touring where my prints begin {mpix.com}

This is not a paid post, sponsored post, review post…it is just me writing.

Chris and I took a road trip yesterday. We headed north and stopped here.
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Also known as Mpix!

For long time readers, you know I’ve been an Mpix fan.  If you get their emails, every now and then you might see one of my kid’s in a product shot.  We’ve been trying to work out a time for me to tour the facility for a while. Eventually we got a date on the calendar and it happened yesterday. I’m a detail girl, so getting to see the ‘behind the scenes’ of Mpix was so fun and interesting. I’ve always wondered what exactly happened to my photos from the time they were uploaded from my computer to when they landed on my doorstep.

I took my camera along so I could you give you guys a peek too.

Our tour began here. The print on the wall is for Miller’s lab (for professional photographers only)…a blue dot for customer locations. Mpix customers are not on this map – that would make it mainly blue.

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This is the first room we visited. I will point out I tried to avoid getting employees in my photos. I wasn’t too sure how they’d feel about their photos online. So anyway, this room is where things like gallery wraps, press printed products, cards, metal prints, etc. are created. It was so interesting to see all the products coming out. I will note that the same machines are used for Miller’s and Mpix. So the quality that professional photographers receive is the exact same quality that consumers (Mpix) receive – news I was happy to hear and see confirmed.
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Work tables in that same area. The whole facility is under remodeling and expansion right now, so departments are still finding their homes.
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If you’ve ever ordered an accordion mini album…this is where those start.
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Colored pencils, screwdriver, ruler, coffee mug, BIG glue gun – I could totally work at this station.
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Okay, so next is the Mpix area. When you place and order online, it goes to this lit area first. From here the orders are divided up and distributed. Each photo in every order is examined online before being sent to be printed. This area was dim (it looks darker in this pic). The dim lighting helps with viewing the images on computer screens. The individual attention each photo gets with human eyes is why I began recommending Mpix four years ago. There are tons of consumer print labs available online, but the quality that comes from people examining the photos verses computers just doesn’t compare.
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After the orders are looked over, they are sent to these machines to be printed. This was a really cool part to see.
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Then the orders are taken for the final inspection. When you get an order from Mpix is always has a little sticker that says something like “inspected by Ashley”…this is where that happens. Well, this room. The desks are on the other side of the racks.
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And the final room we visited was where film is processed. This department has dropped dramatically in size over the last several years. Digital photography is changing the industry.
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After the tour, I got to brainstorm and share ideas related to where Mpix.com is headed and how the consumer side of photography is changing. I had a great time sharing my views of social media, blogging, online photography courses and a whole gamut of other things. I also got some sneak peeks at coming products…and shared my opinion on those. I always have an opinion and I was honored that they would want to hear it. There are a lot of great products in the works.

Leaving the plant one of the things that stood out to me the most was the pride that the employees took in the company and in their work. It was mentioned several times in different ways that they are preserving people’s memories, it is so much more than simply printing. Like any company there are times mistake are made, but Mpix does a great job fixing any mistakes and taking care of their customers. If anything, seeing behind the scenes and talking with employees, makes me more excited to point others to Mpix when they ask who I recommend for prints and photo related products.

We are still working out details, but you’ll be seeing some more Mpix related things here from time to time. I’m excited about working with them more and honored by the opportunity. It was really a great trip – and I got a whole day with Chris…pretty great day.

After we left Mpix, we headed north a little more to pick up something I purchased on Craigslist…for a project inspired by my friend Kara Paslay.

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Handsome guy. The Home Depot. Trailer full of salvaged bowling lanes. I was a happy girl.

Oh, and our official LOA arrived on our doorstep while we were gone. Thanks dad for picking that up. Not sure what I would have done if it had blown away.

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  • emmybrown - ooooooh….I can’t wait to see what you are going to do with the salvaged bowling lanes!!! And, I’m still smiling with delight each time I think of you and your LOA! :)

  • Mandy @ Sugar Bee Crafts - I LOVE Mpix!!! Use them all the time!

  • Kelli McKnight - I opened your site this morming to read about “the call” (so thrilled for you!!)…then I see a familiar sight…Millers! I am from Pittsburg so next time you come up I’ll take you to lunch. I delight in your inspiring posts, enjoyed taking a snapshot class, and love watching you live out the great adventure of adoption!

  • Kathryn - My father in law has a fishing cabin with repurposed bowling lane floors. It is beautiful! I can’t wait to see what you will do with it!

  • Emiles - okay now I’m seriously intrigued, what are yo ugoing to do w/ the bowling alley lanes? Our local alley went out of business and had them for sale, but they were incredibly expensive and other than a sweet flooring for a game room, couldn’t think of a thing!

  • Eva - I love MPix too!

    When hubs and I got married almost 10 years ago, our photographer sent our photos to Millers for printing. So when I delved into photography a few years ago, I was thrilled to see the same quality products offered to consumers like me! Their customer service is awesome too. And a little Father’s Day somethin’ should be arriving on my doorstep today. I can’t wait!

    Have a great weekend!

  • Kelley - I LOVE Miller’s and Mpix. They are such a fabulous company in the products and service they provide. I love that you noted their pride in their work…it is so evident in every order I have received from either company. I’m so glad that you were able to tour their lab and take photographs of what you saw. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  • Sundee - I was on vacation in May in Kansas City, Missouri and visited with family south of the city in Nevada. While we were there I wanted to go to Joplin to see how the City was bouncing back a year after the tornado. I also wanted to stop at Miller’s in Pittsburgh, KS. It was amazing!! I was hoping for a small display or retail section and when we got there and realized it was production I was disappointed. However, the receptionist said that the 4H kids were taking a tour and asked if we wanted to join. What a great surprise!!! The reason I will work with them moving forward, in addition to your recommendation, was that their materials for frames are sourced by a guy local to Pittsburgh and their demand has grown his business by leaps and bounds. That kind of community business appeals to me.

    They are a great company and I will work with them over just about everyone else for both my personal photos as well as my customers as my small photography business grows!!!

    Thank you for all of your insight and shared knowledge!! Much appreciated.

  • Jenn C. - What a cool tour, thanks for sharing! Those bowling lanes remind me of my grandparent’s house. When they were building they got a hold of some old lanes and thought they would make great stairs since they are so durable…only problem was that they were treacherous when wearing socks (even after 2o years of wear) and hard as concrete when you slipped! Great thought, but turns out they weren’t too good for stairs!

  • Alice H - I use Mpix all the time now thanks to you!! So cool to see behind the scenes. Can’t wait to see what you do with bowling lanes! I love bowling, it is seriously one of my favorite past-times.

  • Heather - I really enjoyed the tour. I’ve been using Mpix and am so pleased with the quality. Mpix was how I found your blog…so I’m ever grateful and indebted to them ; ) I love seeing your kids in the product shots on Mpix, it always makes me smile since I feel like I “know” them. Blessings!!

  • Kara M - I’m so interested to see what you are making! Any hints?

  • Tammy Henderson - So excited about your LOA. Can’t wait to see pictures of your little Song. My husband is one of the IT guys for a school district and the work tables in their lab were made from recycled bowling lanes. They love it. They’re super sturdy and they don’t worry much about dinging them up with their parts and tools.

  • Ryan - Mpix is the only vendor I use for printing pics. I will order on a Monday and have my prints, no matter the size of my order, by Thursday normally without paying for a rush or expedited shipping. They just do great work and they’re fast. Loved seeing behind the scenes.

    And now you *have* to tell us what you’re doing with those lanes. I’m dying here! I’m gonna guess new flooring?

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - What a great tour! When I lived in Denton, I was a purchasing manager. Marketing items and inventory was part of what I managed. I toured a printing facility and it was just amazing! I remember watching the machines and just being fascinated.

    In their break-room, they kept one piece of everything they printed and it was so fun to look at all the different pieces and ideas… very inspiring!

  • Carrie - thank you so much for the tour – I am one of those blue dots on the map! We started using Miller’s for our business this past December and have been SO pleased with the quality and the services they offer.

    So glad your LOA arrived, too! I have been praying for its arrival with you :)

  • Laura M. - My husband is an “IT guy” in KC. One of the companies on his client list is Miller’s so he has been to both Pittsburg and Columbia, MO doing computer system/email related work for them. Fun post and it makes me love mpix more!

  • wannaknow - What color and brand of paint is in your boys room of gray?

  • able mabel - That was a fun tour of Mpix. Thanks for sharing! I can’t wait to see what you do with the bowling lanes.

  • Sarah Baker - Love seeing Mpix! I’ve loved using them and won’t let my clients order their own prints any where else. I beg them not to go anywhere “in town”. Also, my dad recovered the old bowling alley from FBC Tulsa, along with some other guys, when they tore it up (it was in the old youth building). It’s been sitting in his garage FOREVER and I can’t wait to see what you do with it. Then we can make some suggestions to him! Something other than a workbench/chopping block!

  • KatieM. - Love this! Thanks so much for the behind-the-scenes glimpses!

  • Suzanne - I went to Pitt State, so that was a fun surprise to see Miller’s!! Can’t wait to see what you are doing with bowling lanes!!!

  • nancy boothe - I am so tickled to see these photos of Mpix. I’ve used their lab for several projects and LOVE them. I love to see how the insides work of about everything, so this is cool. You do get around!

    Don’t know how you do it all, but you surely do.

  • Jess - Salvaged bowling lanes? LOL! Can’t wait to hear what on earth are you up to now!? :)

    Personally, I was disappointed in my prints when I tried Mpix. I guess it’s not for everyone.

    Hooray HOORAY for the LOA!!!

  • Julie D. - I love MPIX! I’ve used them for years and have always been completely satisfied. Thanks so much for the peek inside. Congratulations on your LOA!

  • Darcy Jerome - I love MPIX/Millers too! fun to see the behind the scenes pictures!

  • Kimberlee Jost - MPIX? MPIX! That means you were in Kansas!!!!!!!!!!

  • Kristin S - Your behind-the-scenes makes me want to order from them even more!

    Now, just need to get that DSLR…

  • Jenny - I love seeing the behind the scenes for Mpix. They are the best. And I’m excited to see your bowling lane project. My dad did my countertops in my kitchen with bowling lane wood purchased from Craigslist. Plus he made my gma a huge harvest table with it. It can be a little tricky to work with because of the nails, and I didn’t want blonde, so we took a floor sander to all of it, and stained it dark. Good luck. :)

  • Kate - It’s so neat to see inside the place. I was always curious. :) One thing that is confusing me though is the talk from them, from you, and from others posting comments about their pride in each photo being sent out. I just recently had to cancel my accound with millers due to them sending me photos with problems, etc. I even had artwork done for which they charge extra and they still didn’t do even a mediocre job. Maybe it’s just me. Hmmm…

  • Annmarie Kopey - Hi Ashley -

    I am new to your blog and MPIX. I have been much happier with my prints thus far but I have a question. If you say “Do not color correct,” as you may know – all of these warnings urge you not to do so as their printers are calibrated a certain way.

    Do you color correct or ignore the warnings? I have not been brave enough to ignore them!

    Thanks so much! – Annmarie

  • Sarah Emerson - It is great that you were able to tour Millers and see that Mpix and Miller’s is one in the same. I have worked for photographers for over 10 years and have seen how the photography industry has changed because of digital. True photography is a lost art and I certainly hope that one day people begin to appreciate once again really talented photographers. Unfortunately many photographers have been put out of business because of this new digital age of photography.

  • Barbara Bell - I love these shots! I also use Miller’s, so it was nice to see their digs! ;-)

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