Colorado Photo Gallery Built on HQ Photography, Printing and Framing

Bald Eagle Photo by Wil Harmsen
In addition to the work of renowned Colorado landscape and wildlife photographers, The Canyon Gallery in Montrose, Colo., also features the photography of owner Wil Harmsen.

You might say that art is in Wil Harmsen’s blood. In 2001 his grandparents donated a large and important collection of Western art to the Denver Art Museum. Harmsen keeps that tradition alive in the western Colorado town of Montrose, which sits near some of the most spectacular scenery in the state.

The Canyon Gallery
The Canyon Gallery, Montrose, Colo.

Harmsen and his wife, Amy, opened The Canyon Gallery in Montrose about four years ago. The gallery focuses on landscape and wildlife photography, representing the work of some of Colorado’s top photographers, including Glenn Randall of Boulder, Andy Cook of Colorado Springs, Vince Farnsworth of Montrose, and Doug Sprock of Grand Junction. Harmsen’s photography, as well as that of Idaho’s Jess Lee, is also featured in the gallery.

Printing at The Canyon Gallery“It’s been a childhood dream of mine to own my own gallery. I grew up around art; my grandparents owned one of the biggest collections of Western art,” says Harmsen. “Four years ago a couple of buildings became available in downtown Montrose. It was a terrible time to open a gallery, but a great time to purchase real estate, so we bought the buildings and opened the gallery. I’m realizing a childhood dream and it’s been fantastic.”

An important component of the gallery’s success, says Harmsen, has been in providing print production and finishing services.

The Canyon Gallery Printing“I knew that being a photography gallery and just trying to sell art was probably not a good idea, which is why we got into printing and framing and creating a product from start to finish. If art wasn’t selling, we would print and frame other people’s images, and it’s worked like a dream. Printing and framing is probably why we’re 150 percent up over last year,” says Harmsen. “Art is a want, not a need, so we started printing and framing right from the beginning.”

Harmsen was referred to LexJet for his printing needs by Gary Haines, Grizzly Creek Gallery, Georgetown, Colo. The Harmsens had already been experimenting with printing before they opened the gallery and finding the right source ensured a successful print process.

The Canyon Gallery Print Room
The Canyon Gallery print room: two Epson Stylus Pro 9900s from LexJet and LexJet inkjet media.

“Printing is probably the hardest part about photography: getting what you have on the screen to print on the paper. What I really liked was that LexJet already had the ICC profiles, so it was very easy for me to go in, get the paper and profiles and print high-quality images. It was super-easy, compared to how I was doing it before making my own profiles,” says Harmsen. “Our print quality has been fantastic and we’ve never had a problem. Whether we’re using Sunset Metallic paper, canvas or anything else, the ICC profiles from LexJet work.”

The Canyon Gallery runs two Epson Stylus Pro 9900s and a complete framing and finishing operation in the three-story, split-level gallery. Harmsen estimates that printing and finishing represents 60 percent of their business.

Photo by Wil Harmsen
Photo by Wil Harmsen, The Canyon Gallery.

“We find that we’re constantly expanding printing and framing because we do so much of it, including canvas gallery wraps on Sunset Stretcher Bars, which is the easiest canvas stretching method we’ve ever come across,” he says. “And, if we run into a weird issue, as we did using Sunset Select Gloss Canvas because it has a unique finish with unique requirements, we can call Michael any time for help. In this case, I called Michael and he gave me specific directions. Lo and behold, I did what he told me to do and it printed perfectly.”

Harmsen says the gallery’s three best inkjet media sellers are Sunset Photo eSatin Paper, Sunset Photo Metallic Paper and Sunset Select Matte Canvas.

Photo by Wil Harmsen, The Canyon Gallery.
Photo by Wil Harmsen, The Canyon Gallery.

“I love the Metallic paper, and when it’s printed in black-and-white it’s unbelievable,” he says. “The shipping is also amazing. Knowing that you can typically get product quickly really helps a small business, especially a gallery where cash flow is very difficult. If we’re running out of eSatin we can get it right away and we don’t have to have a bunch of it sitting on the floor waiting to be used. I did my research before we opened the gallery and really spent a lot of money and time trying to get that process nailed. When we came upon LexJet, it just clicked.”

All would be for naught, however, if Harmsen didn’t concentrate on customer service. For Harmsen, customer service can be boiled down to three principles: Listen, set proper expectations and put yourself in the customer’s shoes. “Adhere to those three principles and you’ll be successful, and if our customer is not satisfied, we’ll make it right,” he adds.

Will Harmsen Colorado
Photo by Wil Harmsen, The Canyon Gallery.

Based on those principles, in addition to the quality output and finishing The Canyon Gallery provides, Harmsen has found that positive word-of-mouth has spread beyond Montrose into the prime tourist spot of nearby Telluride.

“We decided this past year not to do any traditional advertising. Unless you have a specific market you’re trying to reach, a sporadic ad doesn’t work. We quite advertising and we’re up 150 percent,” says Harmsen. “Amy is really good at Facebook and Twitter, so we’re always putting new artwork on social media. We have found that social media is our best form of advertising.”

Photo by Wil Harmsen, The Canyon Gallery.
Photo by Wil Harmsen, The Canyon Gallery.

Cross-promotions with local businesses and the photographers the gallery represents and local photographers have also been successful marketing tools. For instance, The Pour House has a wine tasting once a month at The Canyon Gallery, promoted through the local liquor store’s monthly newsletter and social media. The Canyon Gallery also showcases a Photographer of the Month, which brings people back to see who the next featured photographer is, helping ensure repeat traffic to The Canyon Gallery’s Facebook page.

The Canyon Gallery also plans to offer photography classes and workshops, taking advantage of all the natural beauty that surrounds them in the San Juan Mountains.

“Every year we try to expand on something we’re doing, or bring in something new, like the photography classes, where we’ll cover Photoshop, Lightroom, how to use the camera, fall color shots, photographing bald eagles at Ridgway Reservoir, and more,” says Harmsen. “We try to be broad in what we offer, but if we’re going to do something we’re going to do it darn good.”

Promoting Tourism with Inkjet Prints in Retractable Banner Stands

Promotional Banners by Grizzly Creek Gallery

Award-winning photographer Gary Haines, owner of Grizzly Creek Gallery, also has an eye for design and printed pieces that catch the eyes of passersby.

Banner Stand GraphicsThe historic Colorado mountain mining town in which Grizzly Creek Gallery is located, Georgetown, recently needed banners for a booth the town was setting up at the Colorado Convention Center in downtown Denver to promote tourism.

The answer was the combination of outstanding photography, design and print services that Haines offers. In this case Haines created two 36″ x 84″ banners and one 39 1/4″ x 83″ banner.

Haines used a larger photo for the background and then laid out smaller photos on top of the background, created in Photoshop. All the photos but one are from Haines’ portfolio of local Georgetown color.

The smaller photos were completed with drop shadows and bevels to give the banners a three-dimensional quality and bring more attention to the message: that Georgetown is a great place to visit for a variety of reasons.

Banner Stand GraphicsThe banners were printed on LexJet 5.5 Mil Matte Opaque Display Film with an Epson Stylus Pro 9900 inkjet printer. Haines used two LexJet Giant Mosquito Retractable Banner Stands (the 36″ x 84″ banners) and a LexJet Orient Retractable Banner Stand.

“The colors turned out great on the Display Film. Each banner and stand comes with its own carrying case and you can re-use them and swap out banners very easily, so the entire package creates a really nice and easy-to-use display for my clients,” says Haines.

Printing Custom Fine Art Photo Coasters for Additional Sales

Printing fine art photo coasters

In a previous post here at the LexJet Blog, Gary Haines, owner of Grizzly Creek Gallery in Georgetown, Colo., had introduced a line of posters featuring select pieces from his fine art landscape photography. As mentioned in that post, the posters serve two purposes: To give those who can’t afford the exquisitely printed and finished larger works access to Haines’ outdoor work and to provide Haines with an additional revenue stream by capturing those who would otherwise have walked out of the gallery without buying anything.

Fine art photographic printing
The large art gallery floats are similar in construction to the fine art photo coasters pictured above, printed on Sunset Photo eSatin, laminated and mounted to MDF.

Haines took that same concept and applied it to coasters. Now clientele have a nice Colorado keepsake to take home that also has a practical use. I recently visited Haines and couldn’t help myself; after chatting for a bit, the next thing you know I’m walking out with three coasters.

The coasters are similar to the large art gallery floats that adorn Grizzly Creek Gallery, which are printed on LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper, mounted to 1/4″ or 3/8″ MDF and laminated with a luster laminate. The difference is, of course, the size. Plus the art gallery floats have a one inch framework behind them so they float off the wall while the coasters are more like small plaques with beveled edges.

Most of the coasters are printed on Sunset Photo eSatin, but some are also printed on LexJet Sunset Photo Metallic Paper. Haines likes the shine the Metallic paper provides, especially on his various renditions of aspen groves.

Haines gang prints the coaster images and sends them to DuraPlaq in Longmont, Colo., who then laminate the images to the MDF blanks. Picture This – Superior in Lafayette, Colo., usually takes care of the larger art gallery floats using the same basic process.

Inkjet printing fine art photography
For smaller test prints and posters, Gary Haines uses LexJet 8 Mil Production Satin Photo Paper.

“Sunset Photo eSatin has a heavier weight and is more durable than most photo papers. I also really like the colors I get when I print on it as well as the surface texture; it’s like the darkroom papers we used to use,” explains Haines.

As noted in the previous post, Haines produces posters and test prints on LexJet 8 Mil Production Satin Photo Paper. It’s similar in look and feel to Sunset Photo eSatin, but it’s less expensive and thinner. In other words, it’s a good alternative for more economical photo products like posters.

Sunset Photo Metallic and Sunset Pro Photo Album Bundle Deal

Making photo albumsIt’s the proverbial match made in heaven: LexJet’s new Sunset Pro Photo Albums adorned with Hot One award-winning Sunset Photo Metallic Paper for unforgettable photo presentations. From now until Sept. 30 you save 50 percent on a 50-sheet pack of Sunset Photo Metallic Paper (8 1/2 x 11) when you buy a two-pack of Sunset Pro Photo Albums (8×10). Use Promo Code SPMBD when you order online or call in your order.

Sunset Pro Photo Albums are made of a rich black leatherette material and each page features a peel-and-stick adhesive that makes album creation quick and easy. “The Sunset albums have a high-end look and feel to them and the price point is great. If you’re doing your own printing it’s a no-brainer,” says Eric Wordal of Masterpiece Portraits in Helena, Mont.

The do-it-yourself, professionally-crafted albums were designed to give you control of the photo album process. They are economical, easy to use and ideal for any type of photo album or photographic presentation, including graduates, high school senior sessions, weddings, family photos, portfolios and more.

Sunset Photo Metallic Paper has become one of LexJet’s most popular photo papers, receiving rave reviews from photographers and fine art reproduction companies.

“We charge more per square foot for prints on Sunset Metallic, and so far that’s flown. No one has said, ‘Wow, that’s too expensive.’ Instead they say, ‘I want to try that, because it gives me a distinctive look,'” says Eric Monroe of C2 Reprographics

Gary Haines, owner of Grizzly Creek Gallery in Georgetown, Colo., concurs: “When you print on the Metallic paper, it’s awesome. It has a real nice pearlescence to it that you can’t get with any other photo paper.”

Sunset Photo Metallic Paper produces stunning prints that previously could be output only in a darkroom. The metallic, high-gloss surface on this 10-mil, 255g photo paper results in prints that are sharp, vibrant, and exceptionally rich-looking. It’s perfect for stand-out portraits, wedding photography, commercial display and competition prints. 

Affordable Inkjet Printed Posters Contribute to Cash Flow

Posters fine art inkjet printing

When you think “Colorado vacation” you normally think of skiing and other snow sports, but Colorado’s busiest tourist season actually occurs between Memorial Day and Labor Day. That’s when it starts really hopping in Georgetown, an old mining community – now a tourist destination – that sits in a valley on the approaches to the Eisenhower Tunnel and the alpine areas for which Colorado is famous.

In downtown Georgetown you’ll find Grizzly Creek Gallery and its proprietor, Gary Haines, featured here at the LexJet Blog previously for his high-end, award-winning outdoor landscape photography and printing.

The problem, if you can really call it that, is that Haines’ work fetches a high price, as well it should. The stunning work of masterfully captured light in beautiful alpine meadows and woods from around Colorado is painstakingly rendered on the finest LexJet Sunset fine art and photo papers and framed to perfection.

Posters inkjet printing fine art photographyFor those who can’t afford finished fine art pieces but love the images, Haines started printing and offering posters of his high end work earlier this year. It’s the proverbial win-win. Haines captures buyers who would have otherwise walked out empty handed, while retaining those who want something of exquisite quality and at a much larger size hanging up in their home or office.

He prints the 19 in. x 38 in. panoramas with his Epson Stylus Pro 9900 on LexJet 8 Mil Production Satin Photo Paper. The paper is an excellent choice because it dries quickly for long runs and retains a quality look you simply don’t get from a typical poster paper.

“It’s relatively inexpensive to print when you’re designing and printing them yourself, they dry quickly and people who buy the posters really like it. We just roll them up, put them in a nice tube with an attractive sticker that displays the image, along with the price and bar code,” says Haines. “They’re designed in Photoshop and printed through the driver. I have a LaCie monitor calibrated to the printer, so whatever I see on the screen is what will print out.”

Haines is currently offering six different panoramas on posters, including the image that won the Landscape/Nature/Fine Art category in LexJet’s Shine On! photo contest, Winter Serenity.

“Since the posters are such a new item, I’ve seen a small uptick in sales of five to ten percent,” explains Haines. “As spring and summer approaches I expect to see more sales, especially from the tourists who purchase images of Colorado at a more affordable price.”

Metallic Makes Winter Shine for First-Place Contest Winner

Winter Serenity by Gary Haines, Grizzly Creek Gallery, Georgetown, Colo., is on display at Denver Photo Art Gallery in Denver's Santa Fe Art District.

Gary Haines, owner of Grizzly Creek Gallery in Georgetown, Colo., shot this prize-winning image, Winter Serenity, toward the end of a March day in one of his secret spots on a privately owned ranch between Ridgeway and Telluride, Colo.

The image was the first-place winner in the Landscape/Nature/Fine Art category of LexJet’s Shine On! Print Contest. Haines captured Colorado’s high-country beauty with his favorite camera, the Fuji GX617 Pro medium-format, panoramic landscape camera.

He says, “I chose to enter this image because I thought the LexJet Sunset Photo Metallic would show some of the sparkle I saw in the snow that day. When you print it on the Metallic, it’s awesome. It has a real nice pearlescence to it that you can’t get with any other photo paper.”

Printed on an Epson Stylus Pro 9900, a 20 in. x 60 in. print of Winter Serenity on LexJet Sunset Photo Metallic Paper is currently on display at the Denver Photo Art Gallery and another proudly hangs in his storefront window in downtown Georgetown. Haines also reproduced the image on Sunset Photo eSatin Paper.

For more information about Grizzly Creek Gallery, go to Click here to check out the profile of Grizzly Creek Gallery at the LexJet Blog.