View Full Version : Calling all color photographers

20-Oct-2004, 20:42
do not have severe color blindness but there are certain shades and hues I see only as grey, and god forbid a small amount of green should be placed against a field of red with an equal brightness. There is no way I will be able to ever print my own color work. I have been trying to work with a color calibrated monitor and do my color stuff digitally. I just don't have the ability to see what needs to be done. If I shoot something in color someone else is going to have control over my printing, otherwise it gets very expensive having things reprinted.

I love the look of ilfochromes; the saturation, the in your face colors, everything. Unfortunately in this day and age the wet printers are either disappearing or getting really expensive-personally I think it is to offset the cost of going digital. Most places will scan and print on a Lambda or lightjet thus creating a print that labs I have inquired into say "for an extra fee we will work with the photographer on getting the colors just right". What the hell does that mean? I used to just ship off a tranny or neg and got a real good print.

That was the background, here are the questions:

1-What is the state of professional color printing today? Once my regular printer went completely digital I have not had anything printed, maybe three years ago.

2-How useful are polaroids as test prints to say to the printer "this is what I am looking for"-I've never actually used color polaroid for anything.

3-Is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Those of you who do not do your own color printing

I'm shooting both 4x5 transparency and neg material.

Glenn Kroeger
20-Oct-2004, 20:53

Try West Coast Imaging (www.westcoastimaging.com). Start with one of their "standard" prints and see if you aren't at least as happy as with your former wet lab. I suspect you will be very impressed. If you have images that need extra work (digital dodging/burning or local color correction) you can use their exhibition grade prints. I have found that with well exposed chromes, the standard prints are better than anything I every got from traditional prints from some excellent labs.

There are other labs that do equal work. Reed in Denver has done excellent work for me as well, but WCI is set up for remote work so they are easy to try out.

I now do all of my own photoshop work, but still use WCI for the drum scanning and final printing.

Darin Cozine
20-Oct-2004, 23:29
Just a comment on West Coast Imaging..

They were at the view camera conference this year and I had a chance to meet with them.
I found they were professional and friendly (read as willing to talk to/help an amateur like me).
The example prints they had were quite amazing.

I have not had anything worthy of a large print yet, but I can guarentee you they will get my first business.


Ralph Barker
21-Oct-2004, 02:06
Glenn and Darin have covered the print quality issue, so I'll share my thoughts on the other questions. Color Polaroids (PolaColor Pro 100 in 4x5 and smaller) are useful as test shots in the studio - once you know how to interpret them. The 8x10 color Polaroid is even tougher to match colors with. By "interpret" I mean you've gained the experience to know that color x on the Polaroid test will render as color y on film A, and color Z on film B. They aren't good for trying to use for color matching. If exact color matching is required, include a (new, they fade) color test swatch in the corner of one sheet of film. That will give the lab a control point to work with in color adjustments.

As to that light at the end of the tunnel, be careful if it moves in a circular pattern. You're about to be run over by the train. ;-)

Bill Jefferson
21-Oct-2004, 03:07
I'm slightly color blind, in the pastels and hues, to me there's no such color as aqua, its either one or the other, I do all my own printing, i have a jobo colorstar color meter, works for me in setting color balance.

chris jordan
21-Oct-2004, 10:10
Mark, that's a really interesting situation you have. I think digital is the best way to go for you.
I would stay to start with a very color-neutral film, such as the new Astia 100F-- it is incredibly accurate color-wise. Then, consider putting a grey reference in each image (such as a small chip of grey plastic or cardboard) which could easily be photoshopped out when you do the digital imaging. Then you could use that chip as a reference point for digital color correction. Using Photoshop's eyedropper tool, you could balance that grey reference point to a neutral gray color. If you are not familiar with the eyedropper tool, it is amazing-- I rely on it more than my eyes for color balancing my prints, because even for non-color-blind people the eyes can play all kinds of tricks on us when we're sitting in front of the monitor.

best of luck,



22-Oct-2004, 14:15
There is a company I use in Illinois (I ship via usps) that still uses the wet method of transparencies to ilfochrome. I have only used them for developing my 4x5 color trans. I talked to someone there today about whether they have gone digital and he said no. Then he mentioned the ilfochrome look. I don't know how much it costs but I plan to try one out and see how it looks.
The company is www.filmprocessingltd.com .

Good luck,

chris f

derek regensburger
22-Oct-2004, 21:53
Try the Slideprinter in Denver, CO. They do primarily a mail order business. They use a chromira printer (LED instead of laser) which is cheaper than Lightjet but produces very impressive prints up to 30 x40. The big bonus of this lab is that the lab prints on Fuji supergloss paper, in addition to Crystal Archive. This is a polyester-based paper similar to Ilfichrome. The lab will email the profile to you. I find it very close to Adobe RGB, so not much color difference occurs in printing from what is seen on screen. They print from CD files or will scan the transparency for you for an extra $30. I, of course, prefer to do my own Photoshp color correction rather than trusting someone else's eyes.