2018 International Print Competition Winners Announced

Congratulations to the 2018 International Print Competition winners. In August, 26 District PPA Sunset Print Award winners vied for the coveted top spot, when the judging was finished, the winners were announced:

1st Place: Leaving with Dignity – Kimberly J. Smith

2nd Place: From the Ashes – Dawn Muncy

3rd Place: Heaven’s Hands of Hope – Brian Castle

There’s always such creative diversity in the Sunset Print Award winners and 2018 was no exception. From a snowy landscape in Winter Pastel to a canine Gentle Giant to a train bringing families Home for the Holidays, the judges did not have an easy job selecting the top three images.

“From the Ashes” by Dawn Muncy – 2nd Place

For Smith, winning back-to-back titles is exciting and she’s incredibly happy that her work has such an impact on the judges, “Impact is so important. I put a lot of emotion behind the story in my images and the judges can tell,” she says. “It’s not just another pretty picture. When they see the title [of the image], I want them to brace for impact, I want them to feel something, and apparently, they did.”

Muncy describes the stages of her “competition journey” and how the third and final phase allows her to be expressive with her work: “When you get to be yourself and let your creativity flow, that’s when competition becomes powerful. I know the rules, now I want to show the world who I am.”

First-time Sunset Print Award-winner Castle also thrives on creating emotional impact through his visual storytelling.

“Heaven’s Hands of Hope” by Brian Castle – 3rd Place

“When I can give my clients an image that creates emotion and causes them to tear up, I know I’ve done my job,” he says. “I would never have learned that unless I started competing.”

Along with an engraved crystal trophy, the winners will also receive cash prizes: $2,000 for First Place, $1,000 for Second Place and $500 for Third Place. We want to thank all the participants in the 2018 Sunset Print Awards and will have information regarding the 2019 awards coming soon.

 

Get the Most Out of Your Dye-Sub Printer

Adding a whole new technology to your wide-format toolkit can be daunting, but the versatility you gain with dye-sublimation transfer printing can open all new opportunities. With the Epson SureColor Production printers, you can get into it with an initial investment starting around $7,ooo for the F6200 ($14,000 for the F7200 and $25,000 for the F9370) for a 44- or 64-inch system. Once you’re up and running, the creative and money-making possibilities are only limited to your imagination.

Dye-sublimation transfer is particularly favored for textile printing since the ink from the transfer adheres into the fabric, rather than sitting on top of it, as it does with other ink technologies. Once sublimated, the ink won’t crack, fleck or scratch off, making it an ideal option for knitted textiles, particularly high-performance athletic wear. (Bonus: Dye-sub fabrics are also washable!)

Metal photo panels by ChromaLuxe, available at LexJet

In addition to garment fabric, textiles printed for soft signage perform extremely well with dye-sub transfers. Backlit displays, tradeshow graphics and flags are two of the top applications for dye-sub, as they fold and travel easily and are cheaper to ship than films or vinyl often used for similar signage.

Dye-sub is a great complement to your other wide-format printers, allowing you to get into high-demand print products like the popular metal photo panels, ktochkees like coasters, cups and more, and customized décor, like pillows, window blinds and upholstery.

In addition to the printer system, you’ll also need transfer paper. The LexJet InFuze line provides four transfer papers for all needs, including textile, apparel, rigid substrate and multi-purpose. You’ll also need a heat press to sublimate the image to your final substrate. LexJet offers a full line of options, from a 16×20-inch table-top swinger heat press for small jobs, to a 112x48x53-inch heat calendar machine.

If you’re ready to master the world of dye-sub, visit our LexJet.com/dyesub page to learn about more applications and watch some of the how-to videos to learn all the ways to make dye-sub work for you and your business. Here’s a quick look at how to create an all-over print for t-shirts:

Prints That Win: Heaven’s Hands of Hope

LexJet Sunset Print Award winner Brian Castle of Picture Perfect Photography was destined to be a photographer. The Kingsport, Tenn., native grew up in a town that was home to Eastman Kodak.

“Heaven’s Hands of Hope” by Brian Castle

“My dad worked for Eastman Kodak and I spent time in the darkrooms, where I learned to develop film,” Castle says. His experiences in the EK darkrooms and his parents’ influence led him down the photography path. “I was in high school when I picked up my dad’s film camera. I was hooked, it was over. That’s when I knew I wanted to be a photographer.”

Since Castle started with film in a pre-digital world, he had to learn to get the shot right from the beginning. “I learned early on that I needed to set the shot I wanted and then take it, not shoot a bunch of pictures and hope for the best,” he says. “Even with digital, I still set the shot beforehand. I guess it’s because I can still hear my mom and dad saying, ‘don’t waste my film’ when I was younger.”

Castle is already inspiring his 2-year-old daughter to follow in his story-telling footsteps. “Now that I’ve given her a camera, I’m teaching her about telling a story,” he says. “It’s not about getting the perfect picture, it’s about telling someone’s story. If I didn’t do that, I didn’t do my job.”

With his PPA Southeast District award-winning image “Heaven’s Hands of Hope,” Castle did his job by telling his own story. He says that he wanted to do something different, he just didn’t know how. The idea for the photo came to him in a dream.

“I wanted to tell the story of how I turn to God when the weight of the world is too much to bear,” he says. “The hands below me are my wife’s and daughter’s and represent my Earthly family. They are the ones who lift my hands to Heaven when I don’t have the strength.”

Castle knows that the presentation of the image is just as important as the story, which is why he used lighting to create an oblong vignette, giving the appearance of praying hands behind him.  To create a mystical look and complete the ethereal feeling, he chose to print the image on LexJet Sunset Cotton Etching 285g.

While this is a very personal image for Castle, he felt that it was important for people to feel the impact of the story and understand that there is a place to turn in times of struggle. He’s had such a profound response to the image that he’s decided to make a video about the image to share the story and show people how to look for help when they need it.

Creating impact for his clients is what drives him. His motivation comes from his clients, but he’s learned the importance of impact through competition. “When I can give my clients an image that creates emotion and causes them to tear up, I know I’ve done my job,” he says. “I would never have learned that unless I started competing.”

Competitions are critical for photographers. Not just for merit, but for experience and guidance. The opportunity to improve comes with every competition and feedback provided by the judges. Castle takes the competitions seriously, not only to help him with his clients but also in hopes of reaching a personal goal: Rich Newell’s World Photographic Cup team. “When you represent Team USA, it’s like being in the Olympics of Photography. That’s the summit,” Castle says.

With continued support from his family and his faith in God, Castle feels that he will be able to climb any mountain that lies ahead of him. In the meantime, he wants to continue creating art for his clients: “I don’t want to give them just a photo for their wall. I want to give them an experience, a piece of art. I want them to feel emotion every time they look at the image.”

January Webinars with Canon and HP

Ring in 2019 with a free printer webinar. If you are looking to upgrade your equipment this year, these webinars can help you decide which printer is the best fit for your workflow.

The latex webinar is hosted by HP’s leading Latex specialist, while the Canon webinar – led by professional photographer and Canon specialist – will give you information about the full line of PRO-Series printers. Don’t forget, you will receive additional savings when you purchase a qualified printer. Space is limited, sign up today.

Canon PRO-Series Webinar: Join us Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 11 a.m. ET to learn about Canon PRO-Series printers. Attendees will receive an additional 5% off their PRO-Series printer purchase. SIGN UP NOW

HP Latex Webinar: Join us for a webinar on HP’s Latex printer technology on Tuesday, Jan. 22, at 11 a.m. ET. When you attend this webinar, you’ll save $1,000 on an HP Latex 315 Print & Cut Bundle or HP Latex 335 Print & Cut Bundle; or save $3,000 on an HP Latex 560 or HP Latex 570. SIGN UP NOW

Sign up online or call one of our printer specialists at 800-453-9538 for more information.

Good, Better, Best: Wallcoverings

When it comes to digitally printable wallcoverings, you’ve got more options today than ever before. You’ve got a lot of decisions to make — do you want a self-adhesive, a pre-pasted water-based application, or a traditional wall paper paste job? And what kind of finish is your customer looking for? A basic satin for a temporary mural … or a glamorous gold metallic? You’ve got these questions, and we’ve got a few answers to get you started.

In this edition of Good, Better, Best, we’re looking at three different wallcoverings for various applications and installation needs. LexJet Solvent Print-N-Stick Fabric, HP PVC-Free Durable Suede Wall Paper and LexJet Premium WallPro all track around the same square-foot price, and they’re all latex- and/or solvent-compatible, so they won’t need an extra protective coating, unless you decide to add it. Each one could be the “best” answer for the application, but we approached this ranking in terms of longevity and variety.

LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric

GOOD: LexJet Solvent Print-N-Stick Fabric. This is a customer favorite for temporary wall murals. Just like the name suggests, it’s a two-step process. Print it and stick it, thanks to the pressure-sensitive adhesive. With a clean, sheen finish, colors really pop on Print-N-Stick, and the fabric texture makes it easy to handle and the special adhesive is very forgiving — making it simple to reposition it and fix installation mistakes. If carrying inventory is an issue for you, Print-N-Stick is also a great solution to stick to windows, metal, wood and even floors.

HP PVC-Free Durable Wall Paper

BETTER: HP PVC-Free Durable Suede Wall Paper. This HP product is formulated to pair with latex inks, which work together to create a scrub- and scratch-resistant surface that stands up to high-traffic areas, like hotels and restaurants. It also carries multiple environmental certifications, including the Type II as well as  FSC®, REACH and UL GREENGUARD GOLD, which make this odorless, mold- and mildew-resistant wall paper a great choice for sensitive environments like schools and hospitals. The wall paper is finished with a pre-pasted glue that can be installed with a simple water technique. Watch this video to see how easy it is to install and remove.

LexJet Premium WallPro 

BEST: LexJet Premium WallPro. We offer a glamorous line of finishes in our LexJet Premium WallPro line, such as Smooth Silver and Glint, Linen Pearl and Silver or Gold Mylar. These finishes offer versatility in décor style and visual impact – from subtle, elegant finishes to eye-catching, dramatic wall murals.  The high-end vinyl wallcoverings meet stringent environmental standards and work well for corporate or commercial spaces, as well as residential. They’re compatible with latex, solvent, eco-solvent and UV-curable inks, giving you the option to use your preferred print technology.

To learn more about wallcovering options, contact a LexJet print specialist at 800-453-9538.

January Rebates: Ring in the New Year with Savings

Welcome to 2019! We want you to kick off the new year with these instant and mail-in savings from Epson, HP and Canon.

Not sure which printer is right for you? Sign up for the HP Latex or Canon PRO-Series webinar and read more about how to maximize a variety of applications for aqueous, latex and solvent printers.

This month’s rebate highlights include: Save up to $2,500 on the new HP DesignJet Z6810; Canon is offering up to $600 in instant rebates on imagePROGRAF PRO-Series; or save $4,000 instantly on an Epson SureColor S-series printer.