In a previous post, I highlighted the great deals available on Groupon. While most of my Groupon buys meet my expectations, a recent purchase of two items given as Christmas gifts ended in disappointment.
Full Metal Photos ran a special deal before Thanksgiving for its 8” x 10” prints at a 64 percent discount. As its name implies, the company prints photos on aircraft-grade aluminum instead of paper, stating that the smoother a surface is, the better the image quality will be. Full Metal Photos says its final product is vibrant with “spectacular” detail and “unbelievable” image depth. I was hoping for an image that seemed to “jump off” the printed surface, and the sample images on the company’s website looked quite promising.
As a person who has worked often with professional printing vendors, I know the images I submitted to Full Metal Photos were high-quality files. Each photo was taken with a Canon digital SLR camera, and each JPEG file I uploaded to the company’s website was at least 6.5 MB in size. One of the photos is shown here–click on the image above to enlarge and see how sharp it is. The Full Metal Photos upload tool rated my image quality at 100 percent. Unfortunately, the results I got were not vibrant or spectacular.
Neither photo seemed sharp when printed on metal. One of the photos, taken on a sunny day with blue skies in the background, also disappointed in color quality (see Full Metal photo at right–click to enlarge). Skin tones took on a pinkish, grey tint and the entire photo was considerably darker than the original.
I found the image shown here so disappointing that I asked Full Metal to reprint the photo. While the company promptly acknowledged my reprint request on Dec. 11, they let the redo fall to the wayside, and I had to send two follow-up emails to actually get the reprint completed. It didn’t arrive at the recipient’s home until a month later, well after Christmas had passed, even though I’d emphasized that the item was a Christmas gift. I have not seen the reprint, so I can’t comment on whether it was an improvement over the original.
While the durability and potential quality of photos printed on metal is appealing, the end result of the first two prints left a lot to be desired. When Full Metal Photos runs another Groupon special, I’d recommend you let the deal pass you by.
Have you had a good or bad experience with metal photos from this company or a different one? Please share your experience.