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Using Professional Printing Services to Print Your Digital Photos

Also known as a service bureau, a professional printing firm offers services to the general public. A printing service takes care of the job of printing your digital photos, so you don’t have to. Before you hire a service bureau to print your photos, ask the folks there a few questions:

  • What do they charge, and how do they determine their prices? Do they have minimum fees?

  • When can they finish the job?

    Most service bureaus want to fit your job into their normal queue of projects. They may charge extra for rush jobs. Find out what constitutes a rush job — is that overnight service, or anything less than a week?

  • What file formats do they support (so you know the format in which you should save your photo after editing it)?

    At one time, service bureaus could handle only Macintosh files and common Macintosh formats, such as TIFF or PICT. Today, most service bureaus support all platforms and all image file formats. It doesn’t hurt to check, though.

  • Can you view a sample of the printout before paying for the final copies?

    You may find viewing a proof or evaluation copy helpful, even if you have to pay extra.

  • Is the kind of output you’re looking for something they’ve done before and done frequently?

With answers to these questions in hand, you can choose the right service bureau for your needs.

If the person you’re working with isn’t open and cooperative with you, run, don’t walk, to another company.

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