Free Webinar will Discuss Preparing Images for Competition

Free Photo WebinarX-Rite will offer a fee webinar this coming Monday, Feb. 24 with award-winning photographer/re-toucher and X-Rite Coloratti Jane Conner-Ziser. Jane will share her creative experience and broad professional knowledge, which allows her to take an image from camera concept through post-production work in Photoshop.

You will learn how top photographers conceptualize their images, refine them during the photography session, and select the best image for competition.

Jane will discuss cropping and adjusting an image for the best composition, plus retouching, enhancing and presenting an image for maximum impact. You will also learn about common judging criteria and how to avoid common mistakes that many photographers make when choosing images for exhibition or competition.

To register for the free webinar at 1 p.m. ET on February 24, visit:

The Seventh Wave of Surfing, Photography and Inkjet Printing

Home decor ocean artwork
This stunning piece, Perfect Blue by Larry Beard of Solitary Exposure, was printed on LexJet Sunset Photo Metallic Paper and topped with acrylic.

In surfing lore the seventh wave is the crackin’ one; that epic wave in a series that begs to be caught. Whether or not the seventh wave lore is really true, there is at least a figurative seventh wave, one that Larry Beard has caught numerous times, both on a board and with his camera.

Pro surfing and inkjet printing
Larry Beard surfing professionally back in the day.

Beard is a former pro surfer who transitioned into photography – mainly fashion and commercial photography – after his time on the pro circuit. Beard’s connection to the ocean, however, was too strong to deny and surf photography soon became his focus.

That transition back to his first love, the ocean, also brought up the question of how best to present the photographic ocean art he was capturing. The picture shown here of one of Beard’s creations that adorns a client’s dining room is representative of that evolution toward the ideal presentation of his work.

Art blocks on acrylic
More examples of Sunset Photo Metallic behind acrylic, aka Solitary Exposure ARTBLOCKS.

Beard explains its creation: “First, we print the image on Sunset Photo Metallic Paper we get from LexJet. I’m really happy with that paper, by the way; it’s awesome. We then laminate it to either 1/4″ or 1/2″ acrylic, attached to a wood backing that has a Z-bar hanging mechanism. The Z-bar is an interlocking channel system where on channel is attached to the piece, top and bottom, with a corresponding Z-bar on the wall that you literally just drop it into the interlocking channels. A 1/4″ acrylic piece will weigh about 50 pounds; on half inch it’s about 80 pounds. It’s a substantial piece that you don’t want coming down in an earthquake or if someone bumps into it, and the Z-bar makes it solid.”

Canvas giclee art
Hells Angel and Sons of Anarchy star Rusty Coones with a 65" x 40" giclee Sunset Canvas of Solitary Exposure's "Liquid Avalanche".

Beard has created these stunning acrylic pieces for homes, offices and restaurants. This particular piece, called Perfect Blue, was selected by Beard to complement his client’s newly remodeled home and dining room.

“With the acrylic and the Sunset Metallic paper you get the utmost in detail. It’s so sharp; it looks like a flat screen HD TV. The acrylic gives it a glow that softens it and at the same time gives it more detail; I know that’s an oxymoron, but that’s the best way to describe it. It’s by far my favorite medium. It’s so high-end looking,” says Beard. “That particular image is so majestic and when you print it on Sunset Metallic it really elevates that room.”

Canvas art giclee triptych
Beard also creates Sunset Canvas triptychs of his work that are quite popular with home owners.

Beard began doing his own printing a few months ago when he purchased a Canon iPF8300 from LexJet. His expertise in color management and Photoshop, coupled with the wider color gamut of the 12-color printer, has been a revelation.

“I’m blown away with what we’re able to produce with that printer,” says Beard. “We were sending our work out before we got the printer and our prints look 20 to 30 percent better.”

Perfect Blue was captured during a photo shoot in the South Pacific with pro surfers Sunny Garcia and Koby Abberton for Carve Sunglasses. The shoot was another opportunity for Beard to capture the perfect, or seventh if you prefer, wave and add it to his online store at The online gallery also carries and prints the work of photo artists like Russ Sanders and David Puu.

“There are all kinds of techniques, styles, creativity and locations from talented artists. Once you get over yourself, you open up to being able to help those artists and pass along a wider variety of images,” says Beard.

Fine art canvas triptych
Beard also works with other artists and photographers, who are part of his online gallery at This is Russ Sanders with a Sunset Canvas triptych called "Gone Fishing".

The quality of Beard’s work comes from quantity. It takes a lot of time in the ocean, and the hazards associated with that, to capture his signature style. It starts before dawn when Beard dons a wetsuit and flippers, toting a his Canon 5D Mark III in a water housing to find what he calls those “magic moments.”

“With digital photography and GoPro, as well as file sharing on social networks, people are inundated with so much really good stuff. My thing is to get out there at five in the morning when the best light is best and put myself in those situations where you can capture that moment. That magic moment requires a little bit of luck, so the more you’re out there the more chances you have to capture it and come away with something special and unique and over and above what’s out there,” explains Beard. “In order to get some of those barrel shots you have to put yourself in the most critical part of the wave: I try to get it where the lip of the wave barely misses my head. I went to Bali after the Carve Sunglasses shoot since I was over there anyway and got smashed on the reef on my first session out and my water housing hit the reef, put a hole in it and flooded my brand new Canon. It’s got its perils, but I love the images I get.”

Fine art photography on canvas
Sunset Burst by David Puu, perfectly rendered on Sunset Canvas by Solitary Exposure, San Clemente, Calif.

Based in San Clemente, Calif., a nice, relatively sleepy beach town on the Southern California coastline, Beard says his favorite spot to shoot in SoCal is south Laguna.

“There are a lot of unique coves that are amazing. You can go down there this time of year and there’s no one down there. It’s such a perfect spot with the cliffs, the coves, a surf that breaks really shallow for dramatic photos, and the water is very clear,” he says.

The Photo Booth Option to Generate Additional Cash Flow

Photobooth for a photography business

Dan Johnson, owner of Dan Johnson Photography in Grand Rapids, Mich., is a regular fixture here at the LexJet Blog. Johnson is always chock full of great ideas (make sure to click here to read about his spray booth, for instance) that build business and generate cash flow.

His latest venture is a portable photo booth that he can take to special events and weddings. Johnson says he created a makeshift photo booth to fulfill requests for a photo booth and decided it was time to buy a pre-built booth to better satisfy demand and create an additional profit center.

Taking pictures in a photo booth“We’re always looking for other ways to generate income with minimal infrastructure and without totally changing what we’re doing. One of our big commercial clients called last year who was putting on a Christmas party and wanted to know if we had a photo booth. I didn’t want to say no, so I figured out how to do it on my own with a camera, tripod, computer and a dye-sub printer. I literally took pieces and parts out of my studio and built this makeshift photo booth. It went pretty well, and then we got a couple of more calls for a photo booth,” explains Johnson. “For the makeshift photo booth I hang curtains in a square and inside the curtain there’s a camera on a tripod and a laptop computer with a program on it where the people inside the booth can click on the mouse and it counts down. It takes a series of three pictures and sends it to a dye-sub printer.”

Johnson recently purchased a professional photo booth, which he says can range from about $6,000 to $10,000. The professional booth is housed in pre-fabricated travel boxes. The bottom box has a printer and a cabinet for supplies, and the top box has the computer and the camera.

“Everything is mounted and secured. You take them out of the car and roll them out like a suitcase to the event, stack one box on top of the other, they lock together, set up a curtain system, plug it in and you’re up and running,” says Johnson. “There’s lighting and it’s all self-contained. It looks finished and professional. If I can use it 20 or 30 times next year it fits into the no-brainer category.”

Johnson adds that he charges a flat fee and offers unlimited prints. That sounds somewhat risky on the surface, but Johnson did the math and found it really wasn’t that risky.

“Realistically, everyone isn’t going to go through the booth four times and you’re printing 2-inch strips on dye-sub paper. So, let’s say we have 250 people at a wedding, which would be a large wedding in our area, and if everyone went through with their significant other it would generate 125 4x6s. A roll of this paper can print 300 4x6s,” says Johnson. “If I go through a roll of paper at every event, that’s about $150 in cost plus what I pay an employee to man it, and that’s it.”

So far, Johnson has booked several events for the rest of the year and into 2013, and he’s running special promotions on the photo booth service. “That should help generate cash up front to pay for the system and some profit on top of that. Basically, we’re not going into debt to expand our services,” he says.

Johnson is also hoping to generate some ancillary printing business in the process by offering larger prints, printed on LexJet media with his Epson printers, that people could order at the booth. He’ll start with a paper ordering system first as he figures out how to integrate more automated print orders with an iPad.

X-Rite Announces October Color Management and Photo Webinars

X-Rite Photo Marketing announces its schedule of October 2012 Webinars designed to address specific color management topics for both professional and serious amateur photographers. Note that there is only one left in October. However, X-Rite archives its webinars (see the end of this post). Webinar attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions to the live trainers…

Portrait photography editing with PhotoshopThursday, Oct. 18, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET
Enhancements for Creating Beautiful Portraits with Photoshop CS6: Photographer and educator Joe Brady will guide attendees step-by-step through techniques that will add shape, beauty and polish to portrait photographs using Photoshop CS6. From simple blemish retouching, to skin smoothing techniques, to amazing eye enhancements, learn how to add drama and shape to create portraits clients will love.

To register for this webinar at 11 a.m., visit:

To register for this webinar at 1 p.m., visit:

For more information on all X-Rite Photo webinars visit the Webinar page found under the Learning section on All webinars are also archived for online viewing any time.

New Photo Technology Brings Everything into Focus

Lytro technology
Lytro allows you to focus the picture to the background from the foreground, or bring the entire picture into sharp focus.

A new “camera” is emerging from the start-up mode and making noise in the digital capture market. Essentially, the new technology from a company called Lytro eliminates the depth of field limitations of traditional photography technology.

Simply put, the camera has harnessed the capture of the entire light field rather than one point of light, something that has been approached in the past by using a hundred cameras in one room. That capability has been brought into one unit the company says can fit in your pocket.

The primary benefit of the new camera is the ability to bring everything into focus after the shot is snapped. If there’s something blurry in the foreground, or the background, you can bring it into sharp focus after the fact.

As an example found in the video embedded below in which CEO and found Ren Ng describes the technology and its applications, an original capture with Lytro shows a boy blurred in the foreground with a sharply-focused background of water and mountains. Ng shows how Lytro allows the user to bring the boy into sharp focus while the background blurs.

What’s really amazing about it, at least to me, is that you can bring both foreground and background into focus, a trick that really brings the potential of Lytro to light, so to speak. You can also change the orientation of the photo (as shown in the same example in the video) and there are 3D rendition possibilities with the technology.

According to TechCrunch, Lytro has attracted $50 million in capital from NEA, K9 Ventures, Greylock Partners and Andreessen Horowitz. It would seem that Lytro is in position to make a mark, and quite a big one, in digital photography in the near future. The questions now are when, how much (money) and at what resolution?

Paging Mr. Lambert, Paging Mr. Lambert

Great shot, huh? Without Gwen's stellar service, great memories from this summer's trip to Torch Lake would not have been captured. Read on to find out what Gwen did and what it means to all of us.

On Wednesday, July 30, the Lambert Clan was getting ready to head to Pop and Mimi’s for a summer vacation in beautiful Alden, Mich. (Torch Lake). The Lambert clan consists of Will (our 8-year-old son), Carter (our 6-year-old daughter), Charlie (our 4-year-old son), me and Isa (my wife of 15 years and the glue that holds us all together).

We had a plane to catch the next morning, and needless to say I had nothing to do with getting everyone packed, organized and ready for the long day’s journey ahead. My sole responsibility was packing the car for the one-hour trip to Tampa International Airport and helping everyone get dressed in the morning, excluding Isa of course.

Four full suitcases (check), four carry-on bags (check), three kids (check)… Ready to roll! In eight hours we’d be at Pop & Mimi’s for the next ten days for some well deserved R&R.

Everything was going smoothly so far. We boarded the first leg of our flight on Delta Airlines to Detroit where we would switch planes to make the final leg of our journey to Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City, Mich.

The kids were great on the first leg, but I knew that things were going too smoothly at this point; something had to give. The flight to Detroit was delightful (maybe not so delightful for the gentleman trying to sleep in the seat in front of Charlie as he put the tray table up and down more than 100 times), but the kids were happy and well behaved, which made the parents even happier.

When we arrived in Detroit, I was in charge of the carry-on bags and helping to herd the kids to the next gate. Again, everything was going as planned – no crying or arguing, just a whole lot of cooperation and anticipation.

As we arrived at the next gate, we did a quick check to make sure we had everything… We did and now we had about two hours to kill before the final leg. Isa took the kids to the restroom and the food court while I guarded our possessions and enjoyed a brief 30 minutes of daddy quiet time. Once everyone returned we set up camp and enjoyed our lunch. One more leg to go!