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  • Professional labs

    There have been several posts through a period of time regarding the use of professional labs for printing. I know some of you are not interested in a lab, while others might be looking for a good, reliable lab to do your printing.

    I used to shoot my share of weddings, and I have tried a few different labs for printing. There was only one lab that consistently produced the quality I needed, and that same lab now handles digital files for printing. If you are interested in checking it out, they have a web site at
    They are not cheap, by any means, but unless they have changed significantly, they produce professional quality consistently. They deal strictly with professionals, and you would need to set up an account to use their services.

    The lab is located in Crown Point, Indiana. I think they also have a lab somewhere in Florida, but I could be wrong. If you are looking for a lab, I suggest checking out their web site. But don't expect to get bargain basement prices.


  • #2

    This is the lab my uncle (a professional photographer) used for years and years.....he used to swear by their quality and service.

    Thanks for posting information from which we can all benefit



    • #3
      Hmmm...maybe this could be a useful category for our links database. Everyone put links to their favorite labs in the misc. category, I'll make an official category if we get enough to warrant it. Don't forget to mention a sentence or two about them, including where they are. It would be especially useful to have links from all over the world.
      Learn by teaching
      Take responsibility for learning


      • #4
        I used to be good friends with a guy who ran his own (basement)lab for a while, then he went to work for Burrell. I think he was a supervisor in charge of the custom printing and setting up quality setups for new machinery. We haven't seen each other in quite a while, but he's the one who got me started in photography. With his zest for quality, he fit right in place with Burrell. I think he's still there. A great guy!

        I'll put a link in there.



        • #5
          I'm thinking about sending some digital photo files to a photo lab and was wondering if anyone had any more suggestions/links?

          I usually print out my personal photos on my Epson, but I was wondering is there a big difference in having your digital images printed by a lab?

          Also, what does one look for in a lab's printing process? There are numerous online photo labs now of days, but what makes one better than the other?

          Love to hear some thoughts on this.




          • #6
            Hi T,

            I think the biggest difference in labs is quality control. You are more likely to receive best quality from a lab that caters to professionals. There are many things that you can't know about labs, such as how often they check their chemicals, how often they do maintenance on their machines, or what their quality control consists of. You might get prints from a lab that look great, only to find out at a later date that they didn't wash the prints effectively, or any number of other things. If the prints are important, I'd recommend sticking with a professional lab, or at least one that has a very high recommendation from others. Doug will probably add to this since he used to run a lab.

            I should add that Burrell's had been sold to Kodak since my original post. Kodak, in turn, recently sold to another outfit. I do have a friend who is in management there, and I doubt he would still be working there if quality took a big dip.



            • #7
              Thanks Ed,

              I checked out the site last night and it looks like a very professional lab. I think I will try it out. I saw that it had been sold to Kodak, but I missed the third sell.


              • #8
                Kodak just sold it within the last few weeks.



                • #9
                  Ya ol' Don Burrell had quite the empire. He owned 11 labs at the end, I think. A very rich man. He also owned all the Blockbluster Videos in NW Indiana. Then he sold them all, and the photo places too, all of if it. Sweet deal with Kodak, whatever it was, they invest in your company, and then you get an option to GET OUT while the going's good.

                  Don owns a pizza chain now. The video rental business seems a ridiculous thing to have money in, I say. Now photo labs, what was he crazy? Why'd he get out of those?

                  O we just have the photographers printing out their own prints now. There's that, of course. That sets everybody in a panic.

                  I always thought the burrell folks should remain clam, but that was before they'd have no more work for me. Seems there were certain... individuals on various websites... only charging $20 for restorations while the lab charged $200. DAMN YOU STUPID FOOLS, WHY DO YOU CHARGE SO LITTLE FOR YOUR SWEAT!?

                  But that's not all, supposedly labs are obsolete?

                  Print your own thing in shop, no waiting for the customer?

                  The TRUTH is the lab's been printing stuff out digital for YEARS, the chemical thing is a joke, because they're trying to elminate that sort of processing. It's all don'e on a computer, even when you pay, they know you can't tell the difference--for now.

                  If I were a photographer, I'd use 'em, sure, for the 16x20"s on canvas. 8x10's? Do 'em yourself, and get better results!

                  Anybody using a lab now? Buy a better printer, and get good paper. That's exactly what the lab does.


                  • #10
                    My lab is Kimbo Color in San Francisco, California. I have been with them for 15 years, I have tried others but have always gone back - they are very consistent with the best quality and are organized and efficient. Like Burrell they are more expensive, but redo's are so far between along with my happy customers that they are worth every penny. I used to have my portrait negatives processed locally, once a year a processor would jamb and I would lose some film (3 different labs). Kimbo has always processed all of our wedding film and has never ruined a roll.

                    Just a note;

                    Their digital and optical printers all print on fuji photographic paper which is processed in processors that use chemicals, I see them in action every week when I do my lab run ...

                    ... I do own an Epson 2200 inkjet, I have seen samples of dye-sub prints. In my opinion they have a different look than prints made on photographic paper. A scanned neg also has a little bit of a different look than a direct print made from a negative ...

                    ... so much of this discussion is really one of taste and a personal choice as to where to put ones energy and time...

                    ... as it is I can do a print from a digital file, then send it to Kimbo and half of the time I like their print better. The same people at the lab inspect both the optical and digital prints for best color and density ... they have alot of years on me when it comes to color printing.



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