• Welcome to the largest and friendlest resource for picture framers! Please LOG IN or REGISTER a free account.
    Once logged in, you will be able to SEARCH our archives.
    Forget your password? Click here to RESET PASSWORD Trouble? Click the CONTACT US link.

Why photo places use gloss laminate??


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jun 13, 2002
Fingerlakes Region of NYS
After raising the discussion about the ongoing debate of NG vs Clear glazing...

A situation occurred yesterday - a customer brought in a family portrait - with 32 people in it!! - and the photo place (not a high end professional photographer) had mounted it and laminated it on both sides with this ultra glossy laminate. Aaugh. The customer didn't like it and wanted to subdue it. After placing test samples on the piece (with the mat that will be used) - the NG did the trick to subdue.

Why do photo places do this? And the poor customer didn't know they'd do it. They weren't offered a choice... not quality customer service in my eyes...

If I was the customer I would have brought the picture back! If I wasn't told it would be laminated, and I didn't request it be laminated, I wouldn't accept it.

Why should they have to pay you to fix the other person's mistake?

Don't get me wrong, I would have taken the job! But I would have first suggested they go back to the photographer. It would be a professional courtesy to the photographer as well. I mean if a customer of mine was disatisfied I would want to know so that I could fix the problem, and earn back their trust and respect.

If they had gone back to the photographer and were still disatisfied, well then its time to take the kid gloves off and fix it for them!

there is a photolab here that does this laminate thing on lower grade paper - the laminate is not real glossy, but it is laminated. The photographer that brought it in used to work for Kodak and he said that the laminate compensates for the lower grade paper used for developing - I'm not sure if that is true, and I know nothing about photo paper and developing so I tend to sift info and try to research it if I can find something on it.

I do know, that he wasn't happy with their process and took them back - right now, I do not know what his resolution was to the returned product - he was going to TRY...

anyway, I know its done, but that is the only explanation that I have heard in regards to it

If I were the customer, I would take it back. If I was the framer, I would suggest taking it back and seeing if they can get something they are happy with - in the meantime, you've designed something nice and will wait for them to bring back the good one. My customers appreciate when I tell them things like this, and they are more than willing to come back after they have resolved things. It builds the trust with them to know that you will be honest and give them an honest appraisal of the situation.

I had a customer that was given a pastel portrait - it didn't look like her or her husband and had cost $500; she asked me what I thought and I told her - take it back, it doesn't look a bit like you - she thanked me, took it back, they fixed/redid it and when she came in, the portrait looked like her and her husband and she thanked me for my honesty and is a loyal customer.

for what its worth (I already spent my 2cents today!)


You are so right. People do appreciate when you offer the suggestions of not accepting lesser quality - but many people are too timid to take action (unlike myself) and might do so if encouraged by someone in our position!

These people seemed fine with the solution of NG... so I didn't push further.

I can always offer the suggestion when it is picked up... and offer to refit for them as a courtesy!

"The photographer that brought it in used to work for Kodak and he said that the laminate compensates for the lower grade paper used for developing"


Most color photographic paper is printed on RC (resin coated) paper. This is the way it is mfg.
It is designed for processing in heated, caustic chemicals. The top layer of the photo paper is the emulsion which is a combination of three other layers that "carry" the color information (cyan - magenta - yellow).

Ink-jet "photos" because of the papers that they are printed upon - notice I said "upon" because these inks only lay "upon" the surface. Photogs are laminating these "photos" to protect them from handling as the surface inks can be scratched off, scuffed, fingerprint marks & even spotted by stray moisture (Achoo!) ;)

Roz, if you know the photographer, recommend that he (or she) use the matte finish laminates.

Now, don't get me wrong - some inkjets can make exceptional photographs (Glicees) - I am referring to the Epson line of "inkjets" with their use of "Ultrachrome" inks - but that is for another time.
I have had 2 similar situations recently. Both were done by professional photographers and both were printed on Kodak photo paper. Not inkjet. My customers were also unaware that their photographers were going to laminate their images. So the inkjet answer isn't necessarily true for everyone. I have the advantage of having my frame shop connected with a photo imaging center and we scanned the prints(with consent from the photographers) and reprinted them with a matte finish. I got to frame the laminated photo AND the new matte photo, so in some twisted way, it was actually a good thing for me that they did laminate the photos.
I told you I didn't know what he was talking about! That is what the sifter is for...