The Difference a Print Makes with Randy McNeilly at Upcoming Photo Conferences

Fine art photography studio decor

In a presentation entitled A Renaissance in Portrait Photography, Randy McNeilly will provide photographers with his keys to differentiation in the photography market at the Southwest PPA Regional Convention and the Virginia Professional Photographers Association annual convention.

Photography studio layoutThe Southwest PPA Regional Convention will be held in Irving, Texas (near Dallas) Sept. 28 through Oct. 1, and the Virginia convention will likely be held in late January (the exact dates and venue have not been announced).

McNeilly is working on the content for his presentation and the dates and times have not been scheduled yet. Check back here at the LexJet Blog for updates on those events and McNeilly’s seminar dates and times.

Photo studio and printingAn important facet of his presentation, says McNeilly, will be how printing differentiates and adds value to photography. As a 30-year veteran with 27 years of those 30 printing his own work McNeilly has honed his craft and solidified his approach to the market.

“The program is really about how to differentiate yourself in this market, and it’s built around being a print maker. For instance, we go out and take a light meter and color meter reading where a customer will be hanging the print and make a big production out of hand making a print,” says McNeilly. “We use the options we have available to us now with all the different inkjet print materials, and it’s about making print making part of the craft and the product. It really separates me from everyone else because no one else has those conversations.”

McNeilly has an Epson Stylus Pro 9900 and an Epson Stylus Pro 4880. The print quality and overall production capability of each are maximized with the ImagePrint RIP. McNeilly says he prefers LexJet’s Sunset Photo eSatin Paper for day-to-day print work and Sunset Select Matte Canvas for larger display prints. He sells the prints unfinished, allowing the opportunity for value-added options like coatings (Sunset Gloss Coating) and framing.

Printing fine art portrait photography“Digital photography is the best thing that’s happened to photography but the worst thing to happen to professional photographers,” says McNeilly. “That’s why print making is such an important component to our business. It’s about providing a custom product to my clients.”

McNeilly has earned the equivalent of six Master of Photography degrees, a PPA Imaging Excellence Award, became an affiliate juror and is currently a jury chairman in training. In 2009 Randy became the 100th photographer in the world to receive the Fellowship from the American Society of Photographers.

For more information about McNeilly Photography, go to, and stay tuned here for the latest information about McNeilly’s presentations at the Southwest PPA and Virginia conferences.

Two Chances to Win a LexJet Sunset Award at Ohio and Georgia Photo Conventions

Photo competitions in Ohio and GeorgiaThis month, professional photographers have two chances to win LexJet Sunset Awards in the print competitions at the Professional Photographers of Ohio (PPA Northeast District) and Georgia PPA (PPA Southeast District) conventions.

LexJet Sunset Award winners get a beautiful trophy and a gift certificate. And if the award-winning image is printed on LexJet media, winners in these two print competitions also get an iPad.

The PPA Northeast District, hosted by the Professional Photographers of Ohio, runs March 14-18 at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio. Entries for the Print Competition are due on Thursday, March 8. Entries will be judged March 15-16 and awarded on March 17. Click here for more information and competition rules.

The PPA Southeast District, hosted by the Georgia PPA, will be held March 31 through April 3 at the Athens Classic Center & Athens Hotel Indigo in Athens, Ga. Entries for this competition are due by March 28 and awards will be given on April 3.  The LexJet Sunset Award winner in the offical District competition gets a $200 gift certficate and an iPad, if the winner is printed on LexJet Paper.

There’s also a LexJet Sunset Award up for grabs for the Georgia PPA members-only competition, which comes with a $100 gift certificate and must be printed on LexJet paper. For more information and rules, click here, and click here for the scoop on the Georgia PPA members-only LexJet Sunset Award.

Good luck, and if you have any questions, contact Tom Gruss at LexJet:, or call 941-906-3377.

Maximizing Space at Conventions and Conferences

11th Hour Business Centers, based in Orlando, Fla., knows how to build the brand of both the sponsors and the company’s convention center/hotel clients at the myriad of conferences and conventions that come to town in trade show heavy Orlando.

Using floor graphics for conventions and conferencesThe trick, especially with high end properties, is to give visibility to the sponsors of the show while maintaining the look of the facility where the show is being held. This is particularly crucial when there are multiple shows going on at the same time and at the same facility where it’s easy to lose the both the message and the messenger in a hodge-podge of inconsistent signage.

“We want the graphics to be representative of the property and meet the needs of each sponsor at the same time,” says Mark Jacques, director of print services for 11th Hour Business Centers. “We design a lot of the work and we focus on keeping it simple and understated while ensuring we communicate the message the client wants.”

An important way to differentiate the message of each sponsor, while making it consistent with the environment of the facility, is in the strategic placement of signage and finding ways to optimize the available space. 11th Hour Business Centers does this through the judicious use of floor, carpet, window, wall and pole graphics.

“As always, the convention industry is changing and evolving. Today’s conventions are focusing much more on creating a full-blown theme to life for their conferences. Converting a hotel shell into a visual storyboard is where meeting planners are going. They want these themes focused and heavily branded to ensure that the message of the event is creatively and visually illustrated,” says Jacques.

Window graphics for conventions and conferences

A recent example was the work the company did for SPIE (an international society for optics and photonics) and its sponsors, pictured here. 11th Hour Business Centers printed nine sponsorship floor graphics on LexJet Simple Indoor FloorAd laminated with LexJet Floor Gloss Laminate.

“If they’re expecting a tremendous amount of attendance we steer them away from floor graphics where they expect lines and lots of people gathering in one place simply because all that traffic will obscure the floor graphics. Instead, we recommend main thoroughfares where there will be a lot of people walking but not all bunched together,” says Jacques.

For the entryway window to the show, Jacques chose to use Indoor FloorAd here as well. He says it sticks well and then comes off easily after the show. For SPIE, the window graphic was 98 in. x 160 in. printed in two pieces on the company’s HP 60-in. Designjet L25500 latex inkjet printer.

Columns and walls were wrapped with Photo Tex for a repositionable and easily removed graphic in lieu of typical directional and information signage. “With the solutions available to us we have the capability of having signage in a lot of different and unique places, some of which we swap out on a daily basis. We can go in and pull off today’s schedule and put up tomorrow’s schedule in a matter of minutes. Our clients rely on us because we’re keeping their image in mind as we place and install the graphics, especially when there are other conventions going on in the same area,” adds Jacques. “When we do installations at one of our properties we guarantee we won’t cause any damage to the property, and if we do we pay for it. That gives us a definite advantage because we stand behind it.”