Let me begin this by saying; Wal Mart has exceptional pricing on its products. Now that I have got that out of the way; Wal Mart and other low cost photo labs are the bane of professional, semi professional and advanced amateur photographers everywhere. As someone who wants to offer the best product for their customer and spends numerous hours editing photographs to come up with what we consider a product that represents our hard work, I hate to know that my photographs can be printed at those inferior printers. Now, do not get me wrong, for the occasional snap shot, family outings, or recent birthday party, I think they are by far the best way to save money and get your photos quickly. I understand the reason for their existence and I accept that they are available.
Your photo session is an investment. So the photographs that you get from that session should be an extension of that investment. I feel a good analogy would be buying a sports car and putting on inferior tires. Sure they look okay and they do the job, but why? You paid for a professional photographer to come up with the best possible photos during a small amount of time. Why not make sure that those photos represent that small amount of time is the best possible way?
The entire reason for this blog rant: my wife and I had a couple of parties scheduled at our house this past weekend. She said that we should replace the photos in our frames with new photos that I had taken. Of course, I was excited about it, but knew it was too late to order them from my usual lab in time for the parties. So, after loading my photos on a flash drive, we head to Wal Mart to get them printed. We get to the photo area and pull the photos from my flash drive onto the photo kiosk. I select the ones that I want to print, the sizes that I need and say, "no" to all of the extras and get my receipt. Five minutes later I scan my receipt and out comes my photos and my disappointment. The colors are dull and drab and even the black and white photos are only black and white. There seems to be no gradient or smooth transitions. On some of the photos, the picture is not even printed on the entire sheet and there is a white bar where the rest of the photo should be. To sum it up, I am deeply upset. Now, I should have complained and asked for my money back and made a scene, etc. etc., but I knew what I was getting into when I decided to try and get them printed. Please learn from my mistake and do not, under any circumstances, get your professional photos printed at an inferior lab....
I also have found other blogs of other photographers having similar experiences: