Where to get non-standard size photos printed?
June 1, 2015 7:31 AM   Subscribe

I've taken couple of panorama photos that I'd like to turn into photo prints...

I also have a couple of square images, that I'd like to have printed as square pics. Not necessarily looking for enlargements (though that might be nice at some point), as some of these are phone pics. I'm finding only the option of positioning my image onto a 4x6 photo, then enlarging the image to fill the space. This loses me a good part of the edges of my square photos, and doesn't work for panos. Is there someone you have experience with who can print panorama photos and square photos from a jpg? Is there some special way to ask for this service that everyone offers but that I'm missing out on? Thanks!
posted by Gilbert to Technology (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
MPix is well regarded and has a variety of print sizes, including panoramas and squares: print sizes

The panoramas are 5x15 and 5x30 and they also have some 2:1 ratios. They are not cheap because it's a pretty specialized product.
posted by smackfu at 7:37 AM on June 1, 2015

One work-around option is to print at a large size with blank space: drop your photos into a photo editor and re-save as a new jpg with the aspect ratio you want, including white space. So instead of a 5x5 square, it's now a 6x8 rectangle with white borders. Take two panoramas that are roughly 5x15, say, and set them next to each other to make a single photo that is 10x15, and have it printed as a 11x17 with white space.
posted by aimedwander at 7:53 AM on June 1, 2015

Most photo printing equipment has a limited number of sizes that it can produce. So what is going to happen behind the scenes, almost invariably, is that the operator is going to mat out the photo with white space to whatever standard size is required to print it without cropping, and then they'll physically trim it down after the fact. In some cases it might be cheaper to just mat it out in Photoshop and have it printed at the larger size, and do the trimming yourself. Depending on exactly how big you want to go, Costco and WalMart both do a good job printing things and the equipment is the same as what you'd get at more expensive places. (I wouldn't trust the techs at WalMart to trim a photo without getting fingerprints all over it, though, at least not at my local.)

The exception is if you have your print done on an inkjet machine on roll paper, which gets more common as you get into very large poster sizes. Those printers can typically do something of arbitrary length.

As a sidenote, you may have considered this already but if you make odd-size prints, you're going to have a heck of a time framing them for display, unless you either get custom frames or custom-cut a mat for them. If you don't have access to a mat cutter, I have found that the cost to get a custom one to be stupendously high, to the point where it is cheaper generally to just have the print made bigger but to a standard size, and then "virtually mat" it with a white border. This is how I normally do full-frame 35mm aspect ratio prints without cropping.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:32 AM on June 1, 2015

I've used the FreePrints app to print phone pics, you pay more for shipping so nothing is every really "free" but its handy to print out pictures. You can upgrade your pictures to square size for i think 50cents each, but you may get some free in the beginning to see if you like the process. Takes a few days to mail them to you so its not instant gratification but again, it just helps me print out pictures rather than leaving them on my phone forever!

There are a couple other apps that work for printing out square size pics. I recently ordered from Sticky9 but the order hasn't come yet so I can't speak to the quality just yet.
posted by kmr at 10:57 AM on June 1, 2015

Look for a good digital print company in your area. If you are not sure check with a good camera place. If you use photoshop, then work out how you want the print to look in photoshop, and tell the printer to just let Photoshop handle the print job. Tell them you want archival inks and paper.

They will try to tell you dye inks are OK and will last 25 years, not so, I had to replace three year old dye prints. Digital print places can print whatever size you want. Hahnemuhe 306 gam is a great matte paper, thick enough it can just be behind glass with little tape on the backing. Ilford and Epson make fine gloss or pearl papers. Print places have paper samples.

A good shop will let you look at your file in their monitor so you can see how the print will turn out, handled by the photo processing program you do work with. Monitors need to get calibrated monthly so what you see, is what you get, in print.

Good luck.
posted by Oyéah at 10:59 AM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

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