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What Every Photographer Needs to Know About Fine Art Printing Before You Shoot!

This week, IMAGEMECHANICS.com features an exclusive interview with trusted custom fine art printer, Eddie whose prints have been featured in Minotti and other respected venues.

IM:  How important is the photographer / fine art printer relationship?

EDDIE:  It’s everything and this is why: printing images that will impress corporate clients, private collectors, galleries, and museums is all about paying attention to the smallest detail which includes a large amount of forethought before you print.

IM:  What does a photographer need know before choosing a fine art printer?

EDDIE:  When photographers try direct-to-print labs because the prices seem so low rarely are they truly satisfied with the final result. Why? You can’t control the process and interaction between the photographer and printer is extremely limited. Even worse, you never know who is working behind the counter.  The printer may be experienced.  Or it may be their first day. At a lab, the responsibility is on the photographer to give the printer exactly the right printing information with little or no consultation.  And if a photographer doesn’t get it exactly right, they end up paying for a very expensive education in what can go wrong.

IM: How does using a custom fine art printer like Image Mechanics differ from using a printing lab?

EDDIE: Our clients never have to guess about what is exactly the right medium, size, and material to print onto achieve a striking result that will sell in galleries or be recognized in museums.  In a consultation, we focus on the photographer’s long and short term goals for a print including the fine art print’s archive potential.  Whether a photographer wants a print to last twenty, fifty, or seventy years makes a huge difference on what paper you decide to print on, even down to the glue you use.  Truly, every choice a photographer makes is critical, which is why photographers need to be involved in (not separated from) the printing process.

IM:  What do photographers need to know about fine art printing before they shoot?

EDDIE: Often photographers have only seen their beautiful images on a tablet or screens and don’t fully understand the reality, capability, and limitations of that image when printed, especially on a large format.  That’s where we come in.  We consult with the photographer on the true potential of every digital file:  how sharp it will be, how the colors and contrast will appear in each size, how and where you want to sell it, and how archival you want your print to be.  That way the final printed image will never be grainy or too noisy and lose its quality on a large format.  Photographers work with us because they get the print that they want every time.

IM:  What can photographers expect when they work with Image Mechanics?

EDDIE: Printing is the final bridge between the vision of the photographer and the reality of the capability of their digital file.  It’s too expensive and risky to guess when it comes to printing.  Simply there are too many variables that can disappoint not just the photographer but also their clients. This is the reason that most famous photographers traditionally use their own custom fine art printer. By working with custom fine art printers like us, we get to know exactly what your needs are and what your taste is so we can deliver exactly the print you need every time.

If you want to experience having your own custom fine art printer who you can trust to get you the print you and your clients dream of, call us today at: 323-207-0616.

— THE IMAGE MECHANICS TEAM

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The Best Kept Secrets About Digital Capture Every Photographer Should Know

IMAGE MECHANICS interviews top digital technician Chriswho has 20+ years of on-set film experience and 10+ years as renowned lighting expert.  He is regularly requested by the renowned photographers such as: Peter Lindbergh, Norman Jean Roy, Sam Jones, Andrew Eccles and more.

IM:  So much is on the line with a big budget photo shoot.  How does hiring a trained experienced digital technician ensure success?

Chris:  Inexperienced digital techs simply capture images.  They don’t have a trained eye to understand exactly what they are looking at on the monitor which compromises the quality of the final shot.

IM:  What does an experienced trained eye catch that would otherwise slip through the cracks?

Chris:  At full zoom, an image may be even slightly out-of-focus or not properly exposed due to a glitch in the lighting.  Or the color isn’t balanced correctly.  It can also be a wardrobe or prop issue that isn’t sending the right creative message.  Sometimes at full zoom, I’ll see that the model’s hair needs a touch up.  During production, nothing is inconsequential.  Everything, especially the slightest detail, counts.

IM:  If these issues aren’t caught and corrected on-set, what happens?

Chris:  A photographer’s worst nightmare is to walk away with a hard drive full of unusable images.  That’s why you don’t want your digital tech to only “capture images”.  That can cost a photographer their reputation.  Not to mention costly post-production for major retouching.  In this business, nothing is worse than when a digital tech doesn’t catch a fixable issue.  Or if they do see it, they are too afraid to speak up on a high budget celebrity production.

IM: What expertise and experience do you bring to a production?

Chris:  An experienced tech like myself takes the pressure off the photographer.  They know I’m mico-checking every detail of the exposure, color balance, focus and more.  That puts photographers at ease and allows them to spend more time talking to the models and focusing on the creative direction with clients.      

If you want to experience having a truly professional digital technician on your next production, call us today at: 323-207-0616

— THE IMAGE MECHANICS TEAM

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3 Simple Steps to Choosing an Experienced Digital Capture Technician

You’ve just booked your first shoot with a high profile agency.   They already have four more commercials on the books.  So if all goes well, you’re golden.  The agency told you to use “your people” for the shoot.  But you’ve been freelance for so long that you don’t really have a team ready to scramble for tomorrow’s early call.  And everyone you trust is already booked.

What do you do?  Ask your buddies who they use for their digital technicians?  Or an absolute last result, put out an ad on Craigslist?

But the truth is that either way, you never know who you are going to get.

Even if you book through a well known agency, are they giving you their top tech?  Or are they sticking you on a complicated shoot with someone just out of their 10-day training program?

Don’t let that happen to you.  Today’s shoot is tomorrow’s future booking.  You’re reputation is always at stake.  Even if it isn’t “your fault.”  The client always thinks it is.

As a photographer, you have to manage more than just the image in the lens.  Today, cameras are computers with a lens.  Complicated digital workflow and image capture can make or break a high profile shoot with just one unlucky glitch.  To ensure that never happens you need the most experienced digital capture technicians.

But what makes digital capture technician experienced?

What does a photographer need to look for?

Keep reading.

In just a moment, you’ll discover the 3 Simple Steps to Choosing an Experienced Digital Capture Technician.

So much can happen on the initial shoot to the final printed image that it’s crucial to have an experienced team who understands exactly how your captured images will translate into the final print that will wow your client and get you booked for your next job.

One of IMAGE MECHANICS’ top technicians Don answers these questions.  Heralding from New York, Don is a former magazine publisher, graphic designer and has been creative director on national ads.  He understands and speaks the language of art directors; an essential skill as art directors literally work over his shoulder and assess every captured image the photographer takes.

IM:  Can you elaborate on the difference between an experienced technician and one who is simply trained?

DON:  It’s the smallest details of a shoot that affect the success of the final image.  Inexperienced or only technically trained technicians often miss the more subtle aspects to image capture that need to be addressed on the shoot.  And that is assuming everything is going well.  If there is any glitch, a technician needs to be an experienced creative thinker.

IM:   Why do capture technicians need to be experienced creative thinkers?      

DON:  On a shoot there are so many different components that have to seamlessly work together.  There’s the computer, software, and cameras just to name a few.  Of course, when troubleshooting, you first need to go through the standard steps.  But when that doesn’t work you need a technician who is a creative thinker.  We have to think outside the typical troubleshooting steps and look for creative solutions to keep the work flow and the shoot moving.   

IM:  You mentioned that IMAGE MECHANICS technicians are photographer-oriented.   What does that mean?  And why is it important?

DON:  Digital technicians are there to work for the photographer and make the shoot go as smoothly as possible.  Nothing is worse than when personalities clash.  Like a hair in milk, it can affect everything.  Experienced photographer oriented technicians are flexible and invisibly adjust their working styles and even their personalities to that of the photographer to make the digital capture flow seemingly effortlessly on every shoot.

Do you want to experience the ease and flow on your next shoot with a digital technician who is:  experienced rather than just trained, a creative thinker, and photographer-oriented to make your next high profile shoot a success?  Call us today at 323-207-0616.

— THE IMAGE MECHANICS TEAM

Do You Know What Your Clients Really Think About You?

As a photographer, cinematographer, videographer, producer, and/or creative agency, have you ever wondered what really affects your relationship with a client on a shoot?

Too often clients don’t ever tell you what they are really thinking.  Which is crucial information every photographer and creative needs to know.

On a shoot there are hundreds of critical calls – from the obvious to the not-so-obvious that make or break your chances of becoming your client’s “go-to” photographer and creative for their next well-paid project.

So how do you become your client’s #1 photographer who delivers that exceptional final image every time?

At IMAGE MECHANICS, shoot to impress is our motto.  We’re here to ensure that you become an invaluable asset to your client’s team.

In this exclusive interview, one of our top technician stars, Dan with 20+ years experience, gives insider advice on how to continuously get booked for the most coveted and competitive jobs in the industry.

IM:  How do you impress your clients?

Dan:  It starts with the right equipment.  For still or motion capture, I only shoot with the Red Epic camera.  It captures the highest resolution still and motion raw images which allows for the most advanced retouching.  And, it’s so small you can shoot anywhere.  Clients love it as it expands their shooting possibilities.

IM:  Today everyone is concerned with budget.  And, rightly so.  But when does trying to save money affect the quality of the final shot?

Dan:  The worst thing that can ever happen on a shoot is the unmentionable: a lost image.  Which happens more often than most capture technicians would like to admit.The lighting can be perfect.  The model can rock the shoot.  But if there is any technical glitch, if your technician can’t fix it immediately, you will burn through your budget at an alarming rate.  Imagine 15 people at $30/hour standing around waiting… and waiting for a novice technician to fix a digital work flow glitch that is beyond their comprehension.

Not to mention, if you’ve skimped on an inexperienced technician, you can blow your budget on time-consuming digital uploads that should have been safely stored before you wrap.

IM:  Has IMAGE MECHANICS ever lost an image?

Dan:  NEVER.  And this is why.  It’s not our calibrated cameras and Macs.  It’s the fact that we are handpicked trained service professionals with decades of experience in the industry.  We understand what each client needs and what’s really important; like making sure each and every frame is secure and safely stored.   We’re fast but most importantly; we are reliable so that the client can walk out the door feeling relaxed, successful, and 100% confident with the perfect final shot.

If you want to have an experience like this with experienced and reliable digital technicians who make your work flow easier and that will impress your clients, call us at: 323-207-0616.

— THE IMAGE MECHANICS TEAM