Brian K writes:
A friend of mine from work suggested I check out Image Wizards (https://imagewizards.com) for printing some of my pics.
They print on metal and allow you to see a sample of their 5 finishes in a 4x6” for $5. For $100 they will send you a 12” proof of an image you submit in their 5 finishes. I sent 3 images to them for proofs and both my wife and I were impressed with the results. So much so that we’ve been considering sending them other pics to print for our walls. They are aluminum prints with an impressive dynamic range.
Depending on the finish they can be glossy, semi-gloss, or matte. We preferred the semi-gloss. They claim they are the first to do aluminum prints.
They claim their prints have a significantly longer life than paper prints. Kate and I were both impressed with the proofs of 3 images I had them print (2 color and 1 B&W).
The biggest surprise regarding them happened for me today. Their website doesn’t list optimal file characteristics for images to submit to them. So I wrote an email asking for clarification. I immediately received an email back from their general manager and their VP of sales. They prefer TIFFs, Adobe RGB, the bigger the files the better. One of the emails also included 2 videos outlining how to export files from LR for uploading and also how to color correct images for uploading.
What really blew me away is that I got a phone call from them shortly after I received the emails. This wasn’t a “I want to sell you crap” phone call, but was instead directly related to my emails—the optimal way to export files from LR for their printing service. The standard is as a TIFF @ 300 dpi, but they will also print a TIFF @ 600 dpi if the image requires it. Each image is reviewed by a specialist there who looks for out-of-gamut issues, blown out highlights, muddy shadows, etc. They can either send you a proof before printing or call you to talk about potential printing issues before they print your images.
The vibe I got is that they really, really care about making the best possible print from the files they receive and want to work with the customer to make sure the final print meets expectations.
Did I mention that this phone call came out of the blue based on an email question and not in response to an actual order I placed? Both the general manager and the VP of sales asked me to contact them when I place an order—to see if there are any discounts I might be eligible for and to be involved in the printing process for any orders I place.
I have never experienced this level of customer service from any company in my life. It is especially welcome in this specific case as the printing of images is its own creative process and one that Ansel Adams devoted an entire book to. I would encourage you to check out their web site if you aren’t familiar with them. And consider sending an image (or more than one) to them for a 12” proof with all 5 of their printing treatments for $100.
I’m extremely happy with the proofs they sent and plan on printing several images from them.
DIGLLOYD: sounds promising. Maybe this is the same company I saw a few years ago at Photoshop World. The quality was indeed impressive.
Geoff J writes:
I second Brian K’s comment about aluminum prints.
I’ve been using White Wall for several years. The results are consistently rewarding (assuming, of course, a worthwhile image to work with). That’s not to knock paper. But you can’t beat aluminum for durability.
DIGLLOYD: dunno about durability when kids walk down the hallway and scrape the surface somehow (but my kids have gotten past that age!)... but aluminum certainly isn’t going to degrade.
Damian S writes:
I have used image wizards for several aluminum prints. I found their format to be outstanding for black and whites but I didn’t like the medium for color.
I did a large pano (stitch) in Bryce Canyon with the Zeiss 135mm and had them print it at about 2’ by 4’. The quality was excellent but the scene just looks weird on aluminum. ...
DIGLLOYD: some prints just look better on glossy vs matte and vice versa, so best to choose what is synergistic, so no big suprise that this aluminum medium would have similar appropriate applications.
James M writes:
Regarding metal prints: I have had excellent results from Magna Chrome in Concord, CA. They also give personal attention to each order.