HP Demonstrates New Ideas for Photo Exhibitions

By Eileen Fritsch
Editor, LexJet’s In Focus Newsletter

When I attend photo-industry trade shows for LexJet, I look for new ideas, trends, products, and services that can help professional photographers do more with their wide-format inkjet printers. So I always like to see how the “big-three” printer manufacturers are promoting their products. Last week, I talked about some of Epson’s educational activities related to PDN PhotoPlus Expo (PPE) in New York in October.

Some of the images in Joel Meyerowitz's exhibition were converted into immersive wall graphics that capture the essence of New York City's parks. These images at the entrance to the gallery were printed on an HP Designjet L65500 latex-ink printer.

Today, I want to talk about an exceptional panel discussion that HP organized at PPE to show how photojournalists are redefining themselves now that fewer publications are hiring them for assignments. Entitled New Ideas, New Beginnings, the panel discussion was moderated by Harald Johnson, who wrote the groundbreaking book Mastering Digital Printing.

The panelists included Magnum photographers Thomas Hoepker and Joel Meyerowitz (who are using HP Designjet Z3200 wide-format printers to make their own exhibition prints) and Eileen Gittins, the enterprising photography enthusiast who founded Blurb (which uses HP Indigo digital presses to print hundreds of thousands photo books a year, in quantities as small as one book at a time).

Thomas Hoepker started out by talking about how difficult it has become to make money in stock photography—particularly now that Corbis has a collection of 100 million images, Getty has 60 million images, and iStock Photo has roughly 1.8 million contributors. The good news, he said, is that digital imaging allows photographers to do more things for themselves, such as printing their own exhibitions and collector prints. He said he never really planned to get into fine-art photography or making his own prints. But after he developed a retrospective exhibition of his 40+ year career in photojournalism, he started getting calls from collectors.

Until then, Hoepker had only been using dye-based printers for proofs and comps. But now he uses the HP Designjet Z3200 wide-format inkjet printer to produce the pigment-ink prints he sells to collectors for thousands of dollars each. Like others at the PPE show, Hoepker said inkjet printing has become straightforward enough that you don’t have to become a printing geek to get exhibition-worthy results. He believes that because of the explosion of images online, there is a newfound appreciation for printed images, especially big prints.

Joel Meyerowitz used an HP Designjet Z3200 to make his own prints for an exhibition that runs through March 7 at the Museum of the City of New York.

Next up was Joel Meyerowitz, who talked about how he used an HP Designjet Z3200 to print all 75 of the 40 x 50-in. and 30 x 40 in. images displayed in his new exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York. Entitled Legacy: The Preservation of Wilderness in New York City Parks, the exhibition displays the best of the 3,000 images Meyerowitz shot during three-year project to document the remaining pockets of “wilderness” in the 29,000 acres of parks in New York’s five boroughs.

To give exhibition visitors the sense they are entering the natural world in New York, some of Meyerowitz’s images of trees and rivers were printed as big as 9 x 12 ft. using HP’s new Designjet L65500 latex-ink printer. These oversized prints were installed as “immersive graphics” on the walls and floors of the exhibition’s entryway. Meyerowitz said he was skeptical at first at how well his images would look when output on a printer used for commercial graphics, but said he was pleasantly surprised by the quality.

Along with the exhibition prints, Meyerowitz worked with the Aperture Foundation to produce a limited-edition boxed set that includes a coffeetable book about the Legacy project, a limited-edition book about the Hallett Nature Sanctuary in Central Park printed on an HP Indigo 5500 digital press, and a pigment-ink print output on an HP Designjet Z3200. Each print and limited-edition book is numbered and signed by Meyerowitz. The collector’s “boxed set” represents a new concept for selling art prints in conjunction with photo books.

Meyerowitz’s boxed set used a concept similar to the one introduced by the three artists of the Digital Atelier in HP’s booth at the Print 09 show. The Digital Atelier boxed set combined a book about their pioneering work in digital printmaking, along with limited-edition prints that had been produced with a variety of HP’s aqueous, solvent, and UV-curable ink printing technologies.

The final panelist was Eileen Gittins who said when she founded Blurb in 2001 she envisioned it primarily as a way for consumers to print small quantities of professional-looking photo books. Since then, Blurb has become extremely popular with professional photographers. She said many pro photographers are using books not only as portfolio books, but also to promote their work with fan clubs and social causes. For example, if you use social networking to build a community of fans for your photography, you can publish a Blurb book and sell it through your own blog and website. Blurb lets you set your own price for a book and keep all of the profits.

Photographers who serve  as the official photographer for special events often publish books and sell them on Blurb. Gittins says this can be a great way for young photographers to gain national exposure and attract their “natural audience”—people who are enthusiastic and passionate about the same subjects and causes they are. Some photographers are gaining nationwide recognition by creating photo books to promote a cause, then donating the proceeds to charity.

After the presentation was over, it was clear that the panelists had succeeded in encouraging the audience to thnk differently. The panelists had conveyed two important messages:

  • Just because today’s markets for professional photography aren’t the same as they once were doesn’t mean that there aren’t real opportunities to build a career for yourself as a photographer.
  • Now that digital printing technologies have replicated (or exceeded) the printing methods used in the past, the time has come to start exploring how digital-printing technologies can be used to do create photo products and presentations that were never practical before.

Note that if the idea of creating immersive graphics for your next photo exhibition intrigues you, call one of the account specialists at LexJet at 800-453-9538.

In addition to teaching pro photographers how to print their own work, the tech-support team at LexJet has taught literally thousands of photo labs and printing businesses how to use their wide-format inkjet printers to create all types of graphics, including wall murals, floor graphics and window graphics. If you’d rather not make big graphics yourself, we can refer you to printing companies in your area that can.

What’s the Future of Imaging?

6SightFutureofImagingUndertstanding what’s next for imaging is important for anyone who earns a living from visual communications, because rapid advances in imaging technologies can either profoundly disrupt existing business models or create exciting new opportunities. Helping imaging businesses remain aware of emerging technologies is a key goal of the 6Sight Future of Imaging Conference Nov. 10-12 at the Monterey Conference Center in Monterey, CA.

6Sight Conference Chair Alexis Gerard
6Sight Conference Chair Alexis Gerard

In a video on the 6Sight website, conference chair Alexis Girard notes that over the past 20 years, four linked building blocks—computers, image capture devices, the Internet, and wireless telecommunications—have profoundly changed how we all capture and use images.

Together, these linked building blocks have enabled everyone to use visuals in all of our personal and business communications, and in every aspect of our lives. But, Gerard notes, “This infrastructure isn’t static. The more it grows and develops, the more opportunity it creates.”

Here are some of the topics that will be discussed at the 6Sight event:

Computational Photography: Whereas digital photography is essentially an electronic version of film photography, computational photography exploits plentiful low-cost computing and memory with new kinds of digitally enabled sensors, optics, probes, smart lighting and communication to capture information far beyond a simple set of pixels. It promises a richer, multi-layered visual experience that may include depth, fused photo-video representations, or multispectral imagery.

The latest developments in computational photography will be presented by Ramesh Raskar, head of the Camera Culture research group at the Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Raskar says, “I believe we are on the cusp of significant technical and conceptual changes in how we view and practice imaging.”

3D Imaging: Now that Hollywood is moving aggressively into 3D movies, TV manufacturers are rushing to offer 3D-capable screens to bring that content home. At the same time, major technology advances are revolutionizing 3D image capture and lenticular printing. Speakers from Fujifilm, THX, Adobe and HumanEyes and other industry experts will discuss the challenges and opportunities related to bringing 3D into the consumer mainstream.

For example, now that 3D imaging capabilities are available in Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended and being taught at conferences such as Photoshop World, will more professional photographers and artists start exploring its creative possibilities? Lenticular artist Bonny Lhotka will discuss some of the thought processes that go into creating 3D artwork, citing examples from a collection of her lenticular art prints that will be displayed at the Monterey Conference Center’s Alvarado Gallery.

Artist Bonny Lhotka has already produced 3D and motion prints for office and spa décor projects. Shown here is an image that will be displayed in the Alvarado Gallery.
Artist Bonny Lhotka has already produced 3D and motion prints for office and spa décor projects. This is one of the prints that will be featured in the Conference Center gallery.

The Rise of the Amateur: Thanks to better cameras and continuing improvements in the ability to share and sell images online, what was once a niche amateur photography market is exploding into a mass-market for personal expression. A panel of industry executives will discuss challenges and opportunities for monetizing amateur content.

On-Demand Printing Opportunities: Rick Smolan, who created the Day in the Life and America 24/7 books will report on “The Obama Time Capsule,” his experiment in which every photo book is different for every book buyer.  And imaging technology expert Scott Brownstein will talk about “Bridging the Gap to the New Output Opportunity,” focusing on some of the technology challenges that must be solved in order to enable mass-market, image-rich document creation and production

The Future of Photography: Large-format landscape photographer and digital imaging pioneer Stephen Johnson will help conference attendees envision the future of photography. He will talk about the digital cameras of tomorrow, the future of digital imaging, and the broad possibilities of photography itself. 

The complete program is posted on the 6Sight website.

If some of the topics discussed at 6Sight seem a bit esoteric, Alexis Gerard raises one other point in his online video: It’s only been 7 or 8 years since the first commercial camera phone hit the market. All you have to do is look at your iPhone to realize how quickly new imaging technologies can develop and reshape business opportunities.

The 6Sight Imaging Conference is organized by Future Image, PMA, and AIE, the Association of Imaging Executives.  Most of the content is geared toward executives of companies that develop imaging hardware and software. The more practical business opportunities and marketing implications of some of the emerging technologies discussed at the 6Sight conference are usually examined in more detail at sessions at the PMA and DIMA (Digital Imaging Marketing Association) Conferences held in the spring.  The 2010 DIMA Conference will be held Feb. 20-21 in Anaheim, CA, followed by the 2010 PMA Conference and Trade Show Feb. 21-23.

PDN PhotoPlus Conference Can Help Photojournalists Adapt to Changing Markets

In a recent issue of the New York Times, reporter David Jolly created some buzz with his story headlined: Lament for a Dying Field: Photojournalism. He pointed to the sharp cutbacks in newspaper and magazine photography budgets, the financial woes of international photo agencies, and the fact that pictures and video shot by amateurs are often posted to websites minutes after a newsworthy event occurs.

Although it has become tougher for many photographers to make a decent living shooting images for mass-media publication, Jolly presents reasons for optimism. He quotes the CEO of Getty Images who notes the Web provides billions of pages on which photographers can show their work.  And, he quotes a former Time magazine photographer who reminds us that visual storytelling has been around since the Stone Age and may actually be enhanced by some of the changes that are occurring.

The annual PDN PhotoPlus Expo at the Jacob Javits Center in NY attracts thousands of professionals in the photographic and imaging industry.
The annual PDN PhotoPlus Expo at the Jacob Javits Center in NY attracts thousands of professionals in the photographic and imaging industry.

If you look at the Conference program for 2009 PDN PhotoPlus International Expo and Conference, Oct. 22-24 in New York, it’s clear that Conference organizers understand these market shifts and want to help photographers capitalize on some of these changes.

If the business models that supported a golden age of photojournalism are no longer viable, professional photographers must remain aware of other options.

More than 100 seminars are planned at PhotoPlus. Many sessions are focused on opportunities in four key areas: (1) fine art photography; (2) wedding photography and portraiture; (3) microstock photography (including direct online sales and licensing); and (4) multimedia and video. Here’s a quick overview of some of the sessions planned in these four areas, along with some of the highlights of other sessions that can help photographers in all fields update their business and marketing operations.

Fine Art. Photographers interested in fine-art photography can attend sessions on printmaking, high-quality framing, and marketing. For example, in the session Finding Your Place in the Art World, a panel of gallery directors and curators will provide insights into exhibiting and marketing your work. In a session called Presenting Your Work to the Fine Art Community, Mary Virginia Swanson will talk about strategies for submitting work to national and international juried exhibitions and portfolio review events such as FotoFest, Photolucida and European festivals. She will also discuss art fairs such as AIPAD and Photo LA in terms of assessing market trends and helping photo artists determine which dealers are most appropriate for their work.

In the session on The Fine Digital Print, John Paul Caponigro will distill “everything you need to know about inkjet printing in one short, intense session.” He will point out that “You can make inkjet prints that look like any traditional or alternative-process print, or you can make inkjet prints that look like no other media.” Sean Perry will talk about The Fine Art of Black & White and Stephen Johnson will discuss Down to Earth Color Management.

Mac Holbert and Henry Wilhelm will once again join a panel of experts offering advice on how to best mount, mat and frame digital prints. The panel will discuss all aspects of the process, including current gallery and museum practices, different types of frames, face-mounting to acrylic sheets, the potential display permanence benefits of UV framing glass, and protective coatings for canvas prints that won’t be framed behind glass.

 Weddings and Portraiture. Earlier this year, PDN announced that Skip Cohen, president of Marketing Essentials International, has joined the organization as editor of its annual Wedding, Portrait and Event guide (WPE). For the past seven years, Cohen served as President of Rangefinder Publishing, which included Rangefinder, AfterCapture magazines, and the WPPI association for wedding and portrait photographers.

The PhotoPlus Conference Program lists nine sessions in its wedding and portrait track, including sessions on wedding photography by Bambi Cantrell, Doug Gordon, and Joe Buissink. Cohen will present one of the sessions on business and marketing, discussing ideas for diversification, cost-effective self-promotion, generating publicity, networking, cross-promotion, packaging, direct mail, and website development.

Microstock.  One of the most eye-opening sessions on the topic of stock photography is likely to be the workshop on Tools for Selling Stock Direct. Panelists from Photo Shelter, ImageSpan, LookStat, and Creative Commons will discuss some the new tools that enable photographers to license their existing images directly to clients. Other sessions include Microstock: What We Learned in 2009 and Shooting Stock: Creating Exceptional Work and Marking Your Ideas Profitable.

Multimedia and Video. Sessions on this topic include titles such as Multimedia & Video: New Opportunities for the Still Photographer; Cinematography with a DSLR; Motion Pictures: Creating Successful Stock Footage; and The Documentary Hybrid: Photography and Filmmaking.

Business, Online Marketing and Social Networking. The PhotoPlus Expo program includes workshops on strategic estimating, negotiating with clients, determining how much to charge, and building your brand.

A session on the Twitter Revolution will explain how photographers can use Twitter to connect and engage with clients and customers and how to turn followers, friends, and fans into customers and brand evangelists for your services.

Speaker Jeff Cutro will discuss how to use Podcasting & Social Media to build an audience of people who are anxious to hear and see your next project.

In the seminar entitled Is Your Website Making You Money?, Blake Discher will discuss some of the techniques you can use to achieve greater visibility for your website in the major search engines. He will talk about proper keyword phrases and links and search-engine friendly site design and copywriting. He will also discuss how to effectively implement a link-building campaign to increase page rank.

In a three-hour session entitled Photographer Makeover, Jack Hollingsworth will talk about how all types of photographers can use Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Flickr, Friendfeed and other social and digital-media marketing tools to help reinvent their photo businesses. He will also talk about blogs, videos, podcasting, vlogging, and other tools will forever change the way you think about your business and your relationship with today’s customers.

Other Sessions. PhotoPlus will also feature many sessions on Photoshop and Lightroom, lighting, photo book publishing, sports photography, commercial photography, fashion photography, and editorial and glamour portraiture. And for the many photographers who continue to have a passion for photojournalism, PhotoPlus will present sessions entitled Careers on the Frontline of Social Issues in Unusual Times; Redefining the News Agenda in the 21st Century; and How to Fund and Produce Reportage in the New Economic Environment.

Photography Conference Stresses Need for Both Artistry and Profitability

Can I stay true to my artistic spirit and make money, too? That question has always bedeviled professional photographers and other creative souls who want to earn a decent living doing something they love. But finding a satisfactory answer has become more urgent as the recession has deepened and droves of newcomers and part-time photographers have entered the photography business.

Many photography pros are likely to be ready for some fresh ideas and inspiration come January when they start analyzing their financial results for 2009. That’s when some other tough questions tend to crop up: How can I do better financially next year? What can I do to bring in more revenues?

iusa_logoThat’s why it’s encouraging to review the conference program planned for the Professional Photographers of America’s Imaging USA Conference, Jan. 10-12 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville, TN.  Along with sessions focusing on technical proficiency and photographic artistry, the PPA conference organizers have lined up sessions that explain how to differentiate yourself in a crowded market, sell new types of photo products, and update your marketing efforts.  The titles of some sessions are self-explanatory. For example:

  • Standing Out from the Crowd-Guaranteed
  • Achieve Amazing Results Against the Odds
  • Facebook was Made for Photographers
  • The One-Two Punch: Rockin’ Images + Social Networking = Business Explosion
  • Take Your Studio to the Next Level
  • What It Takes to Make the Salary You Need: New PPA Financial Benchmark Survey
  • Stop Wasting Your Time: Manage Your Workflow
  • Creating the Red-Hot Wedding Studio

In a session entitled Standing in the Shallow End of the Pool and Looking Good, Parker J Pfister will suggest many ways to differentiate your studio, including new shooting styles, unique products, and sales techniques.

During a session entitled Making the Most of Your Talents, photographers Tina and Michael Timmons of The Portrait Gallery will discuss how to diversify your portrait business by photographing, manipulating, and selling customizable portraits as interior décor. As they point out in the course description: “Every home and business is an opportunity—each has a need for imagery to be part of their surroundings.”

In the class called A Cut Above, Julie Klaasmeyer will talk about custom wall art and ways to create a demand for products that are cut above your competition.

And in the workshop entitled Product Design: Plain, Simple, and Profitable, Allison and Jeff Rodgers will discuss how to present clients with photo product designs that work in their own personal spaces.

If you start to feel overwhelmed by all of the business and sales advice, you can attend creativity-inspiring sessions such as Where Have All the Artists Gone? and The Portrait As an Art Form.  As always, one of the very best ways to differentiate yourself is to shoot visibly superior images that make a lasting impression and emotional connection.    

Newcomers to the photography business may want to arrive at Imaging USA early to attend half-day, one-day, or two-day sessions on topics such as:

  • Photographic Essentials When Turning Pro
  • The Business of Photography
  • Business and Financial Management
  • Sales and Customer Service
  • Marketing and Promotions

Other sessions cover specialties such as baby and children’s portraiture, wedding photography, and sports photography. There will also be an outstanding exhibition of award-winning prints and an expo of new equipment, software, and services.

You can keep up with all of the plans for Imaging USA 2010 through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the RSS Feed from the Imaging USA website.

In the meantime, if you’d like some personalized advice on fresh ways to grow your photography business and differentiate yourself in a crowded market, call one of the helpful account specialists at LexJet at 800-453-9538. We have a lot of ideas, too!

All of the Imaging USA events will be held in the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, the largest non-gaming facility in the continental US.
All of the Imaging USA events will be held in the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, the largest non-gaming facility in the continental US.