New super software guarantees even better prints

By PhotoBox 6 years ago26 Comments
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The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noticed the introduction of Image Enhancement to our site this week. If you haven’t noticed then listen up as this is big news for your photo prints.

We weren’t content to just sit back and say, ‘We’ve got award-winning print quality so why do anything differently.’ That’s why we’ve been busy looking at ways to guarantee even better print quality, and after scouring the market we’ve invested in state-of-the-art technology called Perfectly Clear™. This super software helps us print your images just the way you remember them. This means you won’t be disappointed by prints that look too dark, overexposed, or suffer from the dreaded red eye. We’ll automatically remedy all these issues for you, at no extra charge, when we print your photos.

We’re so confident you’ll love the difference image enhancement makes, we’ve switched it on by default. If you don’t want us to enhance your photos for any reason, you can simply log into your account and go to ‘My account’, ‘My preferences’, then select ‘Off’ under Auto Image Enhancement. For full details, check out our new Auto Image Enhancement page.

We’d love to hear what you think about this service, especially from anyone who has received image enhanced prints from us already.

Have a great weekend

 

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26 Comments

  • H McKillop says:

    Hello

    I cant login to the site – i get a “webpage error” dialog box saying “Object Error” – no code.
    Do you know of a known error or anyway to clear this,

    thanks

  • Joanne says:

    Hi I would like to say that Im sure this will of great use to your customers and am looking foward to testing this out.

    I would also like to say that as a professional photographer I am very pleased that you now have given the option to remove the logo from photobooks, I will continue to use you now for the forseable future.

    Keep up the great progress!

  • Charles says:

    This is a welcome enhancement because I have always found Photobox prints darker than expected. Because of that, I now pre-process in Photoshop all images I want Photobox to print, making them lighter and adjusting them for colour shifts (such as Photobox’s tendency to produce a shift towards pink) before uploading them. Does this new enhancement mean I should stop this pre-processing, or should I continue doing it?

  • Glad to see some feedback on the introduction of automatic image correction and enhancement, remember to post any comments you might have on results when you test it!

    A couple of responses to previous posts on the subject:

    H McKillop – Sorry – not an error i have seen before, I’d suggest contacting support on Email: info@photobox.co.uk, Phone: 0845 505 0305 or you could give our new live chat functionality a go! Just click help at the top of the page and then the live chat tab.

    Joanne – Thanks, Let us know how the testing goes! Thanks for the feedback on remove logo – it is proving very popular with the proffesionals!

    Charles – Can I ask if you’ve used one of our calibration prints to help try and calibrate your monitor? If prints from us appear consistently darker than you were expecting then it’s worth looking at this. Calibration prints and guidance on using them can be requested from Customer support using the contact details above.

    Whether the automatic enhancement will stop you wanting to pre process your images is difficult to me to comment on without seeing the images / prints, I’d certainly hope it would stop you having to do any further manual enhancement.

    I’d suggest you test the enhancement on a image(s) you haven’t manually corrected to satisfy yourself as to the quality of the enhancement and determine whether you feel this means you won’t need to complete any further pre-editing of your images. If you’re not satisfied with the results please contact our support team to arrange for their reprint / crediting.

    I’d be interested in what you think when you get enhanced prints back. Please get in touch with customer support if you’e not happy with enhanced prints or see any prints where you feel there is a colour cast or shift (pink or otherwise) and they’ll escalate to my quality team for further investigation.

    Keep the feedback coming! – Thanks

    James

  • The “enhancement” has made a terrible mess of many of my images. I had a large batch of prints made. Half of them were grainy black and white photos. Those all have an interesting cross-hatch pattern on them. One of them also has a coloured band across it, which is quite impressive considering it was a black and white jpeg. The other half of the photos were colour photos of people. They have come out with dreadful smoothed skin and enormous over sharpening leaving unsharp-mask artifacts all over the place.

    Bit of a shame you turned the new “enhancements” on by default, and didn’t make it obvious on your site that you’d done it.

  • Steven Ellis says:

    You processed 646 holiday prints for me in May – 89 of these were dark – if I selected a handful of these, would you be willing to reprint them with your new image-enhanced technology so I can compare them with the originals for future prints?

  • Hi Duncan,

    Thanks for your feedback,

    As professional photographer (great images BTW on your linked site) we’d suggest you you switch enhancement off. If you’ve spent any time editing your images using a 3rd party application such as Photoshop (as i would imagine you have to get the images just as you want them) then we’d recommend you send your work with additional enhancement turned OFF.

    I’m sorry you feel the introduction of enhancement and its defaults wasn’t communicated sufficiently clearly to you as a member, we’ve had details regarding enhancement on the homepage since it launched and have included details in newsletters. That said, i take your comments on board and will work with Marketing to further improve display and communication regarding the enhancement and its defaults.

    Please contact Customer services on Email: info@photobox.co.uk, Phone: 0845 505 0305 or you could give our new live chat functionality a go! Just click help at the top of the page and then the live chat tab. They’ll arrange with you to have the prints returned to us (i’d be very interested to see how they’ve been affected), they’ll change your defaults for enhancement and get your order reprinted without enhancement switched on. I am confident we can get you the quality prints your expecting.

    Regards,
    James

  • David Baxter says:

    I understand that the majority of your customers will welcome auto image enhancement but since you are also trying to cater for pros, you should be offering an alternative service for those who have a proper colour managed workflow. We spend a considerable amount of time perfecting the colour and other aspects of our photos on properly profiled equipment and certainly don’t want any software to mess it all up. What we need is the icc profiles of the printers you are using so we can soft proof our photos prior to sending them. Your colour calibration print is simply not adequate. If you want to attract more professional photographers to Photobox, you must provide a better service with respect to colour management. I have found your service up to now to be very good but the inability to soft proof prior to printing may force me to find another print company. Come on Photobox – one calibration print doesn’t cut it -especially since you use different printers for different sized photos. Please do something to fix this hole in your service soon as the problem of pro colour management will continue to become a bigger issue for more and more people.

  • Steven,

    Please contact Customer services on Email: info@photobox.co.uk, Phone: 0845 505 0305 or you could give our new live chat functionality a go! Just click help at the top of the page and then the live chat tab.

    They’ll change your defaults for enhancement and arrange a reprint of a number of the ‘too dark’ images (which will need to be added back into your basket) so that you can see the improvement the enhancement should make to these images when printed.

    Let us know how the enhanced prints compare when you receive them!

    Regards,
    James

  • Chris Mould says:

    ICC Profiles Please!
    I spend hours in front of a calibrated monitor adjusting images. I don’t want some automated software messing with them after I’ve uploaded them. (I’ve turned the service off).
    I’ve ordered hundreds of pounds worth of prints from photobox and the prints are normally good. But I’ve often ordered repeat prints from the same uploaded file and can clearly see differences between the two prints.
    The speed, price and reliability of the service compensates for ‘good’ rather than ‘excellent’ prints. The people I’ve dealt with have been straightforward and helpful.
    Without publishing ICC profiles Photobox is clearly not serious about attracting (or keeping) professional photographers. I’m sure this is a small sector of their customer base?
    Very frustrating as its nearly there, but not quite! for large expensive prints I still use other companies that publish an icc profile. I can’t afford to chance a large one coming back from photobox too dark!
    icc profiles please
    Thanks!

  • Sarah says:

    I have many of the same problems mentioned above – the prints/greeting card images come out far too dark. I have tried using your calibration card but it makes not a blind bit of difference. The photographs on my monitor (MacBook Pro) look exactly the same as they do on the camera AND in real life and yet when printed by Photobox are consistently too dark. I’ve read that you’re working on ICC profiles with the printer companies. Please make this a priority as, from what I’ve read, I doubt your latest software enhancement is going to resolve the issue for those of us who require professional printing.

  • Richard says:

    I’m a Boots customer and have used the on-line service for the first time.
    When we had our prints delivered we had many issues some being too dark and others being too blue. We contacted customer support whose stock answer blamed our digital images. So we had a number of prints re-printed at a local Boots store, which turned out as we expected. When we returned the first set of prints, we included these additional re-prints to show the major colour difference in the photos, easily showing our problem.
    Customer support shredded the return and informed us that the images on screen are the same as what we got delivered, and blamed the Boots store for lightening them.
    We received a second set of prints from Photobox but these are worse than before with many more prints now affected. These photographs now look totally unreal and do not represent what we saw on our holiday and in many cases the whole picture is overly blue. Landscapes are particularly affected as the land and trees are bright green, the sea is cobalt blue and the sky bright turquoise!! We went on holiday to Massachusetts not the Bahamas!!
    On searching your website to see if other people had these issues, we discovered that you launched the new Image Enhancement software and made it the default setting. Nowhere on the Boots Photo website is this mentioned and is difficult to find on your website. We just ordered prints so why would we be looking for a Photobox news article or advert for new software? We suggest you put it on the checkout page for example.
    Your customer support clearly has no knowledge of your new default setting. As at no time have they suggested that the Image Enhancement was on by default, and that this may be the cause of the problem.
    The Boots In-store service can reproduce our photographs as we expected, how come Photobox is unable to do so? Also, how can this new software decide what constitutes a good or bad photo, and then change the photograph to what it thinks you should see rather than represent what you actually saw, especially since not all photographs are taken on a beautiful bright sunny day?
    All in all we are totally unimpressed by the service we have received and the new software. And would recommend you make image enhancement optional at checkout rather than the default.

  • Steve Nicholls says:

    I’ve just ordered over 100 prints and am looking forward to seeing them with auto enhancement. However, although it says that this is the default position, when I look at my preferences ‘Enable auto enhancement’ is Off and no matter how many times I try to save it as ‘On’ it always go back to ‘Off’. Please can you ensure that the auto enhancement is used for my prints.
    Thanks.

  • Andrew Lee says:

    I won’t be using the automatic image enhancement until I can preview the adjustments made to my images before I order the prints.

    Why not allow your customers to previiew the image enhancements online from day one? When will this be made available?

  • Andrew Lee says:

    How does this work with shared albums?

    I spend considerable time with Photoshop and Photoshop Lightroom to adjust my images and for the moment (at least until I can see an online preview of the adjustments) will leave the image enhancement switched off, and would want the same for people ordering an photo I have shared with them.

    I pride myself on the quality of my images and as such wouldn’t want people who I have shared photos to receiving inferior results from automatic image enhancements.

    Can I tag a particular image or perhaps a whole album to override the automatic image enchancement? even if the person I have shared it with has image enhancement enabled by default?

    Automatic enhancement technology, no matter how good, cannot understand the photographer’s creative intent at the moment they pressed the shutter. Other comments on this topic that talk of oversaturated colours, visible sharpening artefacts and over softened skin fill me with dread. I fear the Perfectly Clear technology is fundamentally no better than the ‘Auto fix’ function of most photo editing software.

  • Thang says:

    Just had some professional studio shots of my daughter arrive in the post from photobox and boy were they destroyed by this auto enhancement feature. So bad in fact that my poor daughter’s eyes were near enough completely black (i.e. no whites) – she looked like a baddie from the tv show heroes! The whole photo was made very grey/overcast. Anyways, was a bit disappointed that this was made as a default without making it more well-known to me as a customer. And it’s also not that entirely obvious how to switch it off.

    On the flip side as with photobox’s great customer services, their live chat immediately offered to reprint and admitted to significant differences in the image and what was printed with the auto-enhancement. It’s just a shame that I’ll probably have to wait another week until the photos arrive (anyone else notice that enlargements have been taking over a week, or is is the royal mail that’s wonky?).

  • Print Quality and the introduction of enhancement remains an understandibly hot topic – apologies for the delay in responding. I’ll try and answer all point in a single post if possible, tackling them in order:

    1) Chris & Sarah – ICC profiles – We understand that for Pro’s these repesent the best opportunity to get exact colour matches on prints and they ARE something we are continuing to work on providing to our customers. I hope to have further news on these in the next few weeks – thanks for your continued patience.

    2) Richard – thanks for the feedback, We’ve added further text on the site to try and improve visbility to the the Image enhancement implemeted. I’m dissapointed that our Customer support agents didn’t mention the enhancement when you spoke to them and have had additional training sessions carried out within the teams. We are also planning on checkout options for enhancement in future releases as you suggest.

    3) Steve – There was an issue around the date you posted regarding the saving of enhancement preferences – this has been resolved fully – i hope you like the prints!

    4) Andrew (x2) – A preview of enhancement on screen is on the future requirements list for enhancement – we’ll post more on forthcoming planned releases around enhancement in due course.

    Regarding shared albums – the enhancement preference of the creator of the images in the shared album / creation remains the dominant preference whatever the preferences of the recipient of the share might be (which means that the creator of the images maintains ultimate control over enhancement and whether it gets applied). It isn’t possible to tag enhancement preferences on a single image or albums – if you do not want your shared creations ever being enhanced then set your default to OFF and that preference will stick with your creations no matter who you share them with / the recipients’ preferences.

    We understand that Professional photographers will more than likely not want any further manipulation of their images taking place which is why we’d suggest you default enhancement off.

    5) Thang – The key words in your post are “professional studio shots”, I’d recommend that if the images were professionally shot that they have already recieved some post capture processing and therefore you should change you enhancement preference to OFF.

    I’m glad you had an excellent experience with our Customer suport team – Sorry to hear that your prints have been slow in getting to you – we’ve had no delays in production, typically hitting our same day despatch promise on all orders – are you in the London area? Perhaps you have been affected by the postal strikes there? Please let us know if you see any further delays in getting prints.

    Thanks all for the feedback!

    Keep it coming!

    James

  • Simon says:

    Any news on the ICC profiles.
    I would love to be able to use you service but am completely put off until this is available.

  • Rob says:

    Hi,
    I too am interested in having ICC profiles. I have a calibrated setup and just using the calibration print is really not enough. Photobox already provide a great service, but with the ability to have ICC profiles your service could be amazing.

    I read above that James said on the 14th Aug that there will be some news in a few weeks time. Do you have any further development on the timescale for ICC profiles to be implemented.

    When the ICC profiles are sorted will this be part of the normal Photobox service or something additional and will it be available to all Photobox subscribers.

    Thanks

    Rob

  • adrian (malta) says:

    I think this is great I am uploading photos so I can use this great software

  • imad says:

    Very disappointed with the prints from photobox and the service received. Prints were too dark to be of any use. Got photographs printed at local shop with excellent results.

  • Gavin says:

    After years of home printing taking away some of the enjoyment of photography I decided to go with PhotoBox this week. Delivery times and paper quality is excellent but I really wish you’d have had a walk through and pointed out things like ‘Image enhancement’ before letting a new customer order.
    Having spent over 8 hours processing 5 images I received slightly under exposed bright prints and blown out dark prints.
    I’ll be submitting the same order tomorrow having now switched off the ‘Image enhancement’ to see what results that gives me.

    I’m in no way saying this feature doesn’t work but I just wish there was a walk through for new customers with questions such as asking if they post process images and if so warning of the ‘image enhancement’ feature.

    Having spent nearly a thousand pounds on home printing the last twelve months and not having been able to mount a single one of those images you can imagine my frustration, however, I’m prepared to get through this with photo box as the paper quality for general display prints looks very promising and the delivery times are lightning quick.

    I’ll post again in two days and let you know what happens.

  • Richard says:

    Is PerfectlyClear the technology also available in Bibble?

    I have started using it as a starting point for many photos. It works well most of the time. Sometimes I think I can do better manually or tweaking afterwards.

    So I echo others’ comments – ICCs and colour managed printing would be nice. This will also help with soft proofing.

    We’ve had off colour prints before, but this was before I calibrated by system. To be fair we have had good photo books before.

  • nealgs says:

    Well, it’s been over 2 years since James said ‘I hope to have further news on these in the next few weeks – thanks for your continued patience.’ in regards to ICC profiles

    Any signs of the ICC profiles yet? I have a couple are largish (20″x16″) Pro poster prints i want to have done, but don’t know how they will come out via photobox printers.

    I can print a near enough wysiwyg at home, but only to A4 size this is with using Photoshops Adobe RGB 1998 profile, which has a wide gammut i understand, so would result in darker prints printed without it.

    Any chance the ICC profiles will be out ever??

    thanks.

  • nealgs says:

    ignore that last comment – doh! – just found the profile for the Fuji unit for large format prints here if others can’t find it:

    http://photobox-en.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/98

    Forgot to say, we have ordered a fair few hundreds of prints in the past, and never actually had an issue with any of them (other that poor photo in the first place – lol)

    many thanks

  • Rayne DeMartini says:

    Hello
    Hope all is well, can you please remove a comment I posted
    On October 9th 2009, it’s a privacy matter and my name is searchable
    On google and linked to where I am. I appreciate your urgent help in this matter
    Thank you
    Rayne

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