Exercise 5.2: Print Quotes

I researched the three companies quoted in the course material; Metro, theprintspace and Spectrum. I decided to seek prices for an A3 print as this is the size required for assessment.

It wasn’t straightforward in that Metro only offered standard format sizes, not A3 size. In addition Metro and Spectrum offered two levels of printing (standard and premier for Metro / online and studio for Spectrum) which seems to be the difference between straight printing of the files as you send them or a level of assessment and intervention in the printing by studio technicians. On top of this Spectrum offered a 20% discount on all services for students, Metro offer students a range of discounts including 10% off off the standard print service whereas theprintspace have no discount offers on their website.

On top of this one also has to take into account delivery costs for the prints as these too vary and would affect the overall price.

In order to do a fair comparison I have assumed 10 different prints sized 407x304mm using the standard delivery price. Te figures below include the student discount offered by each company.

Company Price per print Giclee Cost of 10 prints Price per print 

C Type

Cost of 10 prints Delivery cost
Metro £11.84 £118.40 £8.68 £86.80 £5.18
theprintspace £13.30 £133 £9.85 £98.50 £5.22
Spectrum £9.34 £93.40 £7.05 £70.50 £6.50

So the total cost of ten prints, 407x304mm delivered is

  Giclee C print
Metro £123.58 £91.98
theprintspace £138.22 £103.72
Spectrum £99.90 £7700

I have prepared two files of the same image (the first is for c type printing and the second a giclee on Innova white matt paper)  to the specifications set by Spectrum. The images are here. 

Can inkjet be treated as a photograph?

 The difference between inkjet and c type is that in the former method droplets of ink are sprayed onto a paper whereas c type is much more closely linked to a traditional photographic developing process where the image is transmitted on to silver halide papers and processed in the same way as a traditional photographic development.

The debate as to whether inkjets are ‘photographic’ prints or not comes down to this different method of production.

To my mind this division is false. A photograph was originally produced by exposing film to light, projecting the image on to photographic paper then developing and fixing it. There is an argument to be made that anything not produced by this method cannot be classified as photographs.

However if we take the argument that inkjet prints are not photographs because they do not involve projecting the light onto photographic paper then surely anything produced from a digital camera can not be classified as a photograph as it does not involve capturing the light from an image on to photographic film.

I believe that the important issue is the final printed image, its quality, feel and closeness to the image captured as intended by the photographer. Whether that is by c type or inkjet is, to me, irrelevant. Perhaps we should be less interested in terminology and more concerned with our view of the final photographic image.