Prints That Win: Randy McNeilly’s Triple Crown

In November, Shelby, N.C., photographer Randy McNeilly celebrates 40 years in photography, a true milestone in the industry. Over the years, he has seen many changes when it comes to the art of capturing and conveying a story with images. Through all the changes, McNeilly, who won three regional Sunset Print Awards in the PPA Southeast District this year, believes the biggest change was the switch from darkroom to digital.

“Classic” by Randy McNeilly

McNeilly was prepared for this inevitable transition, as he was already doing his own work in a color lab. McNeilly says “digital didn’t increase my workload,” because he had always been so hands-on every step of the way, from capture to completion.

He takes pride in focusing on portrait and in-studio work, because he feels there is an emerging trend of more photographers going outside the studio, vying for the unique exterior setting. McNeilly estimates that “about 90 percent of my work is still in the studio, and I feel that there is less competition” because many other photographers concentrate on exterior settings, while he works with the clients who still cherish the look and feel of a cozy, studio photo shoot.

Two of his winning Sunset Print Awards, “Classic” and “Military Intelligence” show McNeilly’s portrait prowess. His third, “Heavy Metal,” is a study in machinery details.

“Heavy Metal” by Randy McNeilly

McNeilly was profoundly influenced by late portrait photographer and educator Dean Collins. Early in his career, McNeilly was purely a commercial photographer, but shifting to studio photography about 10 years into his craft once he discovered the work and teaching of Collins.

“I really believe that he grasped the concept of photography,” he says of Collins. McNeilly also names Florida photographer, Thomas Kelly, as someone who has helped shape his passion for the world of portrait photography.

Getting into the mind of a client and learning which story is begging to be told is important to McNeilly. Before each photo shoot, he spends time with his client and learns about their lives. It is during this consultation where the ideas and narration begins, ending with the client being presented with a one-of-a-kind masterpiece, a story told through a photo rather than words.

“Military Intelligence” by Randy McNeilly

The image “Military Intelligence” commemorates the retirement of a communications director for Air Force One. Knowing that this gentleman was an intellectual, he used the bookcase as the perfect backdrop, paying close attention to such finite details. “I thought it would be a nice touch to have him reading The Art of War, by Sun Tzu during the session,” McNeilly says of the open book in the image.

For printing, McNeilly chose LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g for color prints “Classic” and “Military Intelligence,” but decided upon LexJet Sunset Fibre Elite 285g for his black-and-white winner, “Heavy Metal.”

HP Announces Additional Cash-in & Trade-up Opportunities

In addition to previously announced rebate and trade-in promotions, HP is now offering up to $3,000 cash-back on a new HP Designjet Z-series printer. If you purchase an HP DesignJet Z6200 42-inch, HP DesignJet Z6600 60-inch or an HP DesignJet Z6800 60-inch printer by Oct. 31, 2017, and trade in your current, qualifying large-format printer, you will be eligible to receive cash-back.

Save an additional $500 with the purchase of a qualifying HP Care Pack at the time of your printer purchase.

For eligibility, HP requires submission of motherboard or formatter board of current printer.

Quick-change Retail Graphics? You’ve Got Options

Retail promotions can change in the blink of an eye, which means you need a quick turnaround for replacement graphics that make an impression. Since the graphics could be applied by anybody from the summer intern to a pro installer, it’s important that the products are easy to handle and properly protected.

Check out some of these proven applications that offer alternatives for displaying retail images, especially when the project requires speed, protection, easy removal and, of course, high quality:

Clearly, There Are Alternate Ways to Display Images: If you have been looking for new ways to display your graphics, why not turn your posters into instant window graphics? With LexJet CrystalClear-X Removable Adhesive, you can front-mount graphics with bubble-free ease. If your plans change within the first 12 hours of application, you can reposition the graphics up to 10 times. There is no residue left behind, making removal a breeze. LexJet CrystalClear-X Removable Adhesive can be used with images you are already creating on aqueous, latex, solvent or eco-solvent printers.

4 Ways to Step Up Your Floor Graphics

Floor graphics aren’t just for retail anymore. They provide an easy way to create ambiance for special events, turn bland walkways into brilliant displays, and even provide directional signage in the most unusual places. Here are a few examples from customers who have stepped outside the point-of-purchase box:

Wicked-cool Décor: Mark Hawkins of Mark Hawkins Photography took the “Wicked” theme of a recent fundraiser gala to new heights. Hawkins was tasked with bringing the world of Oz to life, and he turned to LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric to create graphics such as the iconic Yellow Brick Road, informational signage and what looked to be the poor Wicked Witch squashed by one of the bars. With its versatility, spot-on colors and ease of install and removal, Print-N-Stick was the go-to choice to create fun, customized graphics for the event.

Customer Service Pick-Me-Up

I am not a coffee junkie. I don’t have to have a caffeine blast first thing in the morning, though I sometimes enjoy a nice cup of joe from Starbucks or Einstein Bros. When I get that craving for Starbucks, I stop by this one particular location that takes me on a scenic route to work. In other words, it’s not exactly on my way. I stop there because the people are always cheerful, even at 6:30 in the morning (I guess it makes sense when you work at Starbucks!).

One morning on one of my coffee excursions I noticed that Starbucks happened to be promoting the Seasonal flavors of their instant coffee, Via. There are four different flavors, but they only offer them in single flavor packs of six.

I mentioned to the drive-thru cashier that I would be interested in a 3 pack, but not having tasted any of the flavors yet I wasn’t quite willing to commit to a 6 pack. Instead of simply saying, “Sorry! I wish I could help,” she asked her manager if it would be possible to put together a variety pack for me.

In order to provide a good customer experience, the manager said yes. I expected to pay for four individual packets, but the cashier rang it up at the cost of a 6 pack and used a $1 off coupon that I didn’t even know about.

It wasn’t until I got to the office and looked in the box that I realized the variety pack she put together for me consisted of two of each flavor for a total of eight packets for the price of six and $1 off! Now that’s what I call taking care of the customer!