Prints Are Memories

Prints aren’t just a great business tool for photographers, they are lasting memories they hang on our walls and get looked at everyday. With that in mind I give away a lot of prints. They are a business tool and one way to be remembered is to have a print on someone else’s wall. Last month at the 75th Doolittle Reunion I met Tom, and Tom was a tail gunner in the B-25G model, similar to this H model, which had a 75mm canon in the nose. Tom spent a lot of time around the B-25’s that day at Wright Patterson, climbing in and out of a few of the planes. After about 30 minutes of talking with him, I offered him some prints, to which no one ever had done before. He was ecstatic. It’s important as photographers to remember the impact your photos can have on others provided you share them. Disregard the cost and remember there is more to photography then just the numbers.

All prints made on the Epson SureColor P400

What’s the Best Paper?

Decisions, Decisions. There are a lot of different papers out there to print on, each one usually has a fancy title that makes it more appealing. But if you look past that and you look at the weight, thickness and coating you will start to see a big difference in quality. There are two things that every person who receives a print does when they first open the box, they look at the print and then they feel the paper. Both of those statements will say a lot about the print. It’s important to choose the right paper with the right photograph in order to convey the right message.

I’ve tried numerous papers over the years and each one is unique. But my general rule of them is to print aviation on glossy paper and landscape and wildlife on matte finish papers. Why? Landscape and Wildlife are more alive, they have a texture to them and that matte brings out that texture better. Gloss papers are more sleek, like an airplane. That’s one reason why metal looks so good with aircraft because it brings out that feeling of the plane. Right now I’m using all Epson Signature Papers, with the exception of Epson Metallic Photo Paper Luster. Recently I switched to Epson Hot Press Bright which is an amazing matte paper! Now if you don’t know what to use, buy a box of 8.5×11 and try it out. Printing is one of those things that you have to just try yourself, videos and blogs don’t do prints justice.

Rock’N the P400

This little printer just keeps going. This year kicked off to a rather busy start and a lot of it had to do with this printer. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve printed out over a dozen prints for various projects and more seem to keep coming. It’s a great feeling when you make a print because it means someone enjoys your work so much that they want it hanging in their house.

The Epson P400 is the smallest in the Surecolor family and yet it does an amazing job. This printer is great for those that don’t have a lot of office space, don’t do a ton of printing and are still learning how to print. With a max size of 13×19 it’s the perfect little printer for any office. I’ve been using it for over a year now and it just does a great job. Minimal cleaning, no computer issues, just load and go. If you want to know more about this printer I suggest watching the video I made.

The Epson P400 in Review

Since November I have been printing with the Epson P400 seeing just what that printer can do. After having done multiple prints on a variety of paper, I am finally comfortable with talking about the printer. Now it might not seem that way in the video but I actually really do like this printer. This is my first video and probably won’t be the last on my site but here are my thoughts on the Epson P400.

First Thoughts on the Epson P400

I have had my Epson SureColor P400 for about a week now learning what this new printer can do. I have to say it’s quite impressive. The P400 is the smallest and lightest of the SureColor P Series. It’s physically not much bigger then the Epson R2880 I’m replacing but it has some great features. First off it has Ethernet and WiFi capability. This makes for a cleaner office space especially if you have multiple computers. It does come with standard USB 2.0 as well. Next the P400 can do both sheet and roll paper up to 13″ wide along with a print on CD option, making it very versatile while staying within budget. Now all of this is pretty straight forward but the big differences are on the inside.

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The really big difference that makes this printer standout are the ink wells. For starters the P400 has a dedicated matte black and photo black ink well making it easier to swap between papers without having to swap out ink cartridges. Now it does take a minute when you swap settings for the ink to swap as well but that’s nothing. Next the P400 has the gloss optimizer which adds another coating to either the whole sheet or just the printed area and what it does is it makes it look very uniform across the surface.

Now here’s the big one. This printer has a dedicated Orange and Red ink Cartridge. It has eight cartridges, yellow, cyan, magenta, photo black, matte black, orange, red and the gloss optimizer. If you print a lot of color prints and not a lot of black and whites then you’ve probably noticed that preserving those very vibrant areas especially in the red to yellow range can be quite difficult. This printer does a great job of preserving those. Now the trade off is there is no light black or light light black cartridge which depending on your printing needs may not be as optimal. That’s for you to decide. But the first thing I did was print out a bunch of red and orange critical images like this F-86 Sabre. I’ve tried printing this in the past and it was tough. The candy apple red’s would fade. The P400 didn’t loose any. I like that!

So while I still have more testing to do, for right now I can honestly say that between the size, price point and above all else, the quality, the Epson P400 is a great printer for the advanced amateur photographer and even professionals like myself who take pride in their prints.

The Epson SC-P400 has Arrived!

I’m quite excited about this new printer that just showed up in my office! The Epson SC-P400 was just released this past month and I can’t wait to start printing. The P400 has some great new features including orange and red ink cartridges, dedicated matte and photo black channels and a high gloss optimizer which I’m looking forward to testing. It’s small, high quality and is going to be great to work with. Safe to say what I’ll be doing this weekend.

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Learning the Trade

For almost a year now i have been playing around with printing, trying to learn the subtleties of the image, the paper and the machine. There is a recipe to all of this and part of it comes down to personal preference. I mean every photographer prints images that he or she likes so if that’s not personal what is?! Well once you get past the image you have to decide on the paper. That’s where things get interesting.

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Paper is a big step and I’m certainly no expert on ALL the papers out there because frankly i haven’t tried most of them. Then again there is a lot of paper choices, most of which have really stupid fancy names that seem confusing. Well lately i have been printing a lot on Red River Paper, specifically Red River Polar Matte 60lb 8.5×11 and Prem Matte 13×19. Both of these papers have been doing a terrific job on my Epson 2880, with my aviation work.

Now i realize that many people like the glossy papers for Aviation which is understandable. Quite frankly it is difficult to get some of the saturation and colors to look the same on a matte paper as well as on a monitor. Specifically reds. A lot of that has to due with monitors being a transmitted light and paper is reflective light. If you compare any matte paper and any glossy paper you’re going to see that the glossy papers reflect light a whole lot better than matte. That’s why it’s easier to get images matched up, the downside is that glossy paper is going to reflect, EVERYTHING! I have two prints hanging above me ones on Epson Ultra Smooth Fine Art and the other is a metal print by Image Wizards. Now needless to say the metal print reflects everything, it’s metal, it needs car polish to stay looking good. The Fine art print doesn’t reflect a thing; however, that same print which happens to be of a P51C “Red Tail” as the name implies has a red tail doesn’t look red, it’s more orange. That simply comes down to it not being able to match up, it just can’t happen on that paper. The nice thing is i can look at it and not see the computer monitors, lamps, walls, or anything else i have in my room.

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Now as i said earlier i have been using Red River Paper a lot lately. Well i have noticed a few differences with that paper and say Epson Enhanced Matte or Ultra Smooth Fine Art. For starters the Polar Matte is 60lb which is a medium weight paper. IE it’s comparably stiffer than any copier paper and it’s noticeable with Epson papers. This can be a good thing depending on what you’re doing. Now it also seems to be a brighter white than Epson Matte or Ultra Smooth Fine Art. Keep in mind Enhanced Matte is a Bright White paper and Ultra Smooth Fine Art is a Hot Press paper. If you really want to know what all these things mean, you’re gonna have to look at the numbers.

Now the one thing that i am very curious about is how well Red River Paper acts as an archival paper. I know for a fact, because I’ve seen it, that Ultra Smooth Fine Art lasts one long ass time. From all the years of being at DLWS with my Dad and the rotating gallery, from being shipped, unpacked, left out for a week, packed, stored and then done all over again in every environment in this country, the image on the paper lasts one long time. The image doesn’t fade. The prints start to look beat up but the images still look good. Well this is a knowledge that i don’t have with Red River yet. I don’t know how well these prints will look in 10 years or 50 years. Because that is the goal here isn’t it? Every photographer wants his work to be noticed and remembered even after he or she is gone. It’s part of being in an ever changing art form. Keep one more thing in mind. Out of everything that we photographers have to pay for, paper is one of the cheaper things. Spend the extra money, experiment, and play with different papers to find out what works well for yourself and your photography.

Printing Fun

Lately I’ve been doing some printing, had to get some prints out and a submission done. Well what better way then with Dad’s new Epson 4900. It’s one big printer compared to the 3800. Kinda fun seeing it in his office out stretching the table it was on. Have to admit though it does a great job, compared to the 3800 which I’m more used to working with. Not to say that the 3800 isn’t a good printer, just older technology.

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One of the big differences i noticed was in black & white printing. The detail that came out along with the range of blacks to white was incredible. This was one of the images printed up and it turned out great. The beams popped out just like on the monitor. Just had to remember to check that little box in the settings, hehe those small details.

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Of course there is also the speed factor which is great when making a lot of contact sheets for a submission. More speed means more time for other things. Like playing with those high flying planes.

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