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Amid the rise of artificial intelligence, virtual reality and other developments in the digital space, many creative professionals overlook the value of print work.
However, practiced professionals who have experienced the obsession of crafting the perfect print understand that it is an art unto itself—and that the opportunities for creatives who work in print design and photography are richer than ever before.
Lindsay Adler, a New York City-based fashion photographer and educator, is one such professional. “Printing is an art form, from color management to the correct selection of paper for a particular image and end usage,” Adler says. “I am able to use prints for differentiation. I provide prints to clients, models and creative teams as a ‘Thank You,’ and also because it sets me apart in their mind. When they have these prints on their wall, I will be the first name that comes to mind when they need a photographer.”
all photographs by Lindsay Adler
But it’s not just about getting the next gig: in a world gone digital, a print transforms a photo or a design from a fleeting blur on an illuminated screen into a work of art. “In printed form I feel like my work is able to be appreciated for all the love and effort that went into it,” she says.
With this in mind, Adler offered Print some essential considerations for crafting beautiful, lasting print work.
Adler begins every shoot with a concept and a mood board to help her achieve the perfect look and feel. When developing your concept, Adler says it’s important to ask yourself these questions:
What am I trying to achieve with this shoot?
What is the overall element that creates impact and how can I weave that throughout the images?
With print work, that means considering each element with an obsessive eye for detail.
“[For] each shoot I carefully select the hair, the makeup, the wardrobe, the lighting, the composition, the color palette, the retouch, and much more,” Adler says. “Much of this information gets lost or crushed in many digital formats. The print allows you to explore this information—to take your time and dive into those particulars.”
Adler also advises creating a mood board for every project to ensure that the concept remains strong from start to finish. “The mood board is the road map for my entire creative team to prepare and innovate for the shoot,” she says.
It also helps ensure that the whole creative team is working toward the same goal. “I have an essential team of just a few creatives that I work with regularly. These individuals understand my vision and style, and we have built up a long working relationship.”
An artist’s most important asset is the tools she uses to craft her best work. For the shoot, Adler uses Canon—specifically the 5Ds, 5D Mark IV and several Canon L-Series lenses. But that’s only half the battle: a good printer is required to bring each photograph to life. Using Canon for both her Camera and printing solution ensures a seamless workflow and high quality results.
“A print must be no-fuss and help me achieve the highest quality in the prints I seek, including its ability to represent saturated colors, smooth gradients of color, detail in the shadows and more,” Adler says. “I need it to be an extension of my workflow, and not a place where my time and frustration bottleneck.”
Adler offers these essential considerations for perfection in a print:
A print needs to have detail in the shadows while still having a true black.
A print must have a smooth gradient of color without banding.
A print must have saturated colors while remaining accurate to what was captured.
A print must have a smooth and consistent finish across the surface.
To achieve the perfect print, Adler uses the Canon imagePROGRAF PRO Series printers. She owns two of them, in fact—one for her home and one for her studio.
“Not only do they produce incredible quality images, but they are reliable and no-fuss,” she says. These three elements together are what really make the series so easy to integrate into my business. They save me time and help me differentiate myself with beautiful quality prints that show off my unique style.”
The “Wow Factor”
Adler uses the imagePROGRAF PRO Series printers because they help her achieve what matters most in the print—the elements that set it apart from other work.
“A great image has impact,” she says. “It makes you stop in your tracks and look twice. In fashion and advertising photography if you aren’t standing out from the crowd with your images, then no one will take the time to notice your work! The idea of impact can be hard to describe, but an image definitely needs to have that ‘wow-factor.’ For my work, it is a combination of color, motion, subject matter and light that allow me to create something memorable.”
Showcasing your obsession with quality and detail in print is the most essential way to not only craft exceptional, unique work, but also to establish yourself as an expert in the creative space and prepare yourself for new challenges. After all, a print doesn’t just help creatives like Adler get work; it can also elevate the value of their personal brand.
“The print makes me even more of an artist in their eyes,” Adler explains. “Furthermore, the print makes the image less of a ‘consumable’… its tangibility intrinsically gives it more value in the hands of those who possess it (ideally my clients and potential clients).”