Review in Professional Photographer Mag: SpyderGallery: Color Calibration Now a Reality for Your iPad

A new product from Datacolor, SpyderGallery, makes it dead easy to calibrate your iPad—versions 1 or 2—and the results are noticeably better: image quality, color accuracy, saturation, shadow detail, and detail in highly saturated areas are improved,

For more, continue here..


Intro, New Inkjet Transfer Technique

From Bonny Lhotka,

An alternative to conventional inkjet methods.

See our new inkjet printing workshop, too!

Part Two, Fine Art Paper From Parrot Digigraphic

I’ve had the opportunity lately to work with a number of inkjet printing papers offered by Parrot Digigraphic. There’s quite a range of media to choose from, so for this post I decided to focus on a fine art paper that I particularly like, and that seems to fill an relatively unoccupied niche – Angelica Natural White Textured, 315gsm.

I say it is in a niche not because its application is narrow, but because it combines a very nice hand with subdued but effective texture. Its natural white color is very pleasing, lending a slight warm tone to unlinked areas of the print. As a point of comparison, I feel it falls in between Hahnemuhle Photo Rag, and Hahnemuhle textured fine art style paper – and quality is more than comparable.

The Old House © David Saffir

This is a finely-made watercolor-style inkjet paper intended for use with pigment and dye-based inks. I have found that when using pigment inks its rendered color gamut is very good, and black and white images show smooth gradations, strong blacks, and detailed highlights. Dimensionality and “presence” are excellent. It is available in both roll and sheet packaging.

I profiled this paper on my HP Designjet Z3200 using the built-in spectrophotomer and HP color management software. I’ve found the paper interacts well with the color management tools and the printers – and these paper profiles are stable and accurate.

As with many other papers, there may be room for improvement in this in-printer profile, through using the HP Advanced Profiling System, which generates test targets with a greater number of test patches. However, prints made using current profile are quite good, and I don’t see any issues across the color gamut, or in highlight/shadow detail.

Parrot also offers excellent in-house paper profiles for use with a number of inkjet printing systems.

The paper takes ink quite well, with no sign of cockling or other distortions. It handles well off the roll, which is always a bit of a challenge for fine art/watercolor style papers.

As with all non-photo-style papers, I recommend that users turn off the auto-cutter, as this may generate dust inside the printer. Instead, it is best to cut the paper outside the machine.

Overall, I like this paper for photographic use. I have not yet tried it for fine art reproduction. Parrot’s price point is very competitive – the combination of price and the paper’s performance makes this an option well worth consideration for your media lineup.

Parrot Digigraphic

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Parrot Digigraphic Inkjet Paper Testing, Part One

From time to time, I get samples of paper to try in my studio. John and Mark Lorusso of Parrot Digigraphics were kind enough to send me samples of a number of media types, all branded as in-house Parrot products. I’m going to report on my experiences with these papers.

I’ll write this up in two blog posts, one tonight, and another within 48 hours (things are really busy right now – we have print competition tonight, among other things.)

Moving along: in some cases, one finds that these papers cost less, but don’t deliver the quality. In the case of Parrot, that’s just dead wrong: the Parrot papers are very high quality, render images well in color and black and white, have a nice “hand”, and last but not least, in many instances cost less than the average for high quality goods in this category.

I’ve been working with these papers over the last week or so:

Parrot Ultra Lustre Photo, 10 mil
Ultrawhite Matte Canvas, 21 mil
Angelica Bright White Smooth, 315 gsm
Angelica Natural White Textured, 315 gsm

I may have left one name out, but I’ll get it straight soon enough.

I’ve been printing these papers using the HP Designjet Z3200. I like the Z because it has a built-in spectrophotometer, and with just a few mouse clicks, I can profile a paper, print an image, and voila! Great color!

So far, my favorites are the Angelica Bright White Smooth, and Natural White Textured. They seem to fill a gap in products offered by other companies. In particular, the Natural White Textured seems to step in between other papers – for example, Hahnemuhle Photo Rag – the paper has a pleasing base color and texture, but not so much texture that it overwhelms the image, or starts to look like a canvas print.

That’s all for today, more to follow. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, here’s a link to the Parrot Digigraphic web site.

New Solutions From ARTtrust: Preventing Fraudulent and Unauthorized Use of Fine Art Photography and Artwork

Modern scanning, editing, and printing technology has made it easier than ever to copy an image or piece of art and reproduce it – speaking from personal experience, it can be quite difficult to know which is the original, and which is the copy!

And, of course, we’ve all heard reports and stories about unauthorized use, copying, and outright fraud involving a photographer’s or artist’s work.

The immediate impact is straightforward: money-out-of-your-pocket theft.

But what about the loss of credibility for the artist/photographer – and the reduction in value of a limited edition? Uncertainty about the provenance or number of pieces in the market quickly erodes the value of work already sold – and of course, work that is still on the market.

A company called ARTtrust has created a new, unique solution for these problems – one that helps users to identify and verify authorized work, discourages theft, prevents unauthorized copying, stops “limited” edition over-runs, and more.  ARTtrust makes it possible to provide a unique identity to each print in an edition or to each unique work, whether lithography, serigraphy, design, sculpture, etc.

ARTtrust is an identification and verification system that can be used by individuals, galleries, curators, collectors, museums, and others – the ARTtrust system is easy to understand and implement, and is as nearly perfect a security solution for art and phtography as exists today. ARTtrust provides for control by the artist, owner, authorized organization, or delegated curator or printmaker. Founder and CEO Philippe Serenon likes to say that “ARTtrust is simple, precise, secure, accessible, and authentic”. ARTtrust’s international partners include HP, Innova, Canson, Hahnemuhle, and others.

The ARTtrust system includes:

– A set of three unique identification tags, provided in a set, that cannot be duplicated. One tag is affixed to the artwork or print, another to the Certificate of Authenticity, and the third to the owner’s or printmaker’s file copy or BAT. (more on this later). The tags cannot be removed intact – any tampering destroys the tag. Each set of tags in unique to the individual piece of art.
ARTtrust Bubble Tags

– Each item that is tagged is registered via the ARTtrust online system. A digital image is uploaded, and the unique identification tags are linked to this image. The record can be accessed online by authorized users or a potential customer, providing quick and accurate validation of the item.

– The owner, authorized user, or delegate of the artist can print a pre-formatted Certificate of Authenticity (COA) to accompany the work. The tag on the art work or photograph can be matched to the tag on the COA via the ARTtrust database. Another certificate can be printed for use as a file or reference copy – this carries the third tag.

The technology at the core of the ARTtrust system is the Bubble Tag. This is a 3-D polymer tag which has a one-of-a-kind pattern of bubbles embedded in it. Each Bubble Tag is as unique as a fingerprint, virtually impossible to duplicate. (ARTtrust freely admits that they can’t do it – and they believe no one else can, either.)

The Bubble Tag Compared to Online Record

ARTtrust also provides an on-line gallery for its customers – whether they are individuals or organizations. The gallery includes a digital image, the serial number of the ARTtrust tag assigned to the work, and an image that can be compared to the ARTtrust tag.

An ARTtrust Image Gallery

If you click on one of the images, you’ll see this:

Image with identifying Bubble Tag

Anyone who is interested in buying or exhibiting a print can visit the ARTtrust website, find the online record*, view the bubble tag for verification (compare the tag image on screen to the tag on the artwork – and match the ID numbers), and review additional details about the print, such as availability and pricing.  (*One can enter the serial number on a tag, and easily retrieve the record of the work connected with that tag.)

Interestingly, there is also an iPhone application which can read an ARTtrust tag and provide verification on the spot! You can download the iPhone app on the iTunes App Store – just search for i-ARTtrust.

Here’s a link to the ARTtrust web site – the front page is shown below.

ARTtrust Web Site

Now photographers and artists, individuals and organizations have an independent, secure resource that helps them control and market their work, preserve value, prevent fraud and theft – and it is accessible online almost anywhere in the world.


Disclosure: I have in the past acted as a consultant and beta tester to ARTtrust and some of its business partners. I received no compensation for writing this blog post.

New Photo Critique Site:

I’ve just begun contributing to a new photo web site that I think is pretty cool. Called, it is a site where one can upload an image, have it reviewed in writing by a pro photographer, and get a written critique, with tips and suggestions for improvements or additional work.

The critique outline looks like this:

  1. Subject of photo
  2. Composition & Perspective
  3. Focus
  4. Use of camera, exposure & speed
  5. Color & Lighting
  6. General impression
  7. Overall Rating

Each item is given a write-up, and a evaluation score from 1-10.

You can choose among the photographers on the site, and send your request for critique to that person. Available reviewers come from all over the world. Your first session is FREE.

I suggest you take a look at the site, and give it a try. Here’s the link to GuruShots Photo Critique



In New York? Come to Pro Photo Expo!

I will be at PPE (Pro Photo Expo) at the Javitz Center Thursday through Saturday this week. Come by the HP exhibit and say Hi! I’ll be working with the new Digital Negative Printing process, the ArtTrust security ID system for fine art and fine art photos, and the Designjet Z3200 large format printer.

We’ll have some amazing prints from Elliot Erwitt’s collection for you to see.

I’ve included a link below for the Platinum Printing video, and I’ll post the ArtTrust web address as soon as the latest revision is completed. :))

Here’s a video about the Platinum Printing Process:

and here’s a web page about the process.

See you at the Javits Center!

New Testing, Inkjet Media From Parrot Digigraphic Scheduled July 2010

Those of us who make our own prints are, in many cases, constantly looking for that ideal combination of quality, price, and appearance in our inkjet papers. We’re lucky, in that our options increase daily, and competition keeps prices in check – if not driving them down at times!

My good friends and colleagues John and Mark Lorusso, and Ted Dillard of Parrot Digigraphic ( offer an interesting line of private-label inkjet papers. They’ve printed a number of my images for me on these papers – in color and Black and White – and the results have been impressive – so much so that I want to try them in my own shop.

The line includes (not in any particular order): Angelica Bright White Smooth, Angelica Universal Photomatte, Angelica Bright White Matte Canvas, Angelica Universal Photo Matte, and Parrot Ultra Lustre. It’s quite a lineup.

I’ll be getting a box of samples to try, and I intend to start printing next week.

I’m planning to produce a range of color and Black and White prints. Parrot offers a set of ICC paper profiles (, and there is also a video provided with instructions on installing the profiles correctly. I’ll be trying a few of their profiles, and I’ll also make my own profiles in-house using the built-in spectro on the HP Z3200.

So, some new printing experiences coming, and I’ll follow up here with a brief report the week after next. My thanks to John, Ted, and Mark!

More here:

Why Use a Wide-Gamut Display for Photography?

Lately I have seen more and more displays that, according to the manufacturers’ claims, produce a wider range of color than less capable or older models. Often referred to as wide-gamut displays, these displays are frequently more expensive than what we might ordinarily choose for everyday business use. The question is, are they good enough to be worth the money?

Wide Gamut Displays Can Improve Productivity For Photographers

The bottom line: Yes! If you are serious about photography and image editing, and you want to print your images at a high level of quality, you should consider a wide-gamut display.


Many mid- to lower-cost, or older LCD displays produce color only in the sRGB color space, which was developed quite some time ago. The sRGB space covers a relatively small portion of the colors that are visible to us, and most of the newer pro-model inkjet printers can print a much wider gamut than sRGB. (please go here for more of “Why Use a Wide-Gamut Display for Photography?” on the Pro Photo Blog)

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