Fine Art Printing - Tip of the Day

Whether you printed your first ‘really good image’ at home or just invested in a collectible fine art print from your favorite artist, here’s one little attention to detail you should keep in mind. Air out your print before you frame it behind glass. Give it 24-48 hours so that all the ink can cure in to the paper and that everthing that needs to evaporate out of the ink can do so. I pay attention to, dare I say: obsess, over these details for my valued clients!


 A 20x30" fine art print on F-type baryta paper by Hahnemühle from my summer landscape trip. The color gamut, contrast, and depth have to be experienced. Even my so-called Retina display doesn’t do it justice.

A 20x30" fine art print on F-type baryta paper by Hahnemühle from my summer landscape trip. The color gamut, contrast, and depth have to be experienced. Even my so-called Retina display doesn’t do it justice.


"The negative is the score; the print is the performance!"

And with those words, Ansel taught us that photography will always be about the final product--the print. Print on metal, canvas, fine art paper, what have you, just make those prints happen.

 A typical gorgeous Arizona sunset printed on William Turner paper.

A typical gorgeous Arizona sunset printed on William Turner paper.

 William Turner's distinct, heavily textured paper is great for soft, dreamy gradations of color.

William Turner's distinct, heavily textured paper is great for soft, dreamy gradations of color.

If you've ever pondered the nature of my chosen business name and consider my personality, you may have sensed that I'm obsessed with print longevity and the permanence of my work. What will you remember on the other side of eternity?

So its no surprise that I'd choose fine art paper Hahnemühle to start a printed portfolio of my fine art photographs. Hahnemühle boasts the oldest paper mill in Germany and soon, in our lifetimes, will be celebrating their 500th year in operation. After half a millennium, they certainly seem to have a few things down to a science as much as an art.

 Matte cotton resolves unparalleled amount of detail with its ultra smooth surface.

Matte cotton resolves unparalleled amount of detail with its ultra smooth surface.

 Hahnemühle Matte Cotton Smooth paper.

Hahnemühle Matte Cotton Smooth paper.

I wont lie to you: fine art papers aren't cheap. Think museum grade. This is where you turn when ordinary drug store photo paper just wont cut it. What makes a fine art paper so different? Why I'm glad you asked. First of all their quality control must be at the top of their game. Quality fine art paper starts with pH neutral water for an acid free base that wont yellow with time. Next, you'll notice the substantial weight of these papers. I could try to describe it, but you really should just come over and hold these in your hand yourself. Further, the finish of these papers are as varied as one photographers style to the next. There are smooth papers, darkroom style so-called F-type fiber papers, and mould made papers that are heavily textured for a watercolor, painterly feel. Finally, the microporous coating of fine art papers usually hold a lot more ink than your typical "glossy or matte?" option at the drug store or big box retailer. More ink on a quality paper means a long lasting print. How long? Check out the industry standard bearer for print longevity: Wilhelm Imaging Research. Expect my work to last at least 120 years framed behind UV glass and 200+ years in cool, dark storage.

  Time Immemorial 1189.  An infrared image of The Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park, printed on Fine Art Baryta paper. Baryta's name comes from barium sulphate, which coats the paper to emulate the feel and finish of traditional darkroom prints. It is quickly becoming my favorite printing paper.

Time Immemorial 1189. An infrared image of The Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park, printed on Fine Art Baryta paper. Baryta's name comes from barium sulphate, which coats the paper to emulate the feel and finish of traditional darkroom prints. It is quickly becoming my favorite printing paper.

 The d-max, or max black density is about as good as it gets with Baryta and the tonal range fully captures the dramatic, high contrasty look my images are known for.

The d-max, or max black density is about as good as it gets with Baryta and the tonal range fully captures the dramatic, high contrasty look my images are known for.

Get in touch with me today to schedule a review of my portfolio!

 Hahnemühle bamboo paper is a great heavyweight paper for the environmentally conscious that is still archival and beautiful. This paper boasts a  warmer  (more yellow) white point and a smooth, non glossy finish.

Hahnemühle bamboo paper is a great heavyweight paper for the environmentally conscious that is still archival and beautiful. This paper boasts a warmer (more yellow) white point and a smooth, non glossy finish.

Zuri and George's wedding at Lowes Ventana Canyon

Congratulations to Zuri and George! I was privileged to join Evan Robold as his second shooter for their wedding. He truly is one of Tucson's finest and should be on every short list for evaluating wedding photographers in Southern Arizona. It was a privilege to be a part of your day, Zuri & George. I wish you a lifetime of marital happiness.

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The Wedding of Jennifer & Jason at Saguaro Buttes

One of the many things that makes Arizona and Tucson beautiful is the landscape. OnIy in Arizona can you see the beautiful saguaro cactus. And if you love the look of saguaro cactus for a backdrop to your wedding, there's few better places to get married than Saguaro Buttes, on the east end of Tucson, not too far from beautiful Saguaro National Park (east district). I was privileged to shoot for Kristin Gray of Ivory Orchid Photography at Jennifer and Jason's wedding  and as you may already know about me, there's few better ways to spend a day at 'the office' than an action packed day of chaos photographing a fast paced, romantic wedding. At least that's how it is for us photographers, while you enjoy your day :-) What a joy to be a part of two lovebirds' lives coming together. Best wishes to you, Jason and Jennifer in your new journey together.

 The details!!

The details!!

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Changes to Copyright Registration for Photographers and Why Consumers Should Care

Boo!!! 😡 A sucky, money-grubbing, stealth price increase by the U.S. Copyright Office looms on the horizon. Batch uploads for copyright registration for previously published images will now be limited to a paltry 750 images per submission, effective February 20th, 2018. Previously, the uploads were unlimited in quantity for the $55 registration fee. Because federal copyright law protects work previously published as far back as the prior three months from date of submission, a photographer could effectively protect their intellectual property with four $55 uploads at a total business expense of $220 a year. Photographers that have been procrastinating on protecting a large backlog of work, may want to pay for an upload now, before the new limit takes effect.

For the sparse number full time professional photographers left in this world, all this means is a price increase for consumers. Either the photographer must spend the time to cull down images for a submission, which is a CODB that must be passed onto the consumer indirectly, or an uploaded batch of 7,500 images will now cost the photographer $550, instead of $55.

In the digital era, and with Uncle Bob's to be found behind every pop up flash, professionals and semi-pros have a difficult enough time educating prospective clients why quality work costs good money. I didn’t invest $12,000+ on gear to include redundant backups to photograph my family’s Saturday picnic at the park. I don’t skip that picnic with my family to photograph a clients wedding as a charity service.  Neither do I count it a hobby to spend even more hours in the digital darkroom perfecting a clients precious family memories at the expense of my own. I do contribute money to charity services and donate my time to good causes, but you wanting to enjoy the fruit of many years my study and practice is not necessarily a good cause just because you happen to want it. Now we have yet another structural challenge in our industry amidst and ever expanding spectrum of talents and price levels—mostly downward.

Visit the US Copyright Office website if you'd like to leave a comment to the unelected bureaucrats. If the USCO gets overwhelmed with comments filled of 'tears of rage' this may possibly be reevaluated, but I suspect it will require Congressional inquiry before it really comes under the spotlight.

By the way: you don't have to submit RAW files for a registration upload, 800x600px JPGs are just fine. There, I just saved you several hours of time monitoring your uploads. You're welcome!

The Waterfowl of Tucson

The Old Pueblo never ceases to amaze me. We have gila monsters, scorpions, so you'd expect. Did you know we have a ski lift looking down on our town? How about a little wetland, too? I took a couple of my youngins out and we caught up with some teals, coots, and mallards, oh my! The Sweetwater Wetlands are located on Tucson's west side, just off the interstate. Check out their official page here, which is managed by Tucson Water, City of Tucson. Thanks for viewing!

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Winter Fashion Shoot Featuring Vivian

Vivian and her husband joined me downtown for some fun Christmas light shooting and to show off some of her mad modeling skills. What a relief from the usual Tucson heat get to show off some cold weather fashion for a change! Contact Vivian for your fashion or model needs today--she's very punctual and professional.

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The Light + Location Family Shoot

Its often said that [quality of] light is more important than location during a photoshoot. Few things in life are worse than a beautiful location with bad light. A skilled photographer that can find or create the good light will make great art in even an undesirable location. I once shot a wedding in an oversized garage with great light and it came out so awesome that I made a sample album from the day. What beats good light + bad location? How about beautiful light AND beautiful location?!?! I'm always amazed at the landscape treasures that Tucson holds. Who knew the desert held such greenery year round? Here we're shooting at a wetland where treated city water recharges the local aquifer. So maybe it is a bad location if you find that gross. But still myriad beautiful colors and composition to be found in such a setting for the optimistic spirit.

 

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Fall Colors At Their Peak on Mount Lemmon!

Living in the desert has its advantages: You're almost never cold, you see plenty of beautiful rock formations, gorgeously photogenic sunsets, and a plethora of hardy desert wildlife. One annual mainstay that we often find ourselves unable to enjoy are the seasonal fall colors found on leafy, deciduous trees. Enter the nearby 'Sky Islands' as they're affectionately referred to.

I took a drive up Mount Lemmon to enjoy fall colors in the usual beauties: Bear Wallow, Marshal Gulch, and a few other hidden gems. They're not too hard to find, but you'll need a USFS pass to access some locations. They're $5 daily, but I paid $20 for yearly access, as it also grants one to Madera  and Sabino Canyon as well. I'll say the colors tend to peak around the third week of October, and in a few short weeks, all the leaves will, well.. fall. Get up there soon before they're all gone!

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Erin's Headshots

If there's one thing I love as a small business owner, its a repeat customer. Not only does this mean they trusted me with their photographic needs previously, but I served them well enough for them to return. So I was flattered and happy that Erin called on me to set up a headshot for her.

With today's digitized world, your headshot may be the first and possibly the only impression that a potential client or job recruiter may see of you. In Tucson's highly competitive job market, there's nothing quite like the professional image that your head shot will impress upon your current and future colleagues.

My portrait sessions are about an hour and a half long. This includes time for a few wardrobe changes, backdrop and lighting adjustments to complement your hair, outfit, eye color, etc, as well as just some time getting comfortable in front of the camera so that we can capture natural, unforced expression. I typically deliver about a dozen images for which my valuable clients receive high resolution, unwatermarked images with a limited copyright release to use their images professionally as well as print for themselves. Contact me to schedule a shoot today!  

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Black and white boudoir in a downtown loft

I often don't find myself in a 'thematic' mood, per se, when it comes to publishing a collection of images from a shoot. But when Phoenix model Happy Kat came down to Tucson for a shoot I just couldn't help but note how the window light in this upscale loft would look great for a black and white collection, perhaps with a bit of contrast and grain added in post production for some extra texture to the depth. Thanks Kat for all your ideas and energy as it turned out to be a fantastic shoot! 

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A Boudoir Photoshoot

As the Southern Arizona summer heat rages on, it becomes more challenging to stay creative in the summer months. Headshots are one way to spend the time, but so is using soft, indoor window light for full length portraits of people. While sunrise and sunset tend to saturate colors for a 'warmer' glow and are therefore the preferred times for shooting most beautiful desert landscape images, I prefer shooting during the midday hours for window light given the overall volume of light as well as the decreased likelihood that sun will be shining directly through the window onto my subject(s). Window light is one of my favorite light sources as it is soft, directional, diffuse, and of course, free!  There's no batteries to charge, gear to haul, or obnoxious stands [for me] to trip over during the shoot.

Enter Tucson model Annabelle. For my first boudoir shoot, she made my job much easier. I am grateful for her hard work and preparation for the shoot!

I must also thank event planner Kathryn L'Heureux, a rising star in the Arizona wedding planner industry, for assisting with this shoot. As a male photographer I will only participate in a shoot like this with another female present or a household member of the model present.

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Portraits of Amanda -- Tucson Headshot Photographer

I was thrilled to welcome Amanda and her childhood bestie Millie for some headshots and a chance to experiment with some new lighting setups I've recently invested in. I've never really had the chance to photograph such beautiful red hair in a studio setting and I've always been intrigued by the idea of trying to make red hair obvious in black and white processing. Do you get a sense of her beautiful red hair even in the black and white photo?

A studio quality headshot is a must have for working professionals, aspiring models, and just about anybody. True: you can always snap a quick and easy self portrait, dare I call it a "selfie,"  with your camera's phone, and resolution of camera phones are quickly catching up to professional cameras. Nevertheless, there's more to a photo than just megapixels. There's just no comparison to the flattering perspective a telephoto lens brings as well as the DSLRs ability to trigger off camera lighting, and control depth of field for those nice, blurry out-of-focus backgrounds. Please contact me if you'd like a headshot today!

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Diana's Downtown Tucson Fashion Shoot

Tucson model Diana Acosta brought her sons downtown and we met up for a fashion shoot. It was fun to show off some of her handmade wares and shoot in front of some of the iconic architecture of downtown. Moreover, I'm always challenging myself to find ordinary locations and make extraordinary images, often by the creative use of lighting. The reflection shots towards the end of this post, for instance, were shot from the outside of a simple blacked out office window. Other challenges during the day include overpowering the harsh daylight by using powerful strobes. A commonly misunderstood principle of exposure is that the brighter the ambient lighting conditions are, the more (not less) flash power is needed to properly expose our subject. So thanks to her sons for helping us out by carrying the lighting equipment!

 

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A Sunset Glamour Shoot

Cara Marie contacted me through our network of photographers and models here in Tucson. She is an up and coming model while I have been watching desert cactus flowering left and right and been hard up for a reason to photograph some people in front of one! So next time you drive by a patch of desert in town, lookout for this one photographer tripping over thorny things to make a great image. Despite the challenges of wind and relentless spring pollen, we made a sunset shoot happen. Thank you Cara for being on time (early, in fact) and ready to make some great images!

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Mt. Lemmon Engagement Photography--featuring April and Chris

Many congratulations to April and Chris, who will be wed next March here in Tucson at the beautiful Westin La Paloma resort. Some clients just make a photographers job so easy, as do these school yard sweet hearts. We took a walk through the forested peaks of Mount Lemmon and watched another beautiful sunset here in southern Arizona from Windy Point. Thank you for the privilege of capturing your engagement story. Shout out to Lauren Chon for assisting with lighting!

Pastor Tim and Lyndol are Retired!

Many congratulations to Pastor Tim and his wife Lyndol after a long and storied career in full time ministry. I had the privilege of being called by their daughter Kim, a talented photographer in her own right, to photograph their festivities. As you can see, Kim and the rest of the church threw them quite the bash! Desert Son Community Church started in the humbled beginnings of an elementary school, like many others. In time it grew to not only its own campus but also planting new churches as well. All this in addition to supporting other great community service programs such as More Than A Bed, Angel Tree, and full time missionaries across the globe. One need only look at the size of the crowd in attendance to see the many lives they have touched over the years. 

In Pastor Tim, we gain an appreciation for how busy and hard working a ministers job can be. In addition to preparing sermons for weekend worship, they are officiating everything from weddings to funerals, as well as overseeing church administration. I wish them the best as they set out their life on a new adventure on the East Coast to spend time enjoying retirement, participate in new activities and hobbies, and watching their beautiful grand kids grow.

 

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