Get to Know the Installation Location Before Shooting for Large-Format

Guest blog by Billy Elkins

Billy Elkins

In my last blog, I wrote about communication and went over the five-part process for photographing for large-format printing. Let’s look more specifically at scouting the final installation location. This is the part that is usually the most intimidating for photographers who are not used to photographing for large-format.

Often it is not a simple single surface. In fact, most of the time, the location is more complicated. As the photographer, we normally do not have access to the location of the installation so knowing as many details about the location as possible is important when capturing the image. The previous example from the Sarasota International Airport illustrates that perfectly.

Riverwalk image after final installation at the Sarasota Airport

The image for the airport had to be installed on the back wall directly behind the baggage claim area. This presented a few challenges because of the actual baggage claim window, a large advertising display screen, a column in the middle of the wall and the actual baggage claim conveyor belt system.

Like any other large format photography project, having a photograph of the installation location is useful for conceptually trying to decide how to capture the right image and from the right angle and the right size.

Understanding the location of the final image applies to all large-format photography projects. If you consider vehicle wraps, wall murals or trade show displays, they all have their own installation challenges that, as the image maker, we need to be aware of for the best results.

For this next example project, I was commissioned by LexJet to create an image for their “Carnival” themed trade show booth. The booth itself was 50-feet wide, and they wanted the photo to be the whole backdrop. The installation would be printed on LexJet Simple Flo Wrap Vinyl, and then installed on the back wall of the trade show exhibition floor.

The final image size ended up being 50-feet wide by 25-feet high. This was huge! When you entered the trade show floor, you could see the “Carnival” in the background and could smell the popcorn from the booth. I worked directly with the marketing team to create different versions of the background so they could integrate the best option with the rest of the booth design.

The fair image installed behind the LexJet trade show booth.

So how did we do it? We visited the Florida State Fair and spent most of the day capturing different scenes that were potential backdrops. I brought my full bag of lenses, and we decided on a focal length of 50mm, it is the closest focal length to what we actually see. I made very tight overlapping images so that we had as much resolution as possible knowing that final image size needed to be so big.

And because the marketing team was going to experiment with the concepts after the fact, we had to capture as many different scenes and as large as possible. The idea was to give the feel of walking right up to the carnival. In addition, we crafted images to be used for the rest of the booth and to be used for sample material give-aways.

Technical Details:

  • Camera – Nikon D800
  • Lens- Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8
  • Focal Length – 50mm
  • F-Stop – f/9
  • Shutter – 1/650
  • ISO – 200
  • Frames – 20 overlapping NEF files

The image was merged using Adobe Photoshop CC Automate > Photomerge. I provided a final layered PSD file to the marketing team so they could make any adjustments for layout and for printing.

Quick Tip: How to Hand-roll Liquid Coating

If your next print is going to be exposed to the elements or needs extra handling — like wrapping it on stretcher bars — you’ll want to add a protective layer of coating to keep that print looking sharp for a longer duration. This is especially true for images and graphics output on an aqueous printer.

Liquid coating is a cost-effective option for print protection, and is especially handy for canvas prints that need to be gallery wrapped. Check out the video above to see how easy it is to get a consistent, even application of liquid coating that looks great and lasts.

At LexJet, we’ve got the most comprehensive line of print protection products from the brands you know and love: Marabu ClearShield and Sunset. Check out our Print Protection page and browse through out “Water Based Liquid” coatings to see all the options for everything from canvas and photos to signage and wallpaper.

Opt for a gloss option to bring out the density in blacks and a matte finish to cut down on glare. We’ve also got options for anti-graffiti and transit graphics.

A few more hand-rolling tips:

  • When rolling, opt for a high-density white foam roller to help reduce bubbling — these come in a variety of widths for your needs
  • When rolling on the coating, opt for two thinner coats, rather than one thick one
  • Overlap your coating in a few passes, but not so many that the coating becomes tacky or bumpy
  • Small bubbles should dissipate, but if you get larger ones, try blowing on them to remove them
  • Rinse your roller until the water runs clear, and you’ll be able to reuse your roller for about six months

Not sure which coating to choose? Give us a call at 800-453-9538 for some expert advice.

Order Early — Summer Holidays Are Coming!

When you’re not firing up the barbecue and lounging in your flip flops this summer, we know you still want your printing supplies on time. Please keep in mind that UPS observes certain holidays throughout the year, too, so you’ll want to plan for your order shipments accordingly.

This summer, UPS will observe the following days:

  • Memorial Day – May 28, 2018
  • Independence Day – July 4, 2018
  • Labor Day – September 3, 2018

For a full schedule of UPS U.S. 2018 holidays, visit UPS.com.

If you have any questions about orders or shipments, please call LexJet at 800-453-9538.

12 Winning Reasons to Choose Vescom Digital Wallcovering

You’ve got lots of choices these days when it comes to digitally printable wallcoverings. One of our top brands is Vescom, manufactured by the world’s largest commercial wallcovering company recognized for delivering the best performing products worldwide and for their innovation, design and quality.

Vescom offers one of the “cleanest” vinyl wallcoverings on the market, as well as nine luxurious finishes like award-winning Metallic Sand, Matte, Sand, Leather and others that work in a wide variety of environments like corporate, hospitality or healthcare facilities.

Vescom meets many environmental certifications, making it an ideal choice for healthcare environments.

What sets Vescom digital media apart from the competition? We’re glad you asked:

  1. Product consistency from lot-to-lot
  2. Never stretched, providing a more stable product with no curling
  3. Cleanest vinyl on the market, meeting the most stringent environmental standards (Including California Prop 65 requirements)
  4.  Cotton backing which is stronger than the alternative and easier to install, cutting labor costs
  5. Top coated for longer shelf life than other PVC wallcoverings
  6. Osnaburg woven backing provides dimensional stability and support for high-traffic areas
  7. Customizable embosses and ground colors
  8. Compatible with Latex, UV and Eco-Solvent technologies
  9. Receptive to liquid coating for extra protection
  10.  Installs with common adhesives and installation techniques
  11. Commercial Grade, Class A Fire Rating
  12. Meets EPA requirements for low-VOC emitting products

Ready to get started in — or expand — your digital décor print services? Give a LexJet print specialist a call at 800-453-9538 to discover our extensive decor printing product portfolio and how you can use it to grow your business.

Get Double the Mileage with Double-sided Banners

With summer right around the corner, you’re sure to see an uptick in requests for outdoor signage. One way to get a lot of mileage from one piece of media is with double-sided printing. A product like HP Double-sided Blockout Banner makes it easy to produce quality graphics on both sides of the media, thanks to an inner opaque layer that won’t let the graphics bleed through or let light show through.

Double-sided banners can work for outdoor signage like pole flags or hanging banners. They can also come in handy for retail signage when you’ve got a lot of two-way foot traffic.

Choose a matte finish to eliminate any glare. Also, opt for a heavier lay-flat banner media that will eliminate curling along the edges and can finished with grommets, rather than folding and sewing the edges, for a clean, easy-to-handle final banner.

Using a substantial, latex- and solvent-compatible product like HP Double-sided Blockout Banner will allow you to print on both sides of one piece of media, rather than having to glue or sew two graphics together. You can line up your graphic to have the same messaging on both sides, or switch it up so passersby get a new message when they’re coming or going.

If you haven’t tried double-sided printing, check out this training video from Onyx, which takes you step-by-step through the process:

NEW BLOG SERIES: Good, Better & Best eSatin Photo Papers

When comparing photo papers, canvas and other media options, we know it’s not always easy to determine what the best option is for your production volume, output expectations and price point considerations.

That’s why we’re starting our “Good, Better, Best” series to look at some ideal products for your needs. We’re kicking off with one of our most popular categories: eSatin Photo Papers.

These papers are in high demand for professional photographers and reproduction studios who want classic photographic results without excessive gloss and glare. eSatin Photo Papers look great in a frame or on their own, whether you’re producing larger-than-life prints or handy 8x10s. Take a look at our Good, Better and Best options before you buy your next roll:

GOOD: LexJet 8 Mil Production Satin Photo Paper — This all-around high-performing photo paper is a lightweight option for everyday use in large-production volume printing.

Posters fine art inkjet printing
Posters printed on LexJet 8 mil Production Satin Photo Paper

It’s ideal for high-volume thanks to a microporous inkjet coating that dries fast, so you don’t have to wait to handle and finish your graphics. Plus, it’s resistant to smudges and fingerprints — an excellent choice for high-traffic environments. Starting at $0.34 per square foot, it has a subtle satin finish for a natural look, and many users choose to finish it with a film laminate for extra protection.

What users say: “It’s similar in look and feel to Sunset Photo eSatin, but it’s less expensive and thinner. In other words, it’s a good alternative for more economical photo products like posters or even test prints.”

BETTER:  LexJet Sunset Production eSatin 250g — Great results paired with an excellent price point make this photo paper our “Better” choice. Professional photographers turn to this resin-coated option when they need a slightly lighter-weight version that works for both portraits and commercial graphics. At $0.45 per square foot, this paper delivers a larger color gamut with pin-sharp detail.

What users say: “On our initial trials it held its own when we did our side-by-side comparisons with a similar photo paper, and we like the Sunset Production eSatin better. The paper is brighter and just as durable and so far has proven to be a winner.”

Portraits printed on LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g

BEST: LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper 300g — This professional-grade, heavy-weight paper sets the industry standard as the ideal product for photo printing for portrait work to museum exhibits that can last for years. Its consistency has made it the go-to option for years for single prints or framed photos in black-and-white or full-blown color. Some customers have had great success face-mounting it to plex-glass. Starting at $0.61 per square foot (and available in sheets) Sunset Photo eSatin provides excellent ink retention for realistic and accurate colors.

What users say: “The heavier weight and wide color gamut of eSatin is exactly what I’m after in a print; I just love how that print medium presents.”