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What a Stupid Name for a Shop! But one thing it does, is to indicate what they do – They are a photo processing lab, who specialise is getting your ‘snaps’ ready for you quickly.
One thing that I look for as a photographer who often has to work ‘on the hoof’ – away from my regular area – is consistency in results. Occasionally I have to put a couple of rolls of film into a lab right after I’ve finished a shoot, either so that the client can see the results, or because there is a Press deadline to meet. I often use branches of Boots, as those of you who have read my work before will realise, because largely I can rely on them to produce accurate, crisp, quality results – especially now that they are kitted out with Digital technology.
‘Snappy Snaps’ branches are usually situated in the High Street, in the midst of other shops, so guaranteeing a regular clientele. They are easy to find and branches usually house a whole range of services. From regular 1 hour (or 30 mins services in places) Developing and Printing, to quick enlargements, large range of frames, mounts, film, batteries etc. There are usually plenty of staff around to help too.
Pricewise they are not the cheapest. I have two branches near me and both are on a par with Boots – but the quality they produce is inferior. Certainly the quality of enlargements is pretty poor – but then I am looking at these from a professional point of view. If I need an enlargement doing, it is because I have been asked for one and will be selling it to my customer. Thus, quality is very important. If I give a customer crap – will they want to use my services again? I think not. Many High Street Photo labs – like Snappy Snaps – are set up to provide a quick service for the undiscerning public. Many a time, I have stood in line waiting for prints and seen ghastly efforts being looked at my fellow customers, who have accepted them as the ‘best that can be done’. I know that a lot of people have basic cameras and no idea how to take pictures – that’s good for me and is why I am a pro and continue to get work. But as someone who does know what he is doing and expects a certain standard, I do not like being fobbed off with poor standard results. Unfortunately, more often than not that’s exactly what I get from ‘Snappy Snaps’ !
Let me give you a couple of examples.
A couple of years ago, I was up at Filbert Street – Leicester City’s home ground. I was doing photographs for a magazine and had to shoot both colour prints and colour slides. I took various shots of the stadium,. Plus some shots inside of the offices and their Marketing Manager for a feature. To turn around the slides quickly and without going to the bother of buying chemicals and ‘doing it myself’ like I’d done in the past, I entrusted the slide film to a Snappy Snaps branch in Peterborough. I wanted it done promptly and was told it could be done their in ‘an hour or so’. 90 minutes later I was in the shop waiting patiently for the slides. “Not done yet, mate, shouldn’t be long”. 5-30pm came and went, the shop had closed, but my slides were still not ready. Still patiently waiting, I began to fear the worst - Six o’clock arrived. “Sorry mate, nothing came out”. The assistant told me as he presented me with two sets of blank negatives. “You must have a problem with your camera”. A member of the public would be very worried by that and would have accepted it as true and then rushed to get their camera mended. However, as I’d been shooting with TWO different cameras (one roll from each) and had already had my Print film processed and it was fine – only one conclusion ‘Snappy Snaps COCK UP!’ But I had to write it off and just provide the magazine with the colour prints (which was OK anyway, in the end), as obviously Snappy chappy in the shop was hardly going to hold his hands up and say, “Sorry, mate, I’ve ballsed it up”
On another occasion, in Luton, I had to use the local branch to D&P a couple rolls of film – pretty basic pics of a football match, plus some head and shoulders shots of both sets of players. Like I said, Basic. No tricky light situations, awkward backlighting, no, just simple, straightforward stuff. Two rolls D&P in an hour – one roll of 36 and another of 24 – cost £19.96….not cheap (and this was two years ago!). They got them done and each of the players looked like he was West Indian – only one was! They were awful, and I told them so. “Sorry, you’ll have to speak to the Manager, but he doesn’t work at weekends” was the pathetically weak response. So that was another ‘Snappy Snaps’ branch crossed off my list as being incompetant!
I must say that some other branches are OK – but far from living up their proud claim on their shop windows as “Britain’s Best Photo Shop”. Something along the lines of ‘Voted by readers of XXX magazine for the 3rd year running’.
•Yes, they do offer a quick service. •Yes, they offer a range of photo related services unrivalled on the High Street – usually on site. •Yes, they have the excellent ‘Kodak Image Magic’ print from print service in all their labs.
But … • they are Expensive. • Staff are often far from knowledgeable. • Results are hugely inconsistent from branch to branch
My Advice - If you find a good one, Stick with it.
A fantastic review, I received some information on Franchising for this company, and this gives me an idea of what to look out for in terms of training support and quaity. THey are quite expensive arent they?
MRSCANADA 04.04.2002 18:50
Disillusioned 07.11.2001 19:19
I agree tis expensive, I was developing french exchange photos and Snappy Snaps wanted £1.50 more than what Boots wanted. Excellent op. :) Cheers, James.