Simple | Timeless

Prints & Editing

What exactly is a custom print? Is there a difference between a print I make at Costco and one that I purchase from a professional photographer? The short answer is yes… usually.

The old photography model for wedding and social photographers was to own their images which was the negatives or slides and today (for most) the full resolution digital files. In this way they could make most of their income by charging incredibly inflated rates for the prints or albums. Many photographers such as myself have ended this practice. I just do not like this approach, you are hiring me to capture your moments and memories, you should own the images! In this manner you know exactly what you are spending and can decide wether or not it is worth it or in your budget to purchase albums or prints. I have already written a article about albums in an earlier post- this post is about custom prints.

Photographers always try to get the best exposure and color in camera when they take the picture. However images can almost always benefit from a second pass in the computer. We can adjust the exposure and the color and other levels to make sure that it is optimal and ready for printing. All reputable photographers should deliver ready to print images. This is what you receive from me on your disc. If you use a good lab you will have good images. A good lab can be referred by your photographer. I recommend a few online labs like Bay Photo and Smugmug, and certain Costco’s like the one in Alhambra have given me consistently good results. My current custom prints are either from Bay Photo or printed by me at home on a large format Epson.

See a video of my standard edit that all my images go through.

Custom prints should take things a step further- now what one photographer calls a custom print might be nothing more than what I described above. Ask for specifics, what does the custom print include? Some photographers will do what is called a batch processes and adjust the color and exposure for hundreds of photos based on one or two of them. Some will individual correct the images- this is always better and it is what I do. Even fewer photographers will include touch-ups like dodging and burning (lightening and darkening individual pieces of an image) air brushing (removing blemishes and smoothing skin tones) and effects and colorations. All of my custom prints include everything listed above. See a video of my custom editing process.

Print Colorations include sepia and selenium tones and other custom color tones. Effects include vignettes (darkening corners) and more advanced image editing such as adding a color flower to a black and white. Black and whites are also custom created by adjusting individual tones and colors. A lab black and white will only take all the color out of the image and many times will look flat and undramatic. You can see an example here:

Notice the image on the right has more pop, if you look closely you can see more detail in the flowers and the veil and the whites are whiter while the blacks blacker. Many others effects and adjustments are possible, my clients usually give some input and then leave it to me to create the custom images as I see it.


Picture frames are expensive! I prefer thin wraps and the new metal prints that I produce for my clients. These prints have mounting blocks that allow them to be hung without a frame. See more at the links.

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