Sears Portrait Studio vs. iPhoto or Kodak Gallery prints
February 11, 2008 5:55 PM   Subscribe

Just had a bunch photos of the kids taken at Sears Portrait Studio. I ordered 10 sheets, plus the digital files on disk. It cost $150 -- $99 for the prints, $40 for the files, plus tax. Is it worth it to order the prints through Sears or should I go through a (cheaper) online photo site?

Would I have been better off just buying the disk, uploading the files and ordering prints online via Apple iPhoto or Kodak Gallery? Or even going to Target and printing them there? I imagine it would be cheaper that way, but will the print quality be as good as it will be through Sears? This is more important to me than the final cost, but it would indeed be nice to save a few bucks. FWIW, the images on the disk are JPEGs and most are 1920 x 2560 pixels.
posted by missuswayne to Grab Bag (9 answers total)
Looks like the first thing you will need is a copyright release, which Sears appears to sell for $24.99.
posted by kindall at 6:06 PM on February 11, 2008

Response by poster: Oh, I should have mentioned, the release came with the disk.
posted by missuswayne at 6:09 PM on February 11, 2008

Do you have access to Costco? Awesome print quality, excellent photo paper, and dirt cheap. Upload online and pick up at the store (or they can be mailed to you but it takes forever).
posted by peep at 6:45 PM on February 11, 2008

Apple has never failed me. The quality is as good as the camera that took the picture.
posted by bkeene12 at 6:57 PM on February 11, 2008

Response by poster: peep - No, unfortunately, there is no Costco nearby. I wish!
posted by missuswayne at 6:57 PM on February 11, 2008

Best answer: What with everyone in the photo printing business running basically the same machine as everyone else (some flavor of the Fuji Frontier), print quality is pretty uniform from one printer to another. Sharpness will be identical. The only possible difference you'll get from a cheap lab is a slight drift in color tone due to them not calibrating as frequently. But most likely you won't even have that problem.

What you pay for at a professional lab are things like spot removal, color correction, etc. Since this are professional studio shots, you shouldn't need anything like that.

For small prints, I like to have them done locally so I can pick them up by the next day at the latest, but any online photo service will do you just as good.
posted by echo target at 7:00 PM on February 11, 2008

For those who might land on this thread from elsewhere: Sears charges different prices in different regions for the whole session on disk. At the Calgary studios they charge $200 without prints, $49.99 with $125 worth of prints. Sometimes there are "specials" where the disk is only $29.99. Sometimes the manager has discretion. Mostly it's too expensive and a complete racket. But, you know.

Re: is it worth it to go elsewhere? I would say that it really depends on whether the teenager who took the photos and/or the teenager at the sales computer really gives a crap about the quality of your photos. Since you already have the disk, if you have any Photoshop-fu whatsoever (or even Microsoft-Picture-Manager-fu) you should touch up the prints yourself and get them printed at London Drugs or online, or through a friend who has a photo printer at home. If you don't understand photo software or have had poor results with online photos, go to SPS, ask them to please give a shit for one second to adjust your photos to optimal quality (the software they use is limited but even a few tweaks can often change things drastically for the better) and have them printed there.

It sounds like Sears where you are is selling the photo 'experience' for much less than in Canada, so it may be very comparable in terms of price & quality.
posted by Mrs Hilksom at 8:30 PM on February 11, 2008

Dude ignore the packages those high schoolers try to sell you and just buy the disk and then get them printed at Costco. You buy the disk, you have the rights to reprint.
posted by Chuck Cheeze at 10:22 PM on February 11, 2008

Ok, for what it is worth, despite what echo target says, I have seen differences. I sent the same pics to both snapfish and shutterfly and while they were both good, shutterfly's were somewhat better. A little more expensive though. I have also gotten some at both CVS and Target and they were no where near as good as the online ones. I donno nothing bout the sears though.
posted by d4nj450n at 12:28 PM on February 12, 2008

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