Having had disappointing results from several online printing services, are there any that offer a premium-quality product?

As described in What printing solution will best provide me with high quality, archival prints with a consistent workflow?, I've previously been disappointed by:

  • Snapfish prints that mercilessly and without warning cropped all my photos to their format, and made all human flesh look like vaguely beige plastic
  • Apple photobooks in which people looked like raw meat

Image quality and longevity are important to me, but small format prints are fine; they'll be going into albums, not a prestigious gallery. (Alternatively, similar quality photo books would also be an option.)

I need a service delivering to - preferably operating in - the UK or NL.

If different services use different technologies, I'd be interested in knowing that.

  • @Hueco question edited to include that. Sep 6 '18 at 22:52

The poor results you note are likely the result of not using a color calibrated workflow. To obtain consistent results, you should color calibrate your output devices at home and use a print service for which color correction profiles are available.

  • Dry Creek Photo maintains a database of ICC profiles for print services located around the world. 

Many photo labs produce chromogenic prints (c-prints). They will usually indicate the use of a recognizable photographic paper, such as Fujifilm Crystal Archive. For further discussion of different print technologies:

  • Thanks. Is chromagenic printing typically of higher quality than inkjet output or dye-sublimation? Sep 7 '18 at 10:02
  • @DanieleProcida - I prefer to use mpix/Millers in the US, which use c-prints. They also take care of printer calibration, so as long as your monitor is calibrated, an on target photo is guaranteed. If you can find the same in the UK (C-print), I'd go for it.
    – OnBreak.
    Sep 7 '18 at 16:18
  • @DanieleProcida You may have to choose exactly which quality is most important to you. You have at least different quality properties like archival durability, colour space, dynamic range and choice of paper surfaces to consider. One technology may score well in one area, but do poorly if other quality properties are more important to you.
    – jarnbjo
    Sep 7 '18 at 19:10
  • My opinion of inkjet prints is biased based on experiences from a decade ago. You should obtain and hang print samples by a window to see how they fare before going all in with one technology or another. The advantage c-prints have over the other technologies is they have been time tested over many decades to give good results in appropriate storage or display conditions. With inkjet and dye-sub, you are gambling that the claimed archival properties are not marketing hype.
    – xiota
    Sep 7 '18 at 23:00

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