Prints That Win: Alabaster Aster

For Dover, Ohio classic portrait artist Christine Walsh-Newton, working with people is one of the most rewarding aspects of being a photographer, so it would seem rather curious that her Sunset Award-winning print, “Alabaster Aster,” is something as simple – yet geometrically stunning – as a flower. “Working with people is great, I get to interact with them, but as a photographer, you don’t always have 100% control,” Walsh-Newton says. “Sometimes I just want to chill. Photographing flowers is sort of a means of meditation for me.”

Adding more meaning to her choice is the history of the Fuji Mum (in the Aster family) that is the subject of her winning piece. It was part of a bouquet given to her by her husband for their 19th wedding anniversary. “I rarely shoot flowers, unless it’s for my own entertainment, but I thought this would make for a great image, especially in black and white,” she says of “Alabaster Aster.” “I like to use alliteration for the titles of my flower pieces, and alabaster is a much more descriptive word than ‘white’, it was perfect for this selection.”

Be it flowers or portraits, you can see the influences of Tim Kelly and Monte Zucker, two pioneers in the field of classic portraiture in her work. “Even though Monte died in 2007, his publications have inspired my growth in portrait work,” she says. “I know it helps to have additional skill sets – educator, author, artist – to differentiate myself from other photographers. I also know that I can’t put all my eggs in one basket. It helps to have multiple areas of expertise. You need find a happy medium between being too specialized and trying to do everything. You don’t want to be single-minded or be a jack of all trades. Studying the works of Tim and Monte have helped me find that middle ground.”

When preparing for competitions, Walsh-Newton capitalizes on her versatile skills and previous experiences to create pieces that score well both emotionally and technically. “I’ve learned over the years that if you get the technical aspects dialed in – the shutter speed, ISO setting, and most importantly, the lighting – then you’ve already met the minimum elements for merit consideration.” Not one to settle for minimums, she emphasizes that the best part comes with the artistic narrative: “When the technical requirements are second nature, you can focus on the creativity and presentation and ensure that your story is being told.”

When it was time for the Professional Photographers of Ohio show, Walsh-Newton wanted the presentation of “Alabaster Aster” to be distinct. For printing, she chose LexJet Sunset Hot Press Rag 310g and then hand-deckled the edges. “I really love the way the image looks on the Sunset paper. It just pops!” she says of the final, show-ready image. “There is something special about black-and-white photography. It’s funny, I want the images to be high key, but I am such a low-key person.”

The juxtaposition works. Whether it’s the lively interaction with clients during portrait sessions or her meditative moments capturing the beauty of Mother Nature’s flowers, Master Photographer Christine Walsh-Newton uses the creativity of black-and-white images to convey her story to the world in a very colorful way.

Prints That Win: The Beauty of Innocence

For photographic craftsman Kimberly Smith of Muskogee, Okla., a hobby that started as a way to document the growth of her family through scrapbooking turned into a full-blown career. “I really was looking for a better camera to take better pictures of my kids. It turns out, not only did I find a better camera, I also found my passion,” she says.

Once Smith decided to pursue photography, she began looking for classes or other educational opportunities. A friend of hers suggested she reach out to Shannon Ledford of Broken Arrow, so that’s just what she did. “When I showed her my work, she said she could tell that I had a good eye,” Smith says. “She was so encouraging to me and my craft.” The two women bonded over photography and became fast friends, with Ledford inviting her to conventions, to her studio and into the lab for experience and training.

Top Tip: Flatten Curly Prints in a Flash

Using high-end photo or fine-art papers like LexJet’s Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g or Sunset Hot Press Rag 310g delivers the premium, darkroom-style results that photographers and fine art reproduction printers demand. However, the thicker papers have one side effect: They curl as they come off the printer.

As we demonstrate in the video above, getting the curl out of your finished photo prints can be simple with a few items you already have in your facility. You’ll just need:

  • A printed photo
  • An empty media roll
  • Some scrap canvas
  • Tape
  • Velcro media wrap (optional)

Watch the video above, which will walk you through the quick steps. The whole process only takes a few minutes. Once your print is de-curled, you’ll be able to make a much nicer final presentation to your customer.

Like this tip? Share it with your friends and comment below to let us know what other tips and tricks you’d like to see on the LexJet blog.

Texas PPA Regional Show: Buy One Get One Free and More at LexJet’s Booth

LexJet is heading for the Lone Star state next week for the Texas PPA Regional Photo Conference & Trade Show in Arlington, March 15-17, at the Arlington Convention Center.

If you’re looking for new ways to boost business, better ways to produce your own prints and the best service, support and product delivery in the industry, put LexJet’s booth (111) on your itinerary. Plus, the coveted LexJet Sunset Award will also be presented to the professional photographer with an outstanding print as part of the Print Competition. Good luck!

Get stocked up on LexJet Sunset inkjet media with the following show-only special…

In addition to the show special, LexJet experts will be on hand to demonstrate best practices for inkjet printing, as well as printing demos with the Epson Stylus Pro 7900 on LexJet Sunset Fine Art papers.

For more information about LexJet’s show special and demonstrations, and to schedule an appointment, contact a LexJet account specialist at 800-453-9538. For more about the Texas PPA Regional Photo Conference and Trade Show and to register, click here. We look forward to seeing you there!