I’ll be co-presenting at the “Large Format Printing- Big Images, Big Opportunities” seminar at A&I Hollywood on April 9, 4-7pm. Admission is free! Come find out what kind of images work in large format; tips for printing on canvas and the new substrates available; and how you can break into the market for large format work. This seminar is presented by A&I and MOPLA (Month of Photography LA). Please click here for more information (scroll down to the 4th listed event). I hope to see you there!
I had an enjoyable time at A&I Hollywood on Saturday afternoon presenting “Large Format Printing- Big Images, Big Opportunities” with moderator Rex Weiner and panelists Olivier Pojman and Baret Lepejian (A&I owner). A&I is the first lab on the West Coast to own and operate the new HP Scitex FB500, which is a 64″ wide printer (no print length limitations!) that can print on virtually any surface up to 2.5″ thick (photo: my test print coming off the Scitex). The substrate possibilities for your images are now almost endless: metals (aluminum, copper [the copper print I saw was incredible]); wood; fiber; glass; plastic; you name it! Olivier and I discussed the equipment we use to make our photographs as well as how we make and finish our respective prints. For those who have requested a summary of the seminar, here are a few of the most important pointers I provided:
- Good input is critical to good output: If you intend to make large prints and you’re not working with large format cameras or the highest resolution digital capture available, I recommend reverse-engineering your process. Determine how much frame stitching is necessary to reach your acceptable level of detail and sharpness at any given print size.
Acceptable level of detail and sharpness: This can vary greatly for each of us. You ultimately need to run tests to find out just how big you can go while still retaining a level of detail and sharpness that you find acceptable. Due to the specifics of image type; lens selection; resolution; and other factors, there is no easy correlation between megapixels and print size: every image is different, and I always recommend testing specific to the image at hand.
Print size: Just because you can print 64″ wide (by any length!) doesn’t mean that you should! Some of my images look great six feet wide, and some look best six inches wide. The only way to determine what may be the ideal size for your image is to test it!
How to test for resoution/sharpness: Let’s assume I want to try a 50″ wide print of Image X. I’ll prepare the file for the actual output size and printer resolution (example: 50″ wide at 300 dpi), but will then make multiple 8×10″ sectional crops from detail-rich and important areas. I then order proofs of these 8×10″ prints to evaluate acceptable resolution and sharpness. These proofs must be made on the material you intend to print on! An 8×10″ proof on silver halide photo paper is not an adequate representation of an 8×10″ print on canvas!
How to choose a substrate: Whether printing on fine art rag or a 1/16″ thick sheet of copper, there is no substitute for running tests (man, more testing?!) to determine what materials best suit your work. I’ve done a lot of testing over the years to determine what I like best for my photographs, and would recommend the same for anyone.
Thanks to those who came out to A&I on Saturday, and sorry to those who were unable to join us. A special thanks to Baret Lepejian and Rex Weiner for asking me to be a part of this panel!
If you’re looking to print on alternative materials and/or make very large prints, I highly recommend that you check out A&I’s new Scitex FB500 printer.
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