Tuesday, 29 June 2010

North London Photographer: Are Professional Prints "worth it"?

Like any professional photographer, I get asked from time to time for a CD or DVD of images, so that my customers can get their own prints made.   My response is always the same - that I'm reluctant to do this as the quality of print/canvas/wall print that I can get from trade suppliers is always higher than the equivalent products from the "High Street".

So that I can be really happy to say this, from time to time I produce test prints from my own supplier and compare those against major "consumer" brands.  I thought it would be useful to show you the results of my latest comparison.

I began by submitting exactly the same file, an image taken from a recent wedding to both my usual "professional" lab and to perhaps the leading online "consumer" labatory out there.  The Image was taken on my usual Canon 5D Mk II with a 24-70 lens.

The first comparison comes in terms of delivery time.   The pro lab had the files back to me 2 days after I sent it, whereas for the consumer lab I needed to wait one additional day.   Now both services used the standard mail service so whether this delay was down to the lab or the post office I can't say for certain.

In terms of packaging, both items came very securely packed and consequentally the prints reached me in A1 condition.

I've scanned in both of the prints (again not adjusting anything apart from the resolution) and thought I'd upload the images and talk you through some of the differences.

Looking first at the "consumer" print in isolation and it seemed well, OK.  Apart from the reds of the Grooms coat looking a little blocky it at first glance at least, looked very acceptable.

Consumer Full Print
Reduced size scan of full "consumer lab" print.

The first thing I noticed when comparing it with the Professional print was the comparative lack of contrast.    True the colour tone was pretty good, but the contrast missing from the consumer print meant it lacked the same level of "pop".

Professional Full
Reduced size scan of full "professional lab" print.

I then looked more closely at the two prints and it was here that the differences really jumped out at me.  
Firstly the professional lab print looked much sharper and contained an incredible amount more detail than the consumer print (the remaining images in this blog entry are full resolution crops from the untouched scans of the original prints).

The added detail captured by the high quality sensor in the 5D was getting lost in the muddy blur of the consumer print - have a look at the groom's belt buckle for perhaps the best example.

The next area where the professional print scored well was how it held the detail in the highlights.  There's little point in a bride investing large sums of money on a beautiful dress only to skimp on the printing and having all of her memories showing only a feint blur where the jewels sat.


Finally I looked at both the brides bouquet and the folds of the foot of her dress.  Again for me the detail is "night & day" - the professional print recording more detail more sharply and retaining highlight (shades of white) detail far better than the consumer one.


As a professional photographer, the quality of image that I present to my clients is of absolutely paramount importance.   Not only do I want them to be "wowed", I want any of their friends, relatives or colleagues who see my work to be similarly impressed by my high standard of work.   If I allow my customers to print their own images then I'm losing out on one of the major ways I can do this.     Photographers who don't sell "images on CD" are not necessarily looking to make major extra profit from their own print sales, they just care passionately about showing their work at the highest possible quality always.  Respect their craft and you'll get the best in return.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

North London Photographer Loves: This "flash mob" wedding proposal

As seen on YouTube - A Proposal in Washington Square Park. May 13th 2010. A seemingly unsuspecting lady is suddenly surrounding by a crowd of fifty dancing couples as her boyfriend proposes! Then they all bust into a great choreographed number.


Wednesday, 23 June 2010

North London Photographer: Guerilla Portraits at MyCoffeeStop Enfield

On Wednesday 4th August, I'll be making my way to the best coffee shop in Enfield - the small, but perfectly formed MyCoffeeStop on Platform One at Enfield Chase station. Here I'll be running a Guerilla Portrait session, ambushing commuters and families to raise money for the Chickenshed Theatre

Gunter, the master barista was the guinea pig today as I took a few test shots so as to be ready to hit the ground running at 6am on the 4th August. Here's a few of my favourites:






Come along and see us, grab a coffee, a great portrait and support a great cause.

Monday, 21 June 2010

North London Photographer: Nicole & Tyrone - Pre Wedding Shoot in Wattling Park

Saturday saw me meeting with one of my future wedding couples, the lovely Nicole & Tyrone for a pre-wedding shoot.

We chose Wattling Park in Burnt Oak which gave us a mix of locations and backgrounds to work with where we spent an hour together making the following photographs.






One tip for aspiring photographers wishing to capture images from a low angle (like the first image shown here) is to check for stinging nettles before laying on the floor - despite wearing a shirt they didn't half sting!

If you'd like to see some more (and find out whether I suffered any more injuries in the making of them!) then hop on over to my facebook page and feast your eyes - whilst you're there why not mark yourself as liking the page, and be automatically kept in touch with what I'm up to.

Monday, 14 June 2010

North London Photographer: Nicola & Ben - pre-wedding sneak preview

On Saturday I spent a lovely hour in the (occasional) sunshine with Nicola & Ben, a really fun couple who are getting married in September.

I feel that a pre-wedding shoot like this is an essential part of any wedding package. On your wedding day you'll spend more time with your photographer than any other person (excepting your spouse!) so it's a really good idea if you get to know each other before the big day. From my perspective, it's really useful to see how comfortable my couples are in front of a camera, and what poses work best for them, and from the couples point of view it allows you to tell me what you like and don't like before we take your wedding pictures.

Enough of the spiel - here's a few of my favourites from Saturday:






I'll upload the full gallery to my website in a couple of days, from where Nicola and Ben will be able to chose their favourite shot as a gift from me, but in the meantime, if you'd like to see a few more of Saturday's pictures, pop over to my facebook page and see what's on show there!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Scott Kelby's 3rd Annual World Wide Photo Walk - ENFIELD


Scott Kelby’s World Wide Photo Walk is a chance to spend a couple of hours making friends and taking some great photos with other camera enthusiasts in the local area. This year, for the first time we'll have a leg in Enfield, and I'm very proud to say that I've been selected to lead this walk.

I'm hoping for better weather than this, but it's England in the summertime so you never know!

For those of you who don’t know what the Scott Kelby Worldwide Photo Walk is all about - basically it’s the biggest Photographic Event in the World; last year with over 900 Cities and 30,000+ photographers of all levels from Professionals with high end DSLR’s to kids with disposable cameras across the World taking part. (Check out the Photo Walk website for more details)

This promises to be a fantastic day of photography, making new friends and generally having fun so why not join me in Enfield on Saturday July 24th by registering at this link. I'd love to see you there.

Best be quick however, we're limited to a maximum of 50 places on the walk!

I'd also love to hear from you if you have a shop or community noticeboard locally and would like to promote the event by displaying an A4 poster.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

North London Photographer: Karen & Westley's lovely country wedding at Coltsfoot, Hertfordshire

Karen & Westley did really well yesterday to dodge the showers and have a relaxed and personal wedding at Coltsfoot Country Retreat in rural Hertfordshire.

Karen looked stunning in her beautiful wedding dress and Westley was quite the dapper gentleman in his classy blue suit.

I've placed a few of the pictures that immediately jumped out at me on the blog here and you can see a few more by jumping to my Facebook page.

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Thanks to Karen & Westley for allowing me to be part of their fabulous day, and being so generous to me whilst I was there - it's always nice when a couple treat you more like a guest than a paid help.

Don't forget to jump on over to my Facebook page to see some more shots from the day!