Sometimes the most dramatic photographs can be made in the blink of an eye. When North Carolina portrait, landscape and architectural photographer Gordon Kreplin toured a local Parade of Homes event, he set up a few lights and took one shot while the hallway was clear. That one shot, named “Upstairs Downstairs,” won Kreplin the 2015 Virginia Professional Photographers Association‘s print competition.

“I probably shot 15 houses that day, and this was the last one,” Kreplin says. “I loved the composition and entry into the rooms as well as the architectural lines.”

To evolve the photo from a straight-forward architectural shot to something a bit more moody, he created a faux high-dynamic range (HDR) in Photoshop. He printed the image on Sunset Fibre Elite, available from LexJet, and mounted it on a 16-x-20-inch black gator board. “I don’t typically finish the print at all by putting a lacquer on it,” he says. “It can make it look milky in the light and it dulls the blacks.”

A concert guitarist for 25 years, Kreplin began photographing the different areas he traveled to while performing. He and his wife began a recording label, and his photos would often grace the CD covers. When people started asking where they could get the images, he realized maybe it was time for a career switch.

He joined the Professional Photographers Association in 2000, but didn’t start entering print competitions until 2009. “I volunteered frequently on the district and state level so I could be there to listen to the judges [during competitions],” he says. Handling his portrait printing in-house helped him perfect his craft.

Today, his portrait studio focuses on high-end portrait work while he also exhibits art photography for the love of it. He’s been printing on LexJet products for the past 10 years, he says. “I’m so grateful to the folks at LexJet and their help for the last bunch of years,” he says. “They’re such helpful tech people to talk to.”