Power of Print

The Print Products to Keep On Your Radar for 2019

December 26, 2018

By Greg Scoblete

Photo © Max Seigal

As we never tire of saying around here, a photo isn’t a photo until it has been printed. For portrait and wedding photographers, albums and wall art remain the backbone of their offerings, but there’s plenty of product development and innovation occurring in these two mainstays. We asked seven labs around the country what print products should be on a photographer’s radar.

New cover options for Miller’s Professional Imaging Signature Albums—such as velvet, suede and matte acrylic—help photographers stand out from the crowd. Photo © McClanahan Studio

Coveted Album Covers

The venerable photo album will evolve with a slew of new cover options.

Metal album covers “are the new go-to for couples combining the modern look of metal with the traditional feel of Leather Luxe,” says Jen Hillenga, AdoramaPix’s creative director. “It’s the perfect combination.” The company is also expanding its Premium Album line into 2019 with a hardcover option featuring a wraparound image.

“Our press-printed booklets have been really popular this year,” says Ginny Winston, director of business development at Richmond Professional Lab, and they look to remain so next year. “There are so many different applications for them. You can use them as marketing booklets or price lists to promote your business, as student directories or principal albums, sports playbooks, senior proofing catalogs. They’re especially great for marketing your business.”

Paul Rotter, marketing coordinator at Miller’s Professional Imaging, says a variety of new cover types for its Signature Albums—including velvet, suede and matte acrylic—have enabled photographers “to present their clients with handcrafted, heirloom-quality keepsakes that are not available in the direct-to-consumer market.”

Go Big(ger) on Wall Art

Downsizing may be the hot trend among baby-boomer homeowners, but print labs like Bay Photo are having none of it. The company recently acquired new print technology that lets them create photographic prints larger than 30 inches (on the small side) and a high-definition option for 600 dpi photos.

“This means photographers will now be able to achieve the same depth and clarity of silver-halide prints in sizes up to 50 inches wide and 96 inches long,” says Mallory Lawrence, the lab’s marketing coordinator. The oversized prints can be made on a variety of papers, including Kodak Lustre, Kodak Glossy, Kodak Metallic, Fuji Pearl, FujiFlex, Fuji Matte and Fuji Deep Matte Velvet.

Eyes on Acrylic

There’s more than one way to cover a wide swath of wall real estate. New from Acrylic Press are acrylic print wall art clusters and splits, designed to help photographers “tell a story” in multiple grouped images, the company tells us. The wall art clusters and splits are currently offered in 12 layouts, with four to five pieces in each collection.

Jan-Ole Schmidt, product manager at WhiteWall, says they see continued interest in acrylic glass-mounted prints. “This includes having acrylic prints mounted in floater frames and other framing options,” Schmidt explains. “The reasons for the continued and increased popularity with acrylic glass is the ability to attain amazing color brilliance, contrast and depth that are created with acrylic glass.”

Beginning in 2018 and accelerating into 2019, the German lab will be promoting several newly released frames, including Acrylic Box Frames, Pop Art Frames and slim lines in new colors.

Matte and Metal

For their part, Miller’s has seen a much greater interest in wall art with a matte finish, Rotter says, similar to the interest in matte album products. In response, the company added Matte Acrylic and Matte Metal products to their wall art offerings. “The matte look is incredibly distinct with a look that consumers cannot find when printing images on their own at a photo kiosk or box store,” Rotter says, “so it truly is a way for photographers to stand out and provide their clients with something they cannot get elsewhere.”

Wall art needn’t be confined to interiors, either. Bay Photo has seen rising demand for its new Performance EXT Metal print product that’s designed for outdoor use. “It’s resistant to scratches, moisture, chemicals and graffiti,” Lawrence notes. “It’s easy to clean and perfect for use as outdoor art, photography, signage and display.” Bay Photo says the Performance EXT Metal print will last a minimum of two to three years in direct sunlight without noticeable fading, which is more than we can say for a few sun-worshippers we know.

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