Monday, October 21, 2013

Why print on Professional Prints (a review of Nations Photo Lab)

As a photographer I get asked a lot of questions about photos, but by far the one asked most is, "so what's the difference between prints labs anyway? Aren't they all just the same?" 

My answer is always, it depends.   For years I was a loyal fan of my main lab, but they just weren't meeting my needs anymore so I got braved and decided to venture out of my comfort zone to try some of the other great labs in the country. This would help also ensure that my answer was indeed correct. I landed on Nation's  after seeing them on Creativelive and have found some great qualities and some things that might need a little improving. (in this case we're just looking at prints)

When it comes to quality of prints it they are very good.  The paper is high quality and you can feel the difference.  They are great on their sales, for instance right now you can order a 16x20 in any style of paper for $8.00.  That's a steal in an industry where the average 16x20 is at least $16 without the stylized papers. The next great thing is all of them are printed on Kodak Endura paper.  Some other labs made a switch because Kodak was having some business issues but their paper is still top of the line which coincides with Nations printing work.  The only thing I did not like is the fact you have to pay for test prints.  It can get expensive and people can abuse it but it's one of the things I used to try out and compare printing styles because in the end the biggest difference in printers is their ability to match the color you were wanting, for your images to shine.  Though I didn't like that it was nice to see the colors when I had the chance to try it and was not disappointed.

Of course nothing will convince people more than to try it for themselves.  With their sale, now is a good time to go for it and fall in love like I did.

If you want to try a great quality printer today just click on my link. Thanks for reading :)

Click to Try Nations Photo Lab

Monday, September 16, 2013

Artsy Couture Canvas Review

I had the privilege, recently, of being able to review a gallery wrapped canvas from Artsy Couture. They are a newer company adding their name to the professional photography printing world. They got their start by introducing a new design called Gallery Blocks.  A process that involves taking a single image, putting it on a board and than layering small standout images on top, allowing a very unique and 3d effect for your images. They have continued to add products to their line ever since, with the most recent one being their press cards.   For this review I only had the chance to try their gallery wraps. To let my readers know the difference (because I get asked a lot) A regular canvas wrap is not as thick and many a times still requires a frame in order to display it. This is because the staples used to hold the canvas taunt are seen on the side of the stretcher bars where as a gallery wrap is usually thicker and the staples are on the back.  It's a harder process to accomplish by hand thus they are a bit more expensive but you don't have to frame them, they can be hung on their own.

Their gallery wraps aren't like many of the others offered in the printing world.  They have a special way of making them almost a hardened canvas as opposed to the traditional open back canvas many see today.  This is a plus on a couple levels. For those with kids it means there's no way for them to get damaged if someone were to say, throw something at them, it always means they are easier to move and store because again there not a place for something to cause a hole or slit.  The con is, they are a lot heavier than a traditional canvas so they will require a more anchored nail for hanging.
Ok on the review:
I ordered a print that should be very familiar, in fact if you look at my previous post you should see the original there.  The Artsy Couture ordering system is more set up for photographers than for the average person so in order to place an order you have to download an ROES system. It's pretty easy to use once you do that. Just follow the prompts. I placed the order on 7/29/13 and I had the final product on 8/8/13 It's not the fastest turnaround if you're ordering it for a client or as a gift but it's not bad either.
Here is how it arrived

I was impressed with how well it was packaged and liked the extra bubble wrap

Even going all the way to the back and than covered with saran wrap

Not really sure what the Saran-wrap accomplishes. It maybe used to ensure that there is no rubbing on the corners, which can be a problem sometimes.  Something I had actually happen to me when I reviewed another company.

The final image was quite good.  I liked how sharp it was and can see that they have gotten pretty good on their colors.

The back was also neatly done, complete with a sawtooth to allow you to hang it on the wall.  You can upgrade to a wire I think if you choose but the sawtooth works well

 I also wanted to see about image rubbing as mentioned before, wanted to show the thickness and here's the back as well.

All and all I was pleased with the final product.  I'm still not sure if I will offer it to my customers just yet but I'm willing to give it a try.  And I can't wait to try their gallery blocks.

If you're interested in ordering your own masterpiece feel free to follow them on facebook That's where they show off their latest products and post any sales or promotions.

* so there is full disclosure the author received a free gallery wrap in order to give the review.  All opinions are fully my own and I did not receive any other compensation for the review.  Thank You :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Blueberry Hill

Here where I live our community is blessed to have a wonderful farmer's market.  It's such a fun thing to go to a place and know that your food has been freshly grown and picked in the area you live.  As fun as this is, I took it a step further yesterday and made myself the finder of my food. We have many great pick your own farms, one of which I'm dying to try during apple season but for my adventure yesterday I went to this cute little place called Heritage Family Farms.

It was a bit hot to say the least but they had some of their bushes in the shade and there was a nice breeze so it really wasn't too bad.  The experience was so much fun.  I couldn't help but feel happy and free seeing all the blueberry beauty around me.  Being a photographer I, of course, had to snap a few shots. They probably thought I was nuts. Here are a few of my favorites

I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with my bounty yet.  The good part is I don't have to decide right away because you can freeze them for up to a year.  If you or your family are looking for a fun activity and teaching tool, I would highly encourage you to find a local family farm.  It will form a great memory both in the picking and in the food that will be produced after. What are some of the recipes you can use fresh blueberries in?

Monday, July 8, 2013

I'm BAAACKK and a review on Photobarn

It has been a loooong time since I have updated my blog.  I want to start by apologizing.  I don't know what I've been up to to forget keeping you updated on my lasted fun and adventures.  I'm going to do my best to keep things up and going again.  Since I last blogged I have decided to go into the direction of Portrait photography.  I still do my fine art work and will talk more about those projects in future posts.   One of the fun things about doing portrait work is trying out your work on different mediums before offering them to your clients.  The most recent trial was with a company called Photobarn. They were and I think still are offering a 5x7 print for free you just pay shipping, which was 6.99. I decided to give it a try.
Here is the photo in it's original form

 Cute huh?? Well the cool thing that this company offers is for a print to be printed on wood.  And that was the form they were offering for free.  I had been anxiously waiting to get it in the mail and today it finally came.  It shipped pretty quickly.

When I first saw the package I was a little disappointed as for $6.99 this is what I got

It has been sent first class in a bubble envelope.  A little disappointing but not horrible.  I opened the package and looked inside to find this little guy

You can see the wood grain really well but the printing was just really too light for my taste.  You couldn't even see the out line of the wheat grains that faded into the distance. 

I know, I know it was free what should I expect, but the thing is this little guys normally cost $15 PLUS the $6.99 shipping!  A little too pricy for me considering the quality.

 In conclusion, it's a great little novelty thing but I don't see me offering this to my customers anytime soon.   If you want to give it a try feel free to click on the link I provided in this post and give it a go.  Who knows you might have better luck than I.   

Thanks again for being my readers and I hope to see you back real soon :)  

If you would like me to photograph your precious treasures please check out my facebook page at    or email me at

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