As a professional photographer I am often asked where is the best place to get prints done. When I start listing off pro-labs that I use and the quality produced, they are all very impressed. However the look of horror on their faces when I tell them of the costs is hilarious. So I always like to try out what different companies have to offer so I can relay to everyone what is the best “bang for a buck". Finding the best meeting point between quality and cost.
I recently saw an advert for Photobox offering 50% off their printing services. I chose to try out their Acrylic and Aluminium Wall Art products. Can 50% off really deliver you a great product? I love to hunt out a bargain but sometimes prices are just too good to be true.
Before purchasing the products I went online looking for reviews of these specific products and could not find any. So I felt I would take it upon myself to write an honest review of the products, but will add a little snippet of what service I received.
The website is very simple to use but does not allow much customisation with your image. Not all shots are within the ratio they offer in sizes and placing your image for cropping proves problematic on the site. As this was an expensive trial I simply chose two images that I believed would work well with the acrylic and aluminium products.
Each print was 80x60cm in size and with postage came in at just £99 for the two! I know some of you may think…. £50 for a print?!!! The pro lab I usually use would have come in at just shy of £300 for the two. So the question is will the £200 saving be worth it? Will they come out the same?
After five days I received my first print, with excitement I opened the box to see what Photobox had done with one of my images. First to come was my Aluminium print. Whilst unwrapping it I could feel the quality of it’s construction. Once the protective foam was peeled away I came face to face with the picture. Sadly my excitement was short lived. In the past my aluminium prints have come with a high gloss finish helping to enhance the colours. As Photobox had described their product as “Vivid” I believed I was in for roughly the same, but alas it was matt. The matt finish has done nothing for the colours. The colours seem muted and lifeless for the image used was rather striking. If you want a sturdy modern piece of wall art for a soft pastel image I’m sure this may be a cheap option. For me a soft image is best used with a fine art textured paper. Also the print quality is for me slightly substandard. there is a slight fuzziness to the print.
The next day I received a message claiming the next print will be delivered that day. To be honest I was once again excited but had very low hopes for a good print. in repeat of the day before the 6mm acrylic construction felt excellent when unwrapping. Squinting my eyes as I peeled the foam protector off, it finally came into view. I was gobsmacked. How can a "cheap” print company like Photobox get away with this? The Acrylic print is amazing. For the price paid it far surpassed my expectations. I would highly recommend it, if you are looking for a statement piece for your wall then definitely give them a go. The print quality was good, the colours were vivid and a true representation of the image.
Pros - Solid construction.
Cons - Matt finish will not make your pictures “vivid” / Print quality not up to scratch vs other pro labs.
Pros - 6mm Acrylic adding depth / Vibrant colours / Clear print almost up to the same level as other pro labs.
Cons - Slight bend caused by shipping.
A note about their customer service. On Photobox’s website it claims if you are not happy with a print to get in tough. So I sent a kind email explaining my issues with the aluminium print and asking if this is their normal printing process or a slight mistake on mine. I would not want to write about their products if a simple issue had caused the finish on the print.
In return I received a generic reply from a CS agent. The email pretty much claims that I must have uploaded an inferior image and to check my settings. As a professional I know exactly how to get the best set up for my digital files and felt rather annoyed that this was their response. To bug me even further they could not even be bothered to complete the email properly with (INSERT NAME) in the middle of a sentence that was meant to address myself.
So thank you Photobox I’ll give you an A for Acrylic Wall Art, E for Aluminium Wall Art and (INSERT GRADE) for customer service.