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.

Prints That Win: Mother

When Shayna Lohmann first started experimenting with photography as a middle school student, she didn’t expect it to become a possible career option. “I was kind of bad at it when I was in middle school,” she says. “But as soon as I got my first roll of film developed, and it came out perfect, I thought that this is meant to be.”

Lohmann studies photography at the Antonelli Institute in Erdenheim, PA.  Recently, she won the Sunset Print Award for her winning portrait in the Contemporary Portrait category for the Antonelli Institute Print Competition.  Her portrait named “Mother” depicts her own mother looking intently into the lens.

“My mom was sitting there and I thought the whole composition was great in that moment, so I took the shot,” she explains. “It was so raw and powerful, and I think the judges felt that way, too.”

During the summer, Lohmann likes to experiment with different styles and approaches saying, “I have been asking my friends and family to model for me and I pick out the outfits I want them to wear.”

She finds inspiration for her work in vintage fashion magazines and photographs. One of her favorite photographers is Helmut Newton, a successful fashion photographer born in Germany in 1920. “His photos were so stark, but had movement in them,” she says. “They were very natural.”  His work has inspired Lohmann to pursue fashion photography in the future.

“Once I graduate, I want to be a portrait photographer or a fashion photographer,” Lohmann says. “I really like looking through magazines and seeing all of the portraits; I think there’s something that’s special about photographs of people compared to other forms of photography. The emotion you can capture is crazy and amazing.”

Lohmann’s experiences with submitting her work in competitions has been overwhelmingly positive. “I learned that anything is possible,” she says. “You should never doubt yourself or compare yours to other prints because you don’t know what will happen.”

Prints That Win: Elizabeth

One bride’s fairytale wedding portrait turned out to be a winner for Richmond, Virginia photographer, Mary Fisk-Taylor.

Elizabeth Mary Fisk TaylorFisk-Taylor originally captured the 2016 Virginia PPA Sunset Award Winning photograph “Elizabeth” to be displayed during the bride’s wedding reception. “We actually have a studio in the basement of this 30,000 square-foot mansion. We get to shoot there all the time!” Fisk-Taylor says.

The natural light warped by the stunning windows and arches made the editing process straightforward. “I used natural light augmented with a Profoto B1 strobe in a Speedbox Diffuser 70 from XP Photo Gear,” she says. “Lightroom was used to tone down the highlights in the windows a bit and using the highlight slider and a little clarity to add mid-level contrast.”

For Fine Black-&-White Prints: New Sunset Fibre Baryta Paper

We’ve rounded out our line of fine art and photography papers with the all new Sunset Fibre Baryta 310gsm. A favorite among photographers who specialize in black-and-white printing, baryta is a coating of barium sulphate that is layered onto photo paper before the final coating.

Baryta papers are favored because they deliver more intricate details and definition as well as a greater range of black and gray tones, and has archival qualities. The very white pigment of the baryta layer produces a neutral white shade and a smooth texture. The result is the ideal surface for inkjet printing on an acid- and lignin-free paper that’s compatible with all dye and pigment inks.

sunset packSunset Fibre Baryta 310gsm is excellent for a number of applications, such as fine art reproduction, art portfolios, photo albums and greeting cards. Plus it’s instant dry for easy handling, although we do recommend wearing white gloves to avoid finger prints.

This new paper is available in the following sheet sizes: 8.5×11-inch; 11×17-inch; 13×19-inch and 17×22-inch as well as these roll sizes: 17-inch-x-50-foot; 24-inch-x-50-foot; 44-inch-x-50-foot and 50-inch-x-50-foot.

You can also try our new Baryta along with 11 other Sunset Fine Art and Fibre papers in our Sunset Media Portfolio Pack, which includes two 8.5×11-inch sheets of each paper.

Using Baryta Papers to Achieve Black-and-White Excellence

For Wonderwall Studio in Austin, Texas, the presentation is as much of an art process as the creation of the artwork itself. The company prints and finishes a variety of images from photographers and artists around the world, and a key focus is choosing the right media to print to. The master printers at Wonderwall print to paper, canvas, wood, metals, mirrors and acrylic frames and boxes, to name a few.

Grand Central StationCompany co-founder and 20-year artwork printing pro Joseph Garcia says he mass-produced artwork in the past, but today his team focuses primarily on high-end art. To stay true to the artist’s or photographer’s work and deliver it in a variety of applications, working with quality substrates is paramount.

For black-and-white image printing, Garcia says he relies on Hahnemuhle FineArt Baryta 325g and Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308g, both currently available at reduced pricing from LexJet. This image of Grand Central Station, at left, was printed on the Baryta paper.

A Transitioning Neighborhood Captured in Portraits

Photographer Jack Alterman is a native of Charleston, S.C., and has certainly seen his city evolve over the years. Today, one particular neighborhood on the east side of Charleston is undergoing a dramatic shift in response to extensive development.

“It’s a 200-plus-year-old neighborhood, that’s predominately African American,” Alterman says. “In walking through the streets and talking to long-term residents … these are very wonderful people with a past worth talking about. The area is being looked at by developers who are interested in making money. It was very obvious to me that these people were not being seen, and history was going to get buried along with all the building.”