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JohnHeckler
02-23-2007, 03:14 AM
Ok, so it looks like I will end up not entering the Ying Yang twins shot at MES (some are probably saying "good, it wasn't going to merit anyway) because it indeed came back from the lab with some visible banding from the gradiant.

Given the short runway I have to turn around another print I decided to abondon that one and will enter another. Fortunately I had printed a couple extra different ones.

However, my question is this ... allegedly the banding could be fixed by adding noise. But, if *I* did it, I'd potentially be trying a couple versions before getting it "right". So, I asked the lab if I could send them the PSD file and they could add the noise and run a test print to see if the banding was still visible. It would be a pretty straight forward thing as my gradiant was on it's own layer, etc.

They said they can't do that type of editing/art work. I said why not ... it's pretty straight forward and I will pay for it, I just need to turn this around quickly to which they responded they just don't do that type of thing.

Why is that? Is it really that unreasonable? Would the lab you use do that for you?

I'm pretty disappointed, but maybe that is standard operation procedures for labs ... I kinda doubt it though.

What has been your experience? I'm I crazy to expect a lab to be able to work with me on this?

Dave_Cisco
02-23-2007, 03:23 AM
Why is that? Is it really that unreasonable? Would the lab you use do that for you?

I'm pretty disappointed, but maybe that is standard operation procedures for labs ... I kinda doubt it though.

What has been your experience? I'm I crazy to expect a lab to be able to work with me on this?

This doesn't surprise me at all....What are the chances that you're going to be happy on the first pass?...the second pass...etc. As long as it isn't right, it's always going to be their fault.

Auralee_Dallas
02-23-2007, 03:29 AM
Millers wouldn't do it for me, but they did reprint the banded images for me when this incident arose. I had to fix them myself. They weren't even really tuned into the "noise" fix. There is a "different" look to the banding fix using noise and each person would have a different opinion on how much was enough or too much. I think if you didn't know how to do this yourself, you would have to hire a digital artist.
Unfortunately you were up against a time constraint, but you could have ordered a test print. Mine were for a wedding album, and I ended up changing the background to a pale solid, because I didn't like the look of the noise gradient.

Betsy_Finn
02-23-2007, 04:46 AM
I had an image that i was concerned about high key magenta banding -- i asked millers to flag it and stop printing if the lab techs noticed it showing up at all.

It didn't show up, but they were more than happy to look for it and would have contacted me if i needed to resubmit my file.

Mike_Fulton
02-23-2007, 05:58 AM
In the few times this has come up Miller's and Collages.net both have fixed my problems without any questions, as Betsy said, they were both very easy to work with and get my product right.

JohnHeckler
02-23-2007, 10:52 AM
Under any other circumstance, I would have certainly delt wtih it myself. I just figured they would be easier to work with in the caes of print competition. You would think it is a prime time to be making your customers happy when they will then proceed to go to a HUGE convention and brag about their lab to a whole bunch of potential new customers.

Whatever, I guess I just don't understand the business well enough yet ...

Linda_Gregory
02-23-2007, 12:38 PM
Question:

Is this a pro lab or a consumer lab? We have labs all over that pose as a prolab but really cater to consumers and do not have the staff or capability to do special needs things.

So many photographers are doing their own artwork, labs are cutting back on their artist staff because of supply and demand. Consumer labs used to have them but several in our area now do not...no need.

So, my point is, they may not have the capability to do the testing you're asking for.

JohnHeckler
02-23-2007, 02:58 PM
Question:

Is this a pro lab or a consumer lab? We have labs all over that pose as a prolab but really cater to consumers and do not have the staff or capability to do special needs things.

So many photographers are doing their own artwork, labs are cutting back on their artist staff because of supply and demand. Consumer labs used to have them but several in our area now do not...no need.

So, my point is, they may not have the capability to do the testing you're asking for.

It is WHCC, which I would consider a pro lab. They have the expertise. The lady I was talking to was asking the artist directly. I got the distinct impression it was not a matter of being capable of doing it, it was more a policy thing ... which really makes me consider if I want to use them as my lab. They have been outstanding to work with thus far and I have been with them for 3 years. I just really expected more from them in this circumstance, rightly or wrongly.

Joe_Galioto
02-23-2007, 03:06 PM
ok, lets talk about banding. I've had to deal with it several times, mostly on high key. i have people in the studio that know how to fix it. unfortunity you ussually don't see it on the monitor and have to reorder a new print.
my question: is there a way to avoid the problem, am i doing something wrong in the capture? i'm using a 5d & always white balance/raw.
joe

Betsy_Finn
02-23-2007, 03:53 PM
Joe -- I learned about ways to see if banding will occur and how to prevent it by taking Miller's webinar "Digital 101 the Basics" (see their free webinar list here (https://millerstraining.webex.com/)). Let me find my notes and see what I was told about it.

Betsy_Finn
02-23-2007, 04:08 PM
ok for the full thing you'd best sign up for the free webinar I was telling you about...but here's the short version.

Digital can't capture the range of tonal values like film (instead it captures in defined steps). So, you have to capture your image a little differently.
- DONT' blow out the background like you do with film -- your subject and background should meter the same.
- use a clean white bkgd
- use the same types of lights and diffusers

To see if your file has the problem (before getting the print back!):
- open in PS
- open levels adjustment (ctrl-L)
- adjust midtone slider to the extreme right
The banding anomaly will show up if it is in the file at this point.

PhotogCraig
02-23-2007, 04:09 PM
How about expectations of self?


Not to be rude, but if you don't deal with a lab that will provide you with the quality of product you need to keep clients happy, then you need to be able to do what it take in photo editing yourself to provide that quality.

I myself use CPQ, and I would bet they could have taken care of your problem, but I have personally never had to ask, because I can do it myself.

Are you ordering from a lab that has a price list for compatition prints?

Chances are if your lab is operating for professional photographers they have a whole different set of prices for "compatition prints" because of the extra effort and expertise that is needed to have the images as perfect as they can be from their end.

The correct density because of the lights it will be judged under is very important for example, and compatition print can look very dark under normal lighting, or poor lighting on a wall in a persons home, and a print that would look great on the average family wall in their home would be totally washed out and look terrible to judges.

My first year in the PPA I entered 6 images for the IPPA event in Salt Lake City, this was in 1973, and out of several houndred photographers who entered prints, I got merit points on each of the six, and placed third in mens portraits.

Now the studio I worked for we could have done our own prints easily, but I was advised by the owner, that for my compatition prints, I needed them printed by a lab that made compatition prints, and I would venture to say, 5 of the 6 would not have scored above 80 if the printing had not been right.

Not saying the images were bad, just saying that if they had not been printed as good as they were, and for compatition, they would not have received the scores they got.

JohnHeckler
02-23-2007, 04:16 PM
How about expectations of self?

Not to be rude, but if you don't deal with a lab that will provide you with the quality of product you need to keep clients happy, then you need to be able to do what it take in photo editing yourself to provide that quality.



Hey Craig, it wasn't that I didn't know how to or could not fix the problem, it was a matter of doing it quickly so I could get it back in time for MES. Since you cannot see the banding on the monitor, I would not know how much noise to add to the image to alleviate it before printing, thus I was asking if the lab could do it and make a test print to be sure, etc.

And yes, they have competition print pricing which is really VERY resonable, so I even offered to pay whatever additional costs that the editing might entail, but they said they "don't do that type of thing", which I simply found a little surprising, that's all.

In the end, I had another image I could use and I was doubtful the print in question with the banding was going to merit anyway, so it really isn't a big deal in the end ... more of a question of what is reasonable for one to expect from their lab in these circumstances ... that's all.

PhotogCraig
02-23-2007, 04:32 PM
I understand, and by the way, the ying yang twins is a great shot, well worth getting it perfect in my opinion.

What lab by the way, or did I miss that information?

With the speed of FTP service if you know how to do the work, it should not slow things down.

I just got word from my lab about something they felt would show up on a 24x48 print that I just sent in, and I forgot to fix the issue, and had noticed it myself.

They asked if they wanted me to have them fix it, or if I would like and FTP the new file to them.

Well it only takes a minute to fix, and 4 to 5 to FTP that large of a file and it's done ready for them to print.

You cannot send that large of a file via E-mail but to an FTP setup it's no problem, I even do my own interpolation I just don't like to leave any of that to chance for it to be overlooked, but that is just the way I am.


Hey Craig, it wasn't that I didn't know how to or could not fix the problem, it was a matter of doing it quickly so I could get it back in time for MES. Since you cannot see the banding on the monitor, I would not know how much noise to add to the image to alleviate it before printing, thus I was asking if the lab could do it and make a test print to be sure, etc.

And yes, they have competition print pricing which is really VERY resonable, so I even offered to pay whatever additional costs that the editing might entail, but they said they "don't do that type of thing", which I simply found a little surprising, that's all.

In the end, I had another image I could use and I was doubtful the print in question with the banding was going to merit anyway, so it really isn't a big deal in the end ... more of a question of what is reasonable for one to expect from their lab in these circumstances ... that's all.

Linda_Gregory
02-23-2007, 04:53 PM
I love ftp

I love email

I love phone calls

I love communication!!!

PhotogCraig
02-23-2007, 05:35 PM
And yes, they have competition print pricing which is really VERY resonable,

I just pulled out this little bit to quote and so understand I am not just making this comment to reply to John, but to everyone.

I myself would not be that concerned who has the best price of compatition prints, but what lab is printing a good amount of compatition prints that are making it into the "loan collection".

When it comes to this, low price is not what you should be looking for, it's winning prints that you are after.

As we all know there is a wide range of talent and expertise when you compare one photographer to another, this is also true with people who do the back end work, and get the very finest print possible from your image.

PhotogCraig
02-23-2007, 05:43 PM
Earlier I mentioned that just this morning I got an e-mail from my lab saying they noticed something that I might wish was corrected in the size of print I was having made, (24x48 inch canvas.) and so I corrected it and copied to my FTP location for them.

They e-mail me back already said the changes look great and that they have made the print, it did't slow things down more then going to the bathroom.

If I had asked them to fix the problem, I bet it would be on someones desk for a few days before they would get to doing the work by the way.

Linda_Gregory
02-23-2007, 06:15 PM
If I had asked them to fix the problem, I bet it would be on someones desk for a few days before they would get to doing the work by the way.

I bet not, of course, that depends on your lab. Many feel any changes in the order make it go back to the end of the line, others try to keep it in the same spot in the workflow.

Linda

PhotogCraig
02-23-2007, 06:53 PM
Of course that is possible, but what if they only have one person on duty on a given day to do such digital art work, do they interupt their current order they are working on?

Chances are the person doing the work, would at least finish the task they are on before starting another job at the very least, but to that person, unless it was given to them as a rush, they would just put it in the lineup, in order as it was taken.

I worked for Miesel photochrome, and on occasion something would come to me to get out right then and there, but 99% of the work would just show up in my box, and be done in the order it was placed there.

That was 29 years ago, and almost all rush to the front of the line jobs were for Monte, but I doubt he paid rush charges, they just took care of Monte.


I bet not, of course, that depends on your lab. Many feel any changes in the order make it go back to the end of the line, others try to keep it in the same spot in the workflow.

Linda

Linda_Gregory
02-23-2007, 06:57 PM
I've only worked for two labs and both small. Some things get dropped in the boxes but if anything other than a typical order would mean a note or communication of some kind.

yea for little labs! :D