I'm looking into getting a serious professional portfolio printed so I can carry it with me to show to clients.

I do a lot of printing on my own with my Epson R3880. With my own printing I get to control everything. My WG monitor and printers are calibrated. I softproof with the right profiles in LR. Nothing is perfect but I get pretty close to what I want.

But with online book printing services like Apple's or Blurb's etc. there is no such control. I cannot control the color reproduction, or the dynamic range. There is no soft proofing process. How much contrast do I add? etc It's not really practical to do many cycles with online services. With my own setup I can afford to experiment.

Is there a book printing service that is more geared to the professional than the mass? Or am I better off just printing with my own paper and putting them in a binder? Are there ones that nearly invisible? For example, for framing, I typically use museum glass. Is there something similar for binders?

What is the general approach for this kind of thing?

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I haven't used them yet, but every professional photog I've spoken to has highly recommended MPIX.com for their printing. First class service with first class deliverables. All sorts of professional printing papers, etc. You can read up on them, and talk to other professionals get a feel for what they can do. For example, for a photog workshop I took, the instructor brought in samples of his work printed by MPIX. He also said MPIX called him to verify that he had sent the right pic for printing because the resolution looked too low for high quality printing. So, this showed that they double and triple check everything to provide the best deliverable.

  • When he brought in his work, was it printed as a book? Or were there a bunch of photos inserted into a binder? Does he then take out one photo at a time? – erotsppa Sep 3 '14 at 14:43
  • No, they were not printed in a book. They were individual photos still wrapped in the packaging from Mpix. – markthomas Sep 3 '14 at 20:29

I chose Mpix, mostly because they have good quality at a good price and because if/when I sell to people, what I sell is from Mpix, so it makes sense that what they see in my portfolio is what they can expect to get.

While Mpix does offer some proof portfolios and extra things, I just ordered 8x10 shots and put them into a portfolio book thing from B&H. The book advertised special pages (they look like document protectors) that were customized to protecting and displaying images. I'm savvy on all the tech behind it, but it was only about $10 and it looks great to me.

Now, if I was doing my own printing and I wanted to showcase to people what different prints look like, maybe with different papers, I would use a different type of book, maybe even an accordion folder, to store it so that I could take each out and show people and let them touch it to really get a feel for it.

Keep in mind that my use case may be a little different than yours. In a sense, I am merely a salesman that happens to sell pictures that I take myself and therefore my prints are a part of my product, whereas you may be selling yourself as only a photographer/retoucher/graphic artist/etc and so how your stuff is printed is less about showcasing the printed product and more about emphasizing the digital product.


For Photobooks, I always go through Artisan State (www.artisanstate.com) Their books are seamless and they come with many awesome layouts to choose from.

You have options as well on the size of the book and covers and colors.

HIGHLY reccomend.

Everything is hand made so after you order, it could take up to a week and a half to get to you unless you order expedited but it's so worth it.

  • Hi Morgan. Welcome to Stack Exchange. Are you affiliated with the referenced site in any way? It can be okay if you are; you just have to disclose that fact, and it's generally frowned on if advertisements are your only contributions to the site. – mattdm Sep 4 '14 at 17:57

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