How to Customize Weddings with Wide-Format Print

When wedding planning, most brides include printing in their plans, but that often begins and ends with invitations. While custom invitations are certainly a vital piece of the planning process, using print to create a unique experience can permeate all the way through the big day itself. And wide-format services can make those projects come to life.

Makayla Harris during a wedding reveal event.

Makayla Harris of The Harris Co. in Saratoga, NY, operates a Canon imagePROGRAF PRO-Series 4000 to create a fun “reveal” event for couples before and after their weddings. If Harris has photographed their engagement photos and/or wedding photos, she prints sample portraits and hangs them in her studio to give the couple a feeling of what they look like on the wall.

“We customize the studio for them, and it really helps our sales,” Harris says. “It’s such a wow factor to see them on the wall — they just can’t resist.” (Check out The Harris Co.’s Instagram Behind the Scenes stories to see how couples have reacted to the reveal events.)

During the reveal, she also projects wall-sized photos for the couple to review digitally. Often, she says, couples choose engagement photos to print for large displays during the wedding. “We didn’t want to be a high-volume studio,” Harris says. “We wanted people to come to us for statement pieces.”

She says many younger couples have expressed interest in the new, award-winning HP Recycled Satin Canvas for portraits. “It’s interesting,” she says. “The younger the bride, the more they care about that.”

Wide-format print can also come in handy for wedding day signage, backdrops and more. On trend that’s caught on in recent years is a “step-and-repeat” photo area for the couple as well as their guests (pictured at top). Fabrics that offer some opacity are a good option, especially when flash photography is in use. For dye-sub, Fisher Textiles 4019 Nirvana BOB provides a built-in black backing. EnduraFab™ Stretch fabric is a latex-compatible version that prints and hangs elegantly in settings that don’t require the opaque backing.

Signage can also come in handy during weddings, including completely customized welcome and wayfinding signage, as well as posters that can be displayed to provide useful information, such as table seating. A number of adhesive-backed products can be printed and adhered to poster board, including:

For more ideas on how to customize weddings with wide-format printing, call a LexJet print specialist at 800-453-9538.

 

Prints That Win: Back Alley Beauty

When Chicago, Ill.-based photographer Michael Novo attended a destination wedding as a guest several years ago in Monte Carlo, he captured a brilliant shot of the bride on the stairs with a point-n-shoot camera. Everything was perfect: the lighting, the composition, the ambiance and of course, the bride. Excited about his newly discovered talent, Novo came home from Monte Carlo and immediately purchased nicer equipment. However, as he started delving deeper into the world of photography, he realized that perfect shots don’t just happen.

“I learned that I couldn’t rely on the light to just be right. I had to create the perfect lighting. I got lucky before, having the right lighting and right setting,” Novo says of his initial foray into professional photography.

After treating it as more of a hobby and dabbling a bit, he decided to show his work to some trusted friends in the industry. They offered some constructive feedback and suggested that he take classes and compete. Novo started working with a bog-box studio with two additional local area photographers, doing 40-50 wedding per year. Initially, he was hired as the third photographer, eventually moving up to second, and finally earning the Lead photographer position. Although he was gaining experience with the studio, the much-needed training was still elusive.

Finally, after about two years of event photography, Novo discovered a couple of photographers who drew him in with their style. He attended two separate 5-day workshops with Knoxville-based Bryan Allen. Allen’s Savannah and Knoxville workshops were beneficial in helping Novo learn the artistic aspects of photography. Working with technical specialist Kevin Kubota helped him learn more about the lighting and editing facets of the industry. He continues to work with both mentors and will be joining Kubota for a motorcycle tour through Italy later this year.

Through all of the training, workshops, event opportunities and practicing that Novo has accomplished over the years, the best piece of advice for improving his craft came from Grand Master of WPPI, Jerry Ghionis. The advice? One word: “compete.” As Novo learned when he first started competing, “you really aren’t as good as you think you are, but with each competition, you learn something. About you or the art, or the competitors. You go in against the best of the best. There are no levels, no ‘beginner’ groups. You are immediately tested and pushed to your limits. That’s how you improve.”

His wedding portraits are created to bring out the personalities of his clients, and that’s just what he did with his Sunset Print Award-winning print “Back Alley Beauty.” As a first-time recipient of the prestigious Sunset Print Award, Novo said the opportunity to capture the happy couple as they walked into their nuptials was too hard to pass up. “It’s important they see their style in the images. I’m taking the photos for them, not for me.”

Looking at his body of work and seeing the joy he brings to his clients on their special day, Novo realizes he’s come a long way from that first destination wedding image he captured. For him, it’s not how often one of his images is viewed, it’s about evoking emotion. As for his signature style, he says, “You might view it [an image] often, or you may view it rarely. But you will always feel it.” As long as you feel it, he’s done his job.

Prints That Win: The Next Step

When Vanessa Longuski took her Sunset Print Award-winning photo, “The Next Step,” she was in the middle of a wedding photo shoot in Lansing, Mich., on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol building.

To get the dramatic shot, she simply got lucky during a time crunch on the couple’s wedding day. The videographer was filming the bride and groom, and the image was one of only two photos without him in it.

Longuski began her photography career as an unofficial yearbook photographer at Bad Axe High School in Michigan. She went on to study arts photography at Central Michigan University, but she knew she wouldn’t be able to make a living with tradition darkroom experience, so she switched to digital. She started her own business two months before graduation and bought a studio less than a year later.

Since opening the studio in 2008, she has photographed 300 weddings and is currently working toward her PPA master’s degree. Longuski offers portrait and commercial work in addition to wedding photography, and says her passion for her work is fueled by making “people happy by doing something for them … it’s what I love to do every day.” Capturing natural poses and facial expressions is the key to helping her subjects feel and look at ease.

She’s inspired by her customers because “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for them, I love working with them,” she says.

Print competitions, like the Sunset Print Award in the PPA North East District, keeps the learning process alive for her. “Winning is a great feeling … to know I accomplished something,” she says.

Get Your Free WPPI Expo Pass Now

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If you’re heading to the WPPI Wedding and Portrait Photography Conference and Expo next month in Las Vegas, you can get a free expo pass now, courtesy of LexJet.

Go to the WPPI registration page and, when prompted, enter promo code EXIV167364.

While you’re at the WPPI Expo, be sure to swing by booth #116 and say hello to the LexJet crew. We’ll be featuring the latest PRO Series printer from Canon, LexJet Sunset fine art papers, photo papers and canvas.

You won’t want to miss it! If you have questions about WPPI, give us a call at 800-453-9538.

Prints That Win: Elizabeth

One bride’s fairytale wedding portrait turned out to be a winner for Richmond, Virginia photographer, Mary Fisk-Taylor.

Elizabeth Mary Fisk TaylorFisk-Taylor originally captured the 2016 Virginia PPA Sunset Award Winning photograph “Elizabeth” to be displayed during the bride’s wedding reception. “We actually have a studio in the basement of this 30,000 square-foot mansion. We get to shoot there all the time!” Fisk-Taylor says.

The natural light warped by the stunning windows and arches made the editing process straightforward. “I used natural light augmented with a Profoto B1 strobe in a Speedbox Diffuser 70 from XP Photo Gear,” she says. “Lightroom was used to tone down the highlights in the windows a bit and using the highlight slider and a little clarity to add mid-level contrast.”

Prints That Win: You Light Up My Life

Photographer Tim Shaffer has been behind the lens at many a wedding. In fact, he shot his first nuptial event when he was 17, before embarking on a career as a newspaper photographer. Later, in 1991, he opened his professional studio, and hasn’t looked back. Today, he and his wife, Dana, run The Classic Image photography studio in Fort Plain, NY, where they specialize in weddings, senior portraits, family photos and more.