1. The first step in colour management is to avoid dramatic lighting: keep it ambient in the room where you work. Don’t put your monitor in front of the window or other strong light sources and keep bright objects out of the field of view to avoid reflections on your screen.
2. Choose a nice neutral background pattern for your computer desktop. Ideally use a monitor hood to improve shading of the screen. The best, most accurate way of knowing if your screen is showing accurate colours is to invest in a spectrophotometer device such as an i1Display2 or similar. This inexpensive little gadget comes with full instructions and will perform tests on your screen to determine the output.
3. To check your screen calibration you can compare a test print side-by-side with its on-screen image using a product such as the Gretag Macbeth / XRITE Colour Checker Chart for a final check of saturation, density and hue.
Read more about the Colour Checker here.
4. Remember you can also soft-proof your prints by downloading the appropriate profile before using our self-service system. This is a good way of checking your colour is correct before going to print.
Our current screen profiling settings are Gamma 2.2. Colour temperature D64-D65 and Brightness 80 – 100 Cd/m2
1. From the Self-service page to begin the print upload and ordering process click the “Upload files” button.
2. You will then be presented with the following screen on which all you need to do is click the “Select Your Images” button. You may also select your files directly from a Dropbox folder.
3. Once you have selected your files and clicked ok you will have the option to add more images or to upload and continue.
4. Whilst the system uploads your images you will be presented with a progress indicator – this may take some time to complete if you are uploading numerous files or large images. It is also dependent on your internet connection speed; so please be patient!
5. Upon the completion of your file upload you will be presented with the main self-service ordering screen.
Here you are able to set your service, print size, paper media and border options.
6. Your uploaded file will appear in the main window in the centre.
7. If you uploaded multiple files they will be displayed as small thumbnails below the main window.
To select an alternate file, click on the appropriate thumbnail.
8. This page is where you can set the paper type, the size of the print, border size/colour, and confirm files have been set up correctly (if using Adobe Photoshop).
Use our step-by-step guide for perfect prints
Our Self-Service is a professional quality service that brings together our expertise in colour-management with your expertise in preparing your file.
Although it is possible to upload any file, from phone camera, digital camera or scan, we would strongly advise that you follow the following steps to prepare your file from within a program such as Photoshop to ensure the best results every time:
- Cropping your image for print
- Sizing your image file in Photoshop
- Adding borders in Photoshop
- Saving your file for print
If you don’t have Adobe Photoshop; or you would prefer to try the in-built tools on the website to do so? This is totally possible. But just incase you get stuck, we have prepared a few tutorials to help you out.
- Uploading your file
- Choosing your print media and size
- Adding borders
- Checking order settings, registering and choosing delivery options
If you get stuck at any point, then just contact us Monday – Friday, 8.30am – 6.30pm
Similar to tray frames but a more slimline offering. Works are often reverse Perspex® acrylic float mounted with only a minimal gap between the work and the moulding. Framing options available in both narrow and wide styles but for specific sizes and options please visit or contact our team.
Perfect for prints that have been dry mounted and don’t necessarily require glazing. The print is set back slightly below the face of the frame to prevent damage. It is mounted to Dibond or aluminium for rigidity and then floated in the frame with a space between the work and the frame moulding.
This is a stylish take on the box frame, with your print mounted inside the box, rather than fitted edge to edge. Your print is mounted to 2mm Aluminium or Dibond® to create a sleek borderless surround for your print. There is a gap between the work and the moulding creating a ‘floating’ effect.
Box frames have a fillet which creates a space between the print and the glazing, so there is no contact with the glass, for a deep box effect. Using Waterwhite float glass, your print is mounted first to Foamboard before being set into a box moulding with a fillet. This can be with a deep or shallow profile.
Perspex® mounting is a contemporary way to present prints for interiors and exhibitions. The print is bonded to Acrylic using a silicon gel and then backed with Dibond®. Once the Perspex has been bonded to the front of your print, the refraction of light through the Perspex® gives a high definition effect and deeply saturated colour.
Aluminium mounting is widely popular due to the archival quality of the material. Although considerably heavier and slightly less rigid than Dibond, Aluminium has the advantage of a clean silver edge which many find attractive. Delivered with an option of wooden battens or an aluminium sub-frame depending on the size of the print.
Dibond® is a composite display material comprising two sheets of archival quality thin aluminium with a thermoplastic core. It is valued for its lightweight rigidity and clean white coating. At an additional cost, panels can be supplied with wooden batons or Aluminium sub-frames. Specific finishes on Dibond are supplied in various sizes.
Foamex® is a solid PVC mounting material used for simple, non-archival purposes such as exhibition prints requiring a durable substrate for touring shows or public exhibitions. This material is available in both black or white colour, as well as in two different thicknesses for you to choose.
Foamboard is a lightweight mounting material used for large hanging signs and displays or as a smooth and rigid substrate for framing photography or illustration prints. Prints mounted to foamboard may be attached to the wall using velcro or small nails. Surprisingly sturdy and very light.
MDF mounting is an effective and economical way of displaying prints, available in different thicknesses. Although heavy, MDF is very rigid and the painted edges create a finished effect for mounted prints that, especially when sealed, will stand up to the toughest environments.
Kapa® foamboard is a lightweight mounting material used for large hanging signs and displays or as a smooth and rigid substrate for framing photographs. We use Kapa® foamboard, known for its aluminium foil surface, which adds a layer of protection for photographic paper. This material is available in 5 mm and 10 mm sheets.
0207 014 5023
I had an interest in photography from a young age. I left school and spent 10 years working up from a junior to being in charge of E6,C41 and B+W processing at Graham Nash Ltd in Stephen Mews, W1. I left there and travelled around the world for 2 years working at Vision Graphics in Sydney, Australia for a while before returning and working as Production Manager at the Wardour Street branch of Joes Basement in the west end. I joined Metro in 2002 after hearing what a progressive company it was through staff already working here.
In my spare time I shoot the occasional job but mainly enjoy relaxing with my family well away from the hustle and bustle of London.
Creative Retouch Manager
020 7014 5064
I’ve been wearing the team leader badge for the last three years having had a few different roles at Metro. As you’ve probably guessed from my profile shot, I’m actually pretty camera shy so it’s just as well I love clients photography! Outside of work my passions are music, travel, training & my three gorgeous nephews.
0207 014 5012
I spent two years studying Business Administration and then completed A Level Law before joining Metro in 2002. I decided on our Despatch Department for its good reputation for professionalism and respect within the courier industry. Once I knew there was a vacancy within Metro’s Despatch team I felt it would be the ideal position for me. My young son keeps me busy when I’m not at work, and I also enjoy traveling, the cinema and various contact sports.
Sell your photo and art prints online without the hassle…
If you want to sell your images online, hassle free and safe in the knowledge that your work is being produced to the best possible standard, by a professional and renowned print lab, then our service is for you. We take care of payment, fulfilment, delivery and any returns allowed by the distance selling regulations.
How it Works
Simply upload your images to your own fully customisable web page, allowing your clients to buy your prints straight from you. You can create as many galleries as you like, to truly show off your range of work; from limited edition prints to single art sales. You set the sizes offered, prices, paper types and finishes and we will take care of the rest.
You then share this web page via your own website or more commonly now, by social media.
Behind the scenes, we will take payment for you, your high-resolution file is retrieved from our server; your print is produced, checked, packed, labelled and posted without you lifting a finger!
There’s no set up fee, or ongoing costs, just a simple 10% commission on whatever your mark up is on any sales. Payments of your mark up are paid monthly
Supplying Your Printable Files
Files for printing should be made available via a Dropbox link to firstname.lastname@example.org or via services such as wetransfer.com. Please remember to label all images: firstname_lastname_print_title and as flattened tif files. The files need to be large enough for printing to the maximum size offered for sale. We would recommend ordering yourself a print before you offer your work for sale, using self service premier, to ensure you are happy with the service offered.
By default, production costs are based on Metro Imaging Self Service prices. This can be changed for clients who prefer a bespoke editions service by contacting us.
To give you the best chance of selling your images online, and to provide high level security for your clients, we use PayPal as our payment gateway. The 10% charged to you is to cover these transfer costs between you, the client and us, as a handling fee.
How do I get paid
To receive payment for the commission due, you will need to invoice Metro Imaging Ltd for the commission amounts shown in sales. Adding vat if you are vat registered. Metro Imaging will make payments to your invoice details using a Bacs payment direct to your bank account.
We have a wide variety of papers on offer here at Metro Imaging from Digital C-Type, Fine Art Giclée or Genuine Black & White…
Our C-Type papers are perfect for exhibition printing and the ideal ‘all rounder’ paper type. All our prints are produced on laser printers, giving optimum results for your images for colour accuracy, light fastness and archival quality. Our digital c-type papers range from classic photographic finishes such as matt and gloss to speciality papers like Velvet, Metallic, Duratran and Supergloss.
Photographic mounting describes a process of using adhesive to fix a photo print to a solid rigid material, known as a substrate. The type of photographic mounting we use at Metroprint uses large rollers to seal photographic prints to a substrate, as opposed to other warm techniques, such as heat mounting. Although photo mounting to card was common for framing photographs for some hundred years, other modern photographic materials such as foamboard, foamex and Aluminium have entered the photographic exhibition market from places like sign-making and museum exhibitions as photographers search for new and innovative methods of displaying images without a frame.
Photographic materials such as MDF and foamboard may be favoured for their durability, but would not be considered archival as they contain chemicals which will eventually colour or even disintegrate photographic paper. Where the archival longevity of a photo print is paramount, photo framing is the only truly archival technique of presenting a photograph, but materials such as Aluminium or dibond may be used where a frame is not desired for aesthetic reasons or those of weight. To help you decide which photo material to use we have prepared a chart below that outlines the relative benefits of each substrate.
Image resolution for printing is the fineness of detail you can see in an image. It is measured in pixels per inch (ppi). The more pixels per inch, the greater the resolution. You can think of this as similar to thread count in cotton sheets, or knots in handmade carpets: the higher the number per inch, the better the quality.
When you come to print, the pixels (ppi) are translated into dots (dpi). The image size of a file is a measure of the number of pixels along an image’s width and height. This is called the pixel dimensions and is measured in MBs. The document size of an image determines how large or small our image is going to print based on the image resolution.
As you change the resolution of a file, its physical dimensions change, and vice versa. Imagine the file as a flexible ball of data: rolled up tight there is a high resolution (pixel density) but low (linear) size. Rolled out flat, the resolution (density of pixels) is lower but the (linear) size has increased. It’s just like pastry!
Resizing is changing the size the image will print without changing the number of pixels in the image. Resampling changes the number of pixels in the image. Photoshop resamples images using interpolation methods to assign colour values to any new pixels based on the colour values of existing pixels.
You can read more about the different methods here. Information about how to use these elements in creating the best quality file for printing can be found in Using Photoshop to Resize and Resample. Understanding these basic terms will help you create better files, and in turn, better prints.
The printing resolutions for some of different image sizes and services are:
Black and White Resin Coated printing 200 – 400DPI
Black and White Fibre Based (Bromide) printing 200 – 400DPI
Ctype (chromagenic) printing upto 40×30 inches: 305 DPI
Ctype (chromagenic) printing above 40×30 inches: 200 – 400 DPI
Giclee fine art printing 300 DPI
For futher information please contact our team
The Océ Lightjet 500XL is probably one of the most amazing photographic printers in the world. At Metroprint we have one of ten Lightjet 500XLs in the world so all our C Types over 48” wide are printed on this machine. Until we netted ours, you had to go to Dusseldorf to find another one available for photographers. We decided it was time to change all that and now prints measuring ten by six feet are within reach of any photographer in the UK.
It works by instead of copying the image, the lasers write the image onto photographic paper using an internal 270 degree drum. The paper is held still in a cylinder while the lasers get to work. Laser light is reflected by a spinning mirror moving along the axis of the cylinder onto the surface of the media. ‘Uniform spot size and shape’ means that even the edges and corners of an image are as razor sharp as the centre. This uniformity is better than any other optical printing technique.
This technology results in better image sharpness, uniform density and colour and the highest geometric accuracy over the whole print. As you can probably imagine, this printer needs special treatment, so our large format Digital C Types are processed slightly differently to other colour photographic prints.
Colour management is simply the methods generally used to control the colour accuracy of files and photo prints. At Metroprint we follow all four steps outlined below and one very important further step: all our printers and processors are calibrated every time we load new photo paper.
Colour management for photo prints consists of five simple steps:
1. Controlling light in your room
2. Calibrating your monitor
3. Using Adobe’s Colour Workspace
4. Previewing your file with a soft proof profile before going to print
5. View your final print in daylight conditions
To achieve maximum accuracy you should follow all four steps. The first three are all set-up, so only need to be undertaken once. The last should be used whenever you go to print if you want to be as absolutely close as possible to the lab situation.
1. A brightly lit room, a tilted screen, or just an old screen: these simple factors play havoc with predicting the final colour of your print. You should replace your monitor about every 4 years as the colour accuracy does diminish over time. We recommend CRT or LCD monitor types and bear in mind that laptops are very difficult to work with due to the changing angle of the screen. In terms of monitors: we prefer NEC, Eizo, Mac or Lacie.
2. New monitors are generally more accurate than old ones but they leave the factory with default settings that might need a tweak. Follow our simple instructions to mirror your monitor settings on your Mac or PC and you will be closer to a professional in-lab situation, giving you greater accuracy for the next two steps.
3. Photoshop uses colour ‘workspaces’ to reduce the amount of shifting taking place when a file is transferred from one format to another. You probably will have noticed the software asking if you would like to convert certain files to the default workspace? Whether or not you have set it up, you will be working in a colour workspace if you are using Photoshop. Like most printers, Metro work in the Adobe 98 colour workspace and using our simple set-up instructions you can have greater control over the colour of your files at the printing stage.
4. All printers use ‘profiles’: individually made files that calibrate a specific individual printer to one type of paper with one specific set of printer driver settings. Softproofing is a method of looking at what changes the profile will make to translate your file for the specifics of paper and printer. You can toggle between your file and the soft proof file to see how colours have changed as a result of the printer profile. By previewing these changes you can make adjustments to your file (increase the saturation of red or green for example) to allow for these changes.
5. If you are producing a large number of prints it can be useful to look at them together in one place to reduce the variation in conditions. A well-lit room in the daytime is probably the most ideal situation.
Lambda and Lightjet are both brands of laser printer companies (Durst and Océ, respectively) that developed innovative digital replacements for traditional darkroom printing. Rather than using a bulb to expose light on photographic paper, these printers use three lasers (red, green and blue) to expose light onto photographic silver halide paper, advancing through the Lambda and in the Lightjet, rolled inside a large drum. The exposed paper is then processed in photographic chemistry to create a perfectly archival, digital but traditional C Type print. Hence the term, ‘digital C Type‘.
Laser printers such as Lambda and Lightjet are the preferred choice by artists and photographers the world over. Laser systems rely on elaborate combinations of rotating mirrors and lenses that must remain in alignment through use. LED technology uses a Light Emitting Diode print-head as a light source which is ‘solid-state’ (i.e. fixed) and has no moving parts.
But at Metro Imaging we know that the needs of photographers, particularly for fine art, are quite specific and based more around the quality of the image, rather than the speed or efficiency of the machine. For artists and photographers the key issue is resolution and image quality. Here laser printers win hands down. Compare, for example the Durst Lambda (laser) printer with a commonly used LED printer: the ZBE’s Chromira:
|ZBE Chromira||300ppi||1500 dpi|
|Durst Lambda Laser||400ppi||4000dpi|
|Océ Lightjet Laser||300ppi||4000dpi|
We’ve had Lambda printers at Metro Imaging for years and we rely on them to produce not only all our colour digital C Types over 30 inches wide, but also our black and white Lambda prints. The Durst Lambda was one of the first ever laser printers to produce digital C Types. The technology uses a continuous roll to roll single beam, 3-laser (RGB) exposure system which means that you can make prints up to any length, with a width of up to 50 inches. The combination of size, flexibility and image quality has made the Lambda a staple of the best photographic labs across the world.
How does it work? In a similar vein to the Lightjet, digital information is exposed directly onto conventional photographic media. Linear writing speed is superfast: up to 65 cm per minute with a choice of 200 and 400 ppi (equal to an apparent resolution of 4000 dpi) resolutions. The Lambda produces images with the highest possible resolution (68 billion colours!).
Don’t forget the ‘Lambda’ is the machine, not a print type!
A digital C Type or Chromagenic print is any photographic print that has been exposed using digital technology, rather than traditional analogue (otherwise known as ‘darkroom’) techniques. In an analogue setting, an enlarger, an optical apparatus similar to a slide projector, projects the image of a negative onto a sheet of photographic paper whilst controlling focus, intensity and duration of light.
With a digital C Type (Chromagenic print) this part of the process is controlled from a computer and the paper is exposed using lasers or LEDs rather than a bulb. The second part of the traditional process is much the same however: the paper is processed in a photographic developer, followed by bleach fix before being washed to remove the processing chemicals.
So a digital C Type (Chromagenic) is a traditional photographic print, made from a digital file rather than a negative. Many customers think that a ‘digital print’ has to be a Giclée print but this is not so. A Giclée print is quite different, using no chemistry or light sensitivity.
Handling a Giclée print is a common question we are asked at Metro as fine art prints are susceptible to damage much more than a C Type print. When it comes to Giclée prints we recommend only using this paper when intending to frame straight away. If are are looking for portfolio prints, or free-hanging prints for an exhibition, we will always recommend using C Type papers as these are much more durable.
- All Metroprint Giclées come rolled over 20 x 16 inches and above
- Always handle you Giclée print wearing cotton gloves and avoid touching the print itself
- If you don’t have gloves, make sure you have clean hands and do not touch the ink – even the smallest amount of oil or grease that occurs naturally can damage an inkjet
- Always hold the print by it’s edges and do not bend the print
- We recommend printing Giclées with a border, so you have ‘clean’ paper to handle, this is useful for larger prints that come rolled.
- All Giclées naturally ‘curl’. To uncurl a print: Place the print on a flat, clean surface away from direct sunlight and leave the protective tissue over the print. Place a book, or another heavy object on the very ends of the print. After a few hours the print should become flat.
What are the differences?
Our professional photographic printing department is uniquely equipped to fulfil everything from standard to the most complex creative brief. We have designed our photographic printing services to meet the needs of all levels, from simple Self-Service photo printing online, to in-depth consultation and curation via our Bespoke service.
This is our most effective solution for photographers: ideal for those on a budget, students, or who simply want full control of their images. Self-Service standard means you colour correct, size and fully prepare your print for printing. During the ordering process, you can set your print size as uploaded or pick from our ‘set size’ menu. You can also add borders at this stage if you so wish. We have many how-to guides with Photoshop tips and tricks, as well as a step by step guide to ordering to help you every step of the way.
We’ve noticed that some customers still want a professional eye cast over their images, perhaps to fine-tune them here and there – just to give them a little bit of extra TLC.
That’s where our Premier level Self-Service comes in; for an additional 50% of the Standard Self-Service fees, one of our expert technicians will correct your colours to make sure they’re properly neutral and check that the blacks are black, the whites, white. This quick expert judgement could make all the difference to your final print and help to avoid any disappointment.
You can send instructions for specific images with your order or just ask us to look over the whole file, all the other standard Self-Service options apply with the same quick turnaround, it’s that simple.
Visit this link for more detailed information on the differences between Metro Imaging printing services.
If you’re using Metro’s online service for selling your photography or art prints then the points below will be of use to you. If you’re not, then check it out and register for free today!
PRINT & IMAGE SIZES
Sizes will vary according to the original format that the image was shot in. Print sizes stated are a guide to the paper size that the image is printed on. All images will be printed with borders.
MOUNTING & FRAMING
All photographic printing, mounting, bespoke framing and delivery and is carried out by Metro Imaging Ltd in London, to the highest professional standards. In the event of a query with your order please email us on email@example.com or call us on 020 7865 0000
The colour of your prints is liable to vary from the colours seen on screen depending on the calibration of your monitor compared to the original file supplied by the photographer. All prints are produced individually by expert technicians at Metro Imaging.
Please allow up to five working days for prints and from 10 days after print time for mounted and framed prints.
For all work sent via Royal Mail 1st Class please see here for their delivery times, we will do our upmost to adhere to production deadlines . However, in accordance with Royal Mail postal services, Metro Imaging cannot be held liable for delayed; misplaced or damaged goods once item(s) have departed from the Metro Imaging premises.
To assist you with deciding which option to use – we have a full set of mounting samples in reception to help you choose.
To help you decide which material to use we have prepared a chart that outlines the relative benefits of each substrate.
|Card||Ultra-light||1500 x1280 mm||Poor||Poor||Yes|
|Foamex||Light||3000 x 2000 mm||Poor||Good||No|
|Foamboard||Ultra-light||2440 x 1220 mm||OK||Poor||No|
|MDF||Heavy||3000 x 1512 mm||Excellent||Excellent||No|
|Aluminium||Medium Light||3000 x 2000 mm||Good||Excellent||Yes|
|Dibond||Light||3000 x 2000 mm||Excellent||Excellent||Yes|
|Kapamount||Light||3050 x 1530 mm||Good||Good||Yes|
|Acrylic||Medium-Heavy||3000 x 2000 mm||Good||Excellent||Yes|
|| A Sizes
|10 x 8
||25.4 x 20.3
||254 x 203
|11 3/4 x 8 1/4
||29.7 x 21.0
||297 x 210
|12 x 10
||30.5 x 25.4
||305 x 254
|14 x 11
||35.6 x 27.9
||356 x 279
|16 x 12
||40.6 x 30.5
||406 x 305
|16 1/2 x 11 3/4
||42.0 x 29.7
||420 x 297
|20 x 16
||50.8 x 40.6
||508 x 406
|23 1/3 x 16 1/2
||59.4 x 42.0
||594 x 420
|24 x 20
||61.0 x 50.8
||610 x 508
|30 x 20
||76.2 x 50.8
||762 x 508
|30 x 30
||76.2 x 76.2
||762 x 762
|33 x 23 1/2
||84.1 x 59.4
||841 x 594
|36 x 24
||91.4 x 61.0
||914 x 610
|40 x 30
||101.6 x 76.2
||1016 x 762
|47 x 33
||118.9 x 84.1
||1189 x 841
|48 x 36
||121.9 x 91.4
||1219 x 914
|60 x 40
||152.4 x 101.6
||1524 x 1016
|48 x 48
||121.9 x 121.9
||1219 x 1219
|72 x 48
||183.0 x 121.9
||1830 x 1219
||229.0 x 121.9
||2290 x 1219
|96 x 48
||244.0 x 121.9
||2440 x 1219
Baryta is a special barium sulphate coating that is traditionally applied to a fibre photographic paper base prior to coating with the emulsion layers. The technical benefits of the Baryta layer include greater detail and definition, extended tonal range and excellent archival properties. In addition, Baryta coated fibre papers have a unique look and feel which have become the standard for fine art photographers worldwide.
Also known as fibre based, this paper has the photographic emulsion coated directly onto the fibres of the paper so, in processing, chemistry soaks into the paper making it much slower to process, wash and dry. FB papers also react much better than RC papers to toning and other special effects, and are available in a much greater variety of specialty finishes. We recommend FB papers for their archival permanence and for producing the most beautiful fine art and exhibition prints.
At Metro we offer black and white photographic fibre-based prints from digital files on Lambda and also Baryta Giclee prints.
One of the main reasons for using Baryta paper with inkjet printing is the ability to use photo black pigment inks.
Lambda and Lightjet are both brands of laser printer companies (Durst and Océ, respectively) that developed innovative digital replacements for traditional darkroom printing. Rather than using a bulb to expose light on photographic paper, these printers use three lasers (red, green and blue) to expose light onto photographic silver halide paper, advancing through the Lambda and in the Lightjet, rolled inside a large drum. The exposed paper is then processed in photographic chemistry to create a perfectly archival, digital but traditional C Type print. Hence the term, “Digital C Type“.
The Durst Lambda was one of the first ever laser printers to produce C Type photographic prints. The technology uses a continuous roll-to-roll single beam, 3-laser (RGB) exposure system which means that you can make prints up to any length, with a width of up to 50”. How does it work? Digital information is exposed directly onto conventional photographic media. Linear writing speed is superfast with a choice of 200 and 400 ppi (equal to an apparent resolution of 4000 dpi)resolution. The Lambda produces images with the highest possible resolution (68 billion colours!!!)
Laser systems rely on elaborate combinations of rotating mirrors and lenses that must remain in alignment through use. ‘Uniform spot size and shape’ means that even the edges and corners of a Lightjet print are as razor sharp as the centre. This uniformity is better than any other optical printing technique. This technology results in better image sharpness, uniform density and colour and the highest geometric accuracy over the whole print.
But at Metro Imaging we know that the needs of photographers, are quite specific and based more around the quality of the image, rather than the speed or efficiency of the machine. For artists and photographers the key issue is resolution and image quality. Here laser printers win hands down.
Compare, for example the Durst Lambda (laser) printer with two commonly used LED printers: the Durst (LED) Theta printer and ZBE’s Chromira:
|Durst Theta LED||254ppi||1,200 dpi|
|ZBE Chromira||300ppi||1500 dpi|
|Durst Lambda Laser||400ppi||4000dpi|
|Océ Lightjet Laser||300ppi||4000dpi|
Factors that determine print life
In determining image stability and the lifespan of a print at the acceptable margins of change there are many factors which cause image degradation in silver halide based Colour C Type papers and Inkjet materials. There are mainly four mechanisms that contribute to determining longevity for photographic prints:
- Degradation of the dyes caused by heat
- Degradation of the dyes caused by light
- Yellowing of the minimum densities (DMin) due to light or heat
- Degradation of the Resin base
These same four degradation mechanisms also apply to Inkjet materials. The following further factors also have a bearing on lifespan:
- Ambient moisture (relative humidity)
- Atmospheric pollutants
- Direct water contact
To determine average lifespans of materials all these degradation mechanisms need to be taken into account, as it’s not just the permanence of the paper dyes or ink that will determine fade. A material could have excellent light and thermal fade performance but poor print life if the colorant stability is poor when exposed to moisture or atmospheric pollutants.
It is extremely important to recognize that the life of the image may not necessarily be limited by the stability of the image dyes. So we have to be careful of a manufacturer who states lifespan purely on dye stability or light stability alone or who uses only light fade data to describe the performance of a product, as it is very likely to not present an accurate prediction of print life.
How bright is a typical home environment for display? Light is measured in Lux and with 12 hours daylight in a room with west and south facing windows then you would expect light levels between 100 to 500 Lux up to a peak of 1000 Lux with a mixture of indirect and direct sun and artificial illumination in the evening. An average day over the year would be around 200 to 400 Lux illumination, dependent on the season.
Typical Colour C Type Print Lifespans
The following gives a guide to different environments and average expectant lifespans of Colour C Type prints.
|Museum||150 Lux||Over 100 years|
|Office||450 Lux||35 years|
|Commercial Display||1000 Lux||8.5 years|
|Commercial Display||5000 Lux||20 months|
Kodak Endura Paper
Kodak papers incorporate a patented coupler technology that shows good thermal stability. They state Colour C Type prints stored in total darkness in ideal atmospheric conditions can last over 200 years before noticeable fade occurs but this is not a typical situation for print usage. In a photo album Colour C Type print life should exceed 100 years.
Fuji Crystal Archive C Type Paper
Fuji paper is made at Tilburg in the Netherlands and Fuji state that the light stability of Fujicolor Crystal Archive papers at 500 lux is over 40 years. As already stated in domestic situations sunlit areas may be bright as 1,000 lux or more during the day and drop to 100 to 200 Lux in the evening. Normal storage conditions are usually designated to be at an average of 500 lux of light exposure for 12 hours per day.
This gives Crystal Archive papers an image stability of 133 years at 150 lux.
The dark stability of Fujicolor Crystal Archive papers kept in total darkness in ideal atmospheric conditions is over 200 years
Epson Inkjet prints
Without being restricted to a few choices of media to achieve professional requirements for longevity, Epson UltraChrome K3 inks are designed to work as a system with a wide range of professional media. Epson UltraChrome K3 ink has improved print permanence characteristics that provide light fastness ratings of up to 108 years for Colour and over 200 years for Black and White prints under rigorous industry accepted display conditions.
Technical information credited to Kodak, Fuji and Epson
I have been involved in photography for the past 20 years. I began my career working in photographic darkrooms in the heart of London’s West End, familiarising myself with clients and gaining a wealth of experience in all aspects of photography. When working at Metro Imaging I have personally worked with photographers such as Nadav Kander and Edward Burtynsky, creating fine art digital c-types up to 10 ft long. In my own time I love spending time with my three kids.
Although I work digitally, I started off as a conventional B&W Printer. Even now it’s still more the aesthetic rather than technical aspect of printing digitally that interests me. I prefer to talk in terms of stops and vignettes rather than histograms and curves.
With the development of the digital bromide process it allows me to utilise the skills I’ve developed in the darkroom with all the benefits of working in a digital medium. It’s important to me to be able to interpret and enable the vision of a photographer or artist to become reality – at the end of the day it’s what’s in the frame that counts.
I’ve been working in Labs since 1986 when I started as a junior in a small Photographic Studio/Lab in Teddington. I left there to spend nine months traveling around the world. On my return, I began seven years of working for a large Exhibition/Display company in Balham. Principally I was hand printing colour c-types on 50″ and 72″ paper. Some artists who wanted their work printed at a large scale came there, including Juergen Teller and Yinka Shonibare. It was also there, in 1998 that I began working with the Lightjet 5000 and learning Photoshop.
Later I worked in a small Lab in West Kensington predominantly hand printing, I also learned basic drum scanning and inkjet printing. I joined Metro in 2002 and whilst my versatility had me doing other things sometimes, I’m now settled working with the Lambda and Lightjet. It’s an amazing job to have, and I feel very lucky to be working here.
Digital Print Manager
I have had a varied life, working in sports photography as an aviation journalist and photographer and also as a lab manager. I still pursue landscape and aviation photography in my spare time. I have worked at Metro since 2005.
I had a interest in photography from a young age, and went on to study it at college. I worked at Colorama and Jessops for a few years, and saw a opening at Metro and went for it, that was ten years ago, and I’ve been here ever since.
I’m grateful to be part of a vibrant and ever evolving company.
I still enjoy photography in my spare time, I also like to take long rides on my motorbike and the occasional..very occasional…visit to the gym.
I have been retouching for over 25 years, both here and abroad and have enjoyed working with design agency’s, photographers and major retailers worldwide.
Metro’s Framing and mounting department expands and relocates to great new premises in Tinworth street SE1
A busy year for Metro: we went to China with The Photographers’ Gallery to produce over 400 prints, we gave our iconic Front of House at Great Sutton St – a brand new gallery space! We kick it off with a Direct to Media exhibition to co-inside with the widely acclaimed Clerkenwell Design Week, proving that not only are we a photographic lab, but we work with all creatives, world wide. We also design a brand new site for Metroprint, now users can order prints, mounting and framing from their computer, tablet or phone.
Forever looking for new and innovative services to offer clients, we purchase a Jetrix Flatbed Direct To Media printer. This new machine opens up a whole new range of services we can provide as the image is printed directly to the material, cutting out the photographic print option. This means a faster service, quicker turn around times and of course multiple options for print. Choose from Perspex, Aluminium, wood, glass and so much more – limited only to your imagination.
Metro spots a gap in the market and develops the free Metroprint Instagram app for iPhones and Androids, to compliment the current print service for online orders. Being a professional fine art lab and at the forefront of the business, Metro now offers full services on all levels to hobbyists, amateurs and pros alike.
The Metro mounting department expands to now include bespoke, handmade frames. Our new finishing department opens in Vauxhall and offers a full range of mounting and framing options as well as Lightboxes. This end-to-end solution is the perfect package for artists looking for production management, printing, retouch, finishing and installation all under one roof.
Metro is granted the Royal Warrant by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. This is a mark of recognition of our close relationship as a supplier and over many years, to the Duchy of Cornwall, as well as a commitment to the highest standards of service and excellence. To date HRH The Prince of Wales has granted only 159 warrants making us one of a select group of companies and individuals.
Metro take delivery of one of only ten Superwide Lightjet 500XL printers making us one of only two commercial printing labs in Europe to be able to print to 72” wide. It is the only photographic printer in the world which can print to 10ft x 6ft in one section making it the number one choice for fine art photographers.
The Lightjet had to be craned over the building into the courtyard at the back whilst Great Sutton Street was closed a wall was dismantled and rebuilt around the printer!