I traded in a futon for a printer and I’m reprinting my book!
Of Prints and Re-prints:
I’ve hinted for a couple weeks that big changes are happening at our little house in Durham, North Carolina. For the past two weeks I’ve been furiously printing some of my best photographs of Grinnell College in anticipation of commencement and my five-year reunion. I’ve gone through a box of Ilford Gold Fibre Silk as well as my ever-reliable roll of Epson Luster. So lately I’ve been dusting off my skills at cutting down matte and foam board to matte 24 8×10″ prints, 12 11×14″ prints, as well as some 12×18″ and panoramic photographs. And before sending it all out, I’m trying to give them all SKU codes as I learn Quickbooks Pro‘s inventory system on-the-fly for my new business. Gotta keep it legit for the IRS…it is that time of year after all!
What’s that about a new business? Well, it’s not completely off the ground yet, but I’m becoming a limited liability company in the state of North Carolina. I’ve been a sole proprietor since 2006 and while it has been fun, it was time for a change. When it takes effect, this Web site will go through a few changes, and a new domain name will become the primary, although I have no intention to give up david-kennedy.com.
Furthermore, I contacted Regent Published Services, Ltd., the company that printed A Portrait of Grinnell: The Architecture and Landscape of Grinnell College in 2006, to get a quote for printing 2,000 copies. The book has been out of print since 2008, but will be back on the shelves by the end of May 2011. I’m frustrated because I’ll miss commencement by only two weeks, but the book will be stocked in time for reunion. I’ll have information for those interested in pre-ordering soon.
I’ve ramped up production of prints because I finally have a photo printer at my home office. Choosing a printer was a key business decision: while making prints is something I enjoy and am quite skilled at, I know many talented photographers who find the art of printing to be more than vexing. Making prints for other photographers will be part of my business model, so I needed something fairly large. Unfortunately, this meant that the futon in my office (that was a good “guest bed”) simply had to go!
In my custom print store I plan to offer a variety of gloss and matte papers that most online printers simply don’t carry, like Gold Fibre Silk and Entrada Rag. I don’t intend to be the next Mpix–I won’t make prints on the side of coffee mugs or canvas wraps. Nor will I even attempt to compete with FedEx Office and make signage or banners. Instead, I’ll cater to serious photographers who would like to have direct contact with the person making the prints either for their clients or their personal portfolios. And as of March 17, 2011, when I looked out the front door to see FedEx Freight show up in our narrow street, I’ll be able to make those prints on rolls of paper up to 44 inches wide using a Hewlett-Packard Designjet Z3200 Photo printer!
Photos after the jump!
Photo series: setting up an HP Designjet Z3200 Photo printer in a small house
The proof is in the prints
So far, the HP Designjet Z3200 has proven to be a remarkable machine. Yes, it’s a couple years old and uses a gloss enhancer “ink” to mitigate gloss differential (Epson dealt with gloss differential by coming out with “Ultrachrome K3 with Vivid Magenta” inks), but the prints it makes are amazingly crisp. On some papers, the images seem almost alive.
Before I placed my order, I read Michael Reichmann’s review of this machine’s predecessor, the Z3100, on The Luminous Landscape. That review, combined with Wilhelm Imaging Research‘s print longevity tests, gave me the confidence to leave my “Epson comfort zone” and so far I have not been disappointed at all. The onboard i1 spectrophotometer is the icing on the cake: I can profile a paper from any manufacturer and then review the color gamut possible with each paper for a better understanding of which papers best suit a photograph. I’ll post more about my experiences with the HP Designjet Z3200 in the months to come. Look for a storefront for ordering custom prints of your images soon!