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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Negatives and Slides? Do They Still Exist?

Do people still print photos from negatives and slides? I know it sounds out of date, vintage and not worth the trouble. Although very few people still use film cameras there are still negatives and slides in boxes ready to be discovered. Every week we have customers bring us vintage negatives, either from their 35 mm film, or negatives from the 1940’s and have us reprint their families memories.

Hamilton Color Lab can make wonderful prints from negatives and the color from slide prints are authentic and amazing in their clarity and color. We still print on silver halide Fuji Lustre paper, which is a true photography process, for the best results, and our technician is a perfectionist when it comes to getting the best results from your prints.

Slides_WHT_0811

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Your family memories stay in house, we do not ship them out to an off site lab across the country. So you can be assured your family treasures will be safe and handled with care.

To our knowledge,  we are the only photo “wet” processing lab in Omaha that still prints photographs on traditional silver halide paper. This is the same type of paper and RA4 silver based photo processing used for over a hundred years to print your grandparents photos. Many other area photo printers have gone to a dry ink process. Based on what we have seen, and the customers coming in the door, many are not happy.

There is a reason why professional photographers get their clients photographs printed using the traditional wet chemistry. Prints are sharper, last longer, more durable, and are water resistant.

We can print the following negative sizes and prints, from most medium format cameras, including the 110/220 camera with photographic results that will last for many more generations.

  • 6×4.5cm  (or 645 film)
  • 6×6 cm (2.25 x 2.25 inches)
  • 6×9 cm  (2.25 ” x 3.25inches)
  • 6×7  cm (typically called 2×3″ film)
  • 135F (24 x 36 mm)
  • Standard 35mm

Think of it this way. You have found a valuable treasure in vintage negatives, you want to save these prints for your children and their children to preserve family history. Wouldn’t you want to print them on the best paper to preserve them as best as possible?

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Photo Archiving, A Better Solution

In almost every closet or basement there is a box of old vintage photographs from years ago taken with film that document family history, birthdays, wedding  and genealogy through photographs. Many photos are stored in albums, some in shoe boxes, many are yellowing with age and the images are slowly disappearing.

The challenge is how to preserve and archive these photographs for future generations. Your photos don’t have to disappear and fade away. Stop the deterioration now before it’s too late.

At Hamilton Color Lab we are experts and pros at digitizing photographs. We take the process a few steps further than a home flat bed scanner or a “one-hour” photo lab where quality can be less than desired.

Hamilton Color Lab scans photos at a high resolution of 400 dpi to archive your photos and preserve them for generations

Although technology has improved over the year home scanners still have their limitations, especially when reading  density and shading gradients in the  blacks and whites. This becomes important in photos where detail is important. For example detail on a wedding dress, or black pants disappear with over-the-counter consumer scanners.

Self service consumer scanners found in department stores and chain pharmacies are even worse. We have seen the results of many disappointed customer who bring in digital files with  poor color, scanner noise, low resolution and the ability to only print small sizes.

However with our state of the art scanning process, detail is preserved. Our scanners are calibrated for color, contrast and just the right amount of sharpness to fool your aunt that the copy isn’t the original. You’ve heard the saying “Is it live, or is it Memorex?” Well, a Hamilton photo scan is so close to the original you might have a hard time telling the two apart.

So bring in your 4×6, 3.5×5, photos, and even your larger prints up to 8×10 in size. All we ask is they are sorted by size and facing in the same direction.

Mention this article for a 10% discount on our already low prices.

For a limited time we are offering an archive scan and print for only $1.00 (Qty 250+)

What you will receive

  • Professionally scanning process
  • High resolution digital  400 dpi JPG images (CD or provided USB drive)
  • Printable to 11×14
  • Images ideal for cropping and enlarging
  • Fine detail, noiseless images
  • Archival 4×6 photo processed prints
  • Silver halide archival photo paper
  • Archival acid-free sleeves to protect images for generations

We recommend to back up your photo files onto your computer or other storage device and place the original discs in a secure safe place away from heat and humidity. With the backed up digitized photos you can them either create slide shows, photo books, or any myriad of photo editing and digital scrap booking projects.

A Few FAQs about Hamilton Color Lab

  1. All photos are scanned in house by qualified technicians who care about your memories (we do NOT ship to a fulfillment center)
  2. Located in Omaha Nebraska at 120th & I Street (4305 South 120th St to be exact)
  3. Have been in business for over 40 years and the same location since 1990
  4. Same owner, family business run by Dave Hamilton
  5. All photos are printed in house on a range of calibrated printers
  6. One of the few photo printers that still print on silver halide paper with true photography chemistry
  7. We answer our own phones, care about our customers, and love bacon (did I say that?) Yes, we can be bribed with bacon or chocolate.
  8.  We accept not only local orders but you can upload digital prints to our website, or send us your (very carefully packaged) photos for scanning.

If you have any questions about our services please feel free to call us at 402-330-1600


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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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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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Printing Tradeshow Graphics on Polyester Fabric

It’s not often we get excited over a new printing product, but we are! We just received a new Poly Select Blackout fabric, ideal for a wide range of digital printing including trade show graphics, roll-up banners, window signage, and even fine art photography.

Fabric Roll up banner

Fabric Roll up banner

This new 14 ml,  Poly Select Blockout Fabric is bright-white polyester contains a blockout layer that provides 100 percent opacity. Perfect for window signage and trade show banners.

It’s  smooth matte finish and tight weave on a bright-white media results in exceptional photographic image with richer, more brilliant color.  It’s the perfect solution for banner stand applications; the fabric lays flat and won’t curl and its opacity ensures that banner stand hardware won’t show through when backlit.

This new “black-out” fabric substitutes and replaces laminated inkjet prints which can curl and be damaged if not handled with care. The cost? We are offering this new material at the same cost as our 5/10 laminated inkjet banner graphics. Email for a price quote.

We have printed a various samples representing different styles of graphics and photographs. Stop by Hamilton Color Lab  at 4305 South 120th St in Omaha Nebraska to take a look for yourself.

Trade Show and Printing Display Options

  • P.O.P. displays
  • Roll up banners
  • In-store signage
  • Trade-show graphics
  • Ceiling banners
  • Wall hangings
  • Backdrops
  • Window signage (with our new magnetic strips)
  • Portait photography
  • Other display graphics.
Fabric Roll Up Display

Lays flat with no curling

Project Notes: We want to thank Midwest Laboratories in Omaha Nebraska for not only their business but their confidence and trust in providing their corporate printing needs. They were the first to try this new material and jumped at the chance to use this at the 47th Triumph of Ag Expo held in Omaha Nebraska March 6-7, 2013 at the Omaha Century Link Center.

Brent Pohlman, Director of Marketing, stated attendees stopped in their tracks to take a look. Expo attendees were not only interested in the participants of the Omaha Agri-Business Club, but were also commenting about the graphic and display in general.

The Triumph of Ag Expo is the areas largest and most complete indoor showcase of farm equipment, supplies and services and covers over 200.000 sq feet of exhibits.

Fabric Roll Up Display

Lightblocker layer on backing


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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.