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By: Danette Mckay
Digital photo printing can be done in many ways at various prices and speeds. Two main options are digital photo printing at home or using a digital photo printing professional service.

Photo printing services such as Walgreens are not a new digital era phenomenon. Photo printing services started as early as the first days when cameras were invested and introduced to the market. Back in the early days of photography developing photos and printing photos was a complicated and expensive process. After taking photos with a film camera the film is taking to a professional service. The professional service in turn uses a series of chemicals and processes in order to run the film into what is known as a negative.

Negatives like their name suggests are a negative reflection of the photo captured on the film. But negatives are just the camera film processed. The process includes two main steps. First thing is to remove the light sensitivity from the film so further processing and printing can be easily done. The second is to fix the captured photo on the film in its negative form.

After the negatives are developed the professional photo printing service would go ahead with printing the photos on special photo paper. Printing can be done on many different sizes from small to large enlargement posters. The core concept behind printing photos on photo paper is very simple. The ready to be used negative is placed in front of a strong light source. The light source projects the photo on a light sensitive paper than in many ways resembles the camera film. The light sensitive paper is paper with special light sensitive coating on it. After the photo is captured on the photo paper the paper goes through a series of chemical baths that fix the photo and wash away the light sensitive chemicals.

Professional photo printing services worked in a very simple when it came to consumer interface. The consumer would come to the store to deliver the film and an order stating how many photos and what sizes he needed. Alternatively consumers could mail the film to the store. The store would then develop the film and print the order for the consumer to pick up. Some services provide a fast one hour turn around service while others require a twenty four hour window.

In the digital era printing has dramatically changed and many printing services such as Walgreens have adapted. The first big difference is the lack of a film and thus the abandonment of the negative development process. No more is there a need to first develop a negative from which photos can be printed. Instead special LCD screens are used through which light is emitted and the photo projected on the light sensitive photo paper. But digital photo printing has another big differentiator and that is the fact that digital photos can easily be printed at home using normal low cost color printers.


There are advantages and disadvantages to printing digital photos at home. A rule of thumb is that when in need for high quality large quantity prints or enlargements sending digital photos to a professional service is better than printing digital photos at home. When in need of just a few photos printing at home is a fine solution. With digital cameras delivery of photos to and from stores has also changed. There is no film to deliver or mail instead the Internet is used to simply upload the digital photos to the printer servers. The printed photos are then mailed to the consumer or are available for pickup.
Danette Mckay explains about this subject in more depth at walgreens photo
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