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Sams does sepia

January 27th, 2008 Posted in Workflow

Or I should say…they don’t. At least they don’t do it very well.

I went to Sams to get an 11×14 and three 8×10’s in sepia. One was actually an antique conversion but it was close enough to sepia that it would work. Using Lightroom I did the simple sepia conversion on the others and tweaked the exposure a bit on the pictures and sent them off to Sams through the internet to be picked up later that day. Read on for my journey into printing hell.

First off, they didn’t allow the 11×14 to be done via the internet. I had to do that in store. Not a big deal. The other three 8×10’s were a different story. I didn’t get to look at them in store - I was stuck behind two idiots that were uploading and editing their pictures one by one. These two, from my over-the-shoulder observations, one, had no photo editing or productivity software that would have saved themselves (and me) a ton of time; and two, don’t know that their cameras can shoot portrait style. One woman shot every picture landscape (wide) and went on to crop every picture portrait (tall). If my wife wasn’t there, I easily would have made the 6 o’clock news.

Anwyay, back to the task at hand. We didn’t open the pictures at Sams thanks to my friends in line. When we got back, we had five - yes five - 8×10’s. One of the pictures, the antique conversion, came out fine. Three of the other 8×10’s were in black and white with a yellow stripe of pixels in the left side. The last one was yellow. Not sepia…yellow. It looked a light shade of French’s mustard.

So I go back, afraid of what they might do to the 11×14. My fears were confirmed, but not after even more fun.

I will have to say that the woman I worked with at Sams was wonderful. She did everything in her power during my visit to help out. The first was to refund my money for two of the 8×10’s. She told me to go back and re-run the 8×10’s with their sepia option. I was thinking “yellow” but for no cost, I’ll give it a shot.


At least my friends hadn’t returned to crop and edit 400 more pictures. I explained to my friendly photo rep that I had already converted the pictures to sepia and didn’t want any “enhancements” to the photo. Understanding me, she siad I should take of the auto-correcting of the photo that their stations perform and re-run them again.

Black and white.

After giving up, I finally get a look at the 11×14. It’s not sepia. It’s not black and white. It’s slightly sepia with a hint of green. Quite unique actually. I was adised to, once again, run it through without their “auto-whatever” option. That, interestingly, produced a darker pictures with noticable lines through the skin in the photo. Again, very unique but not exactly what I was looking for.

So I headed home with only one picture that I needed and wondering where to get my other ones printed. Sams has been decent with color pictures. We even had a 16×20 done there that turned out great. I’m not going back there for any unique color shots though. I’ve seen enough unique to last me a while.

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