Posts in Category: Industry News

How to make gallery quality prints.

For many commercial photographers, the job of capturing the images is just the beginning. Or to paraphrase Winston Churchill, ‘the end of the beginning’.

Once the images are in the camera, post-production kicks in. And for image perfectionists, post-production is often the most time-consuming part of the imaging process.

MargaretHines-HeadshotUnderwater photographer, Margaret Hines, now featured in Vistek Toronto’s in-store gallery, was kind enough to provide an intensive explanation of the stages she goes through in order to get the image ready to print.

Frankly, we’ve never met a photographer who is more obsessive about the quality of the image as well as the quality of the print as Margaret.

Put on your learning hats. The following is the typical process she follows — from beginning to final print output — in post-production. Here’s Margaret …

Step 1: Get the colour right.

First off, it is very important to colour manage your workflow by making sure that your monitor is calibrated on a regular basis. The X-Rite ColorMunki Display software is what I use and typically calibrate once every two weeks.
I shoot RAW with a custom White Balance and I have multiple White Balance settings for sunny & cloudy days (especially relevant in my case since I normally work in an outdoor pool).
Import RAW images into Capture One Pro for final image selects and global adjustments using the ProPhoto RGB workspace and 16-bit mode.
All other edits are done in Photoshop as PSB files, again in ProPhoto RGB and 16-bit.


Step 2: Once in Photoshop…

1, Resize/crop image.
2. Clean. (it usually takes me 8-24 hours to get rid of unwanted specs. You would not believe the amount of specs floating in a sparkling clean pool.)
3. Frequency Separation Techniques for a model’s skin and correcting skin tones. Add or enhance makeup if necessary.
4. Extensive Dodging and Burning.
5. Add more contrast if necessary. (I like lots of vibrant colour to an image with an occasional exception where I might desaturate an image. My preference is also to have contrast in my Black and White images.
6. Optional colour grading.
7. Selective creative sharpening is the last thing done to an image.


Step 3: The Image ready to print

My main printer is the Epson Stylus Pro 7900. I like it because of the addition of vivid orange and green inks as well as the ability to easily switch from photo black to matte black and back again without it being a costly production. I use Colorbyte’s IMagePrint V9.0 RIP software. As for paper, I’m very particular. For my underwater images I only print on Moab Slickrock Metallic Pearl paper. I have tried many other papers and have fallen under the spell of Moab’s Slickrock. The lustre and luminosity of Slickrock Metallic Pearl enhances the ethereal beauty of an underwater image. The D-max (blackness of blacks) is superb and the images are almost dry as they are spooling off the printer.

I have been using ImagePrint in conjunction with Epson Prints since 2006 and would never consider giving either of these tools up. ImagePrint is easy to use. The printer/paper/ink profiles are exact. You never have to worry that something might go wrong. Image Print’s Profile Manager is wonderful; you only need to select the printer / paper profiles that are relevant to your needs, and you can add the paper profile to Photoshop through ImagePrint’s Profile Manager for softproofing.


1. With the image open in Photoshop, apply the Image Print profile appropriate to the ink set (photo black for resin coated papers or matter black or art papers) and whether you are printing black&white or colour. Save the file under a new name with the paper profile incorporated into the file name. Once you have the softproofed image saved under its profile relevant name you can simply open that image and resize it to print any size for the specific paper you have selected.
2. Create a duplicate image (the paper profile will not be applied to this duplicate image and will appear exactly how you edited and want it to appear on the monitor)
3. With both images side by side you can now see what the profiled image looks like beside the duplicate image.The profiled image will often time look flatter and sometimes with a colour cast to it. In order to make the profiled image look like the duplicate you are going to softproof it to match the duplicate.
4. Saturate the blacks if necessary using Select colour range and copying to a new layer.
5. Make hue/saturation adjustments to match the profiled image tot he duplicate
6. Add contrast with curves adjustments
7. Close the duplicate file since it was only for comparison purposes
8. Resize the image to the final print size
9. Apply print sharpening if desired
10. Open the Image print software. Set up the printer. Typically I print an 8×12 test print to determine if I have to make further adjustments to hue/saturation, sharpness, or contrast. Let this test print dry for a couple of hours and then look at it under colour balanced lighting. Make as many test prints as you need to until you are satisfied with the results. Typically I don’t have to make more than one test print so I will give this print to the client as a bonus. An unexpected surprise which they are very happy to receive.
11. If you are happy with the test print then print the size that you want to provide to the client. Let the print dry and then I spray it with Moab Desert Shield to protect the print from dust/fingerprints. I have tried other spray protectants but have found that these other sprays make the metallic pearl paper dull.
12. All prints are mounted and matted with archival museum quality mattes and backing board, placed in crystal bags and sealed. The only exception to the spraying, mounting and matting is if the client wants the print to be face mounted to acrylic.

Thank you, Margaret. Do you suddenly have an urge to start your own gallery?

One small camera, one giant leap for filmmaking.

POV cameras are changing the way we view the world, and we’re finding POV cameras in just about every professional’s toolkit. That seems to be the case, whether it’s for weddings, action sports, mainstream broadcast, corporate communications, training, web, and just about anywhere else a second camera angle is needed.

There’s a lot to be said for POV cameras. There’s also a lot to choose from. But why read about it, when you can watch this clip from the Rogers Network “Picture Perfect” featuring Vistek’s own Douglas Spotted Eagle — a leading expert on POVs.


West Ed — An Exposition.

The West Edmonton Mall – the largest mall in North America – is more than just a place to shop. Among its hundreds of stores and services, it’s home to the world’s largest indoor waterpark, world’s largest indoor amusement park, a life-size replica of a Spanish galleon, and an NHL-size skating rink. It’s a city within a city, with a workforce of roughly 24,000 people.

No question, the West Ed is a spectacle in itself. And for that reason, local Edmonton photographers Owen Murray and Tom Young decided to team up to properly showcase “The Mall”, which is currently on display at Vistek’s Calgary stores. We recently arranged in-depth interviews with both photographers.

West Edmonton Mall_Tom Young-3814

An interview with Tom Young

What is your background/education?

Masters of Architecture (Urban Planning), University of Manitoba, 2007.

How did you get your start as a photographer, did you have a special mentor?

My father, a graphic designer and amateur photographer, was my first inspiration to pick up a camera as was a way to try to connect with his interests. Over time I started gravitating towards urban subjects, with street photography and urban scenes becoming my primary focus.

What/who (where?) inspires you to shoot?

My photography is very much an outgrowth of my professional interest as an urban planner. I love documenting and exploring the state of urban life, whether at home or on my travels. Urban culture seems to be changing so quickly. I think the photos we take of life in cities today are likely to be very different from what we see 30 years from now.

Who are your favourite photographers?

Alex Webb, Saul Leiter, Helen Levitt, Robert Frank, Vivian Maier, Bruce Davidson, Trent Parke, Edward Burtynsky. To name just a few.

What has been your most memorable (crazy, interesting, amazing or inspiring) photography experience?

Taking photos on numerous occasions in the overflowing streets of New York, the spiritual home of street photography, has been a highlight. A trip to Mardi Gras in New Orleans in 2011 was also a mind-blowing photographic experience.

What has your greatest career accomplishment been to-date?

Becoming part of the Observe Collective, an international street photography collective, which I was proud to help form in the summer of 2013. Our first group exhibition will be in Germany this coming June. Being a part of photographic communities is invigorating, and I’ve been lucky to have found camaraderie and encouragement both in Edmonton and abroad.

What are some of your biggest challenges?  How do you overcome them?

Overcoming a fear of taking candid photos of strangers in public was the biggest challenge for me to overcome. Being able to take photos without first asking permission is the key to reflecting public life as it actually happens, rather than how people present themselves when they are aware of the camera. It was a slow process involving lots of practice, sharing with other photographers, and a growing conviction that there is value to taking photos of society that are minimally influenced by the photographer.

Is there anything you would have done differently in your own career?

I am lucky to have a day job that allows me to take photographs without feeling pressure to make money from it. But if I were to have done anything differently, I would have started taking photos seriously earlier in my life.

Do you have any advice for photographers starting out?

Shoot, shoot, shoot. Look at the work of others and learn from it, but take note of what it is that excites you, what keeps you interested to go out and shoot again and again. Shoot for yourself first and foremost and I think it will reward you for the rest of your life.

Tell us a little about some of your favourite photo gear.  A short list with your fav camera, lighting equipment, lens, modifiers. How does travel affect what you bring?

I never shoot in a studio, and am usually trying to adapt quickly to whatever I find in front of me, so keeping things simple is best, no matter where I find myself. I shoot with a Canon 5D Mk III and a variety of lenses, usually somewhere between 24 mm and 50 mm. A handheld flash on a tether is often part of my method indoors or once the sun goes down.

What is your favourite photo accessory, other than your camera?

My ONA camera bag, which is comfortable and has kept my camera dry and my stuff organized on innumerable photo outings and trips, despite my ongoing abuse of it.

If you had to choose just a single camera and lens would it be and why?

For the type of subjects I shoot, it has to be a fairly wide lens. Likely a 24 mm on my 5D.

Can you share with us anything that you’re working on right now?

I have an ongoing project documenting Whyte Avenue night life, and more generally photography documenting public life in Edmonton, wherever I can find it. This is a project that I expect (hope!) may never end.

Where else can people see your work?

Online at:,, and this June through August with the rest of the Observe Collective at the Staedtische Galerie in Iserlohn, Germany, should anyone be in the neighbourhood.

Canada, Edmonton. July/26/2014. West Edmonton Mall (WEM)

An interview with Owen Murray

What is your background/education?

B.Design ACAD 2001, major in Visual Communications.

How did you get your start as a photographer, did you have a special mentor?

The summer before attending ACAD and during my first year, Lachlin MacKinnon really encouraged my photographic pursuits. In the Visual Communications program I was always using a 35mm SLR to shoot reference for illustration projects and it just sort of evolved from there as a quicker way of communicating and telling stories. After graduating a camera was with me anywhere I went.

What/who (where?) inspires you to shoot?

In one word: light. It’s a way of being, seeing and interacting with the world. It’s about presence and being present.

Who are your favourite photographers?

Sebastiao Salgado, Saul Leiter, Harry Burton, Lee Miller, Boogie, Freeman Paterson, Cartier-Bresson, Michio Hoshino, Minor White, and others.

What has been your most memorable (crazy, interesting, amazing or inspiring) photography experience?

Working as a photographer in Egypt  — it’s all of the above, all rolled into one…

What has your greatest career accomplishment been to-date?

Pushing the limits of the current technology while photographing Egyptian monuments.

What are some of your biggest challenges?  How do you overcome them?

Creating time to shoot personal projects. I’m working on it, though have realized this may come later in my career rather than sooner.

Is there anything you would have done differently in your own career?

Not much, for me it’s been a very organic process, though there were certain points where having a mentor or peer group would have been helpful.

Do you have any advice for photographers starting out?

If you want to be a photographer, take pictures, and don’t stop. It’s not about your gear, it’s about how you see.

Tell us a little about some of your favourite photo gear.  A short list with your fav camera, lighting equipment, lens, modifiers. How does travel affect what you bring?

Cameras: I’m a Nikon guy and have been that way since 2004. I love the feel of the old FM2, though use a D800 in the field. Lighting equipment: The sun, and huge pieces of frosted plastic ;-) I also use Elinchroms (500 ELCs) with snoots, soft-boxes, reflectors and anything I find lying around. Lens: 17-35mm 2.8, 28-70mm 2.8, 80-200 2.8. Though I also use a 45mm Tilt Shift PC-E and 60mm AFS Macro a fair bit. Travel makes me pack lighter, choosing just one or two lenses. Recently I’ve gone back to shooting primes, and only bringing one or two.

What is your favourite photo accessory, other than your camera?

This nifty Yeti camera strap from Black Rapid.

If you had to choose just a single camera and lens would it be and why?

D800 and the AFS 60mm 2.8 Macro, because it forces you to move, but at the same has great versatility and is tack sharp.

Can you share with us anything that you’re working on right now?

Currently on contract in Luxor, Egypt for the University of Memphis photographing all of the scenes on the small columns in the hypostyle hall at Karnak Temple.

Where else can people see your work?

Online at: in print via blurb books and hopefully soon enough in galleries.

Shoot for the stars

Nikon_D810a_Sample-05If you’re into astrophotography, you’ll be star-struck when you meet up with this new space capturing device — the D810A, a DSLR just launched by Nikon to explore and capture the cosmos in epic detail.


Typically, the workings of the camera sound like Rocket Science. Here’s the explanation from NASA, sorry Nikon. “By modifying the infrared cut filter for the hydrogen alpha wavelength, the D810A gives photographers the ability to capture the diffuse nebulae in the night sky and to create colourful, breathtaking celestial images.”


The D810A shares its architecture with the powerful and professional high-resolution Nikon D810 HD-SLR and includes other new features designed uniquely to help capture the cosmos, letting users achieve sharp and vibrant images of the universe. In addition to the optimized IR cut filter, the D810A adds other features that are useful for astrophotography applications. A new Long Exposure Manual Mode is implemented, giving users the ability to set shutter speeds from 4, 5, 8, 10, 15, 20, 30, 60, 120, 180, 240, 300, 600 or 900 seconds (15 minutes), as well as Bulb and Time settings. Building upon the D810’s excellent low-light capabilities, the ISO range has been optimized from 200 to 12,800 (Hi-2 51,200), for maximum sensitivity with the optimal signal to noise ratio.


The D810A is scheduled to arrive on planet Earth sometime in May. But you can pre-order yours today at Vistek.

The Human Connection with Jeremy Fokkens

In conjunction with the Exposure Photo Festival which runs the entire month of February in the province of Alberta, Vistek is proud to present portrait and documentary photographer Jeremy Fokkens. In this free seminar at the Vistek Edmonton store, Jeremy will share his travel adventures, highlighting the people from numerous environments and regions in southeast Asia, specifically Bangladesh and Nepal.

In this seminar, Calgary born Fokkens will show you the ropes, guide you through the necessary steps, and offer hands-on tips on planning your own overseas adventure.

Copies of his first published book “The Human Connection” will be available for sale at the seminar.