Prints that Win: Love Lake

Wedding Photography by Todd Hicken

The setting for this Sunset Print Award winner at the Intermountain Professional Photographers competition last month is quite stunning, but it’s the photographer’s rendering of the scenery with the bride and groom that makes this one a winner.

The photographer, Todd Hicken, owner of Impact Photography in Heber City, Utah, wasn’t shooting with the competition in mind, but he knew he had something worthy when he captured the image.

“I shoot tethered so I was able to see how the light was and the overall composition. I have a laptop there with me so I can crop it and see the composition I want while I’m shooting. I knew it would be a nice landscape and I cropped it long and skinny for perspective,” says Hicken.

To give it that little extra boost, Hicken printed the image for competition on Sunset Photo Metallic Paper with his Epson Stylus Pro 11880.

“The Sunset Metallic is pretty darn close to what you can get from a darkroom print on metallic paper, and gives it a little more pop for competition,” says Hicken.

The Epson 11880 is a big printer; 64 inches wide, to be exact. Hicken says that the combination of a Hasselblad with a Phase One digital back makes it easier to sell the big prints he can produce on the Epson.

“We do a lot of big prints. Two days ago I printed a 30″ x 60″ and a 30″ x 52” with it for large family portraits. I mainly photograph families and children and an occasional wedding,” says Hicken. “This bride-and-groom image was part of a high-end photography package that was one of only two weddings I shot last year.”

Since Hicken printed on a Sunset paper, he received an iPad Mini, in addition to a Sunset Print Award trophy and pin and a gift certificate. He is also automatically entered into the Sunset Print Award national competition.

In order to be entered into the national competition, you must win a Sunset Print Award at one of the competitions where it’s being presented. To find out more, and which competitions will present a Sunset Print Award, go to Congratulations, Todd!

Where They Are Now: Ben Ham is on the Move

Ben Ham Images
Ben Ham on location on one of his Colorado high country photo expeditions.

We profiled Ben Ham in the monthly eNewsletter, In Focus, about six years ago. At that time he was already well established as a fine art photographer of South Carolina’s low country, his beautiful black-and-white landscapes adorning galleries and high-end properties, including HGTV’s Green Home in 2008.

It was inevitable that Ham’s work would find a wider audience and that his photographic lens would widen to encompass other landscapes across the U.S. and even Europe. Ham is not only a consummate artist, but a savvy businessperson who obviously enjoys meeting new people and forging relationships in the art market.

“All through the economic downturn I didn’t change the way I was doing things because of the economy,” explains Ham. “Instead, I raised my prices and focused on branding and building that brand. It’s important to maintain the value of what you’re doing. When you drop your prices it lowers the value of your work and makes people wonder if you were gouging them before you brought the prices down.”

Ben Ham Production Studio
Ben Ham’s production facility, which has been upgraded in recent years to improve quality and efficiency.

Instead, Ham invested in more and better production equipment to improve the quality of his finished pieces. In other words, he wanted to ensure that his clientele would benefit from the full value of his expertise, concentrating on the details that make the difference between a framed print and a true piece of collectible fine art.

“I’ve built some real strategic relationships with vendors like LexJet, as well as frame and molding companies. We needed the production equipment to create a better product and do it more efficiently, like a double miter saw, pneumatic frame jointing equipment and a new Epson 9900,” explains Ham. “Now it’s all about building a team of people to help me do that; a good team in a work environment where everyone’s enjoying it, making money, and moving forward to build something big.”

Ben Ham Printing
Ben Ham’s studio includes a gallery in the front. Ham prints most of his work on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Ultra Smooth from LexJet, as well as LexJet Sunset Cotton Etching Paper.

Long a staple of high-end galleries in South Carolina and Vail, Colo., Ham’s framed pieces will find a home of their own in a gallery Ham is opening in downtown Charleston dedicated to his work. The renovation of the space on King Street is scheduled for completion in early November.

“We’ve always been represented by a great gallery in Charleston, but no one knows how to sell and represent our work better than we do. Now we have the space we need, which is important because my smallest piece is 3′ x 4′; you can’t get a lot of gallery wall space with pieces that size,” explains Ham. “I started looking for the space and it took me about a year to find it. Now, it will be a Ben Ham Images gallery with more than 30 pieces of mine showcased in there, plus more from the collection of what I do beyond Low Country photography, like Colorado and Italy. I expect this new gallery to triple our business.”

Ben Ham Gallery
Ben Ham’s gallery on King Street in Charleston is being remodeled and is scheduled to open in November.

Rated the number one city in the U.S. by Conde Nast Traveler readers, Ham’s location in Charleston will bring his work to a wide audience of tourists from across the U.S. and the world. Ham expects the gallery to be a real game changer for his business, with 2,300 feet of gallery space in a prime street-front location housed in an old and historic building. “It’s incredible what’s going on in Charleston, and we want to be in the center of it,” says Ham.

Katie Lindler, who was previously gallery director at Coleman Fine Art, will take over the reins at Ham’s Charleston gallery. “She really knows what she’s doing and I’m super-psyched to have her on board,” says Ham. “I have no doubts about what we can do in Charleston, and it’s template for what we’ll do in the future.”

Honoring the Veterans of World War I in Multiple Media

World War I Exhibition
David DeJonge’s traveling exhibition, printed on LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth, educates school children and honors America’s World War I veterans.


David DeJonge may be the world’s busiest photographer. DeJonge and his wife Gayle run two thriving photography and imaging businesses and two non-profits.

You may be familiar with the non-profit portion of DeJonge’s work, which has been featured on major television networks and countless other media outlets. We also featured it here a few years ago as DeJonge was putting together a traveling exhibition honoring World War I veterans printed on LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth.

Pershing's Last Patriot
Pershing’s Last Patriot is a 90-minute documentary about the last surviving WWI veteran, Frank Buckles, that’s an offshoot of David DeJonge’s photographic documentation and subsequent traveling exhibition. DeJonge printed posters for each screening of the film on LexJet Premium Archival Matte Paper.

The idea for the traveling exhibition, geared toward students across the country, spawned from DeJonge’s photo documentary work with the last surviving WWI veterans as part of the Faces of Five Wars, covering WWI through Desert Storm.

The traveling exhibition then spawned a permanent exhibition at the Pentagon, a 90-minute feature-length documentary, the $3 million restoration of a World War I memorial on the National Mall, and the introduction of a law to build a national memorial to World War I on the Mall as well (HR 222:

Pentagon Exhibition by David DeJonge
DeJonge’s work, also printed on LexJet inkjet media, led to a permanent exhibit at the Pentagon.

The traveling exhibition was a hit, and continues to travel to schools and educational organizations. DeJonge estimates that 50,000 students have seen the exhibition.

“Over the years, the panels we printed for the exhibition have held up incredibly well. They were rolled up in a tube for about eight months at one point and we wondered what might have happened to them.  We unrolled them and they were perfect; they weren’t wrinkled at all,” says DeJonge. “That show is back out on the road and we’re preparing for the 100th anniversary of World War I next year. Who would have thought this would be a 12-year journey?”

DeJonge is also spearheading a 90-minute documentary about the last surviving World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, that opened in Iowa on April 15. Buckles passed away in 2011 at the age of 110.

Demand was such that the film has been screened 24 more times since that initial screening. DeJonge also printed movie posters for the screenings on LexJet Premium Archival Matte Paper.

David DeJonge may be the world's busiest photographer, running a high-end portrait studio, running cross-country for his non-profit World War I educational and documentary projects, and the recent startup of Legacy Icons, which reproduces religious icons on LexJet inkjet media and is shipped worldwide.
David DeJonge may be the world’s busiest photographer, running a high-end portrait studio, running cross-country for his non-profit World War I educational and documentary projects, and the recent startup of Legacy Icons, which reproduces religious icons on LexJet inkjet media and is shipped worldwide.

If that wasn’t enough, DeJonge recently launched Legacy Icons, which are reproductions of religious icons printed on multiple LexJet products including LexJet Sunset Velvet Rag and shipped worldwide. This is all in addition to the full-time high-end photography studio, DeJonge Studio in Grand Rapids, Mich.

DeJonge is often on the road overseeing his various projects, so he plugs in remotely to work on files and print remotely, while his wife handles the final production at the studio. Long 16-18 hour days are not unusual when DeJonge is on the road.

For more information about DeJonge’s efforts to honor World War I veterans, go to:

Documenting the Latino Experience in America with Inkjet Photo Printing

Photographic Art Exhibition Printing
Gihan Tubbeh’s work for the LATINO/US Cotidiano exhibition in Washington, D.C., printed by Bridget Sue Lambert on a Canon iPF8300 from LexJet on LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper.


Bridget Sue Lambert launched her diverse and eclectic visual arts business about a year ago. With the discerning eye of an artist and a photographer, and years of fine art and photographic printmaking behind her, Lambert was well equipped to handle the important and relatively massive project that came through her doors earlier this year.

Art Exhibition Printing
Photographic art by Ricardo Cases printed by Bridget Sue Lambert for the LATINO/US Cotidiano exhibition in Washington D.C.

The project, entitled LATINO/US Cotidiano (cotidiano means “everyday life”) and created and produced by SPAIN arts & culture, is the culmination of a wide-ranging group of photographers – a dozen total – who captured the Latino experience in America. Their work would then be translated into large format for the benefit of visitors to an exhibition in Washington, D.C.

Lambert would end up printing 95 images, ranging from approximately 20″ x 30″ to 40″ x 60″ (Lambert worked in millimeters since she was coordinating images with a dozen photographers located at various points on the globe).

Inkjet Printing and Proofing
Laying out the artwork and comparing proofs to final prints at Lambert’s studio. The large image in the foreground is by Ricardo Cases.

The exhibit is on display at the former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain at 2801 16th Street NW in Washington, D.C., and will be featured there until May 12. The exhibition will then pick up stakes and tour various cities across the U.S.

Claudi Carreras, one of the foremost experts on IberoAmerican Latino photography, was commissioned to research and select established and emerging photographers of Latino descent who both embrace the theme of the exhibit and excel at their craft.

The exhibition included noted artists Carlos Alvarez Montero, Sol Aramendi, Katrina Marcelle d’Autremont, Cale, Ricardo Cases, Livia Corona, Hector Mata, Karen Miranda, Dulce Pinzon, Susana Raab, Stefan Ruiz and Gihan Tubbeh.

“They let me pick the paper the images were printed on, and I chose LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper because it prints nicely, has a good price point and is durable,” explains Lambert. “The challenge was working with 12 different photographers who are justifiably particular about their work, and I wanted to do the best I possibly could for each image.”

Printing and Framing Photos
Printed and framed for exhibition are two of Karen Miranda’s photographic art pieces for the exhibition. Lambert worked with Light LLC, who framed the pieces.

Lambert used the Canon iPF8300 inkjet printer she bought from LexJet and printed the images through Photoshop. She printed proofs before submitting the images for printing at their final sizes.

“Jayme McClellan, who runs Civilian Art Projects, was a liaison on this project. She came in and we checked the proofs, made any changes and printed it to the size specified. I keep records of proofs and once approved I use Photoshop to bring the layers over with the proper adjustments I made to get it right. I want to keep what the artist intended; not what I intended. Photographers spend a lot of time adjusting their images before they print and I made sure to preserve those adjustments,” says Lambert. “I did all the printing over a month’s timeframe, which is challenging, and only lost five final prints that I had to re-print. When I went to the opening of the exhibition, I had not met most of the artists. Three of them came up to me and told me they loved how their images looked, so that was a relief.”

Lambert had the images framed at Light LLC, Silver Spring, Md. She works with Jeff Knabb, who does most of Lambert’s photo mounting and framing. Lambert and Knabb delivered the prints, which were framed in thin, black metal frames behind plexiglass, to the exhibition in batches of 30 or so.

Photographic Exhibition of Inkjet Printed Photography
The opening of the exhibition at the former Residence of the Ambassadors of Spain at 2801 16th Street NW in Washington, D.C., which will be featured there until May 12 and then will travel to cities across the U.S.

“The artists were excited about the prints: the eSatin has a nice weight and is durable so you don’t have to worry as much about moving the prints around. It’s a lot more forgiving than other photo papers; it cuts and prints great. I’ve never had any quality issues with this paper,” she says.

Lambert adds that the support she received from Canon and her LexJet customer specialist, Rob Finkel, was instrumental in ensuring a smooth and ultimately successful process from start to finish.

“The support from Canon has been amazing. I had a printhead go down in the middle of the project, but fortunately it was under warranty and Canon got it over to me the next day. If I had to buy another printer, I would definitely buy another Canon,” Lambert says. “Rob is always helpful. I couldn’t do half of what I did without his help. I appreciate the support he provides that’s above and beyond what anyone else provides.”

For more information about the exhibit and the artists:

Feature at BBC News Magazine

LATINO/US Cotidiano at Flickr

LATINO/US Cotidiano backgrounder at SPAIN arts & culture

Building Business with In-House Inkjet Printing and Samples at Arc Studios

Printing Promotional Graphics with an Inkjet PrinterAaron Thomason, owner of Arc Studios Photography in Dalton, Ga., knows the value of a print. It’s what helps showcase and sell his artistic portrait photography.

With a variety of inkjet-printable media from which to choose through LexJet, Thomason is able to present his work in a variety of formats, each with its own unique look.

“I don’t have to do any advertising other than the promotional printing I do for my studio and storefront. I can place a banner stand next to the street so people driving by can see it, so I get a lot of people stopping in who saw it when they drove or walked by the studio,” says Thomason. “I typically use a big image with just a few simple words so that my studio is in the back of their mind when they need something I can provide.”

For banner stands, Thomason uses a LexJet Blizzard Outdoor Stand with LexJet TOUGHcoat Water-Resistant Polypropylene, and on his storefront windows he uses Photo Tex Repositionable Fabric. “I change those images up regularly and they work great. They see some rain and other weather, but the images have held up fine,” says Thomason.

Printing Promotional Graphics Inkjet PrinterOn the inside of the studio, Thomason showcases canvas gallery wraps printed on either LexJet Sunset Reserve Bright Matte Canvas or LexJet Sunset Production Matte Canvas, and Photo Tex for wall murals.

He also uses LexJet Sunset Photo Metallic Paper for images that lend themselves to the pearlescent pop of the paper.

“Before I started doing my own printing I was lucky if I sold one canvas print per session. Now I’m able to sell three or four canvases per portrait client since I was able to bring the price down by doing it in-house,” explains Thomason. “We stretch the canvas here on a 1 1/2″ frame and add the UV coating, so I’m able to produce canvas less expensively for my customers, deliver it on time and ultimately sell more canvas.”

Prints that Win: Little Miss Muffet

Using Corel Painter for portrait photographySome of the greatest photography is accidental, or at least not pre-planned and posed. Such was the case with Little Miss Muffet, which won a LexJet Sunset Award, Best in Show and Best Portrait of a Child at the recent American Photographic Artists Guild (APAG) competition.

For Little Miss Muffet, it was less accidental and more what the winning photographer, Tracye Gibson, calls a “grab shot.”

“My camera was on a stand and my Pocket Wizard was in my hand. I was adjusting lighting while she was playing around and making silly faces. I knew the lighting wasn’t perfect and neither was the focus, but since I usually paint my images in Corel Painter anyway, I just kept snapping away while I was adjusting everything,” recalls Gibson. “When a good friend, who knows my style of work, saw the raw images, she said, ‘You have got to paint that as Little Miss Muffet!’ Sure enough, she was right.”

For the competition, the image was printed with her Epson Stylus Pro 7800 on LexJet Sunset Photo Gloss Paper 300g, laminated with a gloss laminate and applied to a foam board. Gibson says Sunset Photo Gloss shows up better in competition lighting and the blacks, color and contrast pop more.

Award winning competition photography“The style I use is more of an oil-painting look so it doesn’t work as well on matte or art papers. I plan to experiment with canvas at competition, because they’re going to allow that now and I’ll use a gloss coating in that case,” says Gibson. “I print a lot of my painted photography on canvas and hand-embellish it with acrylic, which is a lot of fun.”

Gibson says that the ability to print her own work helps alleviate any unwanted surprises.

When she first printed Little Miss Muffet she noticed that the shadow behind the spider had a lot banding because she used a Gaussian blur and lowered the opacity, which will sometimes cause unwanted banding.

“I couldn’t see it on the monitor, but once I printed it I saw it and I was so glad I print my own work. If I had sent it out, they probably wouldn’t have noticed it. The judges would be sure to notice it, however,” she says. “In competition I like to use an actual a print; a lot of people are now submitting their entries digitally and I think that’s a loss for the industry. Number one, you don’t want to sell digital files to a client, plus I feel like I have more control with a printed image, because you don’t know what kind of viewing conditions a digital file will be under.”

Little Miss Muffet obviously caught the judges’ eyes and any flaws that could have deducted points were caught by Gibson in the print proofing stage. And, like many award-winning photos, Little Miss Muffet tells a story.

“When I first painted the spider, for instance, it was too scary. I wanted it to look more like a storybook so I ended up painting a smiley face on it; the spider was still scary, but it gave it more an illustrative storybook feel to it,” explains Gibson. “Plus, my favorite images of kids are those where they’re not smiling big, cheeky smile. In Little Miss Muffet, she has a shocked look on her face, so it’s not the typical portrait.”