Outsourcing to photo labs

Most of my film orders are placed at B&H, which is also what turned me on to the A&I film mailers. The simplicity these offer wears off quickly. For someone who lives on the east coast the shipping time redefines the feeling of anticipation. Weeks can go by and then the prints arrive as a surprise. You almost forget that you sent them out and so there is some fun in receiving the package. A&I does an excellent job processing, printing and scanning film. If I lived closer, they would be a serious contender for my business. That said, I live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan – professional photo labs are not exactly rare.

So, if mailing off your prints is not something that is palatable, you need to find someone local. Luckily for me, there are two labs walking distance from where I work on Madison Avenue – Duggal and LTI. They both do great work, but I like the people, vibe and price at LTI. I have no doubt Duggal does a great job for their higher volume clients, but I always felt out of place walking in there and everyone always seemed too busy. LTI is a further walk but they make the time to get your order right without taking any longer than necessary. They service some big names and do not make me feel insignificant. I am after all an amateur, but I do not know anyone that wants to be treated less than professional.

My basic order is often as follows:

  • Process, print, scan.
  • Push 1 stop.
  • Glossy with white border.
  • TIFF format.

I figure, prints are not much more than contact sheets and they are larger and easier to review. Even though I have an Epson Workforce 600 All-in-One printer, my time is worth something, so I rather they scan them with their machine. They provide the images on FTP or CD which makes archiving easy. Pushing a stop is usually to compensate for over exposing and wanting to bring back some of the highlights. Until recently I did not have a film scanner, so their scans were my digital originals, hence the file format being TIFF. Regardless of the photo labs quick scan quality, why start out with a JPEG!

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