The 50 Best Wedding Photos of 2011? You be the Judge

Best wedding photography of 2011The end of one year and the beginning of another ring in the compilations of various lists, whether it’s the best-of or worst-of, and everything in between for every subject imaginable. Photography is no exception.

Invariably, all these end-of-year lists are controversial to one degree or another. Heck, I was Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2006 (but, then again, so were you). And so it goes, even with photography lists. Ultimately, such lists are incredibly subjective. What data can use to support the best artwork of 2011, be it photographic, painted or digital? You can’t, but that’s not the point.

Junebug Weddings, based in Seattle, recently compiled what it considers the top 50 wedding photos of 2011, based on almost 5,000 images submitted by 500 top wedding photographers. The 50-best collection includes the work of Jerry Ghionis, Ben Chrisman, Susan Stripling and Marcus Bell. It’s Junebug’s fourth annual collection of the best wedding photography of the year.

Click here to see what Junebug Wedding chose as the Best of the Best in 2011 wedding photography and see if you agree with the choices. And, give me a call at 800-453-9538 or email with your personal Best of the Best photography, whether it’s wedding, portrait, commercial, landscape, or anything else you shot that was noteworthy in 2011. It’s a bonus if you printed them on LexJet Sunset papers or canvas.

Take Advantage of Tax Incentives before the End of the Year

Tax incentives for capital equipment purchasesThe Small Business Jobs Act, which was signed into law on Sept. 27, 2010, included several provisions designed to provide tax incentives and relief to businesses. There are several other provisions in the law designed to encourage lending to small businesses.

It is uncertain if these provisions, at least at their current levels, will carry over into 2012 and beyond. Therefore, since 2011 will end quicker than we think (where did the rest of the year go?), now is a good time to think about adding capital equipment – like printers, laminators and software – to ensure you can take full advantage of the current incentives.

Some of the key tax-saving provisions of the law include an increase in the Section 179 deduction and an extension of bonus depreciation.

Section 179 Expensing: The law increases the maximum amount that may be expensed under Code Section 179 to $500,000 and raises the phase-out threshold to $2 million. This means that business owners who purchase capital equipment for use in their business may be able to deduct the total cost of the equipment in a single tax year rather than depreciating it over a number of years. The enhanced provisions apply to tax years beginning in 2010 and 2011.

For instance, assuming a 34% tax rate, if you were to purchase a $30,000 printer, the tax savings on the Section 179 deduction would be $10,200. The cost of the equipment, net of tax savings is $19,800.

The new law also allows taxpayers to expense qualified leasehold investment property, qualified restaurant property and qualified retail improvement property. The maximum amount with respect to real property that may be expensed, however, is limited to $250,000 of the $500,000 overall limit.

This is a significant increase to the amounts that were previously available to expense. Prior to the enactment of the Small Business Jobs Act, the limit was $250,000 for 2010 and $25,000 for 2011 and real property improvements did not qualify for Section 179.

Bonus Depreciation: This provision originally allowed for an additional first-year depreciation deduction equal to 50 percent of the adjusted basis of the qualified property. However, the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 provides a 100 percent depreciation bonus for capital investments placed in service after Sept. 8, 2010 through Dec. 31, 2011.

For equipment placed in service after Dec. 31, 2011 and through Dec. 31, 2012, the bill provides for a 50 percent depreciation bonus. It’s simply another good reason to think capital purchases before the end of this year.

Be sure to consult your tax advisor to determine which of these tax-planning tips can provide the best benefit for you and your business. 

Some Highlights from WPPI Las Vegas 2011

Canon cameras and printersIf last week’s photography trade show in Las Vegas, WPPI, is any indication, 2011 should be a much better year for everyone. To say the exhibit halls were crowded, particularly the first day, would be an understatement.

The show also marked the first one produced following the merger of WPPI/Rangefinder and PDN/Photo Plus Expo. The Neilsen Company, which owns PDN and Photo Plus Expo, acquired WPPI, Rangefinder and AfterCapture late last year.

The Neilsen Company estimates that 16,000 attended the show, held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Official figures have not been released, but it sure seemed like a cast of thousands was in attendance. The overall theme appeared to be presentation. The majority of vendors showcased new ways for photographers to present their work to their clients. There were new types of photo albums, both physical and digital, album creation software, Web-based services and tons of ways to sell output through companies like Simply Canvas, White House Custom Colour (WHCC), All Pro Canvas and Artsy Couture, among others.

On the album side, there were a few in particular that caught my eye. First was an economical photo book called Pro-Line Self-Stick Albums produced by Neil Enterprises Inc., featuring a peel-back corner that makes it easy to apply the prints to the book’s pages quickly. It’s a simple concept, but it’s unique and works quite well (we tried it).

Photo album custom leather
Full color, true leather custom leather album covers by Leather Album Designs.

Leather Album Designs showcased its ability to create custom leather covers using any design or image you care to create in full color using a digital printing system that seamlessly blends the image into the leather. In short, the image becomes part of the leather. You have to feel and smell it to believe it, and I did both.

I also ran across Album Design Software, which is designed to blend into Photoshop to eliminate the steps normally needed to “trick” Photoshop into working with an album creation software. The 6.1.1 version of the software won a 2010 Hot One Award. Check it out at

All Pro Canvas had an interesting photo product on display that uses dye-sublimation to apply your images to slate. Dye-sub certainly isn’t new; you can see it on coffee mugs, mouse pads and any number of promotional products you can sell to clients, but this was a unique application that deserves a second look.

Three dimensional photos
Here's another cool product we found at WPPI, Lifeform 3D, where the photos come off the page, quite literally, using the company's hand-sculpted CanvaSculpt material.

Of course I must admit to being biased about photographic printing, so a stop at the Hahnemuhle and Canon booths was a must, and they didn’t disappoint. Hahnemuhle was kind enough to give us a preview of its new 100 gsm rice paper, which comes in both white and natural. It will be sold only in rolls and should be available soon, so stay tuned here for more info.

Canon’s booth was really about cameras and all the new bells and whistles the company’s including in its camera models, including HD filming capabilities. Still, for those who print their own work Canon had its new 24-inch wide iPF6300S in the booth (the iPF8300S is the 44-inch version, but was not on display). The new printers are scheduled to be ready for delivery later this spring and will feature an expanded color gamut, faster printing speeds, bundled software for improved workflow (a print plug-in for Photoshop, an accounting management software and Poster Artist Lite) and other improvements. Click here for more info about the new printers.

Canon new printer iPF6300S
Canon's new iPF6300S was on display at its booth at WPPI. The new printer, and the 44-inch iPF8300S, are expected to be ready for market later this spring.

You can still browse through the WPPI exhibitor list alphabetically and by category, and link to their websites here if you weren’t able to make it this year. PDN PhotoPlus Expo is scheduled for Oct. 27-29 at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York City. WPPI 2012 will be held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas again, Feb. 20-22, 2012.

Plan Ahead for Holiday Shipping: UPS and FedEx Schedules

Shipping schedules UPS FedExSure, it’s a bit early to discuss upcoming holidays since the next one that will affect shipping isn’t until the end of May (Memorial Day), but it’s always a good idea to plan ahead and know what’s coming before it’s right on top of you.

UPS and FedEX have graciously released their holiday schedules for 2011 so you know when packages can and can’t leave or arrive. Look for LexJet’s 2011 holiday schedule for its headquarters in Sarasota, its office and distribution center in Los Angeles and the other distribution centers across the country in the coming days.

Generally speaking, LexJet shipping will align with UPS and FedEx, but we’ll verify those dates for you. Here are the 2011 holiday schedules for UPS and FedEx:

UPS Holiday Schedule

FedEx Holiday Schedule