The Corner Store?

March 06, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

When it comes to printing photos there are of course many choices. Professional labs such as(Mpix. Bayphoto, WHCC, H & H) TM as well as many more have been providing excellent services for many years. But what about the corner store national chain vendors (Walmart, CVS, Walgreens, Target etc..). They have long been printing family and vacation pictures for many years. Before I go any further, this post is not to debate the quality of the images from the corner store location vs professional lab but something even more basic.

Sometimes, even a pro will be stuck with wanting a print at the very last minute if nothing more than a proof shot. Of course, there is the customer who makes the comment "Why do I need to pay $$$ for my image, I can get it from the corner store for $. 

There are some important points that not everyone may recognize about the national corner store chains when they process a print. Of course no store will print anything that appears to portray child abuse and the photographer may end up with a visit from police (no argument here). But..  

In their terms of service, and depending upon who is at the photo counter:

  • These chains will not typically process anything that depicts violence, is defamatory, unlawful, illegal, inflammatory, obscene, or embarrassing to another person. Who decides this? It is COMPLETELY in the hands of the Photo clerk and possibly the manger on duty.  A photographer may be in the position of explaining the overall theme of a shoot to someone who may not wish to understand.  In fact, any initial images that may have been printed may be destroyed. 
  • While the store claim no ownership, many reserve the right to print and display your images royalty free any where in the world (Though they claim this is not part of marketing).
  • They may make a subjective decision that the image is professional, and thereby require you to obtain permission from the photographer prior to printing any images (Copyright). They may require you to complete a form and show positive identification if you claim that you are the photographer, particularly if the image is watermarked. While this certainly protects the photographer, it may be time consuming in some cases.

The level to which each employee follows the terms of service will likely vary. Around Halloween, most stores will be forgiving for some scenes of horror).  The focus of these policies obviously is the general public and in some cases understandable. However, it is important to recognize that these policies do exist not only for the professional but also for clients who may be looking at the corner store as an option for prints.

 


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