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Enhancing your business with print

Enhancing your business with print

© Canon Europe

July 2015

Digital photography and the Internet have made it easier than ever for photographers to share their work, but the explosion of digital images has also created a growing challenge to ensure that work stands out and is seen.

Many professional photographers argue that a printed photograph reflects the true quality of the image and only in its physical form can it be considered a piece of art. This belief is reflected in the popularity and financial success of photography exhibitions and art galleries, where viewers can observe and appreciate an image without distraction from technology, which increases the likelihood of them investing in the piece.

The power of the physical form is also relevant to the commercial photography markets. Many design, marketing and communication agencies frequently receive digital portfolios – often unsolicited – via email. While an efficient method of distribution, these portfolios can get lost amid the swarm of electronic information hitting inboxes on a daily basis. The chances are a creative director is more likely to react to a well-produced print sample in the post rather than another self-promoting email.

As a result, photographers are seeking new ways to make a connection with their prospective clients, with many gravitating towards print. From photobooks, framed images and canvas prints to Giclée, interior décor and backlit displays, print – supported by the latest printing technologies – offers photographers an enticing new revenue stream.

Partner with a printer who understands the market

© Canon Europe

The Print Foundry in the UK offers a full print service for photographers ranging from photobooks to full-on exhibition installations printed on Canon imagePROGRAF large-format printers.

Collaborating with a partner who understands the photography and art markets, such as The Print Foundry can help a photographer explore the opportunities that print presents their business. In 2014, the UK-based company identified strong demand from photographers from the high-end fashion and retail sectors, as well as artists who wanted them to produce replica and limited edition runs of their work.

To address this demand, the imaging specialist invested in top-of-the-range digital printing equipment and can now boast an impressive portfolio of clients that includes large retail store John Lewis and London Fashion Week, as well as a roster of artists and highly regarded photographers.

“While every photographer is different, they all share the same core goal: they want to achieve the ‘wow’ factor, and print provides that,” explains The Print Foundry’s founder, Renato Tavares. “They want to match or exceed what they’re seeing on the screen. That’s where we come in. We understand how to deliver optimum colour accuracy, tonal range and the fine detail on different medium types to show off every pixel in the best possible light. We can take care of the entire project through to installation at a gallery to allow the photographers to focus on what they do best – taking amazing pictures.”

Bring your printing in-house

There is great scope for photographers to diversify their business by printing in-house, transforming their business proposition to the point where print actually defines them. Martin Parr is one such photographer, and has always appreciated the symbiotic relationship between photography and print. From black and white printing in his dark room in the 1980s to creating pop-up print exhibitions such as the one he’s running in Nice this month, Martin is enthusiastic about what can be achieved with the latest printing technology and its importance to his business.

© Canon Europe

The Canon range of imagePROGRAF large format printers can produce stunning gallery-quality prints up to 60in in width.

“Print is a very lucrative revenue stream for my business and my main source of income,” explains Martin. “I’m pretty certain there is no other photographer who prints as much I do. My studio and I have estimated that we’ve produced over eight acres of print on our Canon imagePROGRAF large format printer alone!”

“The advent of digital colour printing, in particular the pigment ink system, means we can easily print high-quality photography, in-house, that can sell for up to £10,000 apiece,” he continues. “The way the ink interacts and bonds with the media creates consistent and stable output that truly brings my photography to life. This is important to me. I require fastidious attention to detail when processing an image to ensure that the end-product is a true reflection of the original image. Fortunately my studio understands this, as well as how to adhere to my style, colour palettes and so forth, and has the technology to make my work as profitable as possible. Print has been the gateway to my success.”

The next step: new innovative applications

While Martin predominately prints his photographs on paper, there are other ways available to photographers to make their work stand out. Whether it’s printing on glass, wood, metal, textiles or vinyl, the latest digital printing technologies can create a host of bespoke and eye-catching applications, such as vehicle wraps and glass manifestations, which help photographers make a big splash in the sea of digital.

Photographers should look to partner with a wide format printer who can advise and produce the work accordingly, helping them to promote and sell their work into new markets such as interior décor, retail and promotional. Specialists like Renato and his team can explain the plethora of effects possible via different substrates and techniques to take a photographer’s work to the next level: “A recent project involved producing black and white images on polished copper, creating a stunning black and gold effect,” elaborates Renato.

“Customers can sell these fine art products at a premium price to generate substantial profits to increase margins and develop their business.”

Whether it’s working with a forward-thinking printer or producing work in-house, print may hold the key to a photographer’s commercial success.