Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the frequent questions that we are asked are specific to either 35mm Photography or Digital Photography. Others are about our Products and Service or General Photography and pertain to both digital and film photography. So we have divided our FAQs along those lines:

Please click on any question to read the answer.

OUR PRODUCTS AND SERVICE:

What are your prices?

A roll of film with 20-27 exposures for 4"x6" prints is $8.95. 4"x6" prints from digital images are 12¢ each. Please see our Price List for a complete listing of our services and prices.


How do I send in film/get mailers?

We will be happy to send our postage-paid mailers to you at your request. Or you can print a mailing label and order form from this website.


How long does it take to get my order back?

At ABC PhotoLab, we pride ourselves on great customer service and quick turn around. Your order spends approximately 24 hours in our lab with our photo technicians. However, depending on how far you live from Mystic, CT, it could take up to 3 days for the postal service to deliver your film to us and then back to you. Rest assured that we use only First Class Mail on both incoming and outgoing orders to help speed the process along.

In order to help you keep track of where your order is, we have instituted our free order confirmation/notification e-mail system. We will notify you by e-mail when we receive your film and then again when we put your finished order back into the postal system. Please make sure to include your e-mail address with your order, and add cus_serv@abcphotolab.com to your list of trusted senders, to take advantage of this free service. We realize how excited you are to get those special photos back. That is why we recommend choosing our online option. By doing so, you will be able to preview your photos online before you receive them in the mail.


How do I upload digital photos?

From our home page, click on the Online option.


How many rolls of film or single-use cameras can I send in one mailer?

You can safely send up to 10 rolls of film in our vinyl mailer, however we recommend no more than 2 single-use cameras in each envelope.


How do I get my 35mm photos online?

Under "+ Digital" or "Digital Products" on your mailer or order form, simply check off the box that reads "Online with Prints" or "Online Only." By doing so, we will scan your negatives and upload them to our secure site. We will notify you by e-mail when your photos are online and send you a link to your album. Please remember to include your e-mail address when you order this option.


What print sizes can I order?

ABC PhotoLab offers a variety of print choices from wallets (2"x3") up to 40"x60".

For digital images, your best photo enlargement results will depend on the resolution of your digital image. If your resolution is not high enough for the image size you have chosen, we will contact you. For sizes up to 10"x15" you can order prints online. For larger prints, please send an e-mail to info@ABCPhotoLab.com and attach your image file. We will then contact you regarding your order.

Your image may be cropped to fit the size you selected due to differences between your image's aspect ratio and that of the print size you have chosen. Our experienced team of photo technicians will do their best to stay true to your original image.


How do I order reprints or enlargements from film?

You can order reprints by printing a Reprint Order Form*(Requires Adobe Reader) and including it along with your negative in your mailer. Please indicate negative #, print size and quantity. For the safety of your negatives, we request that you either wrap them in a piece of cardboard or place them in one of our print wallets to keep the bag from bending while traveling through the postal system.

Your image may be cropped to fit the size you selected due to differences between your negative's aspect ratio and that of the print size you have chosen. Our experienced team of photo technicians will do their best to stay true to your original image.

GENERAL PHOTOGRAPHY:

Why do my flash pictures have “red-eye”?

Red-eye is caused by your camera’s built-in flash bouncing light off the retina of the eye and recording on the film. The same problem comes up with your pets as green-eye or blue-eye. This can be usually corrected by using a “hot-shoe” flash or by making the room brighter.


I can see the top of my child’s head in the negative. Why did it get cropped in the photo?

While printing photographs, all printing machines “bleed” a small amount of image off the edges of the photo paper. This is how a borderless print is created. Printing with borders will create the same output due to the way the sharp edges of the print are created. Make sure to allow some extra space above the top of heads or any other subject you want completely in the picture.


Should I ever use my flash outdoors?

Yes! When photographing people in bright sunlight, which creates harsh shadows, turn your flash on and get close. Your flash will fill in shadows and put highlights in the eyes of your subjects.


What is backlighting and how do I fix it?

Backlighting occurs when the light behind the subject is brighter than the subject. One common example of this is shooting indoors with a window behind your subject. The bright background fools your camera’s exposure control and creates an underexposure of your subject. Make sure to turn on your flash when bright windows or other light sources are behind your subject.


What is that glare in my pictures when I photograph out a window?

The glare is most probably caused by your flash. Before you take a picture, look for glass surfaces and anticipate how they will reflect light from your flash. If possible, turn your flash off in these situations. Also, when shooting through the windows of cars, or tall buildings, set your camera to infinity (∞) focus. Otherwise the camera may focus on the window, making the subject out of focus.


Should I need a flash at sporting events?

If you are going to be within the range limits of your flash, yes. However, if you are in the grandstands, you will get better pictures by using high-speed film (like ASA 800 or 1600) and turning the flash off. This will only work if the lighting at the event is bright enough. Practice is the best way to learn.


The sky was blue when I took the picture. Why is it white in the photograph?

The sky is almost always brighter than the subject of your photo. When exposing correctly for subjects, often the sky will be overexposed. In the printing process, it is best to expose for the subject, leaving the sky white due to the sky being overexposed.


Why doesn’t a reprint exactly match my original print?

The combination of photo paper, chemicals and printing equipment and the photo technician’s corrections create a great number of variables that will cause color and density shifts. Prints can be matched; however, there will always be slight differences. Order reprints and enlargements as quickly as possible in order to match the color of original prints, and always send the print so that the technician can match it as closely as possible.


I need to copy a color exactly. Why doesn’t the picture match the real color?

Photographic film and paper have a smaller color range than our eyes can see. Therefore, some colors are simply not capable of reproduction due to the range of colors the paper can produce. If you have a specific color to match, send in the sample and explain how you want to use it.


The wall behind my subject is white. Why does it look dark and slightly off color?

This discoloration is caused by light conditions due to the intensity of the flash. If the subject in the foreground is exposed correctly, the intensity of the flash will fade off as it travels past the subject. This leaves the wall underexposed, and therefore darker than the subject.


What is Aspect Ratio and how does it relate to 35mm and digital photos?

Aspect ratio refers to the height and width of an image and is usually expressed as (height x width). Each type of camera captures images in a set aspect ratio:

35mm cameras produce negatives that are 1½ times as wide as they are high. This is commonly referred to as a "2x3" aspect ratio. Traditional print sizes that use this aspect ratio are: 2"x3" (wallet size), 3½"x5", 4"x6", 8"x12", and 10"x15". If you order one of these print sizes, the image on the negative and the image on the print will be identical. If you order a 5"x7" or an 8"x10" print, it will be necessary to crop some of the "length" of the image to fit the paper size.

Digital cameras produce images that are 1⅓ times as wide as they are high. This is commonly referred to as a "4x5" aspect ratio. Unfortunately, there are no common photo sizes that use this ratio. We do offer a "D" prints (2D = 2"x2.7", 4D = 4"x5.3", 5D = 5"x6.7", 8D = 8"x10.7" and 10D = 10"x13.3") if you want to get the full frame of your image on a print. However, none of these sizes fit standard size albums or frames. To "fit" into standard sizes, the image needs to be cropped. Standard print sizes that need the least cropping from digital images are: 5"x7" and 8"x10".

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY:

Why should send you my digital photos when I can print them at home?

It is fun to run a few prints at home. Don’t forget about the value of your time invested, inks, paper and frustration. We are able to produce prints from your digital images that are produced on real photo paper at a fraction of the cost of making prints at home. In fact a major consumer testing magazine recently tested 20 of the most popular ink jet printers and found that the cost of producing a picture on them ranged from 70¢ to $1.20 each. Our price for a 4″ x 6″ print is only 29¢.And the longest term advantage of our processing your prints is that we use photographic paper that will preserve the image for 100 years.


How do I know if my digital camera is set correctly for high quality photographs?

A digital camera with at least 2 megapixels can produce a good quality up to a 5" x 7". The camera should be set on its highest quality settings with the least amount of compression. The end use of the image is very important. It is easy to downsize a digital image to serve a need of a smaller file; however, it is very difficult to increase the amount of data accurately from a small digital file to make it larger. Here are suggested maximum print sizes for various megapixel settings:

1 MP = 4" x 6" or 4D (4" x 5.3")
2 MP = 5" x 7" or 5D (5" x 6.67")
3 MP = 8" x 10", 8" x 12" or 8D (8" x 10.67")
4 MP = 10" x 15", 10D (10" x 13.33") or 11" x 14")
5 MP = 12" x 18" or 16" x 20"
6 MP = 20" x 30"


I have a digital camera, but my pictures are not as clear as they should be.

Check the quality and compression settings on the camera. Make sure they are creating the largest file possible and check your white balance. Pictures will be off-color when the white balance is set for the wrong white point.


Why are my pictures dark and grainy?

This is caused by under-exposure. Not enough light was available for your subject when the picture was taken. Try higher speed ASA equivalent setting, such as 400 or 800, and get closer to your subject. Also, check your camera settings to make sure the camera is set correctly for the film speed you are using.


Why are my pictures flat in contrast, light and have bad color?

This is caused from over-exposure. Too much light was available for your subject when the picture was taken. Try a lower speed ASA equivalent setting, such as 100 or 200), and check your camera settings to make sure the camera is set correctly for the film speed you are using.


Why do my indoor pictures have a green or yellow tint to them?

If your white balance is set for natural daylight, but you have taken a picture indoors, the color may be off. Fluorescent and sodium lights produce light that is greener than daylight, and Incandescent lights produce a yellow light than daylight. This can be corrected adjusting your white balance or by using your flash and getting as close as possible to compensate for incandescent or fluorescent lights.


What is white balance and how do I set it correctly?

White balance is a registered reference point of white light for digital cameras. The color of “white” changes from the light source that is reflecting from objects. Incandescent light will produce a harsh yellow cast and fluorescent light will produce a green hue. By adjusting a camera’s reference point, these color problems are avoided. Practice white balance with your camera before an important event. By using it correctly, your pictures will be color balanced under almost any lighting conditions.

35MM PHOTOGRAPHY:

My film is jammed in my camera. What should I do?

Shut yourself in a totally dark place (like a closet at night), open the camera and remove the film. The, while still in the dark, wind the film back into the canister.


Why is my roll of film double exposed?

Some cameras leave a small leader of film outside the canister after rewinding. If this is the case with your camera, you may have reloaded an already exposed roll. When the roll is run through the camera again, pictures are shot over pictures. If your camera does this, get in the habit of rolling all of the film into the canister after the roll is rewound.


How do I know if my film has been used?

If there is any doubt, send the roll to us for processing. If the roll is blank, we will only charge a $2.95 handling fee. If the roll has been used, you will have saved pictures that otherwise would have been lost.


Why is my film blank? The counter was counting!

When film is not caught correctly on the take up spool of the camera, most camera counters will count up anyway. Most of the time blank film is a result of miss-loaded film. On rare occasions, a shutter malfunction may be the problem. Be familiar with the sounds of your camera in order to catch any potential problems immediately.


Are drugstore big-box and wholesale photo labs the same as a specialty lab like ABC PhotoLab?

No. While the equipment may look the same, our lab technicians receive extensive training to operate processing equipment, including high levels of photography, and computer technology.


I love black and white. What film should I use?

With today’s technology, black and white can very easily be printed from color negatives or color digital files. Some black and white film can also be processed using a color processor to provide excellent results. However, we also process traditional black & white film such as Kodak’s TriX and TMAX.


Why do my indoor pictures have a green or yellow tint to them?

Film is balanced to natural daylight. Fluorescent and sodium lights produce light that is greener than daylight, and Incandescent lights produce a yellow light than daylight. This can be corrected by using your flash and getting as close as possible to compensate for fluorescent lights.


Why are my pictures dark and grainy?

This is caused by under-exposure. Not enough light was available for your subject when the picture was taken. Try higher speed film (like ASA 400 or 800), and get closer to your subject. Also, check your camera settings to make sure the camera is set correctly for the film speed you are using.


Why are my pictures flat in contrast, light and have bad color?

This is caused from over-exposure. Too much light was available for your subject when the picture was taken. Try a slower speed film (like ASA 100 or 200), and check your camera settings to make sure the camera is set correctly for the film speed you are using.


 
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