2017 National Sunset Print Award Winners Announced

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 National Sunset Print Awards. They will be presented with their awards at Imaging USA in Nashville, next month:

1st Place: The Beauty of Innocence – Kimberly J. Smith

2nd Place: Classic – Randy McNeilly

3rd Place: In Flight with Twigs – Uldis Ilvess

There were a total of 31 prints that included a junk boat on a cool and Misty Morning, a celebratory Alabaster Aster, the majesty of a Departing Flight, and even a pack of lawmen in Prepare There’s Trouble. With such a vast array of creativity and artistry displayed by the 2017 Sunset Print Awards around the country, it’s no wonder the judges had a difficult time narrowing the field down to the final three.

Discussing her Southwest PPA win earlier in the year with The Beauty of Innocence, Smith reflected on the photo shoot where she captured the innocence and serenity of a 1-year old, not an easy thing to do! “I could see the artistry in the shot and I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to capture the image,” Smith said of the winning image, pictured above.

“Classic” by Randy McNeilly

Photography veteran Randy McNeilly had a total of three wins out of the PPA Southeast district, but it was his wedding portrait “Classic” – a piece that truly captures the elegance and beauty of a bride on her wedding day – that garnered a 2nd place win in the National awards. McNeilly stressed that spending time with each client is an important part of capturing their personality and learning what story is inside, begging to be told.

“In Flight with Twigs” by Uldis Ilvess

For Uldis Ilvess, a fortuitous road trip helped him score his winning shot for Professional Photographers of Iowa. While driving through the country, he spotted a few homes and decided to see if there was anything interesting. Ilvess recalls, “[there] was this fenced-in area with a pond, and in the shrubs, were these birds nesting.” Watching the birds mesmerized him, but he had to get some pictures which enabled him to capture the grace and beauty of the scene.

Along with an engraved crystal trophy, the winners will also receive cash prizes totaling $1,500 for First Place, $500 for Second Place and $300 for Third Place. We want to thank all the participants in the 2017 Sunset Awards and look forward to seeing this year’s winners in Nashville.

Heading to Imaging USA? Get Your Free Expo Pass, Courtesy of LexJet

If you’re heading to the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville for Imaging USA 2018, Jan. 14 – 16, make sure to visit LexJet at booth #673. You can also go HERE to claim your free expo pass, courtesy of LexJet.

Stop by our booth to see some innovative new products, watch printer demonstrations and learn about media comparisons for several Sunset products:

Ask about our show specials on select LexJet Sunset media. Our technical director Michael Clementi will be on hand for general questions, or you can call ahead at 800-453-9538 to schedule an appointment for one-on-one training.

We will have the national winning prints from the 2017 Sunset Print Awards as well as information the upcoming 2018 awards. See you in Nashville!

Get a Free Imaging USA Expo Pass

Are you headed to Imaging USA 2016 in Atlanta, Jan. 10-12? We’d love to see you there, and we’re offering free expo passes. All you have to do is go HERE to claim your free pass.

While you’re at Imaging USA next month, please stop by booth #846 to check out our gallery of the stunning winners of the Sunset Print Awards.

We’ll also have a 24-inch Epson printer and our photo print experts discussing topics like: Color management, the importance of printing your own work, and how LexJet can help you set up your own in-house printing operation.

Plus, you can learn all about the LexJet Sunset line of products and more information about getting involved with the Sunset Print Award.

Looking forward to seeing you at Imaging USA!

Prints that Win: The Bike Builder

The Bike Builder by Michael Timmons

Michael and Tina Timmons are Sunset Print Award regulars, in one way or another. Both are past Sunset Print Award-winners for their outstanding photography, but have also printed award-winning images for other photographers across the country.

The Timmons’ most recent Sunset Print Award was earned by Michael at the Professional Photographers of Michigan competition for this slice-of-work image entitled The Bike Builder. It is a stellar example of capturing the essence of the subject and the environment in which that subject works.

The Bike Builder owns Arizona Thunder in Bisbee, Ariz. Michael stumbled upon the motorcycle repair and restoration shop during a road trip in the area following the Imaging USA show in Phoenix this past year.

“Being a motorcycle enthusiast, I noticed a big Harley-Davidson sign outside his shop. We were taking photos in town and stopped in to find out more. I asked him if I could take some photos and he agreed,” Michael recalls. “As soon as I saw the environment I knew I wanted to do something for competition, because of the clutter, the old parts and his character. At the time I got the capture we were having a conversation about his business. I had a tripod set up at the counter, so this scene is what you see from behind the counter when you walk into his shop. He had parts from all different makes, models and years in the shop with two or three bikes he was working on at the time.”

The image you see here is essentially what Michael captured with his Canon 5D Mark II with a 16-35mm lens on a tripod. The lighting is all natural light streaming through the window opposite the subject. The image was then converted in Photoshop with nik Silver Efex Pro 2 to black and white with some minor touchup with Silver Efex.

“When you’re working with someone in their environment, the key is to pull everything together and tell a story inside their everyday workspace. He’s real easygoing and laid back; this is what he does every day, so the story tells itself,” Michael says.

For the presentation at competition, Michael printed The Bike Builder on Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g, an inkjet photo paper he uses almost exclusively for competition printing.

“We’ve tested a lot of papers and found that the image quality on Sunset Photo eSatin surpasses other papers we’ve tested. We print competition images for people all over the country and everything that goes out is typically on Sunset Photo eSatin and Sunset Fibre Elite,” Michael explains. “The details, highlights and shadows print a lot better and the white point is a lot higher. We also like the weight and thickness of the paper; it’s easier to handle and it’s a lot more durable than other papers.”

Imaging USA in Atlanta, Jan. 20-22

Imaging USA, hosted by the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), will be held in Atlanta, Jan. 20-22. Imaging USA is geared toward photographers and will include an expo, an education program, parties and other special events and presentations.

Conference and trade show for photographyPhotography classes focus on different specialties and tricks of the trade geared toward improving business and photographic skills, including a slate of classes sponsored by Adobe on how to better use those software tools. Speakers include Greg Gorman, Matthew Jordan Smith, Dane Sanders, Sarah Petty, Amina Moreau, Julieanne Kost, and more.

The Imaging EXPO trade show highlights hundreds of the industry’s leading vendors showcasing their products, with product demos, show-special deals and an opportunity to discuss products with the people who make them. After-EXPO parties include one at the Georgia Aquarium.

Imaging USA will also host an international photographic exhibit that’s open to the public and pre-convention workshops. To download a free mobile app for detailed schedules, maps and more go to: http://crwd.cc/iusa2013

Registration open and several options are available, including full-convention and expo-only passes. A special Join & Go promotion includes a free full-convention registration for new professional active members who join PPA prior to the show. For more information about Imaging USA or to register, visit www.imagingusa.org or call 888-260-0016.

Imaging USA Recap: Mobile Photo Proofing through PadProof App

Mobile app for the iPad for photographyLast week, LexJet’s crew of Michael Clementi, Ryan King and Alex Ried returned from Imaging USA with information about some notable new products now available in the photography market. In a previous post we highlighted the unique backlit and LED-lit products offered by Redipix.

Now for something completely different (but related)… PadProof introduced a new mobile device proofing app in the photography market. PadProof, as the name implies, is targeting iPads for this app, though other mobile devices like smart phones are in the works.

iPad app for photographers
Timothy Beckford, CEO and co-founder (foreground) and Timothy Lombardo, strategic advisor, at Imaging USA in New Orleans showcasing their new iPad proofing app for pro photographers. Photo by Chet Bell, PadProof user and FOPP.

“PadProof complements your Web-based proofing by enabling you to provide a premium proofing experience to your clients on their mobile devices. In a post-PC world you want to make sure that your business is catering to your clients’ needs on the mobile and the social Web,” says PadProof CEO and co-founder Timothy Beckford. “PadProof creates increased exposure for your business using Facebook and Twitter.  PadProof also helps generate more revenue through increased print sales. It’s never been easier for your clients to promote your brand or purchase prints and canvases from you. All of your PadProof events are tracked in real time and controlled by the photographer at PadProof.com. Products ordered by your clients are fulfilled automatically either directly to you to print yourself or the lab of your choice, and we direct deposit profits straight to your bank account.”

Photographers can sign up to receive an invitation to participate at www.PadProof.com/Pro/. Use the invite code Lexjet to take advantage of one of the 20 invitations reserved through this promo code.

Once the invitation is accepted, photographers can sign up and get the word out to their clients that the app is available and ready for them to use. So, instead of sending the client a URL, you send them the app and an event name or event ID so they can access their photos on their iPad through the PadProof app.

“At the moment it’s invitation-only and only available for the iPad because we want to make sure that during our initial growth phase we can provide the customer experience we want them to have, so we’re limiting the number of initial users based on that. We’ll scale our infrastructure up as we grow,” adds Aaron Drenberg of PadProof.

PadProof offers monthly fee-based plans, a one-time purchase option and a free starter plan that currently has a wait list. Credit card processing, customer service and automatic product fulfillment to the lab of your choice is included in every plan. The app is free for end-use clients to download. Go to www.padproof.com/pro/pricing/ for more pricing information.

PadProof has extended its Imaging USA specials until midnight ET, Friday, Jan. 27. Specials are reflected on the pricing page. For more information about the PadProof app and to sign up for an invitation, go to www.PadProof.com/Pro/.