The Front Porch Sessions – Photographers Get Creative in the Wake of COVID-19

Photographers by nature, are “people” people, and when sheltering in place and social distancing guidelines went into effect in March, they were among the many who were temporarily out of business. It was no different for Elise Wicklund, and her husband Tracy, of Wicklund Photography in Parrish, Fla. “It virtually stopped our business,” Wicklund says. “In an instant, we had to clear our calendars.”

With so many cancellations – and they were cancellations and not reschedules – the Wicklunds had to get creative and come up with something different to capture this historic moment of the worldwide pandemic. “We considered education, but we know we aren’t teachers,” she says. “We are photographers, so our reaction was to come up with different types of sessions.”

That’s when Wicklund got the idea for the “Front Porch Sessions”. She reached out to neighbors and clients to see if they were interested in doing family portraits on their porches. The popularity of the sessions exploded, and they booked all the sessions they had available. “We decided to let families document this part of their lives, just like they would any other – birthday parties, graduations, pandemics – if we don’t take photographs of these times, we won’t have anything but memories, and memories fade with time,” Wicklund says. “That’s why we photograph, so we figured this is just another memory to photograph.”

The sessions proved to be a great outlet for many of the families and some of them proved it with their sessions. While some families took a serious approach, Wicklund says others had fun with it. “Everyone had been cooped up inside their homes,” she says. “The sessions were whatever the families needed – some took them very seriously; others had a ton of fun.  We didn’t care or direct that part.  We were there to document and serve our families.”

While they enjoyed chronicling the pandemic through these sessions, the Wicklunds did not charge their clients for these sittings. “We still weren’t officially allowed to operate, so in lieu of session fees, we took donations for the food bank,” she says. “Our brand is all about servicing our clients and we believe if we have a servant’s heart, our brand will succeed.” Photographers who are doing charitable work, like Elise and Tracy, may consider printing on LexJet 8 Mil Production Satin Photo Paper, an economic solution that offers a wide color gamut and gives photos a natural look with minimal glare.

As the state of Florida has slowly begun reopening, Wicklund says they are starting to see more interest in regular sessions. They’ve also reached out to past clients, especially wedding clients, about design services for albums or videos that were not purchased at the time of the event. “We’ve reached out to see if people want to pre-book their sessions once isolation orders are lifted,” she says.

Looking at the future, Wicklund says she’s not opposed to scheduling more porch sessions, even after things return to normal, but it comes down to helping their clients get the most out of the sessions. “If this hits again, we will probably offer them again,” she says. “There’s no real reason to only offer those sessions, but it might be fun to see how things have changed in a year.”

As with most “people” people, photographers will certainly be happy to get back to weddings, graduation, and newborn sessions, but in the meantime, they are looking to get creative like Elise and Tracy Wicklund. However, as we approach the second half of the year, Wicklund is cautious about what’s on the horizon. “Based on how 2020 has gone so far, there’s no telling what we will be photographing this time next year!”

Catch up on LexJet’s Educational Series with “Let’s Go Replay”

If you missed the original broadcast of a Let’s Go session or you just want to watch your favorite again, you can find them in this replay library.

Here’s a rundown of past events:

  • LexJet Webcast: Several of our sales specialists reconvened to talk about how PSPs can get ready to re-open as well as ways they can help their customers understand what graphics are needed during this time of social distancing. In Navigating the Print Industry as Businesses Re-open, they also discuss different products for floor graphics, elevator graphics, and small business solutions.
  • Canon: Life Hacks for the Printmaker: Pete Wright discussed the best ways to create beautiful images with your Canon printer.
  • Onyx: ONYX unveiled new TruFit software: ONYX technical instructor Alicia Wallace demonstrated the recently released ONYX TruFit software.
  • Vinyl Applications Demos: Steve Lowe from LexJet and Keith Bernard from Now That’s a Wrap demonstrated a variety of real-world applications for HP Adhesive Vinyl.
  • Window Textile: Johan Bonner from Squid Textiles discussed many of the glass décor applications for the high-end self-adhesive textile.
  • Social Media Marketing: Shellie Terry & Adam Wentworth from S-One’s marketing team discussed the best social media marketing practices during and after a high visibility event like COVID-19.
  • Dye-Sub Applications: Epson’s Tim Check talked about the Epson F-Series Printers and some of the most popular dye-sub applications.
  • Latex Print & Cut Demo: Catch a replay of Timothy Mitchell – HP’s Solutions Architect – discussing the benefits of latex printing in this HP Latex Print & Cut Academy.

Stay tuned, as we continue to create more sessions, including choosing the right equipment, specialty applications and demos, and more appearances from LexJet specialists.

For a full list of COVID-19 industry information, visit our resources page.

If you have additional questions, you can reach out to a member of our team at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.

Let’s Go: Navigating our Industry as Businesses Re-open

Last month, we gathered several LexJet sales representatives to discuss what they heard in the market as some of their customers and non-essential businesses started shutting down for quarantine.

Now, as states begin slowly opening for business, we want to bring these familiar faces together again to discuss ways you can prepare your printshop for a return to normal business and how you can help new customers who will be looking for new ideas such as floor graphics, safety shields and other products that will help with CDC recommendations and compliance.

During the webcast, we discuss:

  • Following CDC recommendations for re-opening
  • Different print applications needed
  • Preparing equipment for increased workload after an extended shutdown
  • Help people who are new to the graphics industry
  • Social distancing applications and other market segments
  • Communicating with your customers
Watch the Webcast  Now!
If you have any questions for our panel, please call 800-453-9538 to connect with our team. We are here to help as businesses start to reopen, so please reach out to us.

LexJet Print-N-Stick Certified for Floor Graphics

With the increased urgency for temporary signage, we’ve got some great news: Print-N-Stick Fabric is now certified to use for floor graphics.

When using aqueous or latex ink, the self-adhesive fabric offers a slip rating based on American National Standards Institute (ANSI) testing. Using Marabu ClearShield Wall Armor can prolong the life of the graphics, but other solutions, like panoRama Walk & Wall, are recommended for long-term usage.

Photo Courtesy of Mark Hawkins Photography

LexJet Print-N-Stick fabric is a customer favorite media that offers a matte finish and repositionable adhesive. The safety of consumers is of utmost importance and that’s why floor graphics are currently in high demand. It’s important that retailers are using the right materials to ensure everyone’s safety.

If you are printing floor graphics for short- or long-term usage, check out our resource page for inspiration. Have questions? Contact a LexJet sales specialist at 800-453-9538 for assistance.

ICYMI: Catch up on the Let’s Go Educational Series

Over the last few weeks, LexJet has partnered with experts from all facets of the printing industry to bring you the informative series Let’s Go. If you missed any or want to catch them again, you can see the full library HERE.

Choose from these previous sessions:

  • Onyx TruFit Software
  • Vinyl Application Demos
  • Squid Window Textile
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Dye-sub Applications
  • Latex Print & Cut

Stay tuned for future events with other industry experts and hear from some of your favorite LexJet representatives. For more information, give us a call at 800-453-9538 or visit us at LexJet.com.

Post-COVID-19 Prep: Optimize Your Inventory During Downtime

We’ve heard from some print shops that activity may be slowing down in some areas, so we put together some ideas of how you can use your downtime wisely. We all know that storage room inventory can get backed up, so now’s a great time to figure out what you’re using, what’s collecting dust and maybe identify some new, multiuse products that can save you both space and money plus you can earn up to 4X Edge Rewards.

“A good exercise is to put a list together of products you buy regularly and reach out to your vendor and let them know this is what I use regularly,” says LexJet sales rep, Ramiro Torrez. “And ask: Do you have something that is comparable at a better price point?”

Torrez worked with a customer who was buying 25 different products and he made recommendations to whittle the list down to 12 more versatile items. In some cases, the customer saved when buying more of the streamlined list.

“We saved her about $1,200 if she’d replenished one of everything in her old inventory,” he says. “Plus, when you buy in bulk, you’re going to get a better price for it.”

Next, we identified several applications that can be covered by one super-versatile product. Learn more about these products and stock up, so you’re a step ahead when it’s time to ramp up production once again:

VINYL: If you are stocking up on different products for self-adhesive window, signage and car decal graphics, HP Prime Matte Air GP is a one-size-fits-all option. Additionally, HP Optimal Gloss Air GRP can work across the board for wall graphics, corrugated plastic, windows and can even be mounted to Styrofoam.

SIGNAGE FILM: Another super versatile option for signage is LexJet’s Production Display Film, which can stand in for grommeted banners, retractable banner stands, and hanging signage, thanks to its lay-flat characteristics. It’s a cost-effective solution for indoor or short-term outdoor graphics, which is also available in a Solvent version.

POSTER PAPER: If you’re looking for a poster paper that works well outdoors and also doubles as a photo paper with good resolution, check out LexJet Satin Poster Paper 200g. At $0.12 per square foot, it’s a highly cost-effective, PVC-free option that delivers richly detailed, water-resistant prints.

FABRIC: When events start back up, you’ll want to have a fabric on hand that can work on a variety of applications. EnduraFab Frontlit is a 100% polyester knit fabric for Latex users that’s appropriate for lightweight and elegant table skirts, backdrops, step-and-repeats and flags. For aqueous printers, try LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth for a multitude of applications.

MULTI-PURPOSE: One of the most exciting product launches in recent years is LexJet FlexTek. This non-woven technical fabric is a winner thanks to its highly functional and versatile characteristics. It’s recyclable and PVC-free, making it an environmental win, too. FlexTek can be wrapped around stretcher bars to create canvas wraps (as an alternative to polyester canvas) or used for posters, banners or even hanging signage. It’s also available in a Solvent version, and both versions offer long shelf life.

For more ideas for versatile products and good-better-best options for your application, call a LexJet print specialist at 800-453-9538.