Since the advent of digital technology, I believe I've had photos developed a grand total of one time. Astounded by the cost of my snap-happiness on that single occasion, I decided that until I could cull out the best ones, the photos were best remembered through the display on the back of the camera. So when the time came to print out some large photos, I was screwed. No more Overlake Photo, no more confidence in where to go. I wandered aimlessly until I fell desperate at Cameras West's door.
I walked and saw an area with different digital printing stations. I stopped at one and flagged down a clerk before starting. My main question about the digital printing was whether the processing people would color correct the images for me or whether I should do that at home before coming in. Although trained in photo touch-ups, I prefer to rely on the experts. The clerk standing next to the digital printing area apologized, saying he didn't know and that digital prints weren't his department. I got started on the machines while I waited for him to find the correct departmental representative.
I would consider myself a pretty fast-learner, but something just wasn't working for me at the print consoles. Either I was having a really dumb day or the machines were not well designed. (I'm feeling it was more the latter, but I accept it could have been the former.) Eventually, the digital-printing clerk came by. My requests for clarification on the process were met with the following exchange:
ME: Hello, will the people printing the images color correct the photos or should I do it myself?
CLERK: Ma'am, you just have to put the disc in and follow the instructions.
ME: Yes, but I was just wondering whether I should do it myself. I can, but I didn't know if you do it on your end, too.
CLERK: Just put the disc in and follow the instructions.
ME: OK... Well, how does it work if I have photos to print from different discs. Will you handle that as separate orders or tickets? How does that work?
CLERK: You put the disc in and follow the instructions.
ME: Huh. Well, what about here? The disc is in, but I have to scroll through so many pictures to get what I need. Is there any way for me to select the image if I know its folder and filename?
CLERK: You put the disc in and just follow the instructions.
ME: No, YOU put the disc in and follow the directions! YOU put the disc in!!!
That last comment may or may not have happened; I can't be sure. The rest, however, cannot be forgotten. Frustrated, I walked out of Cameras West swearing they wouldn't get my business. Without many other obvious and easy options, I ended up getting my images printed at Kits Camera, another Ritz store like Cameras West, at Northgate. At least the clerk at Kits was understanding and helpful, and the photos came out beautifully.
By the way, they generally don't color correct digital photos the way they do film ones, unless there are special requests and there is time available. The consoles are equipped with basic photo-editing tools so you can affect the lighting some there, but your best bet is to Photoshop the bejeesus out of your images before you go. Lord knows the clerks won't be able to help you.