Wow, it really is hard to blog when you’re busy

Richard Charpentier Digital Cameras, Notes from Rich, Photography, RLC Design 2 Comments

Okay, I admit it.  I don’t know how Kelby and the rest of the photography bloggers out there do it.  I mean, when business is hopping, how the heck do they sit down and churn out so much interesting information.  And yes, I know I do blog more than the average person out there, but still.  Since the print business has been jumping off the hook I have had a hard time keeping up with the things I’d like to blog about.  Ah well, I’ll do it when I can do it.

The Friday Print Report

On Friday I planned to run the entire Fann Construction job.  It was a sizable job, and the largest single printing for one client that I’ve ever done.  In the end, slightly over 300 sq feet of glossy prints in one day.  The Canon IPF8300 is so fast that I actually got to finish all the prints same day.  I can tell you for a fact, had I run this through the Z3100 it would have been a two day project to be certain.  Gotta love the latest equipment!

Now that my part is done, Ian has to back all the pieces for hanging at Fann’s big anniversary celebration.  🙂

It was professionally shot…..

I ran into an interesting situation this week with a new customer.  And that situation ties right into a recent blog post by Paul Burwell.

This new client has previously run one tile with Ian.  Ian does all the dye sublimation in our shop, and after backorders and delays on supplies he’s back to churning out a ton of tiles once more.  This particular client was on the waiting list for another tile.  Unfortunately, they weren’t super satisfied with their last tile.  And it is honestly no fault of ours.

Many clients bring us digital files of their art.  Somebody else shot it, they had it scanned at Wal-Mart or Walgreens……  However they get it digitized, they do, and then it comes into the shop.  And more often than not, they’re satisfied with not even looking into color correction.  Just get it printed……  NOW!

Whenever I get somebody who doesn’t want to spend 10 minutes proofing a piece I know I’ll have trouble.  Occasionally people come in with a disk, they’re in a big hurry, and they’ve just got to go.  Given the fact I’ve learned the lesson over and over again I do not just print the piece.  I explain we need to take a few minutes to match to the original and if they can’t do it today, please come back when you have some time.  I know, I know….online print services don’t do that for you.  But for the online guys… don’t have the customer right there to explain their extreme disappointment that the image doesn’t look like what was on their monitor, etc.

This particular client brought their new file in on Thursday, along with the old original of the tile they were disappointed in.  First off, I thought it would make more sense to bring in the original that we were going to run for them, but that wasn’t the case.  Fortunately the color scheme was very similar so it gave me something to go on.  Of course, the client did not want to pay for color correction and just wanted Ian to run the tile, but to do it better than the last one.  Uh huh….

I popped the image on my screen quickly.  Unfortunately the client had to run, they only had like 3 minutes they could stay in the building.  Ah, to be young and in a hurry.  In the interest of getting the colors right for Ian I decided to do a test print of the digital image that was given to us.  Comparing to the other original portrait the image was severely washed out, over exposed, the white balance was way off, and the color wasn’t even in the ball park.  I did a little fine tuning and printed a test swatch for the customer to see.

Friday during all of my printing the customer returned and we showed what the original file would look like, and what fine tuning options were available.  Ian made the off hand comment, “This is why you might want to get the original professionally shot.”  To which the client replied……

“It was professionally shot.  I own a 12 Megapixel camera.”  Now you might see how this ties into Paul Burwell’s latest post.  Owning an expensive camera doesn’t mean your’e a pro.  It means you own an expensive camera.

So, I listed off the issues with the image to the client.  Soft focus, incorrect white balance, washed out by the lighting used, colors way out of whack.  The client piped up and said, “Oh yes, I do need to learn how to deal with all those things.  Could you tell me how to do it?”

Man, people really do try to avoid paying me $25 to shoot and color correct their original paintings!  I mean, I only charge $25 for smaller pieces.  The average in town in $65, and if you look nationally it’s over $100.  Sometimes I think folks are extra cheap here!

How much does white balance and lighting really get you?

A test shot while I figured out what white balance setting I wanted to use.

Okay, fixed the white balance but the exposure is way off.

Corrected for exposure and sharpened. Still, this image needs work.

Looking at the 3 images above you might get an idea of what I was talking about in the previous segment.  In the case of the initial test shot I was getting a read on my strobe power, white balance, and the overall scene.  My first attempt was way off so I fine tuned.  The white balance alone threw off colors.  The incorrect exposure threw off colors even more.

Now, apply this issue to a painting.  See where things can go bad fast?

The interesting part though is that as long as a client has a high megapixel camera they think it is professional and they don’t need my services for correction.  Unfortunately, the image never comes out the way they want it to, and it’s not their fault, they’ve got a good camera.  Must be something to do with me…….of course, I keep a Colorchecker Passport in my camera bag, so maybe it’s not me.  🙂

Classes & Workshops, Oh My!

Well, I have to wrap this post up.  Meeting a client in an hour for a 4 hour one on one class.  2 hours working with the camera, 2 hours on learning our way around a Macintosh (they just switched).  It will make for a fun and busy day.  Best part, I really like this client and their spouse.  It’s always more fun with folks who are really interested in improving their hardware and software skills.  🙂

Don’t forget, the Vulture Mine HDR class still has limited seating available.  I know Halloween is a little way off, but it will be here faster than you think.

Finally, check your white balance!  🙂

Comments 2

  1. Oh I just love that “professional camera” assumption. It’s like saying that a chef is good because he uses expensive pots and pans!

    And I totally hear you on the time. I bow to Kelby and the gang for blogging so consistently!

    Another great post! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  2. Post

    Uh oh Karen….you mean my expensive posts and pans aren’t going to help me? 🙂 Plus I’m at an extra disadvantage with the small Airstream kitchen……

    You know, my 5D Mark II has a “photograph painting” mode….. 😉

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