Frequently Asked
Questions

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10 Most Frequent Questions

Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions

How do I order prints and enlargements of my digital pictures?

  • Order online from your digital camera at www.iPrints.com. Our simple instructions will
    guide you, step-by-step, when you place your order.

    All you need to do is to transfer the images from your camera’s memory card to a file on your computer’s hard drive. Then, just locate the file containing the pictures you want printed from the hard drive. Our program makes it easy to select the right file and choose the pictures you want for enlargements by showing all the files on your hard drive in the
    left portion of the Order Screen. You just have to select the correct folder to view the pictures and order.

    The program will walk you through each of the simple steps. Please believe us when we
    say it’s a lot simpler to actually order great prints and enlargements than to describe how
    to order them!

Or…

  • Burn your digital camera images to a CD-R and mail the CD to us.

    It is sometimes more convenient to burn your images onto a CD-R and mail the CD to
    our laboratory for prints. For example, if you have very big images or a large number of
    files you could find that transferring the images online might be difficult due to restrictions imposed by your Internet Service Provider (some ISPs restrict you to just 5 or 10 megabyte maximum uploads).

    If you’re submitting CDs, it will be best if you place digital images for the same print
    sizes and quantities sized in separate, labeled folders. (i.e. Make one folder for all images where you want 2 of each 4" x 6" glossy prints; a second for 1 of each 8" x 12" glossy,
    etc. Please request only one print surface…glossy or matte…per order.) This will help you organize your order in a way that our technicians can follow when they make your prints
    and enlargements.

    CDs can be mailed to Dale Laboratories, our parent laboratory, in our postage-paid mailers…or you can ship them to us in any secure package. Please protect your CDs by packing them between cardboards. For a free supply of mailers, please click here.

What is the normal turn-around time for my orders?

  • iPrints.com online prints and enlargements from digital cameras –

    – Print sizes from 4" x 6" to 12" x 18" will normally ship within 24 hours (Monday -
    Friday) from the time we receive your uploaded images over the Internet.

    – Print sizes from 16" x 20" to 20" x 30" will usually ship within 5 - 9 business days.

  • Please allow for several additional incoming days for mail-in orders.

    The service times listed above are estimates based upon our normal turn-around times
    and are provided for you to use as a guideline. They are not guaranteed since other factors, such as extremely heavy volume or the possible necessity of reprinting your order…with extra time required…may cause delays. So, it’s very important that you allow sufficient time for us to provide the high quality prints and enlargements that you deserve.

How do you ship my orders to me? How long will it take for my orders to arrive?

  • Orders within the U.S. are shipped by First Class, Priority Mail or DHL –

    – First Class Mail usually takes from 2 - 4 days after it has left our laboratory for it to be delivered anywhere in the U.S.

    – Priority Mail is routinely delivered in from 2 - 3 days. Please note that the U.S. Post
    Office advertises two to three day delivery…and nearly always delivers on time…but does
    not actually guarantee delivery within the two to three day time span.

    – DHL 2nd Day packages are delivered in two days. This is guaranteed by DHL to most
    …but not all…locations in the U.S. Signatures are not generally required, unless you specifically request “signature required” with your order.

    – Larger orders may be shipped via DHL Ground to provide computerized tracking.
    These packages generally are delivered in from 2 - 4 days after leaving the laboratory.

  • Shipments by DHL, FedEx or UPS Next Day Air –

    – You may request this service to be charged to your airfreight account number.
    Please include a note with your airfreight account number or contact our Customer Service department to make arrangements.

    – We can also add the shipping charges to the credit card you used for your order,
    billing you directly for expedited, next-day delivery. These shipments are charged at actual shipping cost.

  • Shipping to Canada, Mexico and overseas –

    – We ship by U.S. Mail, which connects to the mail service in your country.
    International mail service is quick and, depending on the destination country, is usually
    very reliable. Shipping charges are listed on our mailers and price lists and are
    automatically computed for online orders on iPrints.com.

    – Shipping may also be arranged by DHL or FedEx at an additional cost. Please advise
    us if this is your preference. Be sure to provide us with an email address so that we can contact you with the shipping charges before we ship, since overseas airfreight can often be quite costly.

    – Our assumption, unless you advise us otherwise, is that the packages being shipped to you are for personal use. Therefore, the Customs Declaration will state “No Commercial Value.”

What type of Internet connection do I need to order prints online from iPrints.com?

  • Due to the large size of digital camera files we suggest using a high-speed DSL or
    cable modem rather than a dial-up connection. It is possible that on a dial-up connection …depending on the size of the order you are uploading…that you will “time out” and not complete your order, based on restrictions imposed by your Internet Service Provider.

  • High-speed connections can also experience problems if you try to upload too many
    images or files that are too large. The upload speed of the high-speed connections is a
    mere fraction of their download speed. Home-based, consumer-level DSL lines may also
    have a maximum upload restriction (commercial DSLs generally have unrestricted uploads). So, the possibility of “timing out” is still present even if you have a high-speed connection
    in your home.

  • Downloading our Print Wizard can help with both slow-speed dial-ups and placing
    larger orders using high-speed connections. The Print Wizard will down-sample your files, if necessary, to the size needed for the print sizes you’re actually ordering (i.e. While you might want a 3 MB file if you’re printing a 12" x 18" enlargement, you don’t need a file size that large to print an excellent 4" x 6" print.) So, by cutting the size of your files down,
    you’ll be able to automatically place your orders more easily.

I’m having problems uploading my JPEG images to iPrints. When I try to send a
large number of pictures only a percentage of them load and then my Internet
connection fails. What is going wrong?

You’re experiencing a “timing out” problem or exceeding the maximum uploading restrictions of your Internet Service Provider (i.e. going over a 10 MB or 15 MB upload
limit imposed by the ISP for consumer-level connections). Please see the explanation above. Here are a few suggestions on how to place your orders without the aggravation:

  • Download our Print Wizard.

    The Print Wizard will automatically “shrink” the image sizes of your files to the perfect
    upload size to produce the print or enlargement size you are ordering. The fact is that you don’t need the same large file size to make a 4" x 6" print that you do for an 11" x 14" enlargement. Yet, when you take pictures you always want to keep your camera at its highest level of quality and maximum image size for when you do want a big enlargement. With the Print Wizard you’ll get the great prints you want, without creating orders that are too large to be efficiently uploaded to iPrints through your Internet Service.

    Or…

  • Break your orders into smaller parts, staying below the 5 or 10 MB limit of your
    Internet Service Provider. Please note that while our order form will indicate multiple
    shipping charges with different orders, we will only actually charge you the shipping rate for
    a single order.

    Or…

  • Do your uploads at work rather than at home (assuming company rules allow personal
    use). Commercial DSL and T1 lines generally don’t have any restrictions on the size of files that can be uploaded as consumer-level DSLs do. So, you won’t time out when sending
    large orders to our server.

    Or…

  • Burn your images onto a CD-R and mail the CD in to our laboratory. (This is often the easiest method of ordering a large number of prints and enlargements or prints from very large image files.) Please click here for more information.

How can I crop images when I order iPrints?

You have two choices when cropping prints:

1) Download and use our Print Wizard. The Print Wizard has a simple cropping tool that will let you crop your images to the correct aspect ratio (height and width proportion) of the enlargement size you’re ordering. It will also let you correct for “red-eye.”

Or…

2) Crop using another application, such as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. This is often the preferred choice of professionals or people who have image editing applications on their computer. Just remember to use a different aspect ratio when you crop for each print size. The aspect ratio for a 4" x 6" print (a long rectangle) is not the same as for an 8" x 10" enlargement (a short rectangle). In cases where you crop incorrectly for a particular print size, our technicians will have to re-crop the images to fit the print size you’ve ordered…potentially losing a section of the image you want.

What paper surfaces can I order?

You may choose to have your prints made on either matte (lustre) or glossy Kodak photographic paper. Please select just one surface per order.

How long will iPrints last? Will my enlargements fade or streak?

The Kodak photographic paper we use is rated by Kodak as having a dark life…the amount of time the color on the picture will remain stable and unchanged if kept dry and out of the light (as in a pH neutral photo album)…at over 100 years.

Keeping time will be less if the print is kept in bright sunlight or under fluorescent lights. There is no way to say exactly how long such an exposed print will last before a color shift. However, today’s silver halide photographic prints will last far longer than previous photographic papers. We think it’s safe to say that with normal viewing you and your family (or clients) will enjoy viewing the prints and enlargements we'll make for you for many generations.

Ink jet prints you make yourselves, by comparison, may fade or streak in anywhere from a few months to several years.

What if I’m unhappy with my prints?

Your satisfaction is our #1 priority.

If, for some reason, you’re unhappy with the prints or enlargements you receive please let us know by calling our Customer Service Department toll-free at (800) 327-1776 or by returning the prints to us with a note explaining the problem.

We will either improve your print(s) or let you know why it cannot be
improved. If you are still dissatisfied…for any reason…you may return your order for a complete refund.

The following questions and their answers will give you some tips on what you can do to get better digital pictures.

The following questions and their answers will give you some tips on what you can do to get better digitalpictures.

What can I do to improve my digital photography?

Digital cameras offer you a very important advantage over film. They give you the capability to see and evaluate your pictures immediately.

The downside of digital cameras, though, is that they are not nearly as forgiving of mistakes as film. For example, film has an extremely wide exposure latitude…the amount you can miss your exposure by and still get a good print…that extends from one stop under to three stops over. Digital cameras give you only plus or minus 1/2 stop. That means that just snapping the shutter…as you did with film…doesn’t guarantee a perfect picture.

The key to getting great pictures from a digital camera is to select settings on your camera that will give you the best quality your camera has to offer. Then, you should continually check your digital pictures to make sure you’re getting the correct exposures and color balances you want.

Here are some simple tips that will help you get better digital pictures!

  1. Set Your Camera to the Largest Image Size - The larger the image size setting,
    the bigger the print size you can get and the more you will be able to crop your images,
    while still getting high quality prints. There’s no sense in buying a 5, 6, or 8 megapixel camera if you’re going to lose a portion of that capacity by setting your camera to a lower image size (level of resolution) than the maximum.

  2. Use the Highest Quality Level Setting - Most digital pictures are shot as JPEG
    images. JPEGs are a “lossy” format that, if compressed a lot, will result in poorer image quality. Setting your camera at anything other than the “Finest” or “Highest” setting will result in greater levels of compression and “softer” pictures.

    While setting your camera at a lower quality level will let you get more pictures on a
    memory card, the quality loss is not worth the extra pictures you’ll be able to take.

    Remember that memory is relatively inexpensive and memory cards are re-useable. So,
    using anything lower than the highest level of resolution is a bit like buying a car with an eight-cylinder engine and then only using four of those cylinders. You’ve paid for a top-quality camera. Use its full capacity!

  3. JPEG is the Preferred Setting For Most Photography - JPEG images, while lossy,
    are probably going to be your best choice for taking pictures. These images are digitally processed by very sophisticated software built into your camera. When you shoot JPEGs you’ll be taking advantage of the advanced color science the top camera manufacturers
    have researched and developed.

    Many SLRs will give you the choice of shooting either JPEG, TIF or Raw images. TIF is primarily used for graphic arts reproduction as in magazines and newspapers. Raw images are just that; raw and unprocessed images of all the information your camera’s digital chip recorded. These images require a lot of additional work in Photoshop to bring them to the point that you will probably get automatically with a JPEG setting.

    For ordering prints and enlargements at iPrints you will also be better off using JPEG
    images.

  4. White Balance Is Important - Your camera adjusts to the color of the light you’re
    taking pictures with based upon the white balance you set. Depending on your camera,
    white balance settings may include auto white balance (AWB), daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, and custom.

    For most average shooting, we’d recommend you start with an “auto white balance”
    setting. Your camera will read the coloration of the surrounding light and automatically
    adjust itself for an optimized white balance.

    “Daylight” is a setting that is good for either sunny skies or flash.

    On an overcast day, you may want to shift to a “cloudy” white balance setting, which
    will give you a slightly warmer, more pleasing setting.

    Under incandescent or fluorescent lighting you may decide to try your camera’s built-in
    white balance settings. Just be sure to take a test picture or two to evaluate the color.

    One cautionary note:

    Be sure you don’t use flash if you’re set on an indoor white balance. Doing so will result
    in “smurfs” or ghost images from “double-exposing” under two different light sources!

    “Custom” white balance can be very useful under non-standard lighting such as the
    lights you’ll find in sports stadiums or concerts. All you have to do is choose “Custom” from
    the cameras menu. Then, take a picture of a white piece of paper exposed under the
    lighting for which you’re trying to optimize. We’d suggest reading your camera’s instruction manual for the exact recommended technique to use for your camera.

  5. Set a Low ISO Number or Use Auto ISO - The ISO speed setting of your camera
    should be set as low as you can to allow for reasonable exposure settings (f/stops and shutter speeds). Usually this is ISO 50 or 100. You can also use the Auto ISO setting and
    let your camera decide on the ISO speed that’s appropriate for the pictures you’re shooting.

    The reason you don’t want to use too high an ISO setting is that you’ll see too much
    noise (which looks like grain in faster speed films) if you push the camera’s sensitivity too far.
  6. Optimize Exposures By Using Histograms - Your camera may allow you to take a
    picture and view a histogram that charts the picture. The histogram is a graph that shows on your camera’s monitor to indicate where a particular exposure fell relative to the sensitivity of the camera’s sensor.

    We suggest shooting a range of different test pictures and evaluating the histogram of
    each. Look at the left-right orientation of the graphs. If the majority of your pictures have the base of the histogram biased to the right it means you are overexposing the images. If the histograms have more weight to the left, you are underexposing your pictures.

    Most digital cameras have a + or - exposure bias adjustment. (Please read your
    instruction manual.) A plus adjustment will give you more exposure to correct for underexposed images. A minus adjustment will correct for overexposed images.

    The better digital cameras are normally pretty well adjusted for correct exposure before
    they leave the factory. Should you decide to make any exposure compensation, we suggest moving in 1/3 stop increments. Then, take a fresh series of histograms to be sure you’ve gone the right way.

    Finally, look at your images. If the faces are “blown out” it may indicate overexposures.
    If there’s little or no detail in the blacks, you may be underexposing.

    Getting your exposures right is one of the keys to natural-looking digital pictures (ones
    that people won’t know were taken digitally). So, it will be worth your time if you can
    review the Histogram section in your camera owner’s manual.

    If you have any questions, please call us.

  7. Use Only Optical Zoom (Avoid Zooming In Digitally) - When you zoom into a
    subject using the optical zoom, the glass elements in your lens enlarge your subject and project the image onto your camera’s light-sensing chip. Because you’re filling the chip with information, there’s no loss of pixels (picture information).

    If you go into the extended range of the digital zoom, you are effectively cropping the picture and only using a percentage of the pixels on the chip’s surface. That means that
    with an extreme digital zoom you could be effectively turning your 6 megapixel camera into
    a 1 or 2 megapixel camera!

    The pictures you’ll get with a digital zoom (using only a portion of your camera's chip)
    will be far less sharp than the same shot taken with an optical zoom (where you’ve used
    the full chip).

    So, unless it is absolutely necessary, avoid the digital zoom range. (Get closer to your subject to be within the optical zoom range of your camera’s lens.)

  8. Buy Only High Speed, Professional Quality Memory Cards - Standard memory
    cards, sold at electronics stores and consumer-level retailers, are usually 4x cards. They record images at a very slow speed. Professional memory cards record images at 32x, 40x and 80x…as much as twenty times faster.

    The reason you want high-speed cards is to avoid lag time between pictures. For
    example, if you have a 5.0 megapixel camera and are using a standard, consumer-speed
    4x memory card, it will take nearly 3 seconds to record each image. A 40x card will record that same image in three tenths of a second (and be able to keep up with your camera)!

    You can tell the speed of a memory card by looking at it. High-speed cards will have
    their speed printed in a circle on the label (i.e. 32x). Consumer-level cards won’t have any speed listed.

    The price difference between consumer and professional memory cards is only a few
    dollars. But, for photographers who want to take a lot of pictures fast…which is most of us…the cost savings on a slow speed card is simply not worth the frustration of having to wait to take that next shot!

    We sell professional-level memory cards, which are usually not sold in consumer outlets.
    So, if you can’t find a high-speed card…or just want a great price on the newest cards available…please call us at (800) 327-1776 and we’ll be happy to sell you one.

  9. Back Up All of Your Images On CDRs or DVDs -

    They used to say that the only two things in life that are guaranteed are death and
    taxes. In the computer age there’s one more:

    Your hard drive will die.

    It’s not a matter of if it will seize up and die, but when. So, if you’re storing all of
    your digital images on a single hard drive, you are virtually guaranteed that at some point
    in the future your pictures will be lost.

    Burning your images onto inexpensive CDs or DVDs (about 50¢ per CD) will give you a second location for your precious images. We’d suggest making CDs at the same time you transfer your images to the hard drive. Then, store the CDs in readily available CD albums where you can keep them organized. (Call our Customer Service department if you’d like to purchase a CD album.)

    We’ve all heard the horror stories of people who lose the first year or two’s pictures of
    their new baby when their computer failed. Don’t become one of those stories! With just a little bit of effort you can have a lot of insurance for your pictures.

  10. Make Prints and Enlargements for Preserving the Pictures of Your Life -
     
    Have you ever seen a 100 year-old digital picture or CD? Not likely. But, you have seen
    shoe boxes and albums full of treasured photos.

    No matter how technology changes, the prints and enlargements you make today will be viewable in the future. They’re also easier and more convenient to handle and share.

    Home-made Ink-Jet versus Photo Lab Prints - A lot of home-printer manufacturers are claiming increased longevity for their ink jet technology. Yet, we’ve all seen faded or
    streaked ink jet prints that are only a couple years old.

    At iPrints we use Kodak’s most advanced, archival photographic papers. Our prints and enlargements have a dark-life expectancy of over 100 years.

    Ordering online is quick and easy at iprints.com…and the cost per print is actually less
    than making prints at home. (You can have a 4" x 6" print for just 29¢ compared to over 50¢ for a “photo quality” print at home.) Most importantly, your prints will be color
    corrected by experts. So, the pictures you’ll be passing on to future generations will be the best quality possible.

    The Bottom Line - We hear people bragging that they never make prints anymore. A
    lot of these folks are the same ones who routinely erase their pictures from their memory cards and don’t follow sensible back-up procedures. They may be saving a few dollars in
    the short run. But, long-term, they won’t have the important pictures of their lives.

We suggest a common sense approach.

  • Use your digital camera in an intelligent way…with good shooting techniques and a convenient back-up routine that will protect your images.
  • Make long-lasting, photo lab prints of the pictures of your life.

    Remember, that the photos people will cherish twenty-five or fifty years from now probably won’t be your prize-winners. They will be the everyday pictures of daily life and special…or not-so-special…occasions. Technology may be changing. But, human needs won’t. There
    will always be shoeboxes of old pictures and photo albums filled with memories. Your
    family vacations, photos in front of your house, or that new car you just bought (that will
    be an interesting "antique" not-too-many years from now) are the pictures you’ll want as prints you can store and pass on to future generations.

Tips For Composition & Film Photography

Should you ever need any advice, please call us Toll Free at
(800) 327-1776.
We’re here to help!