Making inexpensive, high quality, archival photographic prints

An exhibition of what I call my “light study” work just closed in Providence. One of the many fun things about this show was that it featured my newest color “light study” work. In the past, this work was only in black and white, so this is a new and exciting direction for me. You can read more about the new work here: http://meredithcutler.com/image/david-h-wells-light-studies-for-artscope-magazine-septoct-2008.

Although I have fully embraced digital photography, I have never been impressed with digital “ink” prints. Call me “old school,” but I still want my images on silver-based photo paper. So, after not printing much in the way of exhibitions for a few years, I am now printing again. It turns out I was waiting for what are now commonly known as laser jet or light jet printers.

I was introduced to this technology while teaching at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). The way these work, to quote a photo lab’s site, is “whether uploaded online, at our kiosks, or mailed to us on a CD, your images are precisely encoded and transmitted using laser technology onto a silver halide paper, just like the paper used in a traditional photo lab! They’re processed and printed on high quality Kodak and Ilford paper in your choice of finishes.”

I was very happy with the prints that were made for the recent exhibition, but when friends started writing me about those same prints, I realized the prints were in fact as good as I thought. A few quotes about the prints:

“I got to see your show before it closed and it looked great. The prints were gorgeous.”
“I especially liked your show because I found each print to be soulful through the artful use of lighting.” “I was wondering the name of place you print your photos in NYC because those looked really good.”

The last note made me realize that I should share my experience. The prints were made through: www.adoramapix.com/index.aspx. If you check their prices they are very reasonable. The key to getting good prints through their system is to follow it exactly. Not approximately, but exactly.

For example, you must have a monitor-calibration device. (The money you will save on prints can be used to buy that.) In addition you must properly use their printer profiles. Finally, if you are smart, you will do some tests where you send them sample images to see how their system and yours correlate (or differ.) If you follow their system, keep track of the corrections you make along the way and keep everything systematic, you will end up with inexpensive, high quality, archival photographs that you can proudly show and sell.

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