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ginnylou27
04-23-2010, 12:19 AM
I am planning to print my competition prints through WHCC using their competition prints option. Two questions:

1. Is it allowed to print on metallic paper? Is it recommended? I have one image that might be enhanced by printing on metallic paper. That said, if it is allowed, is it recommended? Would it play into the presentation piece or maybe distract/detract?

2. WHCC offers a blackout edges option on their competition mounts. Is this something that is recommended?

Thanks so much as always. I don't know what I would do without the PPA community!

Best wishes,

Virginia

Keith_A_Howe
04-23-2010, 01:45 AM
I am planning to print my competition prints through WHCC using their competition prints option. Two questions:

1. Is it allowed to print on metallic paper? Is it recommended? I have one image that might be enhanced by printing on metallic paper. That said, if it is allowed, is it recommended? Would it play into the presentation piece or maybe distract/detract?

Metallic paper is a personal choice. Yes it is allowed, you can print your image on anything you want. The question to ask is does it help the image. These are my thoughts. I would never print a portrait on metallic. It does funny things to skin tones. I would be very leery to print a high key image on metallic because the highlights tend to blow out under judging lights. A mid to low key image or an image with a lot of vibrant colors often will do very well on metallic. If in doubt print it both ways and then choose after seeing it under mocked up judging lighting conditions.


2. WHCC offers a blackout edges option on their competition mounts. Is this something that is recommended?

Yes, if your image is mid or low key. If it is a high key image probably not. Think about that white edge. The prints spin arpound on a turn table, so if a low key image has a white edge, that white edge spins across in front of their field of vision first before the print stops in front of them. It's a distraction. On a high key print the black edges can bleed into the print so leave them white. My question is what does WHCC charge to black the edges? It takes about two minutes to run a sharpie marker around the edge of a print. If they are charging more then a dollar or two I would skip it and do it myself.

As far as competition option, what are you getting for your extra money? I always order my comp prints as the cheapest prints offered. If you have done all your own color balance, exposure adjustment for competition lighting, etc then what more can WHCC do to justify an extra cost for their competition option? If you are unsure about adjusting for competition lights then maybe it's worth it, but personally I don't feel comfortable letting someone else decide how light or dark my prints should be on the turntable. FWIW do not let them talk you into laminating your comp prints. Ask for clear spray or just print on F surface and don't spray at all. Unsprayed F surface is my preference. Lamination will subtly shift the color and can leave a haze that looks like milkiness or an exposure problem.

Keith

Joe_Campanellie
04-23-2010, 03:24 AM
Keith...hope you don't mind me adding my 2cents for what it's worth. I agree with you about printing portraits on metallic. Seen a lot of people do that with very disappointing results because of the strange things it can do to skin colors.

I've had a lot of my nature images printed on metallic. Same thing...some look great and some make the colors look unnatural and too saturated. You have to really watch the contrast also. Metallic paper sometimes prints contrasty so you can lose detail in the shadows and highlites.

Metallic prints can look great under the lights but it seems to take a very particular image to work well.

I've heard that about lamination shifting colors but haven't had those problems. Of course there are all kinds of lamination around so that could add to the problem. I have a local company laminate for me that is more of a commercial graphics company. Their lamination seems much heavier than any I have seen and really seems to make the image pop.

Of course the milkiness can be an issue like Keith said when you laminate over a lustre or E surface paper. I print my own competition images and for that reason print on Lexjet gloss surface and then laminate over that.

With the control we now have with our images on the front end it really isn't necessary to pay a whole lot of money for competition prints. At least not like we had to do in the old days...!

Can't believe I just said that! I'm such an old fart these days!

Keith_A_Howe
04-23-2010, 02:05 PM
Funny, I KNEW when I said don't laminate that someone would pop up and say they laminate with no problems.

An ink jet print such as Joe is doing has a more fragile surface and has to have some kind of protection. Spraying can be done but it's more challenging on inkjet. I knew that Joe laminates his prints because I could tell it was lamination on his fellowship exhibit at IUSA last Jan. I have seen degassed inkjet prints where lamination did not cause problems. And I suppose there have been prints where it was not a problem and I never even knew it was laminated. However I have seen many many prints where there were issues. I have had more then one lab tell me their lamination doesn't shift colors or look milky and then when I show them their laminatined prints next to a non-laminated one they have all admitted there is a difference. I've had the exact same file printed with lamination and without to do side by side comparisons. Blacks just don't stay black when laminated. Of course my tests were on photographic prints not inkjet. So while I am sure Joe is right and he has found a lamination product that doesn't cause problems, I have seen too many issues to play those odds. I wouldn't take the chance with what might not be a problem and instead go with what I know won't be an issue.

The other thing about spray, if you get a bad scratch at a local or regional you can put another coat of spray on it before sending it to national. With lamination you don't have that option. I think I've said before I don't spray or laminate my comp prints. I just get F surface paper and let it go at that.

Keith

Joe_Campanellie
04-23-2010, 04:40 PM
Keith...I wasn't trying to start some big debate. Guess I've just been lucky...just never seen the color shift with my prints and lamination. Really wasn't even aware of the problem until I talked to someone last year who was at the ASP Gold Medallion judging. He said they were really looking over my image which won and wanted to know how I avoided the color shift with the lamination that was obviously on it.

It is important to let them degass as Keith said. I let them dry for a minimum of 24 hours before I even take them to the lab and then they sit there for some more time before they get to them.

I print most of my own competition prints. Printed my ASP Fellowship prints because I ran out of time with my Dad passing away just before the deadline. I think you just have to find a way that works for you and that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. Nowdays that's possible. I remember too well the days when people were laying out up to $150 to $200 a print. And that hurt when it came back with a 78 on it.

When I used to make traditional color prints spraying just wasn't a possibility here with three long haired cats and a dog. And we never had much luck doing that step ourselves. Unfortunately, the lab I use does not print on F surface so that hasn't been an option for competition prints that do get sent out.

Bottom line is that there are a lot more choices these days for competition prints. I assume this is your first competition so the process that creates the least amount of problems will be the best route. And printing on F surface will certainly keep it simple and cost effective.

Keith_A_Howe
04-23-2010, 05:01 PM
Keith...I wasn't trying to start some big debate. Guess I've just been lucky...just never seen the color shift with my prints and lamination. Really wasn't even aware of the problem until I talked to someone last year who was at the ASP Gold Medallion judging. He said they were really looking over my image which won and wanted to know how I avoided the color shift with the lamination that was obviously on it.


Nah Joe, I didn't take it as a debate. Just wanted to point out your experience is the rarity. When the majority of the time lamination is an issue, I wouldn't recomend taking a chance on it . . . unless she sends it to you and you have your guy laminate it! LOL!

Keith