Monday, April 6, 2009

MPix.com Framed Metallic Prints are Amazing!

15% Mpix.com Discount Available – See below for details…

MPix-1-Edit

If you’ve been following my Noise Reduction Roundup article, then you’ve probably seen my Chicago image (shot at ISO 3200). Well, I was recently lucky enough to be invited to submit my photo to a corporate art gallery, so I contacted Mpix.com about framing it. They were super helpful, and their web site was a breeze to use so I placed my order for the framed image that you see above. Here’s what was included in my order:

Feature Price

16x20 Metallic Print

$19.99

Gold Ornate Frame

$70.00

Double Weight Matboard

$7.30

Clear Glass

$11.00

Fedex Overnight Shipping

$10.75

Total

$119.04

The results were awesome! I’ve used Museum Quality Framing, JoAnn, and other local shops for framing, and this is as every bit as good as the custom framing I’ve had done for $400 (without the print!). No regrets for sure, and for those of you who are still wondering if they are any good I recommend you order their Sample and Calibration kits. This will give you a chance to see the quality of their frames and prints, plus if you are hard core you can use the profiles to do your own color management. In my case, I let them auto calibrate the colors on my shot, and the results were spot on. The image in this article is a bit off on the color, but that was my fault for doing a quick job to get this to the web.

Preparing my print for ordering

A few of my friends who have seen this print asked me how I prepared my image to get such great results, so I thought I’d share my workflow for this one here:

  1. I initially processed this photo in Lightroom 2.3, then exported it as a PSD to Photoshop CS4.
  2. I used Alien Skin Software Blowup to enlarge this image to the recommended size of 4000x5000 pixels at 250 dpi.
  3. I applied noise reduction using Nik Software Dfine so I could take advantage of the U-Point controls to leave detail where I wanted it, and remove it where I didn’t want it – very quickly. (NOTE: I was working on my Dfine review for my Noise Reduction Roundup when I ordered this print, so it was actually quite a coincidence that I chose it rather than the other participants.)
  4. I sharpened the image using Nik Software’s Sharpener Pro 3.0.
  5. I saved the file using the sRGB color profile as a JPEG 12 image and uploaded it to Mpix.com. I let them do the final color management and the results exceeded my expectations!

The Package

One of the things that I always worry about when ordering a print, and in this case – especially a frame, online is that it will arrived damaged by the goons who handle the package on the way to me. In this case, I figured that Mpix.com must have thought about this too because framed prints will only come via FedEx overnight. FedEx is the ONLY company I trust for important packages, so I felt re-assured that things would turn out okay.

Sure enough, when my package arrived it was encased in a thick cardboard box and super huge bubbles bubble wrap. It took me about 10 minutes to get to my print, but when I did all of the corners (which also had cardboard corner protectors) were in perfect shape and the image arrived without issue. This, despite the fact that it sat on my porch in the rain for 6 hours (I told FedEx to leave it on the porch – my bad) before my wife arrived home to bring it in. The light rain (from wind blowing spray onto the porch) hadn’t penetrated the wrapping, so the image was in perfect shape.

Discount

I can’t recommend Mpix.com enough after this fantastic experience. Unlike me, you can actually get a discount that I didn’t have available when I loaded my shopping cart!

For a limited time (expires 4/30/09), you can get 15% off your Mpix.com order when you enter the code ronmart09 when you place your order. Be sure to use this coupon code to take advantage of this great deal.

Enter the discount coupon code ronmart2 when you checkout from now until June 30th, 2009 and save 15% off your entire order!

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