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"All I've got is a photograph"  --Ringo Starr



Frequently Asked Questions
about ordering prints from color or b&w negatives
ordering print sizes
frame numbers
how to indicate the right quantity
paper surface choices
border options defined
how to give us cropping instructions

Ordering Print Sizes
This means the size of the photo paper upon which the photo is printed. We are limited to the paper sizes that we can buy (shown here in inches): 4x6, 5x7, 8x10, 11x14, 16x20,  20x24
and 24x36 and the infrequent  hold over from the olden days: 3 1/2 x 5. We charge for prints based on the size of the piece of photo paper we print your image on. With custom prints we can print your image any size you want, on any paper size you want, as long as the image size is no larger than the paper, obviously.  For an extreme example we can print a 2x2" square image centered on a 16x20" sheet of  photo paper. We would charge you for a 16x20 custom print!

Special note on paper sizes for enlargements: as noted on our price list, the smallest paper size for  enlargements is 5x7. We can print any size smaller than that and you will pay for a 5x7.

Frame Numbers
For 35mm film use the frame number closest to the center of the frame. If the number includes an "a" as in 15a please indicate the frame as 15a (not 15). Sometimes you may have frame numbers printed on the back of the proof prints. Many labs provide backprinted frame numbers but you should not rely on their accuracy. Verify frame numbers by looking at the negatives. Again, double check frame numbers selected by clients.

Well, that means how many, but you knew that already!  We want to know how many of each and every frame+size combination you order. 

Paper surface: two choices for color and black and white papers
Glossy is that shiny one. Really shiny and shows finger prints. But it has the advantage of appearing to be slightly sharper. Promo photos are usually glossy.
Matte black & white is our name for Ilford Pearl in black & white rc paper. Photographers may know this soft sheen that lives up to its name. Very popular for portraits and wedding work. Looks really nice when sepia toned. Matte is also Ilford Semi Matte fiber paper. It is a very popular, very smooth surface with absolutely no sheen or reflectance. By the way, the Pearl surface mentioned above is not available in fiber paper.
Matte color surface is Kodak Supra Endura N surface. It is a close match to the Ilford pearl surface.

Border Options
For machine prints please see our borders options page. Remember that the 4 options are only available for 35mm. All four are available in matte or glossy. If you order lots of different borders in one order expect to add time to your turnaround.

For custom enlargements we have 1/4" borders or borderless. Please note that there is no "soft borders" for custom enlargements (only on machine reprints) Call us for information on printing 35mm full frame on 8x10. We can also do a sloppy or keyline black border: call for details.

Cropping Instructions
Custom enlargements can include cropping instructions. We prefer drawn crops or written instructions, for example: "crop the left side to center the subject but don't crop hands or feet" or "crop out person on the right, ok to crop woman's right arm (to elbow) to get out all of person on right". Many people simply send us a paper printout with the correct crop already done or drawn on. Simple and unambiguous are your guidelines here.

Measure twice, crop once
If you (or your client) already have frames you have some more work to do to make sure everything fits. Try a borderless print in the frame to see if the image will fit correctly. If not, you can instruct us to print your images to an exact size. There is an extra  charge. Exact sizing can result in a new shape. You are responsible for the measurements, of course, and for any special cropping instructions. We are very familiar with this process but it can be tricky. We take advice from our carpenter friends: measure twice, cut once!

Other Custom darkroom Instructions
No, we can't dodge eyelashes to lighten them! Our custom prints include dodging and burning to make them look better (and even great!) and we can work with some direction and even hints when you send them along. Even if you don't you still get a fine custom print, hand made by a printer who enjoys her (his) work.

Matting, Mounting and Framing our prints
Photolab offers various custom framing options. When you order prints and framing we will make sure your prints fit your matts and frames. If you are making prints for existing frames you already have, please discuss your sizes with us carefully. We researched several  local frame shops offering pre-made frames. We found no consistency in how much an off the shelf frame or matt may crop into an image: some crop a lot, some hardly at all. Whenever  possible, we highly recommend fitting the frame to the completed print.


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2235 Fifth Street, Berkeley, California USA 94710
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page last modified on 05/10/23

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