I've said it before and I'll say it again - this is my first art show. I've never had to prep my photos for viewing. I've had prints made and hung them around my house, but that's about it. Thinking of a theme was exciting, and finding photos that fit, and taking new pictures, was a lot of fun. It was a project. But finding frames and ordering prints was the "work" aspect of it to me. And I kind of put it off, considering I knew I had the gallery space since last summer, and I ordered prints a week before my hanging date.
I ordered prints online from Walmart, because I had previously used them for an art school application and my work looked amazing. I ordered 2 8x10s, 8 11x14 prints, one 16x20, and 2 12x12s. The square prints had to be made off-site and mailed to me, and they were scheduled to arrive the day before I was supposed to hang my show. What?!
The other prints were ready to pick up from the store the next day. I made the trek out there, hunted someone down to come to the photo department, and they started looking for my pictures. Couldn't find them. Spelled my last name repeatedly (looking in the wrong spot? Spelling it wrong? Nope.), said I ordered them online yesterday (online orders in a different place? Recent orders in a different place? Nope.), they were oversized (kept in a different place than standard prints? Nope.).
Finally, I spot my 16x20 on top of a file cabinet. Spotted it, meaning I COULD SEE THE PICTURE. It is almost poster sized, just sitting on top of a file cabinet, all exposed. And I could only see part of it - there was stuff stacked on top. I tried to calm myself and looked over the photo when they handed it to me, and it looked fine. They somehow found the other photos (thankfully in an envelope) and I went on my merry way, since I had already paid online.
I got home and got my frames ready and pulled out the 11x14s and... what?!
All of them looked streaky like that in the colors. The solid black, oddly enough, was rich. Another reason I say it looks like the printer was running out of ink was because some of the colors were changed, and I doubt an employee went in and tried to color correct my photos.
After getting angry and trying not to freak out, I ordered my photos from Walgreens. My experience with them has been hit or miss, seemingly depending on which store I ordered them from. But I was on a time crunch, so I had to do it. Thankfully my Walgreens photos looked great, and I kept ordering more and more after the first few came out right.
Walmart's website said I had to return the prints to the store, so I trekked back and talked to half a dozen different people who had no clue what to do, but all admitted the photos looked awful. I had to come back home and chat with someone online, but overall it was relatively easy to get my money back - and I don't have to waste the time and effort and postage to ship back the ugly prints.
Bottom line is, I've learned my lesson. Get everything ready weeks in advance and splurge on ordering prints from a "real" photo site!