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.
When it comes to photography and print competitions, a lot of contestants go for unusual subject matter to try to catch the judges’ eyes. But Lakewood, NJ, photographer Steven Yahr takes a different approach.
“The subject matter in my competition prints is always very simple,” Yahr says. “When I do workshops, I tell photographers that the hardest things to photograph are the things we see every day. You become immune to them.”
So when he walked past the spiderwort plant with the vibrant, violet blooms on the side of his house, a floral he’d bypassed day after day, he knew he’d found his next subject. “I have quite a few of them in my yard,” he says. “So I blocked the light and used reflectors – the same as you would do for a portrait.”
With a little Photoshop help to add a bit of contrast, “Spiderwort” earned Yahr the Sunset Print Award during the PhotoNorthEast Image Competition, held in Woodcliff Lake, NJ, earlier this month.
Yahr works as a contract wedding photographer and has competed in print competitions since 2000, although he’s been a member of his state’s PPA affiliate since 1993.
“I held off competing for quite a few years,” he says. “I was just observing other people’s work and asking a lot of questions. I tell other photographers: Don’t get discouraged. Try to hear what judges have to say. The critique is more valuable than score itself.”
Although weddings are his bread-and-butter, Yahr says his competition pieces are inspired by the work of artists, rather than other photographers. However, when photographing his competition subjects, he uses his portrait know-how, and vice-versa.
“It’s the same principles – the lighting has to be correct, and you need an unobtrusive background,” he says. “The same things that make portraits work, are the things that make still lifes work, too.”
Yahr paired the vulnerability of the delicate violet petals and the gentle highlight on the yet-to-bloom buds, with a dramatic black backdrop and double violet stroke border, to create his striking, winning image.
Mark and Kelly Hawkins own and operate a high-end wedding photography studio in Green Bay, Wis., where a personal, customized experience for the bride and groom is job one. To elevate their print products, the couple invested in a Canon iPF8400 wide-format inkjet printer they picked up from LexJet and their personal printer specialist, Rob Finkel.
Mark has also struck up a friendship with Andy Wredberg, owner of AW Artworks in Sun Prairie, Wis., whose work shows up regularly here at the LexJet Blog. Andy helped Mark take the printer upgrade plunge, a plunge that Mark says made a big splash.
“We only shoot about 30 weddings per year and we want them to get the highest value possible, so the more customization we can do, the better. The Canon is such an easy printer to use, and the Photoshop plug-in that comes with it also makes it super-simple,” Mark says. “I told Rob yesterday that the bottom line is that when I hit that print button it’s exactly the way it looks on my monitor; the LexJet profiles are dead-on with pretty much every media type. It’s mind-blowing. Time is money, and I don’t want to waste time, ink and material, and with this printer I don’t.”
After a wedding, Mark and Kelly deliver two main print products: a wedding album and a wall collage. Mark says that one of the reasons they got the printer was to deliver bigger and better wall collages to their clients.
“What spurred the purchase of the iPF8400 was to do some higher-end artwork; not just canvas wraps, but art paper and boutique applications for the wedding market. There are a lot of cool uses for a variety of print media in the wedding market. People spend all this money already, so they should have nice custom printed products,” Mark says.
The client also gets a DVD of all the photos from the wedding, but Mark ran into an issue when he ran out of DVD cases. The new Canon printer and LexJet Print-N-Stick Fabric came to the rescue, not only giving Mark a workaround on deadline, but a new way to present DVDs to clients.
“We were out of the cases yesterday, so I used some scrap art paper that I cut to size and folded in half, printed a nice image from the wedding on one side and the photo release for the DVD on the other side that gives them permission to do whatever they want with the images. That way you don’t have to use another piece of paper to print a release, so it kills two birds with one stone. Plus, the Print-N-Stick makes it easy to take it off and reapply it if I don’t align it correctly,” Mark says. “I love having a fully customizable product that gives us an opportunity to recycle and re-use materials that would otherwise go to waste.”
The setting for this Sunset Print Award winner at the Intermountain Professional Photographers competition last month is quite stunning, but it’s the photographer’s rendering of the scenery with the bride and groom that makes this one a winner.
“I shoot tethered so I was able to see how the light was and the overall composition. I have a laptop there with me so I can crop it and see the composition I want while I’m shooting. I knew it would be a nice landscape and I cropped it long and skinny for perspective,” says Hicken.
“The Sunset Metallic is pretty darn close to what you can get from a darkroom print on metallic paper, and gives it a little more pop for competition,” says Hicken.
The Epson 11880 is a big printer; 64 inches wide, to be exact. Hicken says that the combination of a Hasselblad with a Phase One digital back makes it easier to sell the big prints he can produce on the Epson.
“We do a lot of big prints. Two days ago I printed a 30″ x 60″ and a 30″ x 52” with it for large family portraits. I mainly photograph families and children and an occasional wedding,” says Hicken. “This bride-and-groom image was part of a high-end photography package that was one of only two weddings I shot last year.”
Since Hicken printed on a Sunset paper, he received an iPad Mini, in addition to a Sunset Print Award trophy and pin and a gift certificate. He is also automatically entered into the Sunset Print Award national competition.
In order to be entered into the national competition, you must win a Sunset Print Award at one of the competitions where it’s being presented. To find out more, and which competitions will present a Sunset Print Award, go to www.sunsetprint.com/sunset-print-award. Congratulations, Todd!
VISIO Photography is best known for the exceptional wedding and portrait photography crafted by the husband-and-wife team of James and Jenny Tarpley. Located in Marion, N.C., just outside of Asheville, the couple is also making its mark with high-end fine art landscape photography.
A recent exhibition at The Rock School in Valdese, N.C., brought VISIO Photography’s nature photography to light with a focus on trees. Called POETRe, the exhibition ran from June 3 to July 26. Thanks to a combination of immaculate capture, printing detail, print material selection and photo finishing, the exhibition literally glowed.
“There were people at the exhibition who were looking around the edges of the prints to see if they were backlit,” James says. “They were impressed with the way the images leapt out of the frames, and it was also nice to hear from peers who saw the exhibition that the colors looked really good.”
The majority of the prints for the exhibition were printed on LexJet Sunset Photo Metallic Paper. One was printed on LexJet Sunset Select Matte Canvas, and the remainder was printed using a traditional chemical process applied to acrylic by Artisan Colour, Scottsdale, Ariz.
“The Metallic prints were framed behind museum-grade anti-reflective glass. We used black matting on the majority of them to really hone in on the image; I wanted the display to take a back seat to the image,” James explains. “We do a lot of our wedding printing on fine art papers, but we’ve been doing a lot of landscapes lately and we’ve found the Metallic paper displays really well on the wall, especially when it’s lit properly. The great color gamut and vivid reproduction makes this paper wonderful for our landscapes.”
The image printed at 20″ x 60″ on Sunset Select Matte Canvas was finished with LexJet Sunset Gloss Coating. James says the Sunset Gloss Coating increased the contrast, providing extra pop to make it more consistent with the other brilliant images in the collection, which you can see more of at jt-fineart.com.
Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI) announced today its speaker and instructor line-up for WPPI U, taking place Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9 at WPPI 2013 in Las Vegas. This university-style, two-day workshop provides the fundamentals of photography to help today’s up-and-coming photographers strengthen their shooting skills and learn how to be successful in their business and marketing practices, according to WPPI.
Scheduled to teach at WPPI U are renowned professional photographers Jerry Ghionis, Kevin Kubota, Henk Van Kooten, Doug Gordon, Moshe Zusman, Lindsey Adler, JP Elario, Jared Platt, Tim Meyer and many more.
All WPPI 2013 classes, events and trade show will take place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas from March 7-14.
WPPI U classes will include topics such as:
- Lighting and Posing
- Business and Branding
- Postproduction (Lightroom and Photoshop)
- Social Media
- Weddings, Portraits, and Seniors
Each class is two hours and a Portfolio Review and Reception for participants will be hosted at the conclusion of the first day. Attendees will receive a certificate of completion from WPPI and a WPPI U T-shirt. The advance-purchase price for WPPI U is $125 for the two-day program if purchased online by March 6. The onsite price is $150. WPPI U sponsors include: Graphistudio, Bay Photo, Sigma, Millers, Adobe and more.
Registration (Http://registration3.experientevent.com/ShowWPP131/?flowcode=ATT) for WPPI 2013 and is open now. Registration rates are $275 for WPPI members and $399 for non-members. These rates include one free guest, all Platform classes, special events and a three-day pass to WPPI.
For more information about WPPI 2013 and all of its workshops and events, go to: www.wppionline.com/wppi-show.shtml