For the last 8 years I have provided print on site services to some of the largest agencies, corporations, and businesses across the country like global giants George P. Jones, IBM, and Genentech. At this level, printing images on site is demanding and often times difficult. You need experience, a reputation, a lot of good equipment, and reliable people you can count on to successfully complete jobs. But, you don't have to start there and you shouldn't. There are other levels of print on site photography you can service for example weddings, birthday parties and other events that you can pursue until you are able to ramp up to larger jobs.
Earlier this month I photographed a 150-person event for Trinitas Cellars and offered them a print on site component, that I worked by myself. Trinitas, in the Napa Valley, was hosting a wine pick party. My plan was to photograph the event as I normally would with shots of the details, candid’s, and some posed images that I would later print 4x6’s of and hand out to guest. Printing photos on site is a great service for your business and a good way to increase revenue. Printing photos on site of guest is also the perfect customer experience enhancer if you can deliver a quality image on the spot.
If you are just starting out or you are looking for some information to enhance your current workflow here are some tips for working alone on a print on site job:
1. Test your equipment before every event
2. Find a secure room you can set up equipment in before the event starts
3. Don’t over shoot the job. You don’t want to edit unnecessary images
4. Edit on camera as much as possible- chimp your shots often
5. Make sure all your images are perfectly compose and exposed correctly- this makes a difference when you have to print on site
7. Plan out the time you are going to print
Here is the last tip and it is important:
Use a commercial printer, like DNP’s DS40, that is designed for high volume printing on site. If you are starting out and planning on growing your print on site business segment buy the best printer you can afford. Whether you have the business now or not, the DS40 is a printer that you will grow into over the long run.
There are a lot of printers and brands on the market you can use that appear more cost effective; I have experienced most of them on all levels. And I know our cost to print on site is one the biggest challenges we face with the client. But don’t opt out for the lower price point printers that produce ok results because of price.
How are you going to compete with a competitor who is producing a faster more quality-oriented product to the same group of clients if you are using sub-par equipment?
If printer cost is a factor or you can’t justify a mid-range printer right now, sub out that portion of the job to someone who works print on site! You will save yourself a lot of grief, time and money.
Keith B Dixon is a Professional Freelance Photographer in the San Francisco Bay Area. Keith specializes in corporate event photography, executive portraits, and editorial assignment work in the health care, computer technology, biotech, and real estate. Keith’s work is regularly published in print ads, various magazines in the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento, Nationally, and Internationally.
Visit Keith’s Website at www.keithbdixon.com