Imaging USA Recap: Backlit Gallery Wraps from Redipix

Backlit inkjet printed gallery wraps for display

Fresh from the Imaging USA show earlier this week in New Orleans our intrepid LexJet crew – Michael Clementi, Ryan King and Alex Ried – brought back inspiration and ideas that we’ll share over the next week or so.

Backlit gallery wraps for photography
Gallery Wrap Dazzle by Redpix is backlit with LEDs for a unique, eye-catching display that can be dimmed and brightened remotely.

The LexJet crew reported that Sunset Stretcher Kits were the most popular product they demonstrated at Imaging USA. The DIY kits make it easy to create your own museum and gallery wraps in minutes, and you can read more about them here.

Another interesting twist on the gallery wrap concept was presented by Redipix at Imaging USA. Redipix has created a backlit gallery wrap using LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth that can be used for all types of display and lighting situations.

The box, built out of heavy-duty foam board, is backed with hundreds of LEDs placed in a pattern which maximizes light coverage behind the print. Moreover, the product – called Gallery Wrap Dazzle – comes with a remote dimmer so that the light can be controlled for various lighting situations.

Backlit printed gallery wraps for display
Here's what Gallery Wrap Dazzle looks like with the lights off.

“The LEDs can get brighter than you would normally want, except in sunlight, and it can be turned way down if need be. They’re particularly good where you don’t have good light, but they work anywhere. It’s amazing how the picture changes with the light and changes the contrast, so you can control the contrast,” says David Elmore, owner of Redipix. “We started using Water-Resistant Satin Cloth a couple of years ago and saw how people were using them in galleries and outdoors and other applications, and I noticed how great it looks in a window with the light behind it.”

The print can be easily removed and replaced with another one, so the Gallery Wrap Dazzle is re-usable, and the original print can be re-sold or re-purposed in whatever way you’d like, as a banner or hanging display, for instance.

“One of the photographers we met at the show wants to use it for weddings and display a picture of the bride and groom. It really glows so everyone can see it, leading to additional business from people who saw the display at the wedding,” says Elmore.

Printed shadow box for photography
This shadow box product from Redipix lights up the family photo on the inside.

At Imaging USA Redpix also introduced a new LED-lit shadow box and previewed a photo album that resides inside a gallery wrap, in addition to its primary foam board gallery wrap product that can be decorated with canvas or Water-Resistant Satin Cloth.

The shadow box has a hole in the middle of the main print, with another print recessed and lit with LEDs. Typically the main print is “word art” with a photo inside, the word art describing the picture inside. The photo album gallery wrap hangs on the wall so that the album can be prominently displayed and taken off the wall and opened for viewing.

For more information about Redipix, go to

Print Pricing: Promoting the Bread Winner and Multiples for Multiplied Profits

Pricing inkjet prints by promoting the breadwinner

In yesterday’s blog post I discussed a couple of easy ways to adjust your pricing so that your customer orders the sizes that are the easiest for you to produce. In the second part of this series, I’ll go over two easy ways to adjust your pricing to make more money.

The first step is to identify your major bread winner, and promote it heavily. The second is to give a discount on multiples.

Promote the Bread Winner
Take the time to look at your current product offering. Is there one particular type of print you make a lot more money on than usual? Identify this offering and promote it. Many photographers and print producers have realized that they can make huge profits from canvas and fabric prints. If you have a wide-format printer and don’t offer these solutions to your customers, you may want to reevaluate this opportunity.

Let’s say you charge $200 for a 16 in. x 20 in. stretched and framed canvas print. Your ink and material costs are $4.20 for canvas and ink, $1 for Sunset Gloss Coating and $27 for a Sunset Pro Stretcher Kit. You pay yourself $50 per hour, and spend 15 minutes color correcting the file, and 30 minutes finishing the print:

Price                                                      $200
Material Cost                                     -$32.20 (ink, canvas, bars, and coating)
Labor                                                     -$37.50 ($50 per hour x .75 hours)
Profit                                                     $130.30

(Note: these figures may not reflect the normal pricing in your area.)

That’s a lot of profit, especially when you consider that you paid yourself $50 per hour to make the canvas print. Since you have so much profit, you have room to play. Try running promotions at different percentage discounts and take notes on the results.

Eventually you will learn what discount rate works best in your area to increase your profit. I’ve heard photographers say that they do make more money than usual when they sell a canvas print, but they don’t sell that many. So, if dropping the price of this size and type of print by 20 percent (down to $160) enables you to sell 30 in a month as opposed to 15, then that would be worth it according to the math below…

Month 1 – 15 x $130.80 = $1,962.00
Month 2 – 30 x $117.45 = $3,523.50

That’s a big increase in profit month over a month. You should be aware that this increase in volume took up an extra 11 hours and 15 minutes of your time, but you did get paid for that extra time at a rate of $50 per hour. Do some research to find out which works best for you, put that discount plan into action, and collect the extra money!

Discounts on Multiples
This is a quick and easy pricing idea. The initial cost of producing a print is the highest. You have to shoot the shot, color correct it, crop it to size, and then print. However, in order to make another reproduction you will usually just have to change the number of copies in the OEM driver or RIP you are running from one to two.

Since there is really no additional labor involved, especially if you are making a print that the printer cuts to bleed (see Part 1 from yesterday), then you should encourage your customer to purchase more by offering multiples at a discount.

They probably wouldn’t buy more than one if there was not a discount, so this is a great way to get more money from an existing customer. It is far less expensive to get an order from an existing client than it is to find a new client.

The Highlander Studios Finds a Better Way to Stretch Canvas

Selling inkjet canvas wrapsThe Highlander Studios in Kilmarnock, Va., has evolved over the years so that printing has become as much of its business, if not more, than photography. Owner Charles Lawson has found that, when it comes to printing, customers are looking for more than just the usual prints of their photographs.

To keep up with that demand, and to keep the business growing, The Highlander Studios has recently emphasized stretched inkjet canvas wraps. In doing so, Lawson has encountered the Goldilocks Syndrome, where finding that just-right process for creating canvas wraps can be elusive.

Doing it by hand, while less expensive, is time-consuming. Using an automated system, like the Tensador II, requires a larger upfront investment and subsequently more volume to justify it. Stretcher kits save time, but often lack the quality and durability Lawson would like to ensure a long-lasting stretched canvas.

“I felt like I was stretching something around a piece of balsa wood. They achieved the goal of having a gallery wrap, but left a lot to be desired when it came to humidity resistance and other environmental factors,” says Lawson. “We had a young artist who bought a ton of stretched canvases and I worked my hands down to blisters trying to stretch them all with pliers, so I started looking at the automated machine a lot harder, but we typically don’t have the kind of volume to justify it.”

Lawson’s search for a better way led him to try LexJet’s new Sunset Stretcher Kits and he found that they’re a perfect match for the volume he does and the quality he’s after.

“The Sunset Stretcher Kits are a lot sturdier than other kits we’ve worked with. They’re built better and made out of better materials. It’s a whole different ballgame,” says Lawson.

Lawson expects the canvas wrap business to ramp up for him during the senior photo season when he plans to roll it out as an alternative print product. “People seem to like them, they’re different and it’s not something my competition is doing,” says Lawson.

Using inkjet canvas wraps for senior pictures
Senior photo season provides The Highlander Studios with an excellent avenue for selling inkjet canvas wraps using Sunset Stretcher Kits.

Another angle Lawson is taking with canvas wraps is creating personalized baby photo montages through Lawson allows the customer, working through the templates he buys through, to pick out the design the design, colors and text elements.

“They’re really part of the process and making their own unique print for their home. I do all the retouching and laying out, and they come out with a 16×16 gallery wrapped print they’ve designed for themselves,” says Lawson. “It’s great when you can get customers involved in the process within designated template parameters. It creates more ownership in the product and helps with repeat business. We really do it more as a less expensive promotional item to help get people in the door.”

In the fall, Lawson says they’ll be busy with artist’s reproductions as they prepare for the avalanche of spring shows and gallery presentations. Then, the mix of materials will expand from photo papers and canvas to Sunset Cotton Etching and other art papers.

Selling marketing banners
The Highlander Studios also sells marketing banners printed on LexJet Water-Resistant Satin Cloth.

“We have even started marketing for the artists using banner stands with Water-Resistant Satin Cloth. We’re in a rural area so we have to do a little of everything. We have to change it up all the time, and it gives me a chance to try all of LexJet’s stuff,” adds Lawson.