Hamilton Color Lab

The Professional's Choice for digitial imaging


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Why Do My Printed Photos Look Different From My Computer Screen?

It happened again, you bought an expensive camera, spent hours editing your photos in your favorite photo editing software, Photoshop, Lightroom, Gimp and you send them to your favorite printing lab. (Hopefully it’s Hamilton Color Lab, but if it’s not we forgive you.)

But, you get them back and the color is all wrong and not what you expected.  The skin tones are off, they are too yellow, too blue, too dark. What went wrong? This isn’t supposed to happen.

Correcting white balance in camera

Or maybe you’re a professional photographer and you just uploaded your finished senior portraits to a photo gallery. You then you go over to your clients house to show them their images on their computer. ARGHH!! They don’t look anything like your screen, and your client thinks her daughter/son looks too yellow and all washed out.

We hear this at Hamilton Color on a regular basis, it’s not unusual and even professional photographers have this challenge. The problem is in the computer monitor and not your eye. Manufactures want computer monitor displays  to look shiny, flashy, bright and snappy right out of the box.

Without color calibration you risk over saturating, under exposing, editing too warm or too blue. Your photos may look dull, without pop and contrast.

Why Do My Photos Look Different?

Can you see all the various shades of white in the image below? On a perfectly calibrated monitor you can distinguish a faint border between the 254 box and the center. If your monitor is too bright, or your room too bright chances are you con’t tell the difference. You can also view shades of black to determine your ability to see shadows.

Color Calibrating your moniter

Can you see the border line between 254 and the center?

Steps to Achieve Accurate Screen Color & Density

1. Brightness of monitor: This is the most common issue we encounter. If your computer is in a room with lots of light or windows you might have your monitor brightness turned up to make it easier to read text on the screen. Adjust in a room with subdued indirect lighting

2. Color of Light Hitting Screen: Does your room have a window, a sky light, no windows, incandescent lighting, tungsten, fluorescent? All of these play a factor on the type of lighting hitting your screen which will affect not only the tonal range, but also contrast.

3. Color Calibrate Monitor: there are many ways to calibrate your monitor, some are faster, some easier, some more expensive, and some more accurate. It’s not just about color, but also gamma reading, in the photography world, contrast.

4. In Camera White Balance: Save time in post production! Sometimes the best type of editing is getting it right in the camera from the start. The photographic environment and the available lighting affects how the camera views color.  Some lighting, such as the “golden hour” is highly desirable, but the yellow cast from a gymnasium floor or inside a church is not.

Use a gray card for your photo shoot. In a pinch you can use a white piece of paper,  index card, or a poster board. But a WhiBal card is a known quality. We all know white is not white.

Don’t Forget, Shoot in RAW- regardless of your camera settings, if you do mess up your settings having the RAW files give you the flexibility to fix the white balance during the editing process.

5. ICC profile (Soft proofing): Each photo printing lab prints on different paper with a different printing process. Kodak paper has a tendency to print on the blue side and Fuji paper a little warmer. Ask your lab for an ICC profile, and when you upload note your files have already been soft proofed.

6. sRGB vs Adobe profile: sRGB is the standard in the photographic world in printing and the standard color space on the internet. Adobe RGB 1998 was created by Adobe for use in CMYK printers. It only uses approximately 50% of the color space and therefore your colors will come out dull and lifeless.

7. Choose a Quality Printing Lab: This goes without saying. Cheap prices normally use cheap printing processes, inks, dyes, paper, and chemicals. If you want quality prints do NOT use Snapfish. The same is true of one hour printing services. Many photo processors are going to  “dry ink” printing which is just a step above home printing.


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What Does it Cost to Print Professionally

With digital photography people are printing fewer and few images and the photos they print are the best representative of their memories. It would make sense to print these photos at the highest quality to last for generations. Professional photographers know the benefit of using a professional color lab to print wedding, infant and senior photos, but professional photo printing is not just available to professional photographers.

Hamilton Color Lab in Omaha Nebraska welcomes not only professional photographers but serious amateurs, camera hobbyist, and people who just want great photo prints.  The difference in a professional print vs. a 1-hour photo is clear: heavier paper, true silver halide paper (not dry ink), increased clarity, sharper details, improved color and a professional Lustre photo paper, not the obnoxious glossy finish.

The concept of a photo lab may seem archaic, even vintage like the car below in this day of one hour printing and instant gratification, but it’s worth your time to search out such a business. In Omaha we are located at 120th & I St in Sports Plaza and we believe in personal service.  We help you through every step and will load your photos and inspect the files for any potential errors before you leave.

Hamilton Color Lab with Customers Model A Ford

Hamilton Color Lab with Customers Model A Ford parked in front

Many people think it will cost and arm and a leg to print your photographs at a professional color lab. But it doesn’t. You can get the same quality paper, the same resolution and color management professional photographers receive for just a little more than your discount “one hour” printer at the corner store.

Maybe you purchased a professional digital package for your wedding or senior pictures. Your photographer put a lot of time, expertise, and spent a lot of money on her camera and lenses to capture you and your day in the best light possible. Now do you really want to take these to Walmart or Walgreens to get printed?

Professional Photo Printing

Rounded corner die cut wallets

Discount stores use discount paper, discount inks, and the cheapest methods possible to print photographs. Although some of the technicians may be trained in photo editing, most are not and cannot help you with even the basic questions. Most of the time you are placed at a photo kiosk and left on your own to figure out why the 8×10 version of your photo crops off your child’s head.

Hamilton Color Lab retail pricing

General Price Sheet

At Hamilton Color Lab you get personalized service, it’s painless and easy. Senior Mom’s walk out with a sigh of relief and in a fraction of the time that the previous trip to Walgreens.

Our prices are reasonable and we are the only location in Omaha (could be in all of Nebraska) that prints professional wallets with the rounded corners. Below is just a short flyer on our retail prices and when you want your photos and memories to last a life-time print them at a professional lab. We have the best prices in Omaha for true senior wallets.

For a more complete retail price list including quantity discounts, mounting, and canvas pricing download our customer retail price sheet.

If live outside of Omaha we can mail your order directly to your home anywhere in the country. If you are a professional photographer either in the Greater Omaha area we welcome you to stop by and take a look at our samples and services.

Professional portrait photographers do receive additional discounts and all we require is a State sales tax ID form to set up your account.


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Free Fathers Day Card

Graduation season at Hamilton Color Lab is just about over and it’s time for the next holiday, Fathers Day. Congratulations to all Dads and Fathers this month, we want to highlight our newest FREE Photoshop design for our customers and fans with this classy and masculine design just for Daddy.

This design is in shades of brown and the design and sized for a 5×7 card with an option for one horizontal photos or two vertical photographs. The vertical border can be turned on and off as a layer option (see below). No font downloads are needed for this Adobe Photoshop or Photoshop Elements template.

Instructions are easy:

  1. Place your cursor on the layer labeled “Place image here”,
  2. Select FILE and PLACE. The image is then placed below the design.
  3. Flatten the image, save as a jpg and print your favorite photo lab for printing.

For best photo printing results choose a professional photo lab. Professional labs have heavier paper, sharper images, and increased detail clarity the one hour and budget photo printers can’t even touch.

For ordering from Hamilton Color Lab in Omaha Nebraska it’s as easy as uploading to our website. The cost for a 5×7 Fathers Day photo card is only $2.95. If you prefer you can bring your Fathers Day photo to our location at 120th and I street in sports Plaza and we will insert the photo and create the card while you wait.

For more Fathers Day craft and gift ideas

visit our Pinterest board “Just for Dad”


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A Window to the World

Sometimes a photography is a window to the world, and the right frame makes all the difference. Some of our favorite projects at Hamilton Color Lab is when a customer brings us a vision and the result is better than they envisioned.

When Otis Twelve came in with a large unique frame he found in an antique shop and an image to print, this project piqued my interest. Sometimes the picture frame takes an ordinary photo and makes is extra-ordinary.

Nebraska. Professional digital printing for professional photographers and serious amateur photographers. Senior portraits

The photo was formatted on a disc and I didn’t have an opportunity to see the image until it was printed. Considering the frame we were fitting it to I was very anxious to see what type of image could stand up to this magnificent frame.  Normally fine art photographs are printed with a white border, but this frame said otherwise.

The frame was crooked and almost a half inch shorter on one side than the other. So the border distance would of been apparent. After consulting with our customer the decision was made to frame flush to the photograph. What a dramatic difference! Our framing technician was also impressed on how the red leaves in this snow scene just popped and matched the red tones of the frame.

This work of art is truly like looking out of a window into the world and reminded me of the quote by Conor Oberst.

“If the world could remain within a frame like a painting on the wall, I think we’d see the beauty then and stand staring in awe”

I am certainly tired of winter, the snow, and ready for spring and some sunshine. The only snow I want to see is in a photograph, as if I’m inside looking through a window.

If you have a unique frame, and a vision for a photograph bring it to Hamilton Color Lab in Omaha, Nebraska. We are the only custom professional photo lab in the state and can print any size and turn your ordinary photo into a work of art.


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Free Graduation Photoshop Template

High school graduation season is upon us and seniors are looking for fresh designs to showcase their announcements.  Hot off our Photoshop  desk is a classy black and white design 4×8 photo card design which will compliment any color photography.

As a gift to you we are offering this free Photoshop template as one of several we will be offering throughout the year. Not only thanking our customers, but to inspire your imagination, creativity and design.

The above template will work with Photoshop CS2 and layers are customizable for color and text. Font names and links are provided, or you can use your own font from your library.

Looking for a place to print your senior announcements? Just upload your finished JPG or  TIFF file to Hamilton Color Lab for professional photo printing of your announcements on professional Lustre paper. Your senior announcements will stand out from the crowd and make you shine.

We will be more than happy to ship your invitation order, or you can pick them up at our Omaha Nebraska location at 4305 South 120th St.

Check out our Facebook album for more graduation announcement styles and custom designs.


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Idea for Senior Pictures

Photo collage using senior pictures

Photo collage using senior pictures, black background

High school seniors love their senior pictures, especially the girls and the Mothers of boys. During a senior photo shoot it’s not uncommon to have multiple changes of clothes, and many locations. How do you just chose a few to print and frame? You don’t have too.

Let Hamilton Color Lab put together a senior photo collage with thirteen images on any square print. The most common frame sizes are 10×10, 12×12, and 20×20, but think contemporary with a presentation print mounted on black gator board, or a gallery wrapped canvas.  Background is available in either black or white.

Square photo collage using senior pictures

Square photo collage using senior pictures

How to order:

  1. Bring in your images to Hamilton Color Lab at 4305 South I St, Omaha NE, or upload them to our website
  2. We need 15 images to create the collage as not all pictures will crop appropriately into a square format
  3. Layout is at our discretion and we will email you a small viewable proof before printing for your approval. At that time you can request one edit.
  4. Due to the variety of size and display options pricing is done on an individual basis.
  5. You can also email email us for specific questions and price options to fit every budget

This collage layout is very versatile and can be used to highlight high school memories on the edge with friends with the senior portrait in the middle, or yearly school pictures from kindergarten through high school.

For the family think a first year baby picture with each month along the edge and the one year old photo in the middle. Create a theme and do this every year as a look back on your child’s life.

Have an athlete in the family? Celebrate the end of the season with a football, softball, or baseball collage commemorating the season, or players. Your creativity is the only limiting factor, let us at Hamilton bring your idea to life.


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Graduation Announcement, Magazine Cover Style

Magazine Cover Senior InvitationWelcome to Senior year 2013. We have some fresh new designs for graduation announcements this year including this glamor magazine style cover for your graduating senior. This design is available in either a 5×7 announcement or as an 8×10 print to put on the senior table during the party or print as a gift.

Text can be customized for your graduate, including color and all our announcements come with envelopes in both the 5×7 and 4×8 size. Stop by Hamilton Color Lab in Omaha Nebraska for all your senior printing needs and personal service. We make printing your senior photos easy and painless.

Senior photo announcements are the highest quality printing available. While the “bargin” printers offer rock bottom pricing their quality shows in less than quality printing on less than quality paper. Hamilton’s announcements are true professional photographs on professional Fuji paper with calibrated color correction  that will last for generations. Why wouldn’t you want the best for this once in a lifetime event. Your professional photos deserve professional printing.

Hamilton Color Lab is located at 120th & I St in Sports Plaza. We are a professional color lab and welcome professional photographers and serious amateurs. When you want professional digital prints with  professional  service and paper we are the printer for you. Walk-ins are welcome.