Will You Guarantee Something Your Supplier Won’t?

Will You Guarantee Something Your Supplier Won’t?

Several of our clients have shared with us how they’ve been left hanging when their previous face-mount producers refused to stand behind their product when it failed after the warranty period. These artists were left paying out-of-pocket to re-make, re-crate, and re-ship fine art presentations to their very unhappy buyers. Despite the artist doing the right thing, the experience left their customers lacking the trust they once had to make future purchases. It was an unfortunate situation that both parties should never have experienced.

These stories are never fun to hear, but they are not uncommon. Most face-mount producers won’t guarantee their product beyond a few years — some as short as only 12 months! There is a solid reason for these unfortunate warranty periods — those producers simply cannot trust their own product not to fail! The sad irony is, they expect you to?

Trust is hard-earned. Reed has always stood behind the quality of every single product we’ve ever made. Period. We introduced Diasec face-mount technology to North America because an artist should never have to worry about anything they let out of their studio. They should have faith that their brand and their buyer’s investments are protected. Neither the artist nor the buyer should ever be surprised by an expensive fine art presentation failure.

Our Diasec face-mount simply, Does. Not. Fail. A permanent bond is formed between the print and the acrylic creating a unified piece that will not let go. It is the highest quality face-mount available, yet we price it very competitively. If other companies are pitching you a bargain, trust us, you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for.

Whether it’s a Diasec face-mount, pigment print, chromogenic, canvas, or any of our other products, the Reed Team continues to stand behind what we do because we know that the fine-art pieces we produce on your behalf are crafted with the finest materials and finished with the most exacting detail. We’ve never refused to replace a product due to defect. Our in-house artisans are confident enough to stand behind all of our products for years to come.

As a working artist, you should never have to bear the risk of guaranteeing a product that your supplier refuses to guarantee themselves.

Artists Working For Artists

Say hello to Reed's new Master Printer: Sean P. Tracey

Photo by John Harris
"Waylon" by Sean Tracy
"Harvest" by Sean Tracy
"Willie" by Sean Tracy

Carrying on the tradition of excellence that former Reed print manager, Bob Coller Jewett did for 26 years, Sean Tracey personifies the Reed motto: “Artists Working For Artists” — and he does it with a distinctly local flair.

A fifth generation Coloradoan, Sean has navigated his way through the business of art while almost effortlessly blending three distinct vocations, artist (as seen on the lower left) and photographer, with the highly technical trade of commercial and fine art reproduction.

Entering the art business at that crazy point in time when the Digital Revolution was just starting to shake the Old School to its foundations, Sean immersed himself in traditional color correction, while mastering the technique of dry and wet etching of (real) film. Yet, when Photoshop made its first appearance in the early Nineties, he was not so entrenched in the old ways that he could not readily embrace the possibilities of this revolutionary new medium.

A longtime veteran of some of Denver’s most respected art reproduction storefronts, Sean can now add Reed Art & Imaging to his already impressive list of credentials.

Away from Reed, Sean stays busy in the creation of his own vision and credits Denver’s vibrant local art scene for the opportunity to feature and sell his work.

“I’ve been very blessed to have associated with and collaborated with many talented artists in the Denver Metro area. I have consistently averaged at least one solo and a few group art shows each year for over a decade now.”

Sean has always been excited about the possibilities of high-end inkjet printing  and now even more so, given Reed’s longtime dedication to this state-of-the-art method of color reproduction.

“I take great pride and honor in upholding the reputation of quality and excellence that Bob Reed has established for more than forty years. Each day I look forward to working intimately with many types of amazing artists and photographers throughout the country.”

The Reed Team is also excited about the possibilities that Sean Tracey brings to the company and looks forward to many years of working with this “Artist Working for Artists.”

The Big Picture 2019

Barb Pullin and Thomas Carr "hang paper" at 40 West
Getting permission to paste is HIGHLY recommended.

The Gallery of The Streets

The biennial event, Month of Photography 2019 is in full swing, and a big part of MoP is The Big Picture. As usual, Reed Art & Imaging figures heavily into the mix. To date, we’ve printed over 220 large scale wheatpastes for some 25 artists and photographers. This year’s event marks the first time MoP wheatpaste art has been printed in full color.

For the uninitiated, the most commonly known example of this once ubiquitous advertising medium is French painter and printmaker Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who raised the practice of bill posting to the level of street art in the 1890’s with his elaborate scenes of wild Parisian nightlife.

Though the popularity of the art form has ebbed and flowed, it has never gone away, and, in some respects, has even gained in popularity. Known as “flyposting” in the United Kingdom, street artists like Shepard Fairey leverage this old school marketing tactic to make provocative social and political statements, oftentimes in contradiction to the accepted or conventional wisdom of the day.

The basic wheatpaste equation? Image on paper + paste + wall + guerilla attitude = Street Art.

(Street Fine Art?)

As with all things MoP, The Big Picture has been advancing the cause of photography through the art of wheatpaste for some time now. In addition to Denver, Big Picture 2019 exhibitors can be seen in galleries and streets across France, Italy, Switzerland, The United Kingdom, New York, Jamaica and Mexico.

Closer to home, the father of MoP and The Big Picture, Mark Sink spearheads the wheatpaste cause with activities across the Denver Metro area.

Below, Mark & Friends (including some of the Reed gang) on a recent wheatpasting of the south wall of the 40West headquarters in Lakewood.

For more information on MoP 2019 events around town:

https://www.facebook.com/bigpicturedenver/

https://www.mopdenver.com/mop-2019#/thebigpicture2019/

https://www.facebook.com/events/764664260718312/

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/deconstructed-brunch-tickets-58461443752

All photos by Gary Reed

Happy Earth Day

earth_hear_041808

Happy Earth Day! Did you know that we offer and Eco Friendly Product? Well, we do. Let me take just a quick second to tell you about our Gallery Mount Collection and how you can be Earth friendly every day of the year, not just on Earth Day.

We use premium MDF with a Composite Panel Association (CPA) certification of 100% recycled/recovered fiber in compliance with their Environmentally Preferable Product (EPP) specification CPA 3-08. These products are also certified for Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain-of-custody and controlled wood recognition. Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) has awarded certification to our supplier for producing products using recovered and recycled materials. UltraStock Select, Premium and Lite MDF are certified to contain pre-consumer recycled fiber on a dry fiber weight basis of 75% and 80% depending on manufacturing facility.

WOW! What does all of that mean? It means that we are doing our best as a company to help our clients be as eco friendly as possible and still create beautiful finished photographic pieces of art to put out into the world. Art is beauty and beauty does not have to hurt (our planet). We also reuse and recycle our shipping materials and no longer use incandescent light blubs, something we can ALL do everyday of the year to keep our planet green! *Image provided by NASA

Megapixels Aren’t the Only Factor to Consider When Buying a Camera

megapixSome questions from our clients and our readers seem to come up more often than others. Many of those questions center around the importance of Mega-pixels. This question came across my desk this morning and since it’s often relevant to our readers, I am sharing my response with you.

 

 

 

“When customers order larger photographs from the lab…let’s say using the Kodak Metallic Print paper…is anyone able to tell me how many pixels their cameras usually use or how does one figure this out?…I am thinking about upgrading my Camera and would like the ability to offer larger prints without losing quality.  I know that some of the new cameras offer more pixals some offer 20 etc.  However, is that what I truly want to look at?”

The good news is that you are asking the good questions. The flip-side is that this is opening a door to a warehouse full of more questions.

Yes, megapixels are an important factor to the end result. It is only one factor however.  Megapixels are top of mind for everyone because the camera manufacturers need “features” they can market with.  They are looking for ways to set their product apart from the others, and this stat is one that is easily digestible to the consumer. We tend to like easy comparisons, and anything with a number fits that bill nicely. Unfortunately, the marketers rarely tell you the benefits of the various features and leave it up to you to infer them.

Here is a short list of what are often considered the primary stats to consider:

  • Chip Resolution (megapixels)
  • Raw file capabilities ( shooting in raw provides greater editing flexibility after the shoot)
  • Max ISO ( high ISO with low noise is generally considered favorable)
  • Dynamic Range ( The ability to capture shadow detail and highlights in the same shot)

There are other considerations that are often driven by an individuals needs.

  • Price
  • Video capable (frame rate and resolution are important factors for video quality)
  • Max burst rate ( more frames per second is important to action shooters who will shoot in bursts to try to get the perfect shot – think sports photography)
  • Auto bracketing ( Auto brackets help you get maximum dynamic range if the scene’s range is greater than the camera can capture in a single shot)
  • Auto HDR ( takes a bracket and automatically merges them for highlight and shadow detail)
  • zoom level if it’s fixed lens (The higher the X number the more zoom range from wide to telephoto)
  • auto focus speed ( important when you are shooting moving objects or if shot timing is critical)
  • max f/stop – again if it’s fixed lens ( f/2 lets in more light than f/3.5 and thus allows for faster shutter speeds)
  • included software ( some cameras come with specialized software – usually consumer grade software)
  • form factor ( How big, how heavy, what’s the shape and color, etc.  Will you carry it in a pocket or purse? Around your neck? etc)
  • tethered shooting ( remotely controlling your camera from a laptop, tablet or smartphone allows for instant downloads of the captured image to your device for enlarged viewing and fast editing)
  • position and accessibility of controls ( how fast can you get to often used controls such as shutter speed, aperture, white balance, and any settings that are important to you. Also are you likely to accidental bump something during casual use and handling)
  • bells and whistles ( fancy stuff like shooting in sepia or black and white, special effects, built-in timers for time-lapse, etc.)

Since your question was in regards to image quality in relation to enlargement, I’ll focus comments there.

There are several generally accepted aspects to image quality:

  • Pixel dimensions (megapixels = file resolution H x W)
  • Image resolution (actual sharpness – it’s a combined result of lens sharpness and pixel resolution)
  • Color fidelity ( color accuracy for every pixel – this affects how true-to-life the image is)
  • Noise level ( less noise is generally considered ideal – noise looks like film grain)
  • Compression artifacts ( these are generally considered detrimental as they destroy color fidelity and detail – to avoid these you will need a camera that shoots RAW or TIFF in addition to the usual JPEG)
  • Tonal range (contrast and detail without clipping to pure black or pure white – the ability to capture shadow detail and highlights at the same time)

All of the items are important to quality, but items in bold are specific to how big the image will reasonably print before the quality drops to unacceptable.   While pixel count is certainly important, equally, if not more important is lens quality. Pixels are not a representation of sharpness, but of resolution. While the two are inter-twined, sharpness is in my opinion a bigger factor.  We have printed many files that had low pixel count but were shot with really nice lenses. The results are better than a high pixel count file shot with inferior lenses.  A not so good 24MP file will not print as well as a good sharp high quality file from an 18MP file scaled up to 24MP  If your budget demands picking either good glass or high mega-pixels, I would suggest you go with the better glass – you’ll get a better return on your investment. Stats and specs can be misleading, so use them as general guide, not as gospel and remember, more is not always better. Especially if you are giving up something more important to get the “more”.

Noise level varies from model to model and is a result of the quality of the chip, the amount of light falling on the chip and the quality of the camera’s internal computer and it’s software.  It can also come from the software you use on your computer to process your RAW files. Part of the cost of a pro-level camera is to pay for the high-end and high-speed processors and CCD chips used in the body.

Most in-camera file compression is destructive and at varying degrees. In my opinion, JPEG is not the ideal file format if detail in the print is of paramount consideration. The compresson process throws away critical detail and is very damaging to the color fidelity. If you pay for a 24MP camera and shoot jpeg, you may only get 12-18MP worth of real detail and around 6MP of color fidelity.  You can learn more about RAW versus JPEG in a previous post here.
When choosing a new camera, make a thorough list that covers what kinds of shooting you do and what features and controls you use for that style. Use that list to determine your must haves as well as any features that would just be nice to have.  Here is an example such a list:

Portraits:

  • Top Shutter speed
  • Aperture priority
  • flash sync
  • white balance
  • interchangeable lenses
  • high ISO
  • Tripod mount
  • Vibration reduction for hand held shooting
  • Jpeg and raw in single capture

Landscapes:

  • Top Shutter speed
  • Aperture priority
  • flash sync
  • white balance
  • interchangeable lenses
  • Tripod mount
  • Bracketing
  • Tilt-able view screen for low angle shooting

Studio:

  • Top Shutter speed
  • Aperture priority
  • flash sync
  • white balance
  • interchangeable lenses
  • high ISO
  • Tripod mount
  • Vibration reduction for hand held shooting
  • Tethered shooting
  • Jpeg and raw in single capture

Nice-to-haves:

  • Large megapixels
  • Full-frame sensor
  • Uses my existing lenses
  • Large view screen
  • Lightweight
  • Accepts accessory grip with additional battery
Now distill this down to one list to remove the duplicates, refine the details then put them in order of priority for you:
  1. Interchangeable lenses
  2. Uses my existing lenses
  3. High megapixels
  4. Full-frame sensor
  5. Top shutter speed 1/5000 or better
  6. Aperture priority
  7. flash sync
  8. white balance
  9. Tripod mount
  10. high ISO
  11. Bracketing
  12. Large view screen
  13. Tilt-able view screen for low angle shooting
  14. Jpeg and raw in single capture
  15. Tethered shooting
  16. Lightweight
  17. Vibration reduction for hand held shooting
  18. Accepts accessory grip with additional battery
With list in hand, the internet or a good camera store should be your next destination for finding models that fit your needs. Nothing beats a well informed and experienced camera sales-person. If you have your list, they can often point you to a few selections in a matter of minutes. It might cost a small amount extra to buy in the store, but the time and frustrations you save instead of doing the search yourself can be worth it.
In the comments below, share what your priorities are and your methods for picking the ideal camera or other tools in your arsenal.  I’ll send the first five helpful responders a nice gift.

Lomography Introduces an Experimental Lens Kit for Digital Cameras

Lomography lenses for 2/3 format digital camerasFor the first time, Lomography has introduced a line of lenses in 3 focal lengths for Micro 4/3 digital format.
In true Lomography fashion, these lenses include fixed aperture: f/8  with two shutter speeds: 1/100sec and bulb. If you choose to use your camera’s shutter, leave the lens open on bulb and fire away.

Double exposures are possible with the Lomography 4/3 lens kit

 

Since these lenses incorporate their own shutters, double exposures are a simple matter of leaving your camera’s shutter on bulb and using the Lomo lens’ built in shutter.

 

 

The lenses include gel filters, and the kit includes focal lengths of 24mm, 12mm, and 160 degree fish eye and lists on Lomography’s site for $89.99 US.

Now if I can just get my hands on a Micro 4/3 body…

 

Lynn Goldsmith Gives Her Thoughts on the New Nikon Df

The retro looks of the Nikon DfNikon is now taking pre-orders for their new retro-styled full frame DSLR, the Nikon Df. The rugged good looks look back to an era that began with Disco and the Brady Bunch, and came to close somewhere in the 90’s when plastic construction became the norm. The body looks more F3 than D3. A look that I am sure many shooters such as myself who were active during that time will relate to.carousel-panel-3-bg Nikon promises the new full frame sensor coupled with their new generation ExSpeed processor will yield amazing, low-noise images at ultra-high ISO’s in very low light. Nikon asked one of our fine art clients Lynn Goldsmith to offer her insights. Have a look at what Lynn has to say:

http://nikondf.nikonusa.com/vid-lg.html