Consumer reporter Rick Wells trys out a picture maker

Monday, June 10th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Got a picture, you want to copy but just don't know how. If you're like News on Six reporter Rick Wells you've seen those picture makers, but the technology is just too intimidating.

I've got this photo of my son, Matthew I want to copy and send to my dad for father's day. The negative is around somewhere but I don't want to look for it. So I stopped by Wolfe Camera. Kathy Wing said she'd show me how to copy it. "Do you have to do this with every customer?" She said it's a good idea to get some help, it reduces the mistakes.

In this case I am using a picture, so I place it on the copier just like I was copying a document. Then I get walked through a series of touch screen questions, asking me what I want. What size? How many? "And then it asks you if you want to do any kind of scanning or editing, which most people do, so if they want to crop it or if it has red eye." It'll take that out; it will also boost the color of faded pictures.

There's a text printer so you can caption your photos. There are borders you can add to dress them up. If you have pictures on a CD or floppy disk, you can print them here, or put pictures on a disk. And coming soon, print pictures directly from your digital camera. "So just about any format you can possibly take pictures in you, can get copies of them."

Most places discourage or prevent you from copying commercial professional photographs. OK I'm finished, it takes a minute or so to get the changes on paper, then it spits out the finished photo. Not bad, just get a frame, pay the lady, and get it in the mail, pretty easy.

These machines are showing up everywhere, drug and discount stores, hotels, malls even amusement parks, price varies but it's usually more expensive than commercial processing, but also more convenient.