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Sunday, July 1, 2007

State-Of-The-Art Labs


Creative high-tech imaging for your photographs


State-Of-The-Art LabsAs good as our home photo printers are, they have limitations. With the advances in printing technology, state-of-the-art imaging labs can print photographs on virtually anything now—and affordably—even if you want only small quantities. The quality is top-notch, and the turnaround time is remarkably fast in most cases.

Enlargements, calendars, postcards, canvases, T-shirts—you name it—there’s a lab out there that can print it for you. And a majority of them have websites with easy-to-navigate menus and ordering protocol for uploading images and product selection.

For example, Mpix, an online division of Miller’s Professional Imaging, has recently added books to its lineup of products. The free MpixPRESS software you download for designing a book is so simple to use—no degree in graphic design needed. When you’re done, upload the PDF, and 24 hours later, it’s printed and mailed back to you.

Unlike a typical press that deals in large volumes with big prices, you can have limited quantities made, or even just one. Hardcover books are 8½x11 inches, with vertical or horizontal orientation. Each book starts at a minimum of 20 pages for $30 dollars. Each additional page is 50 cents, up to a maximum of 50 pages. Covers are available in blue or black. Interior pages can be either 100# text, pearl or linen paper.


State-Of-The-Art LabsSoftcover books start at 12 pages and are available in three sizes: 7¾x10 inches for $25, 8½x8½ for $20 and 5½x5½ for $15. Each additional page is also 50 cents, up to a maximum of 40 pages (excluding front and back cover). Outside cover is 100# heavyweight cover stock; interior pages can be either
100# text or linen.

Besides books, Mpix has also added a new line of canvas Gallery Wraps with a 1½-inch stretcher frame. Compared to its ¾-inch, the wider sides make a much bolder statement on a wall.

Images are printed on Fuji Hunt satin canvas on one of three Epson Stylus Pro printers—the 10600, 9800 or the 9600. Then the canvas is stretched around the frame so the image continues around the sides. It’s a nice effect, but keep this in mind before cropping an image you want printed. Details near the edges will end up on the sides of the Gallery Wrap. If you want them to be visible on the front of the canvas, you’ll need to crop wider or not at all.

For traditional prints, labs are particularly useful for making affordable, premium-quality enlargements. Mpix uses ultra high-end RGB laser printers from Durst, and you can get up to a 20x30-inch print for $25. A 16x20-inch is $16, and a 20x24-inch is $20.

Make sure your monitor is calibrated correctly so any color adjustments you make while editing will be accurate and predictable. Also, check with the lab to make sure you're using the same color space they are—either sRGB or Adobe RGB.

Contact: Mpix, www.mpix.com.




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