If you’re wanting to get your own photos printed, choosing a print lab can be a daunting task with so many options available online. While there are lots of chain stores offering cheap prints, often their quality leaves a lot to be desired. Either the colours don’t come out how they should, or they start to fade very quickly (quality prints should last decades as long as they’re not constantly in the sun). Below is a list of print labs that I have either personally used, or have been recommended by other photographers. It’s worth spending the extra money to get a quality print that does your photos justice.
PCL Imaging (https://www.pcl.co.nz/)
Based in Auckland. Offers scanning, printing, film processing, mounting & laminating, and custom framing. Wide variety of paper types.
Art Print (https://artprint.co.nz/)
Based in Kaipoi, near Christchurch. Offers prints on canvas, fine art paper, photo paper and poster paper. Custom framing service also available. Canvas prints include archival and standard. Paper prints include glossy, lustre, matte options.
Based in Auckland. Offers handmade albums, books, boxes, frames and canvases. Famous for their albums, but also a full service, professional print lab that’s been serving photographers for over forty years.
Based in Auckland. Offers a cost effective, high quality custom framing service alongside the photo and canvas printing.
Kens Cameras (https://www.kens.co.nz/the-photo-lab/)
Based in Christchurch. Offers paper, canvas, fine art prints, film processing, scanning, and mounting.
Print Art (https://www.printart.co.nz/)
Based in Auckland. Print Art is a boutique fine art print studio that offers gallery quality giclée inkjet printing services, artwork digitisation and reproduction, photographic printing and mounting, gallery wrapped canvas prints, artists services and film and reflective artwork scanning.
Photo & Video International (https://www.photo.co.nz/the-lab/digital-printing/)
Based in Christchurch. Offers canvas, paper, fine art, poster prints, and film processing.
Wellington Photographic Supplies (https://www.wps.net.nz/)
Based in Wellington. Offers paper prints, film processing, scanning.
Based in Lumsden, near Queenstown. Specialises in canvas prints.
The Digital Darkroom (https://www.thedigitaldarkroom.co.nz/)
Based in Auckland. Offers photographic and fine-art paper prints.
Cambridge Photos (http://cambridgephotos.co.nz/)
Based in Cambridge. Offers paper prints, photo books, calendars, photo blocks, posters, and a variety of photo gifts (mugs, jigsaws, mouse pads etc).
Offers canvas, paper prints, photo books, calendars, block mounts, and a variety of photo gifts (mugs, phone covers, etc).
Diamond Photo (https://diamondphoto.co.nz/)
Aimed more at consumers rather than professional photographers, but their quality is reasonable. Offers canvas and paper prints, photo books, calendars, and photos printed on a variety of products such as mugs, cushions, magnets etc.
Tips for Preparing Your Photos For Print
Printing photos can be an art in its own. Here are a couple of tips to help you get great results.
- Calibrate your monitor. This helps to ensure what you’re seeing on your monitor is accurate.
- If you can’t calibrate your monitor, let the print lab do colour correcting.
- Ensure your image is large enough. The recommended resolution is 300dpi for whatever print size you’re going to. Use software such as Adobe Photoshop to resize your image to the correct resolution for printing, and view it at 100% to make sure the quality is acceptable.
- Brighten your images. Usually prints come out darker than they look on your monitor, so to compensate for that, it’s best to make your images slightly brighter than you expect.
There are lots of other factors to consider when printing, but I won’t get into those here. If in doubt, order a test print at a small size to see exactly how your photo will look when printed, and make adjustments as necessary. Once you’ve done a few prints, you get a feel for what adjustments are necessary. Just be aware that every printer is different, so if you find a print lab you like, it’s a good idea to stick with them.