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.”

Getting a Consistent Look from Paper to Canvas

Professional photographers know the importance of creating a signature look with their photography and editing skills, but another way to create a look that clients remember is through the choice of paper and canvas used for the finished piece.

Portrait photographer Tom Milne, based in Fresno, Calif., started with LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g several years ago, thanks to its excellent reproduction, durability and weight, and ability to handle a good, dynamic range of colors. The eSatin is an ideal choice for single prints and framed portraits.

Prints That Win: The Colonel in Twilight

With his portrait photography work, Shelby, N.C., photographer Randy McNeilly is no stranger to delivering images with deep storytelling. Case in point: “The Colonel in Twilight,” above, a stunning portrait of a Vietnamese military man that won not only the Sunset Print Award and Best of Show at the PPA Southeast District print competition with a perfect 100 score, but was also awarded third place in the National Sunset Print Award last month.

For Peters Photography Studio, Kodak’s Dry Lab Paper Delivers

Photo by Peters Photography; London, Ohio
Photo by Peters Photography; London, Ohio

 

Last summer, when Peters Photography Studio lab manager Matt Baxter could no longer count on the delivery time frame and quality of the photo paper he’d been using, he turned to a name he’d trusted for years: Kodak.

His former supplier had become unreliable, so he switched to Kodak’s PROFESSIONAL Inkjet Photo Dry Lab Paper with a lustre finish.

Photo by Peters Photography, London, Ohio
Photo by Peters Photography; London, Ohio

“We’d always used Kodak when we had a wet lab,” Baxter says. “I was used to Kodak from way back.”

As the photography industry has evolved from film and chemical photo development to digital images and inkjet printing, Kodak has created resin-coated paper with an e-surface finish, ideal for the type of rich, detailed portrait work Baxter polishes up at the London, Ohio-based studio.

“I touch every single image that comes through here,” says Baxter, who’s been with Peters for 15 years. “All of the color correction, processing, digital image prepping … and printing is included in that.”

He runs the Kodak dry lab paper on an Epson SureLab printer, which is an ideal match, he says. Working with 8-inch and 12-inch rolls, he explains that the paper calibrated easily and “fell right into place really quickly. There were no big adjustments to make.” The paper also works well with Peters’ signature linen-like textured coating that sets the studio’s prints apart.

peters new 3
A look inside Peters Photography’s gallery, showcasing Kodak PROFESSIONAL Inkjet Photo Dry Lab Paper, lustre finish. Photo by Peters Photography; London, Ohio

Kodak’s logo, printed on the back of the paper, adds an immediately recognized symbol of the long-trusted brand. “We like it,” Baxter says. “We were used to having that for all those years. Now, it feels like we’re printing on quality … it makes it feel like we’re doing it the right way.”

And because Baxter orders paper as needed, rather than storing a lot of inventory, he says he’s pleased to get delivery just a day or two after he places his order with his LexJet sales rep. “With our other supplier, we never knew when we were going to get it,” he says. “But now we get it right away. We order as we need it. I don’t give myself much leeway, and LexJet makes it so I can do that.”

Prints that Win: Waiting for You

Waiting for You

Each portrait Kristi Elias creates is a unique work of art that is relevant and appropriate to its subject. Last year, Elias won a Sunset Print Award at the Professional Photographers of California state competition for You Won’t Bully Me, a grungy portrait of a young martial arts competitor.

Elias followed up this year, taking home another Sunset Print Award at the California competition for a decidedly different subject, entitled Waiting for You. This portrait purposely evokes Renaissance art.

“I wanted a painterly feel with a lot of detail in the props, like the bottle. There’s note in the bottle, and you can see the contours and the detail. There was a lot of time put into those details of the portrait. You can see even the music on the floor, and all the shading and detail in it. I did it just like it would have been as a Renaissance painting, and how they paid so much attention to detail on all the props,” explains Elias.

The portrait of her client, who also poses for Elias to spark modeling ideas, was captured in the studio. Elias purchased a custom dress from Bulgaria for an authentic touch.

Elias added a new background, a photo she took of a Gothic cathedral in Tuscany. She used Photoshop, Nik Software and Alien Skin to edit the image.

“When I edit I don’t use the same actions every time. I look at each portrait as its own piece of art. Some of it is my own custom actions, and some of it is edited with Nik Software to bring out the detail in the shadows. I like to put a lot of detail in the shadow for that hopeless romantic look. I took any painterly effect off of her skin so there’s no texture on the skin, because that doesn’t go well with judging,” says Elias.

Master printer Jonathan Penney, Center Moriches, N.Y., printed the image on a fibre-based paper to complete the beautiful, Renaissance-style portrait.

The Portrait Print That Wouldn’t Burn

Sunset Photo eSatin Paper
Shelley Bigelow and her daughter, Blakely, with the print that survived the fire that destoyed the family’s home near Manton, Mich.

A high-school senior portrait of Shelley Bigelow’s daughter, Blakely, rose from the ashes to greet her as she surveyed the scene of her home just devastated by a raging five-alarm fire near Manton, Mich. It was just about the only item that survived the fire. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

The print of her daughter was the lone ray of light in a black mess of soot, water and ashes that marked the spot where her home once stood.

Sunset Photo Paper“The picture was hanging on my office wall on the second floor and it went down through everything to the basement, and there she was looking at me,” recalls Bigelow. “We never found traces of the frame or the glass; just the picture. With seven hours of burning and five departments, the picture still smiled at us after all we went through.”

Judy Gilde photographed Blakely’s senior portrait session about three years ago. The 16×20 wall portrait found in the fire was printed by Gilde on Sunset Photo eSatin Paper, mounted on a dense mount board, framed and placed behind glass. Gilde does just about every type of photography imaginable in this rural area of northern Michigan, and prints her own work with an Epson Stylus Pro 7900.

“Sunset eSatin is our standard paper. When people pick up their photos they think there are three prints stuck together, and it’s just one print; that’s how thick it is,” says Gilde. “I always try to use the best photo papers and products for my work, but I never expected this kind of performance. She does need to have it replaced because the bottom half of it has smoke damage.”

Bigelow plans to keep the print, however, as a memento of a difficult time made somewhat less difficult with the miracle of photography and the print that wouldn’t burn.

“We’ll keep it forever, and we’re happy it survived. Judy told us it would withstand so much, but I didn’t realize how much it would withstand. She stressed how much quality was in the work, and she was right; the color is still brilliant even through the soot,” says Bigelow.