Black Friday Sale! Save 30% on LexJet & Sunset Media

There’s no need to wake up early and fight crowds for Black Friday deals from LexJet. Save 30% off MSRP on your favorite LexJet and Sunset branded media when you purchase online from Friday, Nov. 29 through Sunday, Dec. 1.

Now is the time to stock up on some of your favorites like:

Or try some of our new products like:

Products for latex, eco-solvent/solvent printers include display films and fabrics while LexJet branded aqueous media offers a variety of fine art, photo papers, and high-end canvas. If you are printing with dye-sub, choose from an assorted line of InFuze transfer papers.

Remember, LexJet will be closed on Thursday and Friday, so this promotion is only valid online – while supplies last – through Sunday, and orders will ship on the next available business day. Use coupon code FRIDAY30 at checkout to apply your 30% savings.

Prints That Win: Owl Always Kneed You

Muskogee, Okla., photographer Kimberly Smith is no stranger to the Sunset Print Awards. 2019 saw Smith win back-to-back-to-back awards during the PPA SW competition. “I printed everything that I entered this year on Sunset Bright Velvet Rag, even the album that I created,” she says.

“Owl Always Kneed You” by Kimberly Smith

Having previously scored wins with portraits, this year, Smith’s image “Owl Always Kneed You” was tops in the Artist category and won second place during IPC. According to IPC rules, the purpose of this (Artist) competition is to allow the entrant to demonstrate his or her artistic skills.

Drawing inspiration from the most unusual of sources, the idea for Smith’s award-winning image came to her after a routine medical procedure. “I had to have a knee MRI and they sent me home with the disk,” she says. “As I’m going through them, I noticed one of them looked like an owl.” She combined an image of a tree from a previous photography session and the base image from the MRI into an artistic image of an owl and her owlet.

Not content to have seven individual prints in the competition, Smith also created an album, complete with a leather cover, a satin ribbon, and 10 lay-flat images, all printed on her favorite Sunset media, Bright Velvet Rag.

“The story was inspired by my daughter and our dog, Sophie, who’s nine now. One day, I noticed she looked so old,” she says. “I knew that I had pictures of Sophie from when she was a puppy and my youngest daughter went off to college last year. I was sobbing putting the album together. That’s my dog and my baby.”

Smith’s works continue to garner praise at the highest levels of competition. Some of her other awards include the ASP Gold Medallion, which is presented to the American Society of Photographers Loan entry, judged by a separate panel of jurors to be the very best image in exhibition. PPA has awarded her the Gold Medal and named her a Diamond Artist.

Between competitions, Smith continues to teach at the Texas School as well as conducting workshops at her studio in Oklahoma or traveling across the country. “I’ve had people fly me in to teach in private workshops,” she says.

With such an eventful 2019, what does Smith expect out of 2020? “I’m excited,” she says. “I think it will be a great year.”

Prints That Win: Solitary Journey

Plano, Texas photographer Brooke Kasper jumped into photography in the most unusual way. With a background in painting, she was spending her days working as a graphic artist. That is until her mother died. “I quit cold turkey and picked up a camera. It will be 15 years on Dec. 4,” Kasper says. “To heal, I went out and shot everything I could with the camera. It was an inauspicious start to a photography career.”

Her work often conveys a heavy message through symbolism and the somber technique known as low-key photography. “I use ropes a lot in my imagery,” Kasper says. “They represent the ties that bind.”

Kasper’s photograph “Solitary Journey” won the Southwest PPA District and placed 3rd in the National competition held this summer. Her award-winning image is rife with symbolism. “We all have our own personal stories, and this one represents how I’m charting my course,” she says. “We may feel abandoned and alone at times, but we are surrounded by so many wonderful memories of people and things that have given us strength, even in solitude.”

Kasper adds personal and tangible items to her photoshoots. “If it’s not on the set, it doesn’t get added,” she says. “The lantern is in the center and represents God, who is an important light at the center of my life. My mother’s picture is also in it, as are other things that are important to me.”

Studying the image closely, the story begins to unfold of just how lonely the journey of life can be. “Above my mom’s photo is her old bible and a compass that is pointing to true north, which is what God represents to me,” Kasper says. “Then you have the ropes. I put in the mouse as an homage to my husband. There’s another lantern but the light is out. There’s only one light that guides me ever since my mom died.”

Many photographers may find it unnerving to enter such a personal piece into a competition. For Kasper, it was about healing and finding peace. “You can’t always verbalize your woes, but you can find an outlet, and that’s what I’ve done,” she says. “The greatest honor is when someone wants to know the story behind the image, and they are moved when they see it. If I’ve reached someone, what better compliment is there?”

Jumping into photography like she did, Kasper relies on the Dallas PPA and Professional Photographers of America (PPA), as well as her mentors for support and guidance. Her merits and degrees include Certified Professional Photographer (CPP), Master of Photography, and Photographic Craftsman.

Through it all, she’s been inspired by – and learned from – David Edmondson. “David is a good friend and one of the most phenomenal people, inside and out. He has taught me how to be an artist and keep those characteristics in my life. That’s the most important thing to me,” she says. “There were times when I wanted to quit, but David is the one who encouraged me to go on. We share a strong faith and it means so much to know he has my back.”

Kasper is adamant that all photos should be physical, not just an image on a computer screen. “I don’t think it’s really completed until you print it,” she says. For her low-key images, Kasper prefers a satin photo paper, like Sunset Photo eSatin 300g, to ensure the fine details are captured with every print.

The popularity of local, state and national PPA competitions isn’t slowing down and Kasper believes that is because photographers are pushed to be better. “You have to keep moving forward, keep reinventing yourself. If you’re not getting better, you’re stagnant.”

New Prices on Sunset Papers: Another Reason to Switch

Earlier this year, LexJet launched the all new Sunset Cold Press Textured Bright White 300g and Sunset Hot Press Smooth Bright White 300g to give photographers more options for bringing their vision to the finished print.

Now, we’ve lowered the prices of both of these new products to give you another reason to make the switch to Sunset.

These two new papers are compatible with aqueous inks, and are acid-free for long print life. They’re ideal for photography, art reproductions, unframed cards or high-end, customized home décor. And now they are even more competitively priced.

To learn more about the new pricing structure for these papers and how to create high-end visual impact with Sunset products, call a LexJet print specialist at 800-453-9538 or visit LexJet.com.

Prints That Win: Just Around the River Bend

Grandville, Mich., photographer Kari Douma can take ordinary moments and turn them into extraordinary images. Photographers know that capturing an award-winning moment means timing is critical and perfect timing is prevalent in much of Douma’s work. Last year, she captured a wintry Michigan sunrise – with just a hint of pink – over a blanket of freshly fallen snow and turned it into “Winter Pastel,” one of her two 2018 winning images.

“Many times, you have one shot to get a picture,” Douma says. That was especially true for her 2019 PPA Northeast winning photo “Just Around the River Bend,” which she printed using LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper to help provide depth to her image.

While vacationing in the Porcupine Mountains in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (UP), Douma and her family were hiking along the river when she spotted holes in the riverbed.

“I took one look at it and absolutely loved how it looked. We went back at sunset and I photographed it,” she says. “There are so many things that have to be right: light, water level, angle. I’ve been back to the same location twice and have not been able to get the same type of image because the water levels were too high.”

The holes, known as kettles, are formed when stones and sediments get caught in swirling eddies, boring holes into river rock. “When the water is too high, they are underwater and you can’t see them,” Douma says. “If the water is not at the right level, the image is completely different.”

The notorious late UP sunsets also helped Douma capture the perfect image. “It had to be photographed from a wobbly suspension bridge. It was to our benefit that sunset was around 10 p.m. because there were no other hikers on the bridge,” she says. “I had to shoo my whole family off the bridge to steady my tripod to get the photograph.”

It’s that innate talent to read and capture the world around her that has helped Douma continually grow as a photographer. “I judged my first district PPA competition as well as judging IPC this year,” she says.

Judges are trained to look at things differently and understand how a photographer utilizes the 12 elements. She understands that newer competitors can find it difficult to think about the technical elements when they are still understanding the creative ones. “I know that it’s hard to learn it, remember it all, so it’s nice to be able to share insight from my experience,” she says.

Normally, Douma travels all over the country teaching photography, but this year she took a different approach. “I didn’t do any teaching this year; however, I spent two days providing recorded video critiques for members who wanted live feedback after PPA,” she says. “It’s really exciting to help people who are on their own photographic journey.”

For photographer’s who are nervous about entering a competition, Douma understands the nerves but says the experience is one of the best ways to improve.  “Feedback is the most important aspect of being a photographer,” she says. “The judges are there to provide feedback and help you grow.”

From competing to teaching to judging, Kari Douma is passionate about the beauty she creates and enjoys sharing her story while encouraging others to start on their own journey that could take them just around the river’s bend.

Prints That Win: Science

Ubly, Mich., photographer Vanessa Longuski fell in love with photography during her senior year of high school. Joining the high school yearbook team gave her the opportunity to explore the world of photography even more. Realizing a growing harmony with the art form, she decided to enroll at Central Michigan University where she first studied still photography, but then later switched to photojournalism.

Today she’s a professional running her own business, Moments Captured by Vanessa, where she primarily photographs weddings, but her passion really lies with the nonchalant nature of children. Her most recent win at PPA Northeast for her image “Science” is a testimony to her passion. This win in the Portrait category was printed using LexJet Sunset Photo eSatin Paper.

“My initial thought was to be more stylized instead of standard, and I really try to understand what the child likes so I can capture genuine facial expressions instead of a cheesy smile,” she says while breaking down her process. “I feel that’s what sets my prints apart from the rest.”

Besides the excitement and love from her customers, the most rewarding thing about photography for Longuski is the competitions. When competing, she gets the opportunity to learn and achieve her goals as well as push herself to work harder to improve her craft.

“Looking back from where I  started to where I am now, has truly grown because of competitions. They are so challenging and when you win, it’s an honor,” she says. “It reminds me that I’m doing something right.”

If Longuski could give one piece of advice, it would be: “Don’t give up. Keep trying, even if you don’t get to the point where you want as fast as you want, you’ll get there eventually.”

 

By Kyjahana Irizarry

Kyjahana, a Florida native, is currently studying Business of Art and Design at Ringling College of Art and Design. During the summer of 2019, she interned for the marketing department at LexJet, where she wrote employee profiles, social media and blog posts, helped produce podcasts and videos and acted as project manger for the annual internship video.