Maximize Your Work by Presenting It On the Right Paper.

Today’s guest blog post comes from professional photographer Levi Sim.

The Mona Lisa was made with oil paints on a wood panel made of poplar, and it’s the most viewed painting on Earth, and it’s survived for more than 500 years. What if it had been painted in watercolor or acrylic? What if it had been made on canvas…or a napkin? Each of these media lend a different effect to the finished picture. Oil is workable for a long time, and colors can blend well. Watercolors can be ultra soft, and water color paper can be highly textured, and strokes dry very quickly. Acrylic paints can be vibrant and wood is durable. Other great paintings, like the Last Supper, also by DaVinci, have not survived well because they were created on materials that couldn’t last. Can you imagine if they were made on something as disposable as a paper napkin?

If you’re like me, you want your work to be viewable for ages, and your clients want their photographs to survive as heirlooms they can share through generations. Furthermore, you want to present your photographs on suitable media, on the paper that best presents the character and mood of the image.

If that’s what you want, then why would you ever print on materials equivalent to a paper napkin?

Let me show you how to maximize your work by presenting it on the right paper.  Kodak Professional Endura papers will survive for hundreds of years, so that takes care of my longevity concerns. (Be advised that the big box stores I’ve been to recently are not printing on Kodak Professional Endura papers, and I’ve personally experienced their short life spans, not to mention their inconsistency.) Not only will they last well, but there are six types of paper surfaces available and their characteristics can enhance (or hinder) the impact of your photographs.

Lustre

When you print a picture, you won’t be wrong choosing Lustre paper. Like all the Endura papers, colors on Lustre are true and smooth with excellent gradients skin tones always look great. It’s a bright paper, and the finish is excellent for viewing both in the hand or on the wall. It’s kinda shiny, but it doesn’t hold on to finger prints as much as glossy might, and the pebbly texture is subtle but gives some body and serves to randomize and soften the sheen. It’s really a good way to go, and it’s my default for print orders through my website.

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Both color and black and whites look great on Lustre

Glossy

There’s a reason good magazines use a glossy finish. It’s eye catching and looks extremely high quality. It’s like acrylic paint, and it’s shiny sheen makes colors explode off the page. The sheen gives an upper class feel—Ferrari’s and jewels should always be printed on Glossy. However, it’s not always the right choice, for both practical and aesthetic reasons. For instance, if I’m making small prints that will be handled by people, like those for a holiday card, then glossy may not be right because the fingerprints will show in the sheen. If I plan to mount the photograph behind glass, then I usually don’t choose Glossy, either, because I’ll have a shiny surface on the glass and the shine of the photo, which will make it hard to view. I love it for display without glass, though—make a big poster on Glossy and it’ll make your work look like a million bucks.

The subject of the picture is important when considering Glossy. Soft subjects with pastel colors that we want to dwell on and consider may not be well served by the shiny sheen on Glossy paper. However, if it’s a richly colored image, or a commercial photograph, and you want color dripping off the paper, then Glossy is a great idea. Shiny subjects, like cars, and products, and fruit, always look good on glossy.

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These pictures are full of color and the subjects themselves have a shiny texture. Glossy would compliment them on the walls of the cafe, or in the menu, or marketing materials, or as posters.

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These are both landscapes, but they are very different. The bold contrasting colors in the Tetons would be enhanced by the Glossy paper. The soft, nearly monochrome pastels of Garden of the Gods would be good on Glossy, but I think a matte finish and possibly something texture would be ideal.

Metallic: Color

Since we’ve just talked about Glossy, this is a good time to discuss it’s spunky, slightly rebellious brother, Metallic. It’s got a shiny finish like Glossy, but there’s an underlying excitement revealed in the sheen that always surprises me and makes my viewers gasp.

If you can imagine printing a photograph on the finish of a luxury roadster, that’s what Metallic is like. The sheen is deep and truly metal-like. Rich colors appear richer and there’s liveliness—a vitreous quality that you really need to experience.

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This moving bus looks great on Metallic. The rich colors are vibrant, and the highlights let the paper’s metallic sheen through and the impact of the movement is doubled by the metallic sheen.

While rich colors appear brighter and more vibrant, lighter colors, like Caucasian skin, appear less saturated and you may feel they are a bit gray (it’s like metal, after all). Your clients will say, “Wow, that looks so cool,” which is appropriate for striking scenes full of color and hard impact, but it’s probably not quite the right idea for most newborn photography. It’d look cool, but it wouldn’t have the timeless emotional impact we’re after in newborn pictures. I’d use it for marketing, but I suspect moms will prefer something softer on their walls.

The yellow flowers and mountains above would be striking on Metallic, but the pastel rocks may not be as powerful. Like Glossy, if the subject matter is shiny, or hard, or vibrant, or moving, or impactful, then Metallic is a good choice. Sports, action, movement, color, fast: if these words fit your picture, use Metallic.

Furthermore, when I have rich colors with small highlight areas, like the bus above, or a nightscape, or this street portrait in Tampa, then it’s perfect because the colors are enriched, and the metallic sheen comes through the desaturated highlight areas and the impact is incredible.

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The dark areas and the rich colors here are enhanced by Metallic paper, and the lighter colored areas allow the sheen to show through and it’s cool. It’s a crazy expression, with lots of movement, and Metallic enhances those properties.

Metallic: Monochrome

This is such an important (and profitable) idea, that I think it needs it’s own discussion. Black and white photos printed on Metallic paper are incredible. That’s all you need to know, and you should just print it and see. Here are some examples.

I’d be hesitant to print an entire album of this couple on Metallic paper. I feel the sheen of the paper would distract from the connection between the people. If the medium detracts from the idea I’m trying to communicate, then I’ve made a bad choice. I think people would look and say, “That’s cool,” instead of, “That’s beautiful, what a great moment, how touching,” etc. Their skin tones here would be desaturated with the metallic sheen showing through.

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Metallic would be a poor choice for an album of this wedding in color. The medium would detract from the subject, and that’s bad communication.

A black and white album or wall portrait printed on Metallic, however, would be wonderful. The tones grade so nicely, and the sheen gives us a photograph that’s like a flexible tintype. It ends up being a timeless look that’s also cool. Now we have an album that exudes quality. I love Metallic for black and whites.

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As monotones, Metallic is totally appropriate for these portraits. The sheen and shine accentuate the impact and emotion of each image. Perfect for an album or a wall portrait.

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This color portrait is warm and earthy. Printed on Metallic, the skin would be desaturated, and we’d see lots of sheen on his face and shirt, and it’d detract from the image; let’s save it for Silk. In Black and white, this is a perfect candidate for Metallic.

Matte

Reflections on the surface of a photograph may detract from it’s content, mood, and view-ability. When I print a photograph, I consider where the picture will be viewed. For instance, in a gallery or home with opposite a bank of windows would make it hard to see a photo with a glossy finish. In a case like that, Matte paper would be a good choice. Matte also shows well behind glass.

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This photo is terrific on Matte because I don’t want any sheen to distract from the intensity in the eyes. Just a little glare could ruin the experience. The true whites of the Endura paper are marvelous, too.

Besides that, Matte paper is excellent for all photographs. Colors are true and blacks and whites are clean, looking classic with great depth. Like Lustre, it’s hard to go wrong with Matte. If I’m printing holiday cards or other handled products, Matte is ideal because the no glare finish won’t make fingerprints stand out. Albums on Matte paper are ideal as well. I love that Kodak Professional Endura Matte paper, unlike ink jet papers, is still tough and enduring. Ink jet papers I’ve used are very delicate and can be easily damaged, even just by framing, but Endura papers are all much more robust.

Silk and Canvas

Silk and Canvas papers are just as fine and luxurious as they sound. The subtle texture is both visible and tactile and it becomes an experience to view and handle it. Colors are as great as the other Endura papers, but, like the Mona Lisa, there’s something just right about printing on these papers.

Silk has a fine texture, and if you’re thinking of printing small pictures on an ink jet canvas, or on Canvas paper, you should consider Silk instead. We view small pictures up close, and the large texture of canvas can obscure fine details, whereas Silk’s finer weave leaves details clear. Both Silk and Canvas papers have a gentle sheen that looks like fine fabric and may be just the finish you need for your fine works. Try it for holiday cards that really stand out. Another advantage, too, is that the texture helps relieve the impact of noise and soft focus.

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This image is both slightly out of focus and very noisy, but Canvas and Silk papers’ texture helps relive the impact noise would otherwise make. Both Color and BW are ideal.

Regarding mood, these papers are aptly named. Silk is gentle and luxurious and smooth. If any of those words fit your photograph, try it on Silk. Printed large, the picture appears to have a smoothness that texture less papers cannot imply. My picture above of Garden of the Gods is ideal for Silk, as are any of the portraits, especially close ups. Skin looks amazing with the Silk texture.

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The soft color palette and the gentle smoothness of the sky are ideal for Silk or Canvas

Just about any picture I’ve printed large looks good on Canvas. There’s a sturdiness to the texture, and also a timeless quality. Printing on canvas has a connotation of quality these days, but ink jet canvases lack the colors, gradient, and real photographic qualities we get with photographic papers, not to mention the display options (there are only so many places one can change a 2” thick canvas). While the texture appears durable, it’s also soft and works marvelously with emotive images. A Canvas paper print looks like a memory. I love Canvas paper for any large print and I know you’ll have good success with it for your clients, too.

Conclusion

As artists have done for millennia, you ought to choose the best media for your photographs with consideration for their final use and display. Using Endura papers, you’ll get the best colors and durability, and choosing the right finish will augment the emotive impact you can make with your photos. Mothers will cry, clients will gasp, and generations of people will enjoy your work.

My Love Affair with Film

Today’s Film Friday blog post comes from pro photographer Caroline Tran. You can follow her on Facebook or visit her website.

Caroline will be presenting at Imaging USA 2016 in the Kodak Alaris booth #1820.  Join her on January 10  & 11 @ 4:00 PM! We look forward to seeing you there.

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My love affair with film began in college, when I first started taking art classes to balance out the heavy workload of my physics major. I ended up loving photography and one of my professors asked about my future plans; at the time I was set on continuing to get my master degree at UCLA and hadn’t considered photography as anything further than a hobby. He said, “I see so much potential in you,” and encouraged me to audit an extension class he was teaching there. It’s really funny to me now because back then I didn’t think as a grad student I’d have time for my “hobby,” but I loved it.

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I loved the unique, nostalgic look of film and learned the ins and outs of working with it in my classes. While in grad school, I started planning my own wedding and fell right into the beautiful world of weddings and all the gorgeous details that come along with it. I loved the planning aspect so much that I just wanted to have a side business so I could keep my foot in that world. I had no idea that my little business would blossom into what it is today but I’m incredibly grateful to be able to work in a field I love and am passionate about.

When I started in the industry, many photographers were switching to digital photography, and that’s the age we live in. I wanted to go forward with the direction the industry was going, but found myself spending many hours behind the computer editing. Especially having started learning on film, I had a set standard for the look and feel of the colors that I fell in love with in college. I found myself spending an exorbitant amount of time on editing my photographs; I wanted a consistent look for my photos and would spend hours at the computer in post-process, getting all of my digital photos to look like film. The look is really important to me and it’s incredibly difficult to replicate. However, as my business started expanding and I had more opportunities to travel and shoot weddings abroad, I realized that the amount of time on editing wasn’t sustainable, especially if I wanted to be able to spend more time with my family.

I was pregnant with my first son, Cameron, when I made the decision to move to film. If I was spending so much time editing my photos to get that film quality aesthetic, why not just shoot film to begin with? Getting pregnant was the catalyst: I wanted to be able to spend more time with my family and less time behind the computer. I needed my business to be more efficient and wanted to work smarter.

I tried a few different photo labs before deciding to work with Richard Photo Lab. I immediately fell back in love with the process and I saved so much time on editing; it was absolutely worth it. Today with two kids and a thriving business I definitely think shooting with film is worth it to achieve both beautiful photographs and also so I can spend time where it’s important.

The best thing about shooting film is that it brought me back to capturing that look that I started with; I love the nostalgia of it, that unique style that stands out in a digital age.  My favorite film to shoot is (Kodak Professional) Portra 800.  Working with film for me is not just an art style, but an experience; you don’t get to see what you’re creating -you have to really know your craft.  I have to think through each shot, making sure everything is beautifully composed and being mindful about what’s within the frame. Each shot is time and money, and I find that taking that deliberate process for composing each shot creates a very distinct and special product for the client.

Film produces a distinct quality of photographs that is difficult to duplicate. I had come to appreciate this look when I learned how to develop film in college, but when I started my photography business I thought going completely digital would be following industry standard. However, in order to achieve the look of film, I spent copious hours editing my digital photographs during post-process. When my husband and I started a family, I realized this process was no longer sustainable if I wanted to have time to spend with them. I’d decided to switch to film in order to save time, but it also brought me close to an art form that I loved. Photographing with film is a special experience that has no parallel; it’s challenging and thrilling to work to create compelling photographs while working with the limits of film.

Move with your memories! Make your college transition crafty with the new KODAK MOMENTS App

From Summer 2015 intern: Laura Meyers

As the summer winds down the realization that I need to begin preparing to head back to St. Bonaventure University has set in. The summers in between college years can be a difficult time, especially for someone who loves a steady routine like myself. It’s hard to adjust to a completely different lifestyle for a few short months, only to have to move back to your college dormitory or apartment in the fall.

My summer months seemed even more exciting this year than in the past. They were full of concerts, lake days, camping trips and weddings. Having such an eventful time made it that much harder to pack up my shorts and tank tops and begin looking at textbooks online.

Bringing a little piece of home back to college with me has always made the transition easier. I’ve done my best to document my summer fun with photos of my friends and family. However, I always tend to end up with an iPhone camera roll containing 1,000+ pictures, but never actually doing anything with those memories.

Instead of keeping these summer photos trapped in my phone, I decided to use the new KODAK MOMENTS App to bring them to life. I wanted to be able to easily create something to put in my bedroom at school to keep my Rochester friends and family close with me while I’m away.

Simple prints really never go out of style. They add décor to any college bedroom while simultaneously showing off the most important people in your life. I was able to order prints of my summer memories in seconds right from my phone with the KODAK MOMENTS App.

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As sad as it is to say goodbye to the summer, it’s also exciting to see my college friends again. I especially miss my roommates while I’m home, so I wanted to make them a little welcome back present for our house. We aren’t the most creative of girls and we often joke about the lack of decoration in our home. I knew they would love something to spice up our living room and I knew the KODAK MOMENTS App would help make this possible.

Once again, it was incredibly easy to order prints for my project from my phone and I was able to edit my photos right in the app. I’m not a professional photographer by any means, so many of my photos needed to be cropped or have red-eye removed. The new app made this a simple step in the process.

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After selecting my photos and completing my edits, I was even able to use the app to  immediately choose the closest location to pick up my prints!

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Once I had my prints I decided to check out the Kodak Tips & Projects Center for some inspiration. There are so many interesting project ideas to choose from, and they don’t involve a lot of time and effort to complete (even for an uncreative soul like myself).

After looking through hundreds of awesome projects, I found one that seemed perfect to bring back to school with me. I chose to print out a large poster size image of my college house and place it in an old frame. From there I used wire to hang the prints of my roommates over the image of my home. I love this project because it allows me to update the photos easily by swapping them out with new ones my roommates and I take throughout the year.

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This process wasn’t time-consuming or expensive at all, and it ended up turning out exactly how I wanted it to!

I can’t wait to show my housemates how crafty I can be, and I know they’ll love the new décor. I’m also excited to hang up the photos I printed of my family and friends from this summer. I’m so glad I was able to use the new KODAK MOMENTS App to make my transition back to college easier and more fun.

You can download KODAK MOMENTS App for iOS or Android.

So Much More Than Survival: Achieving Sustainability in Professional Photography

Guest blog post from Tim Kelly, M,Photog., IE, Cr., Fellow-ASP

I love the art and business of photography.

Photography was and still is “magical”. Running a business was, is and always will be a challenge. The rewards are both personal and professional, and often extraordinary for those who are serious and diligent.

The digital revolution took its toll on many of us and many studios could not survive because they didn’t adapt quickly enough. I began experimenting with digital a full decade before it really hit our profession even though I was told that digital would never be good enough for anything serious. It was so expensive! Because I wanted my business to have a future, I was willing to work, experiment and invest. Still, there are things I don’t love about digital, but it is the language of our industry, and for the most part, we must accept it.

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I say this as a film lover – understanding that many reading this may have never known the excitement and wonder of what can be created on film.

If you’re in Photography now, you’re likely shooting digital and 97% likely to be using a lab to print your orders. This has been one of the industry’s biggest changes and challenges in the last twenty years.

While most don’t print themselves, it’s imperative that the digital photographer understand profiles, color space, and the importance of calibration to produce a decent file for the lab to print. Serious photographers need to stay current with the latest techniques for shooting and handling image files so that we get the best images possible from digital capture. ‘

I’ve been a Kodak Mentor for more than twenty-five years and I’ve witnessed the positive effect that companies who train and educate can have. Largely speaking, our vendors want you to succeed and Kodak Alaris is providing products and software systems that help you get the most for your clients and from your lab. Take advantage of the support they have to offer.

Being the photographer is just one of the hats you wear. If you own your business, a lot more responsibility comes your way and good business practices and policies are just the start. You’ll need to work towards mastering sales and marketing too, another necessary cog in the machine. You’ll need to be the visionary for your company, bringing in new products and services, motivating clients and employees.

I’ve always felt there is a balance between what needs to be done now, and what I want to do next. Everyone’s list is different, but real growth comes from the extra hours you put in proof of the passion that you have for your craft. I hope that if your camera work needs improving, or your retouching skills need work, you’ll put that ahead of buying new studio lights. If your studio lighting or posing could be better, you won’t jump into digital painting just yet. I also hope that you go above and beyond for your clients, always bringing them your very best work. Bring new services and products forward once they are fully tested – once you’ve proven that they work – and when you have your pricing, delivery, and all your other ducks in a row. It’s good for you and good for our industry.

This is a fantastic business, as individual and unique as you want it to be. Take the time to develop as an artist and as a businessperson. Change is constant, adaptability is a must and enthusiasm is the fuel! Photography is equal parts art and science and disregarding either is a mistake.

As a Professional Photographer, I’m always looking for new ideas, things to get excited about, and that’s why I’ve started producing large format film portraits again. This format challenges me, and revisiting film, large format film in particular reminds me why I’m in this business. Learning and growing helps sharpen my skills so I can continue to offer new and fresh ideas to my clients.

In fact, I’d love to get your feedback, meet you and talk about the future of film and digital capture. I’ll be making a special appearance at PPA’s ImagingUSA 2015 in Nashville, and Amherst Publishing will be releasing my new book on B&W portraiture there. I’ll also be sharing ideas from my new book at the Kodak Alaris booth #726.

This is an invitation. Come on by – Kodak Alaris #726.

– Tim Kelly, M,Photog., IE, Cr., Fellow-ASP
timkellyportraits.com

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Tori Johnson: DIY Kid’s Magnetic Educational Photo Board

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As a mom of a rambunctious two-year-old I am constantly on the lookout for do-it-yourself ideas that are fun, affordable and educational. When I saw this idea on Pinterest I thought it was the perfect DIY to try out and I immediately had a cool idea on how to make it even better…use PICTURES instead of flashcards! Another bonus, you can do this entire DIY for approximately $30! Can’t beat that!

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Supplies:

  • Variety of Kodak photos
  • Oil Drip Pan (purchase at any auto supply store for approx. $10)
  • (1)  8x11in dry erase magnetic sheet
  • Variety of magnetic photo holders
  • Magnets
  • Scissors
  • Dry Erase Marker

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 First, I decided what the “categories” were that I wanted to feature on the board. I knew that these would change as my son got older so I decided to go with a magnetic dry erase sheet so that I could easily make adjustments. I then just cut it in to strips to use at my category names.

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After I decided my categories I found some pictures on the Internet and ones that I had taken as well that fit in to my categories. I then dropped them on to a USB and took them to my local Kodak Kiosk which is right down the street at CVS. Within minutes I had all my pictures printed out. What is so great about using pictures is it is much easier for a toddler to understand what you are asking them is in the photo because they are true-to-life unlike cartoons that you see on flashcards. Additionally, you can make basically any category you want vs. being confined to what is available on a flashcard.

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Then you just slide the photos in to their magnetic holders so they are protected from little grubby toddler hands.

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That’s all it takes! Now ask your toddler all sorts of questions to drive their development! Some questions that I ask my son are, “Which photo is a cow?” “How does a pig go?” “Point to the color green.” Among many others! You can also use your extra magnets to hang photos of your family on the board as well!

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 Tori Johnson writes about fashion, mommyhood and everything else in between on her blog The sTORIbook (www.thesTORIbook.com). You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest!

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ESSENCE Festival™ Photo Booth Powered by Kodak

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The ESSENCE Festival™ kicks off starting on the Fourth of July running unti Sunday, July 7 in New Orleans. Kodak will be adding to the fun at the Festival by powering a photo book where guests can get a photo on an ESSENCE cover or with other cool backgrounds.

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Look for the ESSENCE Festival™ Photo Booth Powered by Kodak  in the Fan Zone and other high-traffic locations in the Convention Center as well as Woldenberg Park during Family Reunion Day and the Superdome for each night of concerts. Photos are $20 each.

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