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There's a CVS drugstore on my commute, so it would be very convenient to stop in and pick up some prints that I've uploaded earlier. However, CVS is, shall we say, not terribly professionally oriented. I couldn't find any ICC files on their website or anything else about color management.

I wouldn't do quality-critical printing here; I'm just looking for a convenient place for casual printing.

Have people here had reasonable results from printing at CVS? If so, how do you avoid whatever color magic they apply to the files?

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I'm pretty sure I need to add the lazy question to any question of mine ;) –  rfusca Jan 25 '11 at 1:08

5 Answers 5

This site has a CVS Pharmacy's ICC profile, its based on the specific printer and paper they use:

Looks like they have ICC profiles for all sorts of random print labs across the country.

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Not less painful than the color matching problem, I find that the alignment of the printer is pretty random as well.

To answer your question, as you say, I just don't do any critical print job there. For what I do print (at CVS and Walgreens), I find the colors reasonably satisfying.

The bigger problem for me happens to be that even though I prepare my files for printing using very precise file size (say, 8x10) and what I assume a good target resolution (I use 300dpi), then the images are always misaligned in a few mm's. This may not be such a big problem, but a few times I added thin frames to my prints. Due to the misalignment I had to trim out the whole frame after the production.

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I just got some prints back from CVS that they adjusted the white balance on and totally screwed them up. They also printed my 5x7's with a white border on all of them. I don't know if that is standard, but I guess the fact that CVS accepts 16-bit TIFF files does not mean that they won't mess with the colors in your photos. I'm going to have these reprinted.

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I actually use them from time to time, and they are always good. I do not print anything professional and my standards are of a normal 4x6 glossy print for use in an album or picture frame. For my requirements they were more than nice.

Also, the price is very good cause I print from snapfish and they have an affiliation with CVS and other large pharmacies so you can pick up orders instead of shipping.

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Do they provide reasonable results? Yeah, sure... but reasonable is generally not what I'm trying for.

I'm happy to use CVS/Wallgreens/etc. for snapshot printing, especially when I can get cheap/free prints. That said, I don't expect quality.

If I'm planning to do anything more than show off a stack of family photos to my grandmother or pass them around at a party, then I'm going to go with a lab that actually provides color profiles and will tell me their alignment tolerances.

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Well, reasonable is what I'm trying for in this particular question. :) –  Reid Jan 26 '11 at 3:52
I know, it's just a reminder that there are much better options... but yeah, CVS is decent. –  chills42 Jan 26 '11 at 13:26

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