Think all printers are alike? Think again. Pixels/resolution, paper style, material (paper, canvas, metal, etc), color/contrast and sharpness MATTER!!!
Each printed piece needs to be specifically processed for the product you are printing on. Important to consider: Color + Contrast, Cropping + resolution to 100% size, Sharpening for 100% size.
My digital photos are calibrated to my monitor and professional printing services. Although I sell high-resolution digital files, I make no guarantees as to how they will look when printed using home, office, non-professional printers such as Costco, Walmart, Shutterfly or other online printing services. Please note all monitors will look different when viewing the photos. Each digital file for a purchased printed product is specifically edited and sharpened for the size and product type it is being printed on. Digital files are have a more general processing method as I cannot predict what size and what material they will be printed on.
I sent out the same file to my Pro printer and several Consumer printers. I prepared the file (to be printed at 5x7) by resizing the final retouched image to 5x7 @ 300 dpi. I color corrected and sharpened as I always do for prints purchased from me. Below are two examples. The prints are photographed side by side to show the differences. As they are photographs of prints, you will not see how beautiful the original print really is, but you can certainly see a big difference regardless.
Family portrait at the beach. Note specifically the difference in color. This photo was shot at sunset, and my original image has beautiful warm tones. The professional print ordered from my Pro print company reflects how it should look. The consumer print from Shutterfly is cold, blue and pink.
A wedding portrait. Again, note the difference in color. More importantly, notice what happened to the bride’s dress. All the shadow areas have filled in with black. It’s in other parts of the image as well, but most noticably in her dress. This is due to the quality, or, lack of quality, of the consumer paper it was printed on.