Why Portrait Photographer Steven Kops Prints His Own Work | LexJet Blog
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Why Portrait Photographer Steven Kops Prints His Own Work

By Michael Clementi

When Steven Kops opened Main Street EFX Photography 13 years ago in Laurel, Montana, he didn’t think twice about sending all of his print work to a lab. That was simply standard business practice.

But three years ago, Kops decided to do most of his printing in his studio, taking advantage of some of the big advances that had been made in pro-model inkjet printers, software, and color management.

Steven Kops prints all of the images for his clients' wedding albums.
Steven Kops prints all of the images for his clients' wedding albums.

Today, he prints nearly everything in his studio, including a wide range of senior and family portraits, dance-team and sports posters, and photos for his client’s wedding albums. He even creates his clients’ wedding albums in-house, using the self-mount albums from General Products.  He backs up the quality of his work with the type of replacement guarantees that the large, consumer retail labs simply can’t match.

“I know that many owners of small studios are scared to think about jumping in and doing their own printing,” says Kops. “I was one of those people. I love taking photographs, but I’m not enthralled with color management. Like other small studio owners, I worried about who would be there to help me when something went wrong.” 

But he decided to take the plunge. Some of his customers had started grumbling about the quality of the prints they were getting from the professional lab that Main Street EFX was using.  So, when Jamie Walters at CJ Creative and Consulting called and promised she could set up a “drag-and-drop” inkjet-printing system for Main Street EFX Photography, Kops decided to listen to what she had to say.

After Kops bought an Epson Stylus Pro 4800 printer and ImagePrint RIP software from LexJet, Walters spent two days setting everything up for him. She not only set up the printer and installed the RIP, but also loaded all the profiles and layout templates for the print packages that Main Street EFX sells. Kops says it truly is a drag-and-drop system.

Kops hasn’t regretted the decision to print in-house for a minute: “The customer service at LexJet is awesome,” he says. “I’ve only had a couple of crashes over the past three years, but LexJet’s technical support staff quickly told me how fix the problem.”

Plus, Jamie Walters continues to be available when he needs help. “If I don’t want to color correct my own stuff, I let her do it,” says Kops. Because he uses the ImagePrint profiles supplied for LexJet materials he rarely has to reprint a job because of color issues. Kops particularly likes printing on LexJet’s Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g because its heavier weight and thickness provide a quality difference that customers can feel.

In-house printing not only gives Kops greater control over print quality and turnaround times, but it also allows him to be more creative in how he markets his work. He makes photo enlargements and canvas prints that he can either sell after a presentation or use as an incentive for customers to order higher-value print packages.

The ability to design and print custom posters helps Main St. EFX Photography attract new clients.
The ability to design and print custom posters helps Main St. EFX Photography attract new clients.

Recently, Kops bought a small, compact display system from LexJet. When he sets up a table to sell prints at sports events, he uses the display to show the other types of photography services he offers. So, parents who buy prints of their young athletes can immediately see that Kops shoots senior portraits and dance-team pictures as well.

When Kops first got into the business, there were far fewer photography studios in the Billings/Laurel area than there are today. But he says that the new competition has only “energized us to be more creative. We’re exploring all the time, to figure out what else we can do to make our clients excited about our work.” This challenge is made easier with in-house printing, a partnership with a great graphic designer, and a steady flow of marketing and new-product ideas from the account specialists at LexJet.

You can read more about Kops and Main Street EFX Photography in Vol. 4, No. 7 issue of LexJet’s In Focus newsletter, which is scheduled to mail July 9.  Click here to subscribe to In Focus.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in learning more about how to print more of your photos in your studio, call me or any of the other account specialists at LexJet at 888-873-7553. We’d be happy to help!

Since 1994, LexJet has helped tens of thousands of business owners, photographers, artists, and designers prosper by helping them select the best digital-printing equipment, materials, software, and finishing systems for their operations.

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