How to Find Photo Labs

Light Meter by Lisa K. Berton

Last week I re-posted a blog about Printing Digital Images and got some awesome feedback. Several of you wrote in asking where to find mini labs in your area and I answered those letters privately.

Next week I’ll delve into online print services but for now I have suggestions on how and where to find mini labs and pro labs for those who are ready.

I have recently discovered Yelp.com when seeking out record stores that carry actual records. They’re also quite good at finding other businesses. Let’s say you live in Dallas, TX then these would be the search results for photo labs in the area. Forget the box stores and drug stores, you want the actual camera stores and/or quality photo labs.

Use a search engine like Google or Yahoo for photography clubs in your area. Contact them and ask if they can suggest a mini lab for printing. Another place to call is the local photography or art school. Students should print their own photos on-site but they’ll also know where the trustworthy photo labs are located.

Fujifilm has an extensive list of professional labs that use their paper. A pro lab will require you to set up an account and is ideal for those who make their living as photographers but even if they aren’t able to do business with you, they too can point you in the right direction.

If you’re wondering why you should choose a mini lab, allow me to explain. A mini lab should be a wet lab. This means the photographic paper is processed like the image came from film even if it is digital. The photographic paper goes through a series of chemicals. When high quality professional grade photo paper like Fujifilm Crystal Archival and photo chemicals marry, you make prints that will last for close to 100 years. Those old, old, old family photos are still preserved to this day because of photo chemicals. A dry lab which uses ink or dye sublimation could last up to 20 years. That’s a huge difference.

Class dismissed.

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One Reply to “How to Find Photo Labs”

  1. Lisa,

    Thanks for the info. I’ve printed stuff out at home of course, but hadn’t thought about the longevity of those prints. Words to the wise.

    Lisa responds: You’re welcome. I’m here to educate and entertain.