Let me start by saying printing services are awesome. For not very much money they do an amazing job. Advantages for print services are very fast turn around time without too much sacrifice in quality. To anyone happy using these services, great! Keep using them. But, for me once I started to do more research on the printing process it became evident I needed to take control of this element my self. You see, printing an image is nothing like printing a document. For your average print job, you hit command p (I'm a Mac user) and you are good to go. Not the case with making high end ink jet prints.
Many decisions need to be made when creating a print and all of them have a major impact on the final product. It all starts with having a good file to begin with, capturing the most amount of detail and the most accurate colors in camera. But, it doesn't end there. The way you edit makes a huge difference. As you can imagine an image on a backlit computer screen does not necessarily translate the same way on two dimensional paper. Additionally your paper choice will impact the way your image looks as well. Different paper will react differently to the same image. An image that looks great on Matte paper may look terrible on glossy! Even paper with the "same" finish from different brands will react differently to the ink from a printer. Your editing has to be done with your paper choice it mind. Considering most people judge the readiness of an image based on the screen it begs the question who then makes the adjustments to make the print match the screen? When using a print service, not you...
All your choices matter! Printing on my own gives me the opportunity to experiment and discover what works best for my images. I also have more control over fine details. A major advantage to printing myself is the ability to print from RAW files using the adobe 98 color space rather than using sRGB required by most print services. (Nerd talk! using the abode 98 color space is like coloring with a box of 100 crayons vs a box of 8. The internet works in the sRGB which is why you have more color gamut in a print than on a digital file on Facebook).
I believe in the print. To me photographs are meant to live on our walls and in albums. Not just online. To me my work isn't complete until its printed. How could I leave this final and very important step to someone else? The people at photo labs are extremely talented but, they don't know me. The don't know how I envisioned the finished product. They could never predict how red I want my reds, or how deep I want my shadows. They just are not me. I need to make those choices.
For these reasons I knew I no longer wanted a professional printer I NEEDED one!