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Print Test Files?

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Old 11-17-2004, 11:09 PM
FrannyMae's Avatar
FrannyMae FrannyMae is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Posts: 92
Question Print Test Files?

I am at the point where I am ready to test some online photo processors. I would like to send several test files to check both calibration and print quality. I'll be printing digital pics, scans of negatives and prints, and restorations.

Can someone give me guidance as to the best types of photos to test? In particular, what types photos would best highlight processing or color problems? High key? Low key? High contrast? Vivid colors?

I know B&W can present different printing issues than color. Any advice specific to B&W photos?

I'm also going to try different types of finishes/papers to see what kind of results I can get. Again, I am lost when it comes to knowing what types of photos work "best" to check finishes/papers.

Based on some of the great information about photo processing here at RetouchPro, I have selected a few companies to try. I'm hoping you kind folks can help me figure out how to best check them out! Thanks!
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Old 11-18-2004, 08:23 AM
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Chip Hildreth Chip Hildreth is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Hillsborough, NC
Posts: 131
When I want to test something, I make the test as close to actual use as possible. Use images you want to print anyway. If you want to test a wide range, you have to sample, but still use the images you would ordinarily be printing. I think shadow detail is where most prints, from anywhere, are most likely to be weak. That's especially true if you shoot high contrast like outdoors in bright sun. Assuming you're using digital camera images, you may want to try different white balance situations, tungsten, flourescent, cloud, direct sun, etc.
You may try an image of a color chart like a Gretag Color Checker, a step-wedge or a Kodak Q-13 to compare the printer's output with your monitor.

I haven't used an internet printing source but I've seen some beautiful 16x20 prints made at Costco on a Fuji Frontier. I think there is a company that provides free color profiles for several Fuji Frontier sites in the US but I can't remember the website.

Good luck,
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Old 11-19-2004, 07:01 AM
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FrannyMae FrannyMae is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Dayton, Ohio
Posts: 92
Chips, thanks for the tips. I think I will just go through some photos I want printed and choose an assortment of "types." I'll pay particular attention to those that might show problems in the shadow detail. I have tons of pictures, both new and old, so it shouldn't be a problem to find appropriate shots! Thanks again.
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