints you produce?
Will you color-correct my files?
What sizes do you print?
What do you mean by “Fit In” and “Fill Out”?
Can you print black and white photos?
Are there special considerations when designing a layout?
What is the optimum file size for a print?
What paper surfaces do you offer?
What if I need a custom print?
What is the best file format for sending files over the internet?
Will jpegs compromise the qualtiy of my prints as compared to tiffs?
How can I be sure my photos are printed in sequential order?
Do you print from iPhoto disks?
Do you process film?
How do I send film?
Where do I send my film?
What do you recommend for shipping?
Q. How do I order Prints?
Order online from the Products section of our website. Our Express Prints and Economy Express Prints on photographic paper are offered in 30 sizes and 3 paper surfaces. In addition, we offer prints on specialty materials including canvas, wood, metal, self-adhesive fabric and fine art paper. For ready-made displays, we offer framed prints.
Q. How can I be sure what I see on my monitor will match the prints you produce?
A. You must have a calibrated monitor. We recommend that you use a hardware calibration method. We use the X-rite i1 Pro. The Spyder by Colorvision, the Colormunki and others are also great choices.
The settings in the calibration software that we use are the following: Brightness: 80 cd/m2 Black level: Minimum White Point: 6500k Gamma: 2.2
We also recommend the use of a good monitor. The concept of the more you pay the better the results is very true when it comes to achieving great color. We only use Eizo ColorEdge Monitors for all of our workstations doing any sort of image adjustments. Also keep in mind that having consistent color in the room is also very important. We use 5000K Solux bulbs throughout the lab and minimize the amount of outside light coming into the viewing areas as much as possible.
Q. Will you color-correct my files?
A. We can make overall color and density adjustments to your images. You are encouraged to instruct us whether to make adjustments or not. Digital camera users seeking an easy way to get good-color prints typically want us to optimize their photos, while those who perfect their own images in Photoshop prefer that we leave them alone. In the absence of instructions, our decision to adjust will be based upon the following: If the files appear to be unedited images from a digital camera, we will adjust color and density as we see fit. If the files appear to be edited in any way, we will print them as-is. Color-correction is not available on Economy Express prints.
Q. What sizes do you print?
A. Standard sizes for our Frontier printer includes wallets, 3.5”x5”, 4”x4”, 4”x5”, 4”x5.3”, 4”x6”, 4”x7”, 5”x5”, 5”x7”, 5”x7.5”, 8”x8”, 8”x10”, 8”x11” and 8”x12”. Larger sizes and custom sizes are available from our Chromira printer. A wide assortment of sizes up to 30”x40” are available for economical and efficient online ordering using Express and Economy Express.
Q. What do you mean by “Fit In” and “Fill Out”?
A. Our Frontier printer is designed to print on cut sheets of paper. We offer a selection of standard photofinishing sheet sizes including sizes proportional to digital camera format, common film formats and popular frames. The image from a file is interpreted to fill the selected sheet size of paper, without borders. If the proportions of the file do not match the proportions of the sheet, the image is scaled to fill the paper and the mismatch is cropped off and discarded. On request, we can “fit in” to the paper size to make a full-frame print with white borders on 2 sides.
Q. Can you print black and white photos?
A. Our equipment prints on color photographic paper, but we regularly send images without color tone to the printer with good results. Minor variations in the chemical process will cause visible color shifts on monochrome prints. We cannot guarantee perfectly neutral prints, and variations in the “color” of greyscale prints is to be expected.
Q. Are there special considerations when designing a layout?
A. Standard practices for designing a layout apply. It is especially important to pay attention to the relationship of your image to the edges of the sheet of paper. There are mechanical considerations to accommodate when full-bleed printing is done. “Full-bleed” means you are printing edge-to-edge on the paper, with no border. Our Frontier printer is similar to an optical enlarger in the way it approaches this goal. The image projected onto the sheet of paper is sized to be slightly larger than the actual size of the paper. The exact amount of overspill depends on the print size. Prints up to and including 4”x6” have a 12-pixel overspill on each edge. Larger prints have an 18-pixel overspill on each edge. Keep in mind that the purpose of the overspill is to accommodate slight misalignments that occur as the paper is moved through the printer. The actual overspill may not be uniform on all sides of the print. This means that there shouldn’t be significant components of the image that are quite close to the edge. We suggest a minimum of 36 pixels space from the image edge be allowed for important parts of the image. In designing graphics, hairline borders should be avoided, as they require both centering and skewing tolerances that are beyond the capabilities of the Frontier.
Q. What is the optimum file size for a print?
A. The optimum file size for printing on our equipment is 300ppi at the desired print size. As a rule of thumb, you can successfully print one size larger and two sizes smaller from a given file size. To go more than two sizes smaller, the file should be interpolated down in an image editing application such as Photoshop and saved as a different file. Magnifying the image more than one size can be successful, but much depends on the original image.
Q. What paper surfaces do you offer?
A. For photographic prints, we use Fuji Crystal Archive paper in glossy, matte (Super Type PD Lustre) and metallic finish. For Fine Art prints, we use Hahnemühle Photo Rag. Document printing is available on Mohawk 100# text and 100# cover. Business cards are printed on 130 lb. double-thick cardstock. Cardstock greeting cards are printed on semi-gloss or felt cardstock.
Q. What if I need a custom print?
A. To deliver a file, we recommend Dropbox at dropbox.com. We are happy to email you a Dropbox invitation on request. Other file transfer services, including wetransfer.com and hightail.com, can also be used. Phone 805-965-1832 or 800-207-7927 or email email@example.com to discuss your project.
Q. What is the best file format for sending files over the internet?
A. We recommend JPEG at compression level 9 or higher. Please choose Baseline (“Standard”) as the compression format. Do not use Progressive JPEG compression.
Q. Will jpegs compromise the qualtiy of my prints as compared to tiffs?
A. We have found almost no visible artifacting to occur if you use JPEG compression at level 9 or higher. Just be sure not to keep opening a jpeg, editing, then saving again. This is where loss occurs.
Q. How can I be sure my photos are printed in sequential order?
A. When you work with a sequence of numbered file names, a common problem is that the names get sorted in the wrong order. This is because file names are always treated as text, not as numbers, and alphabetically “10.jpg” comes before “1.jpg”. The solution is to “pad” the name with zeros. This means to make the names all have a certain length (say 4 characters), by adding (or “padding”) the name with extra “0”’s. These extra zero’s come before the actual number. For instance: 0001.jpg, 0002.jpg, 0003.jpg, 0004.jpg, 0005.jpg, 0006.jpg, 0007.jpg, 0008.jpg, 0009.jpg, 0010.jpg, 0011.jpg, etc. Zero-padded names will sort the same way alphabetically as numerically.
Q. Do you print from iPhoto disks?
A. Apple computers come with a file organizing and sharing program called iPhoto. It has a feature which allows a selection of image files to be burned to a CD for sharing with other iPhoto users. Unfortunately, it creates several versions if the image files, most of which are unusable for printing, and scatters them throughout a lot of folders. The end result is that we cannot be sure if we are printing the right files. Please do not use iPhoto to deliver files to us. Rather, select your image files, export them out of iPhoto and burn them to CD or deliver them electronically.
Q. Do you process film?
A. Yes. We process C41 and Black & White film in “dip and dunk” processors.
Q. How do I send film?
A. Print and fill out a Film Processing Mail Order Form for your type of film. You’ll find links to C41 and Black & White order forms on the Film Processing page of our website. Package your film and order form safely in a box or padded envelope and send it to us using your favorite shipper.
Q. Where do I ship my film?
A. Mail your package to: Color Services, 230 E. Cota Street, Santa Barbara, CA 93101.
Q. What do you recommend for shipping?
A. The USPS provides complimentary packaging for their Priority Mail service which is very handy. We use this option frequently with reliable results; however, the tracking is very limited. For the best tracking, use UPS or FedEx.