The Difference a Printer Makes at Philadelphia’s Life Art Imaging

Printing fine photo art
Stacey Granger with a framed 44" x 66" version of her fine art photo of Philadelphia's Broad Street, printed on Sunset Photo eSatin with her new Canon iPF8300 wide format inkjet printer.

There’s nothing more frustrating than losing a sale at the point of sale, particularly when the buyer is willing and able to buy on the spot. That’s the situation that Stacey Granger, owner of Life Art Imaging in Philadelphia, was too often finding herself in as would-be customers walked away empty handed.

The problem was being able to fulfill a custom print size for these walk-in customers who marveled at Granger’s selection of fine art photographic renditions of Philadelphia cityscapes and other urban and natural scenes.

Printing fine art and fine photosThe solution was a Canon iPF8300 wide format inkjet printer from LexJet, which Granger purchased this past June. The acquisition, says Granger, has been a revelation, not only increasing sales in the gallery section studio, but allowing her to be extra-responsive to those interested in displaying her work.

“I went into my archives one day and organized all my work and I started hanging it in my gallery to see if it would sell. It was an instant success, but I was losing business every weekend by not being able to fulfill orders for people walking in who wanted something in a different size,” explains Granger. “I think it paid for itself in the past six weeks just being able to print on the spot. We’re in downtown Philadelphia and every weekend people walk in and when they ask if I have a print in a different size and now I say, ‘I can have it ready for you in a few minutes. The printer is so easy to use and it comes out exactly as I designed it straight out of the printer.”

The majority of Granger’s printing so far has been on LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper, which Granger says she likes for the accurate colors and deep tones she’s able to get out of the paper, plus the paper’s heavy weight and thickness.

Printing decor for a restaurant
Providing decor for the Fare Restaurant in Philadelphia was one of the first challenges Granger was able to meet with her new printer. The owner needed more than a dozen new prints on Sunset Photo eSatin in various sizes right away and Granger was able to deliver the goods with her new Canon printer from LexJet.

Granger plans to experiment with other inkjet media, including Photo Tex PSA Fabric for an upcoming wall mural project at a local gym. “He wants gigantic stuff; large panoramics going all the way around the workout areas of the skylines I’ve shot. At first, he was looking for huge framed photos, but I suggested we apply Photo Tex and frame it out with trim wood so that it looks like a frame. They have three locations and for each one he wants photos from my collection of different areas of the city. I’ve worked with it before and I love it; I love the fact that it’s not like a vinyl sticker and that it’s a fabric. Art is art, so you shouldn’t just print it on vinyl banner and tie it off with grommets.”

The printer has also added dimension to the other components of Life Art Imaging: portrait art photography and fine art reproductions. With the flexibility to print on-demand and control the entire process, Granger can now go above and beyond with these clients: portrait clients get the prints from the session they want right away and fine art clients – for whom Granger was previously doing only capture – can get everything done in one place.

“I consider my work to be photo art. I truly don’t believe that people just take a photo these days, so I try to create art through photography, which is where I came up with the concept of Life Art,” says Granger.

The success Granger has had with the printer has simply added another dimension to the Life Art concept, and she attributes at least some of that success to her experience with LexJet.

“I’ve had an amazing experience with LexJet. I chose LexJet because a friend of mine bought a Canon from LexJet and who did a lot of research beforehand. He told me that LexJet has super-awesome customer service and helps you out a lot,” says Granger. “I know people who can’t get service or reach anyone on the phone if they have a problem, and getting materials can be a chore. When I order paper it shows up the next day, which is awesome. The quick turnaround is also cost effective, because I don’t have to sit on product inventory for a long time.”

WPPI University Continues in Atlanta, Las Vegas and Portland

WPPI University, the traveling two-day workshop from Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI), just concluded its first summer stop in New Jersey and moves on to Atlanta (July 24-25), Las Vegas (Aug. 13-14) and Portland, Ore. (Sept. 5-6).

Photography seminars and workshopsThe workshops are $149 per person and include a mini trade show, a portfolio review, seminars on a variety of topics, lunch and refreshments, a certificate of completion, and a free expo pass to WPPI 2013 in Las Vegas, March 7-14.

Educational tracks include Lighting, Portrait, Business, Business/Marketing, Social Media, Workflow, Seniors and Portrait, all taught by industry experts.

The portfolio review is a one-on-one or group review with one of WPPI’s judges, who will critique portfolios by identifying strengths and weaknesses and then will give advice on how to best showcase your portfolio.

For more information and to register, go to

Prints that Win: Bridging the Realism Gap

Painting photographs with Corel and Photoshop

Ann Naugher, owner of Hopkins Fine Portraits in Tulsa, is sought after far and wide for her artistic portraits of children. They bridge the gap between the realism of photography and what can be the surrealism of painting.

“My clients’ issue with a painting of their child is that it’s their child, and they don’t want to lose the realism of who their child is,” Naugher explains. “This bridges both worlds nicely where it’s an artistic feel but it looks like their child.”

In other words, with a painting, like a box of chocolates, you never really know what you’ll get. The image pictured here, called Windswept, perfectly illustrates this delicate balance. It’s a beautiful and artistic rendering of one of her client’s children, but it retains the character and essence of the subject.

Windswept won a LexJet Sunset Award in the Electronic Imaging category at the PPA’s Southeast district competition, and for good reason. It’s a tasteful, colorful and rich image that takes an ordinary portrait (displayed at the bottom right of the accompanying picture, below the final “painting”) and takes it to the next level.

“I’m more artist than technician, so the end result is based on feel. I retouch the photo so that the portrait starts out as the best possible portrait it can be. In Photoshop I start by drawing what I want that’s lacking in the image into the image. Then, I take the image into Corel Painter and not only paint what’s there, but I’ll add to it in Painter with the different brushes until it feels right,” explains Naugher. “I think it’s important to repeat colors and I tend to like images that have depth to them, so I like to work with the point where light is entering the portrait. In this case, it’s behind her, and instead of a tunnel of light I created a more circular feel to the background.”

Naugher adds that she usually applies oil painting highlights to the canvases that are produced from the digital work, which was not done for this competition. And, most of her competition prints are from actual client work, as was Windswept.

Free February Webinars from X-Rite Cover Color, Editing and Enhancement

X-Rite Photo Marketing announced its schedule of February 2012 Webinars that have been developed to address specific color management topics and are designed to appeal to both professional and serious amateur photographers.

Learn how to edit images in LightroomFebruary Webinar Schedule

Thursday, Feb. 9, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET, Editing Portraits in Photoshop & Getting Prints Back that Match Your Display!
Spend an hour with host Joe Brady learning how to edit portrait photographs to create images clients will love. Joe will share some of his favorite techniques, tips and tricks for adding shape, direction and finish to portraits. From simple blemish removal to complex reshaping of body parts, these step-by-step tutorials will enhance your Photoshop skills and improve your editing quality and speed.

Before starting any serious editing, it’s critical that a photographer’s monitor is calibrated and profiled. Joe will start with a short profiling demonstration and then dive into Photoshop edits.

Topics that will be covered include the why and how of monitor calibration and portrait edits from minor to major including: correcting color casts, exposure issues, blemish removal, body re-shaping, skin softening and “glows”, layer masking for local control, light shaping, adding “pop” to flat images, image sharpening and preparing files for lab printing.

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 11:00 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET, Image Edits and Enhancements in Lightroom 3
While many photographers have become comfortable with the basic image edits available in Adobe Lightroom 3, some of the more powerful image editing capabilities remain a mystery. Host Joe Brady will explore both basic and advanced image editing techniques in a software program every photographer should have.

Joe will first discuss Lightroom’s Library Module and deciding how and where to organize images. He will also discuss how to make sure a monitor is calibrated to show the most accurate color so that prints will match what is seen on screen as closely as possible. Joe will also share his favorite editing tips, including

retouching, creating masks for local adjustments, using the gradient tool, cropping for composition and other fine details to best prepare a file for printing.

Topics that will be covered include why monitor color is important for Lightroom 3 (and what can be expected in LR 4?) and image edits and batch processing including: Global image edits, local color and light adjustments, retouching both skin and landscape blemishes, composition, image sharpening options, and preparing files for lab printing.

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 1 p.m. ET, For the Birds! Nature Photography with Maxis Gamez
Nature photographer Maxis Gamez specializes in bird photography. As a self-taught photographer he views the world from a different perspective capturing powerful images that have been featured in Audubon, Shutterbug, Outdoor Photography Magazine, and Nature Photographers Magazine.

Maxis will share his secrets for capturing amazing images of birds relying on X-Rite color management solutions and Nik Software to enhance and finish his images. Attendees will learn how the X-Rite i1Display Pro and Nik Software’s Viveza 2 can give them the creative edge they need. Using live software demonstration Maxis will share some of his techniques for creating amazing bird photographs. He will demonstrate how to pull details from digital images using Nik’s Control Points showing the before and after results.

Who should attend: amateur and enthusiast photographers, nature and wildlife photographers, bird and raptor specialists, and birders interested in photography.

Thursday, Feb. 16, 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. ET, Edit & Enhance Landscape Images in Photoshop
Photographers spending an hour with host Joe Brady will learn how to enhance landscape images using Adobe Photoshop. Joe will share some of his favorite techniques and processes to bring out the beauty in landscape photography and will share his workflow, decision-making process and enhancement techniques to bring life into image files that just don’t match the beauty and spirit of the scene the way it’s remembered.

Following a short discussion about workstation color and calibration, Joe will show attendees step-by-step Photoshop edits that they can put to work right away to bring life and drama back into their landscape images.

Topics that will be covered include monitor color for consistent results and image edits from minor to major, including: Using Adobe Camera Raw – even with JPEGs, exposure, contrast and light shaping, global and local color adjustments, compositing new skies, composition, removing unwanted elements from an image, image sharpening options and preparing files for lab printing.

All Webinar registration can be found on Visit the Webinar page found under the Learning section.

LexJet Sunset Award: Enter to Win a $200 Gift Certificate and More at PhotoPro Expo

Win awards and prizes at the PhotoPro Expo 2012Billed as the Super Bowl of Photography, the PhotoPro Expo takes place on Super Bowl Weekend, Feb. 2-5 at the Marriott River Center in Covington, Ky., just across the river from Cincinnati. As part of the educational weekend, which features an all-star lineup of speakers, there’s also a Print Competition and Exhibition.

The Print Competition features more than $5,000 in awards and prizes, including the coveted LexJet Sunset Award. The winner of the LexJet Sunset Award and the handsome trophy will also receive a $200 gift certificate toward the purchase of any of the fine art and photo papers and canvases in LexJet’s Sunset portfolio of inkjet media for professional photographic and fine art printing.

To qualify for the LexJet Sunset Award, the entries must be printed on any LexJet photo or fine art paper and meet PhotoPro Expo’s print competition submission requirements.

All registrations must be completed at before shipping or hand delivering your entries. Shipped cases must be received by Jan. 30 and hand-delivered submissions by 3 p.m., Feb. 1. Click here for all the Print Competition details and rules.

Divisions include Portrait, Wedding, Gallery, Digital Artistry, Rising Star, Albums and Specialists. The winner of each Category within those Divisions – the Portrait Division, for instance, includes General, Children, Senior, Fashion and Best Categories – will be chosen by judges during the Expo and recognized at the awards ceremony. In addition, Top Honors will be given to the PhotoPro Network Photographer of the Year (plus a $200 cash prize), Best of Show ($150 cash prize), People’s Choice Award ($100 cash prize), Best Black & White Award ($100 cash prize) and PhotoPro Network TOP 10 Awards ($50 gift certificates).

Speakers include Photoshop guru Scott Kelby, the legendary Jerry Ghionis, Skip Cohen of Skip’s Summer School, top portrait photographer Kirk Volklain, NYC fashion photographer Lindsay Adler, best-selling Speed Lighting author Syl Arena, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Vincent Laforet, branding expert Sarah Petty, Smithsonian American History museum featured artist Joel Grimes, and retouch and image enhancement authority Janice Wendt.

For more information and to register for the show go to or call PhotoPro Network HQ at 606-928-5333. And, for more information about the LexJet Sunset Award, contact Tom Gruss at 800-453-9538 or email