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.”

Protect Your Data with Effective Storage and Backup

Almost everyone who creates digital images has lost crucial information due to some sort of hard drive crash or malfunction. But there’s good news… Memory has become rather cost-effective. Think about how much your first 1G flash card cost compared to your most recent purchase. The same can be said about external hard drives. If you’re in the market for a new external hard drive, here are some hints…

The very first thing you should look for is an external hard drive with multiple disks, known as a RAID system. A lot of people will buy a single-disk hard drive and partition it. Partitioning a hard drive is when you take a single hard drive and divide it into smaller segments that act as individual hard drives within the primary hard drive.

Partitioning causes a lot of wear and tear on your hard drive, which can also cause it to fail prematurely.  Therefore, you should get a hard drive with multiple disks so that there is no need for partitioning. If a hard drive does crash in a RAID system, you simply purchase a new disk and plug it in and it will automatically back up to that disk. It’s safe and it’s easy.

You should also understand exactly how much capacity you’re really getting. Many hard drives list their entire capacity, not what their capacity is if you’re running in a back-up mode. For example, if you want 5 terabytes of storage space you might find a two-disk hard drive that has 5 terabytes of space.

However, once you bring it home and select that you want to run it in safe mode (so that each disk is a copy of the other) you get only half of that storage, or 2.5 terabytes. If you have an external hard drive with two drives, then I would run RAID Mode 0.  If your external hard drive contains four drives, then I would run RAID mode 0+1.  Both RAID Modes 0 and 0+1 are completely safe, but 0+1 is faster, so you may want to entertain the thought of a four-drive model if speed is important to you.

Another thing you should look for is transfer type and rate. If you can afford it, a hard drive that runs off of an Ethernet connection is going to be best. This is especially useful if you have multiple work stations connected to a central hard drive, or if your files are rather large.

Although I don’t recommend FireWire as a connection to printers, it is recommended for hard drives if Ethernet is not an option. FireWire 800 will usually give a transfer rate up to 100 MB, whereas USB 2.0 will only provide a rate of about 60 MB.

LaCie is a great source for external hard drives, as well as monitors. I would start looking at LaCie’s 2big Quadra or the 4big Quadra. They are robust, safe, and offer storage from 1 TB up to 5 TB. There is one available for every need and price range, starting at around $300.

Off-Site Storage
Just using a good external hard drive will not protect you from other issues like fires, tornadoes, or hurricanes… a Florida favorite. Off-site storage is recommended to protect against such natural disasters.

There are two methods used to handle this… You can pay an off-site company to store your files. They offer insurance and guarantees. I have not used such a service so I cannot give any specific recommendations in this regard.

You can also burn your files onto DVDs and take them off-site. There are two things you need to keep in mind if you are going this route. First, make sure your DVDs are archival. If the DVD can’t stand the test of time, what good is it to use it as backup? Second, store these DVDs in a heavy, fire-proof safe. 

Following these steps will guarantee that your precious files are safe, and should allow you to sleep a little more soundly at night.

Selecting a Monitor for Fine Art and Photographic Reproduction

LaCie's 700 Series uses RGB-LED Backlit, which allows the monitors to achieve a significantly larger color gamut. This is a crucial ingredient in photographic and fine art reproduction.

There are three major factors that a photographer or fine art reproducer should consider when selecting a monitor: Color gamut, bit depth and calibration ability. There are other things to consider as well, such as viewing angle, contrast range, refresh rate (if doing video work), and others, depending on your business model.

Color Gamut: The rule of thumb when it comes to color gamut is that bigger is better. You can find this information by checking the spec sheet of the monitor. It should provide you with percentage of sRGB, Adobe 1998, or NTSC (similar to Adobe 1998).

If you are a photographer whose workflow only exists in sRGB, then a monitor that hits 100% of this color gamut is the best. If you primarily work in Adobe 1998, then a monitor that displays 100% of this color space is recommended. If you are using ProPhoto as your color space, then the largest color gamut technology allows is your best option.

Bit Depth: The more bit depth a monitor has, the more accurate it will render your 16-bit files. A 10-bit monitor is the bare minimum with today’s technology, with 12 being a better option. Higher bit depth improves smoothness in transitions and gradients, whereas a lower bit depth might make them appear banded. You can also find this information in the spec sheet of a monitor.

Calibration Ability: It is imperative that you can adjust three parts of a monitor’s appearance. The first of these is brightness. You should be able to adjust how bright a monitor is according to the ambient light of your studio. 120 candelas per meter squared is a good LCD starting point. The second of these is contrast. This helps the monitor achieve a desired gamma setting. Today’s standard is Gamma 2.2, and I recommend this setting. The final calibration is white point. You must be able to adjust the individual red, green, and blue channels to create custom white points. A preset white point of 6500K may, in fact, be 6300K or 6800k. You cannot trust these preset options because they many not be accurate to begin with, and may shift over time.

A great monitor choice is LaCie’s 700 series. It uses a technology called RGB-LED – Backlit. Because it is RGB-LED, it can achieve significantly larger color gamuts than any other monitor available. The 724 (24 in.) and 730 (30 in.) can achieve 123% of Adobe 1998. Also, the bit depth is now 14 bit. This is the best option for the Adobe 1998 and ProPhoto color space user.

If you are interested in getting a new monitor, please feel free to contact a LexJet account specialist at 800-453-9538 and we can figure out the best solution for your needs.