Free Webinar: Color Management for Fine Art Reproduction Sept 12

Join us for a webinar on Color Management for Fine Art Reproduction

Fine Art Reproduction is a great business opportunity for photographers. Photographers can photograph flat artwork, and provide true-to-life prints for their customers’ sales, exhibitions, promotional activities, and more. Prints can be made on a variety of fine-art media that are colorfast, archival, and can last up to 200 years. In the digital age, prints can be created in almost any quantity: single print, on demand and large quantities.

On Wednesday, September 12th from 3 pm – 4:15 pm EDT, join us as Datacolor Color Management Experts, David Tobie and David Saffir discuss color management techniques, review photographic methodology, demonstrate printing on fine-art media, and provide marketing tips for recruiting artists in your area. An interactive Q&A will take place throughout the webinar to answer any questions you may have.

One lucky webinar guest will win a free Spyder4PRO!

Register Now! https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/260744370

New Article, Fine Art Reproduction and Fine Art Printing

An article with content regarding my fine art printmaking business and related info just published in Big Picture magazine. The image you see here is mine – it’s the cover shot. The link takes you to an online version of the publication – go to page 16 for the full story. http://issuu.com/the_big_picture/docs/1202bpic?mode=window&viewMode=doublePage

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Cover Image © David Saffir 2011

Intro, New Inkjet Transfer Technique

From Bonny Lhotka, Digitalartstudioseminars.com

An alternative to conventional inkjet methods.

See our new inkjet printing workshop, too!

Jim Hull’s Watercolor Work Helps Illuminate Photography

One of my customers is a watercolor painter named Jim Hull. He recently asked me to photograph two of his paintings, which I’ve posted here. Fact is, I’ve photographed quite a bit of Jim’s work, and enjoyed it all.

Jim is one of those people who have an amazing range of interests – these go beyond painting to astronomy, space travel, the history of ancient cultures, and golf. He’s also reading modern studies regarding how the brain processes information and feelings, and how we think.

Jim recently decided to work with his media in new ways – in these paintings, his treatment of light inspires me as a photographer. To my eye, his paintings show dimensionality and depth not often seen in the work of other watercolorists. The technique is subtle but effective. (I find that the computer screen gives a reasonable view, but you still can't beat real-life impact).

Take a look at Jim Hull’s web site to see more of his work.

Jim Hull Watercolorist Golf Scene

Jim Hull © Golf Scene #1

Jim Hull Watercolor Painting Golf Scene #2

Jim Hull © Golf Scene #2

Douglas Kirkland Video – Protecting Art Work and Photographs

Photographer Douglas Kirkland on YouTube, talking about ARTtrust (video recorded by PR company at PMA photo conference):

Tracking Ownership of Fine Art Prints and Preventing Fraudulent Copies

Earlier this year I wrote about Certificates of Authenticity, and how they add value to fine art prints. There is an additional tool available, called the ARTtrust solution that can help track and verify the authenticity and ownership of each print.

Read more in my article on the HP Pro Photo Blog.



Tour 09: Fine Art Printing and Fine Art Reproduction Update

We’ve been having a great time. We held our Tech Expo (day 1)  and Workshop Session (day 2) at the Denver Studio Complex and Denver Pro Photo. This was the first of seven events planned, ranging through Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.

The Tech Expo featured wide format printers from Canon, Epson, and HP, color management tools from X-Rite, displays from Eizo, cameras from Mamiya/Leaf, papers and print finishing products from Premier, lighting from Westcott, Eizo, and more!

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The Tech Expo was very well attended, and we had reps from a number of companies present.

Dennis Halley (digital2you) was the primary host. During the course of the day, we fielded questions regarding inkjet printing, color management, print finishing, art reproduction, media selection, medium format cameras, and displays from Eizo.

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We also had quite a bit of original artwork on hand, and print reproductions of many of these examples.

On day 2, we held our workshop on Fine Art Printmaking and Fine Art Reproduction. The session was very well attended; we had approximately 20 students in attendance.

We not only covered the “how to” aspects of fine art printmaking, we also got into the details of the business model for fine art printmaking, using your wide-format printer to make prints for other photographers, art reproduction, color management, print finishing, and more.

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We had a complete fine art printmaking setup, and of course a studio setup for fine art repro:

I encourage you to attend one of the next sessions. We will be in Glenwood Springs, Santa Fe, Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tucson, and Albuquerque.

To register for the workshop session, please go to the Digital2You web site here or CALL FOR DETAILS 303-934-2777

Camera Test: Mamiya 645AFD III Camera and the Leaf Aptus DL-28 Digital Back

I recently received a Mamiya 645AFD III medium-format camera to test, accompanied by a Leaf Aptus II DL-28 digital back, and several lenses. 

 

I’m going to report on my experiences with this camera, starting with an overview and first impressions in this post. In subsequent posts, I’ll cover a variety of shooting situations (in studio and on-location), image quality, and the Leaf Capture software and its performance. Note that this is one of the cameras we will be using on the upcoming Focus 09 Fine Art Printing and Art Reproduction Seminar Tour October 2-21.

 

The camera arrived in the original packaging, which is well designed, protecting the camera quite well.

 

Ergonomics are top-notch; the camera is well balanced, and controls are logically placed and fall easily under one’s fingers – in short, it just feels good. 

 

Camera, lens, and digital back build quality is excellent. This is clearly a pro-level camera, robust materials and construction.

 

In the next image, basic features are marked by the numbers. Number 1 is located next to the shutter release, and shutter controls: single, continuous, mirror-up, and lock. Number 2 shows the settings screen, which indicates battery life, aperture/shutter speed, and the like. Number 3 shows the dial which controls shooting mode – Aperture priority, shutter priority, program/auto, manual, X, and custom function. Number 4 indicates the digital back, 5 the stylus used to activate controls on the back.

 

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Controls on the front of the camera include depth of field preview, and a focus mode selector (single, continuous, manual).

 

The camera is powered by AA batteries, which is a plus in terms of cost as compared to camera bodies which require more expensive 123 batteries.

 

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Mamiya lenses have a strong reputation for build and image quality. Focusing rings are well-dampened, and autofocus lenses are quick and quiet.

 

Some specs on the digital back: 28MP, which produces a >150MB file @ 16 bits. The sensor size is 44x33mm, and offers  ISO ratings of 50-800. Pixel pitch is 7.2 microns, which is larger than, for example, the Nikon D3x which features 5.9. Dynamic range is reported to be 12 stops.

 

So far, I’ve used the camera mostly in-studio, with a couple of short sessions outdoors. To this point, the in-camera meter has been accurate, handling high-contrast situations accurately. More to follow on this topic.

 

The camera may be used shooting to a CF card, or tethered to a computer. The days of using an attached hard drive are gone. The battery mounts underneath the camera back, which I find convenient as it helps balance things when using longer lenses.

 

The digital back shoots at 1/fps. It has an excellent, bright viewing screen, 6x7cm, which has very good contrast and color. It can be viewed outdoors, but direct sun is a challenge. In-studio it is, in a word, stunning.

 

A feature of the Aptus digital back is it not only provides a preview and histogram of the image – it is a touch-screen controller for the camera, controlling quite a few functions.

 

In short, one can set up the parameters of the shot, from color space to pre-sharpening to pre-set camera profiles – all with a tap of the included stylus.

 

Now some have criticized this for being “too complex”, or “too fancy”, and I just can’t agree. It is much quicker than push-button driven controls, and the menus are clear and pretty easy to follow.

 

For example, one can set up the camera to provide a simple image preview, image preview with histogram in the corner of the image, or histogram overlaid on the image. Quite flexible and useful.

 

 

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RAW file format is now compatible with Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture. I applaud the company’s approach to open architecture – makes it much easier to work in a variety of circumstances and locations. We don’t always have control of the resources available to us in the field!

 

Image quality is excellent. Although the camera provides ISO settings up to 800, as a practical matter image quality begins to suffer at 400, and has significant color and luminance noise at 800, even in bright light. To be fair, this camera was designed for lighting-controlled situations – ie, ISO 50-100.

 

I used the camera in studio to capture some macro shots of an orchid. We used the new Westcott Westcott TD-5 lights with daylight-balanced fluorescent bulbs installed. (a check with a spectrophotometer shows these to be dead-on at 5500k).

 

The macro lens is a 120mm f/4 model, updated with a 16-bit CPU. The focusing ring is smooth, perhaps a little heavy to turn. I’d like to see a little less pressure needed, and a better turn ratio for close focusing – after all, this is a manual focus lens. Having said this, I had no trouble at all focusing the lens. (There is a very accurate focusing indicator in the viewfinder).

 

Image quality is superb. On macro shots, I recommend using a sturdy tripod or studio stand, and mirror-up mode for maximum clarity. 

 

The image below shows an orchid photographed in-studio, with a cutout at 100% to demonstrate sharpness. The white “fuzz” you see isn’t sharpening artifact, it’s part of the flower!

 

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I’ll be photographing a number of subjects this week, including some acrylic paintings for a fine art reproduction project that just came in. More to follow!

 

 

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We’ll be working live with this camera, among others, at the upcoming Fine Art Printing and Fine Art Reproduction seminars in Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. These one-day intensive sessions start at the beginning of October 09. For more information, go here.

 

 

 

 

New Blog Announcement: Focus 09 – Digital Fine Art Printing and Art Reproduction Seminars

New Blog Announcement

 

Focus 09: Digital Fine Art Printing and Art Reproduction Seminars

Focus 09: Digital Fine Art Printing and Art Reproduction Seminars

Instructor: David Saffir

In October 2009, we begin a new tour and seminar series: Fine Art Printing and Photographic Reproduction. This series provides an in-depth review of the subject from several viewpoints: first, for photographers wishing to make fine art prints, and second, for curators, galleries, and other organiztions in dealing with artists and their work in the context of creating open- and limited reproduction editions of their artwork. Third, for artists who wish to expand their marketing efforts and created editions of their work for exhibition and sale.

Beginning October 2, 2009, and continuing through October 20th, the Tour covers seven cities in three states (Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico).

Designed for photographers, artists, galleries, printmakers, students, and organizations this series provides a number of learning experiences:        read more.

Selected Comments and Responses

I get a number of comments each month that ask great questions – so I thought that once or twice a month I would post the question, and a brief reply, so that we could all read them without scrolling until our fingers get blisters :)

Here’s a couple, more to follow: (I have edited to keep things space requirements manageable). The first theme this month is art, and art reproduction:

Q1:

(I have been told that there is ) software that will fix the single sheet feed problems on the Designjet Z3100-I would like to know how I can obtain this software.

Answer:

I believe the sheet-feeding issues can be solved through a firmware upgrade. It has been about a year since I looked at this issue, and I know that HP moves resources on its web site from time to time- so the best thing to do is to go to the main HP Graphics portal, and search for z3100 and a combination of parameters such as sheet feeding, firmware update, and the like. You can also contact Jack directly through his web site at duganne.com.

 PS – depending on the size of the sheet – if the sheet edges are not ‘square’, you’ll have issues. It you can trim the sheet to 90 degrees on each angle, many of your issues will be addressed.

Q2

In the capture process, do you use a black surround to envelope the artwork and then direct the two lights at 45 degree angle from both sides into the inside of the surround toward the artwork? Do you use polarizing filters over the lights as well as on the lens? I have not used the surround yet but other photographers have said that I should. Maybe that’s why not all my colors are perfectly reproduced.

 Answer:

In capture, I usually use a dark neutral grey, or black surround. Color bounce is a big, big, headache. The angle of the lights depends on the reflectivity of the artwork. W/ the HP Artist software, one can light the artwork from one side only. I do not normally use polarizers; however, I do not hesitate to use additional lights and change the arrangement to use a shallower angle, lighting for fill and to kill reflections, etc. Hope this helps.

PS – remember to protect the lens using flags or other barriers – lighting that spills directly past the lens shade will help kill color and contrast.