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Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Self-Publishing

A couple of sites to investigate for printing your own books/photo books:

Blurb – Makes it easy to do semi-custom books with more text than iPhoto

Lulu – Self-print any sized book from a PDF file

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I finally got around to upgrading to Gallery 2 for my pictures. Took me too long, but the wait was worth it. I was even able to leverage a Debian backport to make it easy to maintain but still maintain our crazy ExecCGI environment where the code runs as my user (and more importantly, under my quota).

This is the first step in a few changes around here, but is a major step before I add some very key content…

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I snapped this as I was boarding a flight from Seattle this weekend.

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Landscape Challenge Results

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I’ve got a lot of pictures from the wedding that I want to get real prints of. I’ve tried a few of the different online printing services in the past but I’ve never compared them side-by-side, and I couldn’t find a review that covered the services I was interested in. I picked a handful of different images and sent them off a few days ago. I wanted to test to following services:

  • Apple – The default out of iPhoto
  • Shutterfly – Direct printing from Gallery
  • Ofoto – The rumored quality leader, and a fellow E-ville company (I’ve got a few acquaintances there)

For this test I selected a number of pictures from the shots that our friends took with their digital cameras, a mix of outdoor and indoor pictures, and sent a similar combination to each service.

A note on Costco digital printing: I loaded a set of images on to a CF card and took them in to print at Costco since they could very well be the dark horse of the race with the lowest prices overall. However, even after I asked the people behind the counter if there was anything else to do I apparently missed an undocumented last step of filling out a photo envelope and pre-paying for your prints. Since the people behind the counter when I tried to pick them up were real assholes when I suggested they might want to PUT UP SIGNS OR SOMETHING. Costco gets disqualified on two counts.

Ease of Use

Apple’s option is of course the easiest service to use since you can print directly from iPhoto. The web-based services Ofoto and Shutterfly had comparably easy web sites to navigate. For the rare cases when you need to do a bulk upload, the Ofoto client is quite useful.

Print Quality

The final results were surprisingly varied. Hands down, Ofoto had the best quality; I’ve always been a fan of Kodak film now I’m a fan of Kodak paper. Apple had close quality, but the exposure was a little off. It appears that they are using the same Kodak equipment as Ofoto, but maybe not calibrated as well. Shutterfly had some noticable color problems. Fields of lawn looked a little bit like green slime. They were also not quite as sharp as the Ofoto prints.

Price/Performance

Service 4×6 Price Shipping Quality Notes
Ofoto 0.29 1.49 Best 10 free photos for sign-up, numerous specials
Apple 0.39 2.99 Better
Shutterfly 0.25 1.49 OK 15 free photos for sign-up, cheap prices require purchasing in bulk

Clearly, Ofoto is the winner in this round-up, the best quality with pretty much the lowest price. They also run a number of specials (10 free prints here, 20% off there, etc), so it’s worth clicking around on their site.

After spending three hours at Aaron Brothers yesterday getting frames and albums, it’s time to get a pile of prints made and start laying out some memories!

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