Professional Prints vs. “Their” Prints: The Quality Difference

In the last ten years, pharmacies and box stores have begun to offer same day printing services.

Sure, these services are convenient – but what about your prints? Are you receiving a quality image that is accurate to the original file? Will your images stand the test of time?

Maybe not.

Skipping out on professional printing services also means losing the quality of your original images. Many photographers have explored the difference between professional quality printing and the drug store competitors. The results may surprise you.

Amanda Jackson Photography recently tested different printing services using her own prints. Her results, which she blogged about here, showed a clear difference in prints. While the original file was preserved via professional printing, her photos returned with notable differences when processed by drug store labs. Take a look below at her comparisons: 

Images used with permission.

The professional print matches the original file, but all of the other service prints vary in color, exposure and contrast. The professional printing difference is clear.

At the Camera Center of York, our professional quality printers will produce prints that are accurate and true to your original files.

Not only will your prints appear as you intend them to, they will also last through time.  Inkjet photo printers, such as those used in most major box stores, print images by spraying ink onto photo paper. Using this technique, the ink is never able to truly “dry”. The colors of your image will fall prey to age and sunlight, and the colors may fade or distort.

By contrast, professional lab printing uses photo developing chemicals to superimpose the image underneath the surface of photo paper. No ink is involved. Rather, a computer run program combines the correct chemicals and light source to draw out the correct colors in the paper. This ensures that your image is preserved in archival quality. This process is fast and durable. The diagram below helps to illustrate the difference in technique:



(photo source:

If quality and durability are not enough to convince you to use The Camera Center to print your photos, we also offer speed – you can process and pick up your prints all in one day, not unlike the drugstores. Our “In by 12pm, out by 5pm” policy means that if you send us your prints online by noon, you can pick them up before 5pm the same day.

Speed, original quality, and durability. That is OUR quality difference.

Use our printing services today!


Chris Arendt

chris 4573254_n

Camera Center of York



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