Scrapper on the edge: Part 1

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I like to color correct and crop my photos before I print, so I often just print a few at a time on my home printer as I need them for projects. But recently my beloved Canon Pixma iP8500 started acting up. All my troubleshooting efforts led me to finally call Canon support, where the very nice technician told me that I had attempted every test and fix that he would have walked me through. So he gave me the name and number of a local authorized repair shop and sent me on my way.

After calling the recommended repair place and finding out the price tag of a diagnosis, I decided it was time to replace my four-year-old machine. So long, loyal friend…come to mamma, Epson R1900.

But my new machine is on back order, and you all know that a real scrapbooker does not rest on her laurels just because she’s down a printer. No way! I color corrected, cropped and uploaded some photos to my nearby Walgreens and headed over an hour later to pick them up.

What the what?! These were not the photos I had uploaded. I mean, yes, they were technically the photos I had uploaded. But there was one upsetting difference: all the edges were cut off!

I said something (nicely, of course) to the unsuspecting clerk, whose eyes widened noticeably as she realized that at that moment she was looking into the eyes of the most anal-retentive person she had ever met. She weakly replied that she had never had anyone else mention this issue.

Oh, well, that makes it all right then.

You may expect that I roundly abused her for trying to make me feel that I am alone in a world of people who don’t care about having important details snipped out of their precious photos by complete strangers and their machinery. But I did not. I quietly paid for my useless photos and went home with a plan brewing in my persnickety noggin.

I believe in a world where you get back from the photo center exactly what you uploaded. 😉 But I can’t make that happen overnight, so instead I am launching a campaign. I want to make sure that those of you who share my vision are armed with the information you need to get more of what you want when you send your photos out to be printed. I know there must be at least one other scrapper out there who cares about this issue! I mean why would God invent Photoshop Elements if we aren’t supposed to use it?

I have created a few test files to upload to various printers, and if you will come back to read more tomorrow I will report on my results (as well as give you a relevant FREEBIE). See you then!

Read Part 2 and download my FREEBIE.

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Hi, I'm Janice.
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  1. I have heard horrible things about Walgreens and Walmart (perhaps it has something to do with the Wal?) I usually print at Persnickety Prints, but it take a long time for them to get to Canada. I have printed at Costco, but I always turn off color correction, but Persnickety matches what is on my monitor exactly.

    • Janice Daquila-Pardo says:

      Thanks for the comment, Christie. I will check out Persnickety Prints right away because I haven’t heard of them before. If I order at Costco I always turn off auto correction, but that doesn’t seem to change the way they crop the photos, just whether they color correct them. :-)

  2. I have this problem regularly at WalMart and Costco. The guy at Costco once suggested that if I want exact I would have to include crop lines like one might do with an advertising project.

    • Janice Daquila-Pardo says:

      Thanks for your comment, Jeni. Wow, adding crop marks sounds like a lot more work. Imagine if you had a large batch to print and had to do that! I’m curious whether you have tried his suggestion and what your results were? :-)

      • No – Like you mentioned, I don’t have time for that. I have tried the border, similar to what you did and it was cropped unevenly (like your example). There are lots of mail away printing companies. I’d be interested in seeing the results. The names escape me all of a sudden … maybe. Ali Edwards uses a couple different mail away companies. I use Costco here (in Vancouver Canada or Bellingham WA) and generally don’t mind now that I am prepared for it / used to it. I like the fast turnaround, cheap price and convenience.

  3. Hmmm… sounds like a familiar problem, this maybe due to most cameras taking a 6×8 size photo so when you print smaller or larger than 6×8 some cropping is involved to keep the aspec ratio correct. Maybe that’s what happened to your photos Janice, but the store clerk should know that and should have explained or even looked at your original image to work out why what was uploaded didn’t match the print out. Yes I work in a photolab and this is a common problem but… I will always investigate to see if there is a solution I can offer the customer. Hope you have better luck with another print service or your Epson turns up early =)

    • Janice Daquila-Pardo says:

      Hi Sammy, and thanks for your comment. I appreciate your expertise on this issue! I have, in fact, heard the aspect ratio explanation before. But what confuses me is why then is the most common/standard photo size for consumers 4×6 instead of following the 6×8 ratio? Also, why would this aspect ratio problem exist when I crop my photos to exactly 4×6 in Photoshop before uploading them? I would dearly love to know. Thanks again!

      • 4×6 is the standard because it was the size that printed for film. My point-and-shoot digi camera does that aspect also, but my DSLR does take photos with the 4×6 ratio.
        On another note, most companies that I have used do actually say when ordering that the sizes are wrong and ask you to fix them. It’s a pain, but I also manually crop my photos on Costco’s site (since I upload usually without using PSE). You can also resize your photos for printing in PSE to 4×6.

  4. Oh Janice I hear you on the standard photo size, why make the camera size bigger – that one I can’t answer. Well I could but it confuses me, so I would only confuse you too….lol.
    I have found here in Oz the same issue when a photo is sized to 6×4 that you still lose some of the image when printed from our lab…huh! Yep it’s true, I thought this was just a querk here because our programs are written in millimetres not inches – the way I found to get around this was to add a 2mm border to the 6x4in canvas. Sounds a bit strange I know but might be worth a try!

    • Janice Daquila-Pardo says:

      Thanks for that tip, Sammy! I will definitely try it. :-)

      • If you sample in the next post was 4 x 6 I would be interested in hearing SammyD’s comments on the results of the uneven cropping. Her suggestion would theoretically lead to the border getting cropped all round (or maybe I misunderstood now that I write this…).

        • Janice Daquila-Pardo says:

          I will definitely ask Sammy more about this, but I had that thought, too. In all three of my samples you probably noticed that they were cropped tighter at the top than the bottom. How are we supposed to account for that, right? Thanks for your interest, Jeni! More soon. :-)


  1. […] If you haven’t already read Part 1, you can get the background story here. […]

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