For members who prefer to order their prints online there are a number of good suppliers out there:
- DSC Colour Labs provide a wide range of print options at very reasonable prices. For example an A4 standard print in Lustre or Gloss is £0.76. They also have more expensive Fine Art paper options if you want a better paper. Turn around time is very quick, often in a couple of days from order. Best to plan to get several prints done at the same time or order with other members as postage is £4.99.
- Stream Line Imaging in Cambridge provide a good service and high quality images but they are more expensive at £4.00 for an A4 print.
- Loxley Colour produce professional quality prints in either Gloss, Lustre, Metallic and Velvet for a slightly higher price. A4 is £2.26
- Sim Lab based in Hatfield also provide a wide range of print options at very reasonable prices.
The standard mount size for PAGB competitions is 40cm x 50cm.
We recommend one of these suppliers:
- Paper Spectrum who provide a good range of pre-cut 40cm x 50cm mounts at ~£2.64 each with either a central window for A4 or A3 prints. They can also supply 40cm x 50cm mounts without a window at ~£1.58 depending on colour and texture, or
- Cotswold Mounts who also provide a good range of both pre-cut and uncut 40cm x 50cm mounts for similar prices.
How to Prepare your images for a commercial printer
First of all it is recommended you calibrate your monitor to ensure your colours are calibrated. It is also recommended that you set the brightness of your monitor to the middle rather than the usual default high setting. With a bright monitor setup you risk your prints coming back dark.
Check the requirements of your preferred commercial printer. For example, DSC Labs require sRGB IEC61966-2.1.
When working with most labs an sRGB colour profile will give you good print results. If you want more control of the your print quality then you can download the print profile from the commercial printer. For example here are the ones for DSC: Profiles
For further information about how to use these profiles see here.
Sizing your image
This depends on whether you are planning to cut your own mount or purchase a pre cut mount. With your own mount, you have much more freedom with the size and aspect ratio and you might decide to include a border and keyline display in the window as demonstrated in the mounting video below.
For example, assuming you have a Pre cut mount for an A4 print and you are ordering an A4 print.
A pre-cut A4 window from Paper Spectrum is actually 190 x 280mm whereas an A4 print is 210mm x 297mm so this gives us a 10mm overlap each side on the longest side and 8.5mm overlap each side on the shortest side. Adding the printers bleed (2 to 3mm for DSC) means that up to 13mm of the print is not visible when mounted so you must take this into account when selecting your image.
It is recommended to prepare your image using an editor like Photoshop or Affinity Photo to fit exactly the size of the print you want to order from a printer instead of relying on the tools on the printers Website.
How to size the image using Photoshop or Affinity
For Photoshop: Select menu Image/Image Size and set DPI to 300 and size 210mm x 297mm.
For Affinity: Select menu Document/Resize Document and set DPI to 300 and size 210mm x 297mm.
Note that your actual image size might not be exactly this aspect ratio. Because you are constrained by the pre-cut mount window you will have to crop some of the image to fit this aspect ratio.
Save your new image and you now have an image you can upload to the printers Website.
Note that some printers have the option to add an additional white border to the print. It is recommended to not select this option.
If you want to cut your own mounts then it recommended to invest in a mount cutter like the ones provided by Logan. For example: Logan 301-1
How to Mount your pictures
A demonstration video by Gary Dean on how to mount your prints for a competition or exhibition.
Please note that all prices should be checked on the companies Website.