Help with Ball Portraits

imagesofhimimagesofhim Psalm 46:10Posts: 524Registered Users Major grins
edited March 5, 2013 in Mind Your Own Business
Our dear friends lost their 7 year-old son to a drunk driver 2 years ago. They are having their 2nd annual ball in his honor and I've been asked to take the portraits. Events such as this are not my forte... Sure, I can handle the backdrop, prop, lighting, etc. I need help in figuring out the best way to handle the couples and their "order". I figure I will offer one 8x10 at a set price to be paid at time of order (time of shot). I will have a price list printed on the back of my flyer for additional orders. I need to know your thoughts, suggestions, etc., on how to quickly match couple with shot number. Any ideas or blogs I can read regarding this subject?

As always, thanks in advance!

Blessings,
Marjohn
Blessings,
Marjohn

Images of Him Photography | visit my oft-ignored blog

Comments

  • GlortGlort Major grins Posts: 1,015Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 28, 2013
    When I do these I print 6x8 or 5x7" Prints onsite.

    I shoot the couples as they arrive ( and have it arranged with the organisers so I am in between the people arriving and going into the function room) and then have the prints ready for them to View generally before dinner is served but always when they wander back into the foyer after dinner.
    I don't keep track of orders at all, it is all impulse buy ( encouraged throughout the Night by the MC plugging us) and if the people want extra prints or 8x12's etc, we do them on the spot to order.

    Random Thoughts:

    Make sure you are set up in a position to get EVERY person/ couple before/ as they enter the ballroom. Have an assistant go round and grab them if they are having drinks before hand if need be so you get everyone in front of the camera.
    You will also get a lot of groups coming out after dinner. Be ready to make the most of these. They can add a lot of sales.

    Be fast with the pic taking. Don't try to create masterpieces, have a couple of umbrellas with heads, maybe a back light, have it all set up and shoot like Buggery. Couple of frames of each pose in rapid succession, thanks very much, next. You can make nice saleable images without trying to take the greatest Pic ever taken in the history of photography.
    The worst thing you can do is have a long line of people standing round waiting to get in the place.
    Punch them through and keep the line moving. People admire fast and efficient because most shooters are not.

    I would DEFINITELY NOT start with 8x10 size prints. They are too big for the occasion and I believe a lot of people will be intimidated by them for want of a better word. Whatever you do DON'T offer 6x4's . That's the best way to undermine everything else you do and make yourself look like a rank amateur.

    I would not do ordering. The people don't have the patience, you don't have the time.
    It's a complication that will slow the process, adds extra expense, hassle and looses the Huge impact of the instant gratification/ Impulse buy.
    You need to be able to have the images ready for them to take home there and then, straight off, easy as possible.

    Printing on site is Very easy, fast and will net you 10 times the return ordering ever will. For a lot of events I would say onsite Printing has no advantage over onsite Viewing only. In this case, they are miles apart. Onsite printing is the ONLY way you will get max profits and returns from this sort of event. Anything else will leave a LOT of $$ walking out the door still in peoples pockets.
    I can't stress that enough.

    You can buy a Canon 4900 series printer for about $100 that will be all you need to do onsite printing and is fast and brilliant quality. If you are going to do this again, buy a Bulk ink system for it as well. It will be the smartest investment you ever made.

    A lot of people who haven't done pre-printing worry about leftovers. So what?
    At the end of the night your costs will be $X, you will have a small percentage of leftovers and your profits will be so damn high you won't give a flying about the costs or leftovers.


    I do 6x8's now ( Roughly half A4 paper which I buy a great brand at dirt cheap prices and cut in half before hand) for $15-20 a print, and do deals for multiple prints of the same or different image of the one person/ couple or shots they are in.

    I would count on absolutely NO after sales. Most of the people that buy the pics will only do so to help the charity and maybe out of some peer pressure. They probably won't look at them much again after the event and a lot of people that go to these things are going to them every few weeks or sooner still so it's not exactly a lifetime memory they are buying. They probably have 20 Similar pics at home which is why an 8x10 would be more detriment than good. Get the money out of them tere and then and don't count on any after at all.

    I Print out of PS and have actions set up. I only need hit an F key and the action will do levels, sharpening, Stop for me to crop if need be, then spit the image out of the printer. You can even get software to monitor a hot folder and print everything as it lands in there. Fast and good is not hard.

    Think about upping the ante a bit. Do a close up of the couple with heads together etc and a more formal full length etc. You can shoot more than one pose while still going very quick and then offer the the 2 pics at say $15 for one pic, $20 for 2 to sweeten the deal and bump your profits substantially.

    If you don't take Credit card, organise that before the event. Your bottom line will be substantially healthier for it.

    Good luck
  • imagesofhimimagesofhim Psalm 46:10 Posts: 524Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 28, 2013
    Thank you so much!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your insight is EXTREMELY helpful and taken in FULL stride! I will purchase a suggested printer this week and get familiar with it... I will also purchase bulk ink as I might do a few "trial" runs at some upcoming smaller events. I will have two assistants with me, thank goodness!!!

    I have a few other questions... on the 6x8's, are they pre-cut? Do you have any recommendations on purchasing the 6x8 paper? Do you leave the prints out on a table for couples to find themselves? Do you give out business cards with the photos? Do you provide the envelope "frames" with the photo? Rather than business cards, would it be better to have my info printed on the back of an envelope frame, if used?

    I love the idea of a full-length shot and cropped-in facial shot together! I can certainly make a PS action for printing, but can you tell me more about the software that monitors "a hot folder" and prints "everything as it lands"?

    Again, thank you!!!!

    Blessings,
    Marjohn


    .
    Blessings,
    Marjohn

    Images of Him Photography | visit my oft-ignored blog
  • SamSam San Jose CA Posts: 7,418Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 28, 2013
    Is this photo shot for charity or strictly a for profit job?

    A couple of things I would add.

    You may not be able to find the exact printer model Glort mentioned because may manufacturers
    sell slightly different models around the world.

    I would not recommend trying to use a third party ink system right away.

    I would buy the same brand paper as the printer to start off with. It should give you better results without any tweaking.

    Make sure you buy extra OEM ink for the event. You don't want to run out.

    Make sure you set up your lights at home and practice. Take notes on your light setup, distances and power settings.

    Shoot in jpg and experiment with your jpg in camera settings, contrast, sharpening etc.

    Print out just like you were at the event. Use the same software, settings, etc. Get to know what to expect with the printer. It's possible to use more paper and ink than you might think to get everything the way you want it.

    You should be able to go to the event set up your lights, set up the printer, connect whatever cables you need, grab your camera and have a good salable image on the first shot.

    Preparation is the key.

    Sam
  • imagesofhimimagesofhim Psalm 46:10 Posts: 524Registered Users Major grins
    edited February 28, 2013
    See items below in yellow!
    Sam wrote: »
    Is this photo shot for charity or strictly a for profit job? PROFIT, as 50% of the proceeds go to the charity!

    A couple of things I would add.

    You may not be able to find the exact printer model Glort mentioned because may manufacturers
    sell slightly different models around the world. I'm already finding that to be an issue... So, I'm thinking one of the Canon Pixma Pro's might be best... I will continue to research.

    I would not recommend trying to use a third party ink system right away. Agreed!

    I would buy the same brand paper as the printer to start off with. It should give you better results without any tweaking.

    Make sure you buy extra OEM ink for the event. You don't want to run out.

    Make sure you set up your lights at home and practice. Take notes on your light setup, distances and power settings. Agreed!

    Shoot in jpg and experiment with your jpg in camera settings, contrast, sharpening etc.

    Print out just like you were at the event. Use the same software, settings, etc. Get to know what to expect with the printer. It's possible to use more paper and ink than you might think to get everything the way you want it.

    You should be able to go to the event set up your lights, set up the printer, connect whatever cables you need, grab your camera and have a good salable image on the first shot.

    Preparation is the key. Thanks so much!!

    Sam
    Blessings,
    Marjohn

    Images of Him Photography | visit my oft-ignored blog
  • GlortGlort Major grins Posts: 1,015Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 1, 2013
    Sam wrote: »

    Y
    ou may not be able to find the exact printer model Glort mentioned because may manufacturers
    sell slightly different models around the world.

    Yep, that's why I said the 4900 series.
    The ones I have are 4950's but I think the same machine in the states in a 4920.
    Just get the tp of the line A4 ( or letter if that's the US standard) Printer ( not multifunction) only.
    Multis are OK, I have 4 of them but they are heavier and more bulky and for this work they are no advantage.

    I would not recommend trying to use a third party ink system right away.

    I would disagree.
    I would say use what you are going to use straight off. 7 of my printers have never had the OEM ink in them. Why not use the "other" ink systems? If you are going to be running test prints etc, better off doing that as cheap as possible.
    I also don't see any point in profiling your computer and printer for one ink then doing it again for another. That said I have tested the OEM and after market ink and they are so close it doesn't matter.
    I could use either one on the same profile but that may not be the case for all set-ups.

    Also, I think it's smart to put as many miles on something before you hit showtime because if there are any bugs that are going to come up, you need to know how to deal with them.

    I bought an epsom printer to build into a rolling cabinet setup for this type of work and an ink system with it. The way the Big brother ink system on that thing works is that it counts the amount of ink use then refuses to even finish the print when it gets to the point it thinks you should pony up more money in liquid platinum or whatever they make it out of. You have to open the printer lid, take out the little plug that fools the thing to keep the lid ajar, Lift up the ink tanks and re clip them in and then put the little plug back in teh door switch.

    Takes a lot longer to say it than do it but the stupid thing comes up with an error rather than a logical " Out of ink message". The first time it did it to me I didn't know what was happening and just threw the thing aside and carried on with another printer till I took it back to the ink guy who was just up the road. Quick lesson and all is good. Now it took about 40 prints for that to happen the first time so I wouldn't have wanted to be doing that learning curve at an event on a saturday night with 700 people all being geed up to come buy pics before they went home!
    rolleyes1.gif

    I would buy the same brand paper as the printer to start off with. It should give you better results without any tweaking.

    I have tried a LOT of different papers and I can't say I have found that to be the case at all. I found the best paper of all with the Canon profile rather than the ones I made was Kodak paper by a mile.
    I too thought same brand would logicaly be tuned for one another but to my eye, that wasn't the case.

    On that though, Every printer comes with a lot of different profiles if you go into the custom settings in the devices management in windoze. I also downloaded profiles from the ILFORD website for my printers and found them to be superior on any paper than the OEM ones. I started with those when doing my own profiles and they were very close to the final tune I ended up with.l

    Make sure you buy extra OEM ink for the event. You don't want to run out.

    I carry the OEM unopened ink carts with me but never had to use them yet. I would certainly recommend it though as you should always have backups and I like to have a 3rd level of fall back as well. With my older printers, I was using the OEM carts and refilling them with the Bulk ink.
    Very quick and easy on the canon carts when you know how and I must have reused some of mine 50 times.;l I'm told you can't do that on the latest series, the chips lock up after 10 resets but I don't know.

    One of the many advantages of inkers over Dye subs is you can get ink, paper and even new machines at every office place or department store but sometimes here at least, finding one open on a Saturday night at 9PM might be a bit difficult.
    Make sure you set up your lights at home and practice. Take notes on your light setup, distances and power settings.

    For sure.
    You should know it off by heart by the time you get there.
    Shoot in jpg and experiment with your jpg in camera settings, contrast, sharpening etc.

    Yep, it should all be preset before you get on site. You will be using lights so it don't matter if you are at home in the lounge room, in the back yard, in the middle of a paddock or in a function hall. It should all be the same every time.

    Print out just like you were at the event. Use the same software, settings, etc. Get to know what to expect with the printer. It's possible to use more paper and ink than you might think to get everything the way you want it.

    The other thing to this is knowing what power leads you need and power boards, how you are going to run the leads so people don't trip etc. You should set the whole thing up completely so you know you have to have pins to hold the table cloths on or duct tape for something else and so it goes.

    I have 2 large rolling plastic cases for this work.
    One is all the lighting gear. heads, stands, leads, triggers, umbrellas, etc. All the power cords are custom made. I cut them to the correct size, re attached piggy back plugs and labeled them so I know where each one goes. I take a LONG lead to get to the supply and one longish lead in case one of the other s fails. I can keep the equipment to a min but know I have all I need.

    The other case is the " Business" case.
    Printer paper ( pre cut) pens, tape, Price signs and stands, Cable floor and walk way protectors, Blu tack, table coverings, spare USB leads, Cards, envelopes, power boards and leads for printer setup, desk lamps for dark places, receipt books, credit card machine and charger, money bag and change...

    If I got a call for an event right now, all I would need to grab would be these 2 cases, camera bag, printers, laptops , shower and change of clothes and I am out the door without a worry in the world in 10 min flat.
    Might be the only thing I am truly organised with.


    Another random thought, I use Umbrellas instead of softboxes. I have a bunch of those folding ones but they are pains in the bum to put up and take down and are no where near as fast to put up and take down as umbrellas. Umbrellas are also easier to pack, pack more efficiently and neatly, are cheaper, more durable and I think just better for this work.
    I got large silver ones but hit them with a good mist of Gold spray paint to warm them up. People like to look tanned rather than pale and blue and warm tones are just more pleasing for people pics.

    And one other thing, get to the venue at LEAST 90 min before showtime. You'll spend the first 30 stuffing around with the security guy who dosent want you to unload there and the car parking guy and functions manager and event organiser and sorting out who actually knows anything despite the phone calls you made and things you organised previously when you came out through the week to do a site inspection and find the tables they promised that aren't there and all the other rubbish that you ALWAYS have to go through before you even start to set up.

    And if something really stuffs up and it all goes simple and you finish setup early, you go down to the bar, get an ice cold coke, sit on your butt and have a nice rest before the war starts in earnest. :0)

    Preparation is the key.

    4 words that sum the whole thing up in a nut shell.
  • GlortGlort Major grins Posts: 1,015Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 1, 2013
    Thank you so much!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your insight is EXTREMELY helpful and taken in FULL stride! I will purchase a suggested printer this week and get familiar with it... I will also purchase bulk ink as I might do a few "trial" runs at some upcoming smaller events. I will have two assistants with me, thank goodness!!!

    Assistants:

    Have one getting the people to come to your backdrop if you aren't in a position to line them up before they enter the venue. Other assistant on on the backdrop telling people where to stand, how to stand and priming up the next people so you don't have to move from your spot.

    If you can spare one, have them shoot and you print or put them on printer jockey Duty.
    My set up is usually wife is Picture assistant, son runs the computers and printers.
    I have a few other questions... on the 6x8's, are they pre-cut?
    Do you have any recommendations on purchasing the 6x8 paper?

    Yes, I have a gullitine with a strip of aluminium angle screwed to the board so I can just put the A4 paper in and cut it with out measuring etc and it's perfectly sized. Takes next to no time to cut a box of 150 Sheets which of course gives 300 Prints.

    Here in oz I have never seen 6x8 paper. I can order 5x7 but I pay about 40% less for a box of 150 sheets of A4 than I do 100 5x7. Obviously it pays me well to cut it. Or should I say get the kids to cut it for me.

    This is the only recommendation I can give as I have never bought 6x8 paper. 5x7 is just as good and I'd actually prefer that over the 6/8 but it's not economically logical.
    The paper I use is Gloss, I prefer a satin or matt but the clients don't really seem to care either way.
    Do you leave the prints out on a table for couples to find themselves?

    Yes, with us behind the table helping them as you get to notice a lot of the people looking for others so you can save time although the women want to check out everyone elses pics as well . Bit of sales banter on how good they look, telling them about discounts if they buy the other 3 pics they are in with friends etc, take their money etc.

    Make sure you get plenty of tables and don't pack the pics on too tight. You can have the tables in a different position to the shooting area, I recommend in a position where they have to walk around you on the way out.

    The great thing about having the pics on tables ready for the instant sale is you don't have people cuing up ( and walking off to see the pics on a monitor(s) and they see their friends and run off to tell them or frequently drag them back to show them. They will also see how good they look in the pics and want a group shot. I tend to be pretty busy after dinner doing those and the mrs is busy taking peoples money. It's a real buzz when you are rushed off your feet taking money and doing extra prints for group shots and hammering the other printer jockey to get the extra orders done.

    Also pretty good cramming all the pics onto 4 trestle tables at the start then at the end you have condensed the leftovers up to half a table and realise you have printed another 50 or images on top of what you started with. It can be bloody hard work but The harder I work and the more money I walk out with, the more satisfying the job is.
    I tend to bitch at anything under a grand a night now and $1500 ball park is where we often are. It's good money.

    Do you give out business cards with the photos?

    Sometimes.
    We have them on the table for people to pick up, sometimes we put them in the envelopes with the prints. I don't push it. People whom are interested in what you do will ask for a card or be sure to pick one up. I get a good number of referrals without trying to flog myself too hard.
    Do you provide the envelope "frames" with the photo?

    I don't think so! :0)
    I just buy a bunch of cheap ( B5 I think they are) white envelopes and put the prints in there. Sometimes If I have time and think of it, we run the envelopes through the printer with our name and logo and I also charge the sponsors to print the envelopes on occasion or use it to get us in the door or lower/ instead of commissions.
    Rather than business cards, would it be better to have my info printed on the back of an envelope frame, if used?

    I'd personally still have a card. I would also be careful what you put on the envelope. You don't want to make yourself look desperate. Tailor your pitch to the audience that will be there. IF it's a lot of families and you offer something for them, great. If it's mainly a corporate, then I wouldn't bother mentioning families... etc Keep anything on the envelpe brief classy and professional I wouldn't use it as a bunch of real estate to promote yourself on. Name, contact details, specialising in corporate or family etc photography, that's it.
    Just my feeling, nothing to say it right or wrong.
    I love the idea of a full-length shot and cropped-in facial shot together! I can certainly make a PS action for printing, but can you tell me more about the software that monitors "a hot folder" and prints "everything as it lands"?

    Can't remember what its called, I think there is actually one called " Hot Folder".

    Basically you set up a folder and point the software to it and as soon as an image lands there from the tethered camera or from a card, ( I use EYE-Fi and FLU wireless cards) the software basically runs an action on it and sends it to other software or prints it etc. I do a lot of green screen work for these events and drop in spectacular backdrops that aren't available at the venue. The last one I did I used the built in hot folder function to add in the background, the sponsor name and logo, a border and send the image ready to be printed to a Creatively named " Done" folder.
    From there I just went through and deleted the lesser of the multiple pics I took then batched the whole lot to the printers ( I had 3 all pooled together so I was getting like 6 prints a minute coming out) just in windows.

    I do 500-700 people in a night, occasionally more and if you are set up right and organised, this sort of thing is an absoloutle Doodle to get through.
    People talk crap about being quick means turning out lousy pics etc. That's garbage because you have everything set up and tuned to perfection in advance. There is only one thing to get right with lighting, angles, colour balance, white balance, printer output etc, if you have half a brain you can't help but get great pic quality. all you have to do is get the people in 1 or 2 simple, decent poses and you are there.
  • SamSam San Jose CA Posts: 7,418Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 1, 2013
    Glort,

    You are the master at the event photography business. You have worked over the years to perfect your operation and maximize profits.

    From what I read this is the first time the OP has attempted anything like this, and doesn't mention having any substantial printing experience.

    The basis of my recommendation to stick with the OEM ink and paper is to keep the process as simple as possible for this first event. I would also stick with the 5X7 paper size as opposed to worring about cutting sheets and printing at an 8X6 size. 8X6 would be an unusual size for the US.

    Not everyone has had the success you have had with third party inks, or has the knowledge and experience to fix it.

    I do not believe one event would justify the added cost and effort to set up one printer with third party inks and experiment with cheaper third party paper.

    You other advice is very good. :D

    Sam
  • GlortGlort Major grins Posts: 1,015Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 1, 2013
    Sam wrote: »
    Glort,

    You are the master at the event photography business. You have worked over the years to perfect your operation and maximize profits.

    From what I read this is the first time the OP has attempted anything like this, and doesn't mention having any substantial printing experience.

    The basis of my recommendation to stick with the OEM ink and paper is to keep the process as simple as possible for this first event. I would also stick with the 5X7 paper size as opposed to worring about cutting sheets and printing at an 8X6 size. 8X6 would be an unusual size for the US.

    Not everyone has had the success you have had with third party inks, or has the knowledge and experience to fix it.

    I do not believe one event would justify the added cost and effort to set up one printer with third party inks and experiment with cheaper third party paper.

    You other advice is very good. :D

    Sam

    Master?
    HAha, I wish!

    I did understand where you were coming from with the OEM recommendation but I feel the after market systems are pretty trouble free. They tend to either work or they don't. They aren't something that takes extra skill or time or effort to use. I have them on my machines that my girls use and they don't have any problem. When I put them on the machines in fact all I got was positive comments at the fact they didn't have to change ink carts every 20 prints.

    And that's a significant thing with using inkers and probably their biggest drawback IMHO.
    It's a real pain in the butt and a distraction to your work flow to be hammering prints out and then having to stop and change carts all the time. You change one and then 5 minutes later another runs out so you change that and another 10 prints later the machine stops again and you have to change another cart and..... So it goes. And the thing is, each time the printer stops, it's in reality about 5 min at least till the next print comes out. You have to open it up, wait for the carriage to come back, swap the cart, maybe click some buttons to say you have changed it, wait for the thing to go through a drawn out cleaning process which seems never ending when you are waiting for the thing before it's finally ready and starts spitting out prints again.

    That whole process can easily put you 10 prints behind every time it does it so with 4 carts ( the 5th is text ink so you wouldn't change that at an event) you are a full 40 prints behind on your output and that will probably happen within an hour. Of course if there is one really predominant colour in all your pics, that cart may empty twice as quick as the others so you could be doing the 5th swap in the hour.
    Won't of course happen every hour but if you say have 2.5 hours between shooting and desert being served when a lot of people wander out to look at their pics, that's a huge loss of production.

    OTOH, with a bulk system, You will probably have 2-3 short clean cycles all night. It's a significant difference in output. I run 2-3 machines pooled so the prints fly out about 4-6 a min but if a person is just using the one machine, that is a Hell of a dent in the output and one I doubt most newcomers to the game would think of.

    The REAL killer with swapping carts is when you get busy after dinner when everyone is well Liquored up and want group shots with friends etc or about to go home at the end of the night and they are standing at the table waiting for you to print the pics and the thing needs a cart change. That 5+ min will seem like an eternity to them and You and you want to pray only one cart needs changing and you don't have another fall over too quick.

    In that respect, I would say for the inexperienced in printing, the use of a Bulk system will make things much easier and simpler for them. Like I say, I think swapping carts is the inkers biggest drawback but the use of a bulk system just removes that problem once and for all as well as taking out the other one of ink cost.

    If one were using OEM ink, I'd tend to swap out the whole cart set at once so the delays were minimised. The carts that aren't completely empty can be put back in for printing say at home or in the studio where things are non critical so it wouldn't be wasting the ink. I did this when I was refilling carts so I would turn up with 3 printers each with a full set of carts and 5 sets of spares. inevitably you will use 4 spares of one colour and 1-2 of everything else. rolleyes1.gif

    -IF- a person had any intention of doing this as regular work, They would be insane not to invest in at least 2 printers and I'd suggest 3. Putting all your eggs in one basket is never a good idea and at $100 ea, the printers are too cheap not to have spares.
    With 2+ printers, you can pool them in windows so you double ( triple, quarduple depending on how many machines you have) your output speed.
    As well as that, if one does go down, you can still carry on. For most jobs I do these days I take 2 printers in with me and leave another in the car.

    For pooling, you have to have the SAME make and model printers so they can all run off the same driver. The most I have hooked up is 6 which I ran off a server I set up as a print server. It really was something to see 2 printers back to back 3 wide on a table all hammering away at once.
    I had my daughter there working flat out just refilling them with paper and taking the printed sheets away.

    When I buy printers, I buy them 4 at a time now. This gives me the potential for 2 pair of 2 or a set of 3 with a spare. They tend to change models pretty quick even though I'm more than sure my 5 yo printers have exactly the same internals as the last ones I bought 6 months ago. The specs are the same, the output is the same, even the carts and paper trays are the same. Same thing with a different bit of trim and model number I reckon. I have tried pooling the different models on one driver be it the early or later one but I cannot get it to work most unfortunately.


    Again to the experience of the operator, The Epsom machine I have has a quirk in the printer design that necessitates the resetting every so often but that's just one thing in a line of the Epsom design that make it the one and only Epsom I will ever buy. I bought it primarily for the front feed and output design which makes it a lot lower than the space required by the canons but everything else pretty much makes it unworkable for what I need. It is handy in the studio however as it has wi fi that seems to work at unexpectedly long distances and is very reliable.

    The Canons I prefer are pretty much a set up and forget job with the bulk ink. As long as you follow recommendations and keep the printer and the ink on the same level, IE, don't put the ink reserve on top of the printer while transporting it, There isn't really anything I can think of one needs to know with these things.

    The ones I got initially were pre filled. You installed them, ran a clean cycle to prime them up and away you go for about 500 or so A4 prints till they need topping up again which is very straightforward also.
    I buy ink by the litre for just under the price of 2 sets of OEM carts. There is about 120 carts worth of ink in each bottle so the savings are almost unbelievable.

    What I also noticed with the bulk systems over refilling is that you save a lot of ink in the cleaning cycles. Whenever you install new carts, the machine runs a long, deep clean cycle straight off which uses a LOT of ink. With the bulk ink, those automatic clean cycles are a lot longer spaced before they kick in and as such, a given qty of ink goes a hell of a lot further when in the constant bulk system than even when you refill the carts.
    I have refilled enough to know that to be a very evident fact! :D

    Despite the longer clean intervals, I have not seen any degradation of the print quality. It seems the more you hammer these printers, the better they go. I have 14 printers now and the ones that sit for a while between jobs always take a few prints or cleans to really come perfect. The ones that sit in the studio or are out on the road and are printing for an hour or more a day every day never fall off quality wise.
    I found this both with Bulk ink and when using carts.



    I too would recommend sticking to 5x7 paper. Cutting it is no hassle if you have a guillotine but would be a different story if not. For me It would be worth going and buying a guillotine if I didn't have one because I would be in front in a couple of jobs. Other people would have to figure the cost/ savings/ time equation.

    6x8 is a weird size here too but many labs offer it. With the exception of a few speciality ( read expensive art type papers) the choices of inkjet paper here are limited mainly to 6x4 and A4. 5x7 is available in some camera shops or by special order but everywhere else you have the choice of amateur postage stamp size or A4.

    I personally think that 5x7 is the ideal size for this type of work though. It's big enough to impress and look professional and small enough for guests to easily carry, put in some lady's handbags etc.

    Another drawback with 6x8 is the printers I have don't actually have it as a size in their drivers. It's in PS and my greenscreen software but the printer doesn't recognise it. To get by that, I print the images using the A4 Setting in the opposite orientation in borderless mode with slightly extended coverage in the settings so all the paper is covered and there is no need to trim.
    This reason alone would be a big one for someone new to onsite printing to stick with 5x7 paper.

    As for one event justifying cost, well I guess that depends on the event and the persons outlook on doing more of these. If a person were going to need 2 sets of OEM ink, at the price we pay for it here which I believe is similar to the price there, at worst a bulk setup would be a break even, probably still come out in front. And of course you then have an assett that will reduce all your further printing ink cost to nil till it runs out and needs refilling.

    Last year I had a weekend with 3 Jobs and I bought a new laptop, 2 more printers and ink systems, some other stuff I now forget and I paid for it all and had a wad of cash left over. A weekend like that every month would be nice but if a person has any ambition to do anything like this more than once, I'd say they shouldn't even think about investing in the ink setups.

    When I started out in the event work, I was spending about $150 per event on ink and I was doing tiddly wink size jobs. I'm a tight arse and I have to say that going to buy new ink every week and pulling $150 out of the takings to walk out with a hand full of little packets of ink really hurt.
    It was far and away the biggest cost of doing any job. It was more than fuel, food and all the other incidentals combined.

    My first bulk ink set cost me $180 to my door and I literally printed for over 6 months before I had to spend any more on ink. I figured my ink cost on an A4 print went from well over a $1 to under 5 CENTS per print. Paper was costing .80 c per sheet and I have that down to .16 cents now. It's makes a huge difference to your bottom line.


    I found the aftermarket ink is very little different to the OEM ink with the exception of being more true to life, ( the OEM canon Ink and printer drivers are ridiculously over saturated and bright colours, Every one looks like a circus clown!) and the shadow detail is much better than the overly contrasty and blaring OEM ink colours.

    Inks may vary from one maker to another but any popular brands should be more than fine.




    A corner of the studio where I have some of my spare printers, paper and ink.
  • GlortGlort Major grins Posts: 1,015Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 2, 2013
    Some of the printers in one corner of the studio running the bulk ink setups.

    .
  • GlortGlort Major grins Posts: 1,015Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 2, 2013
    This is my spares drawer where I keep cart refilling supplies, Refilled OEM carts, spare bulk ink tanks, and small bottles of ink for refilling on site.

    I refill the tanks before we go out on a job but on the bigger ones it's not uncommon to run out so I use the small bottles to refill the bulk tanks as need be.
  • GlortGlort Major grins Posts: 1,015Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 2, 2013
    This is the way the Bulk ink setups install.
    You have to keep the lid ajar so it doesnt crush the silicone supply tube ribbon and use a plug in the lid switch so the printer thinks the lid is closed.

    On a few of my printers that are out of warranty I just got a dremel tool and cut the lid or the front of the printer to allow space for the lid to close without pinching the pipe. Often I stack the printers on top of one anotehr at jobs and have then just a bit forward of the toehr to allow clearance for paper so being able to close the lids flat is a big advantage.

    The tank makers say you are supposed to have the tanks on the same level as the printer but they actually work under slight Vacuum and I found that having the printer higher than the ink tank still allows them to work fine but it is on the limit. As long as the bulk tank is over 50% full it works perfectly and saves table space.
    I can go 3 printers high and when I do this I use a but of plywood on top of the 2nd printer and put the ink tank for that and the one above on there.

    .
  • GlortGlort Major grins Posts: 1,015Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 2, 2013
    This is the latest ink tank design I have bought.
    I found a place close to me that does them and the guy there is the most helpful and knowledgeable guy I think I have ever met on anything in a long time.

    The tanks work exactly the same as the others I have but are half the price as is the ink they have. The tanks work as well and the ink I believe may be even a tad more to my liking. The other tanks work with an internal air balance tube where these have a 2nd seperate chamber all together. I suspect this design is a bit cheaper to make and can be blow moulded in one piece where as the other design is 3 pieces glued together.

    The job of the air balance tanks is to keep a slightly negative pressure in the ink supply at all times and to keep it effectively 2-3 inches below that of the printer head regardless f the ink level in the main tank.


    This one is messy because I often put the Travel plugs in where the filters go and carry the whole thing with the printer in a large suitcase. My son forgot to put in the travel plugs and the thing was carried on it's side and sat in the studio like that for about a week before I unpacked it.

    Surprisingly there was no real mess, just a little ink leaked out that was easily cleaned up.
    I can put the plugs back in and give the whole thing a rinse under the tap and it will be clean as new.
    Haven't bothered so far, it's working fine so I'm too lazy to worry. :D
  • GlortGlort Major grins Posts: 1,015Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 2, 2013
    This is the setup on the Epsom.

    This model Epsom has stationary ink tanks and it's own supply tubes to the head. The design is supposed to be good for bulk in because the carts don't move. What I have been informed by the bulk ink supplier is that if one lets the ink in the bulk tank run out, it's virtually impossible to get the air out of the lines.

    After so many cleaning cycles the printer will throw and error which requires it to go back to epsom to have cleared and the ribbon re primed. No doubt the cost of that would be more than a new printer.

    Despite the higher designated output of the Epsom over the canons, the thing is probably 50% slower on an A4. It is a lot quieter if that matters but the software is no where near as good and it doesn't have the ability of the canons for things I use a lot like 2 6x8's of different images on one page, Calendars and a few other things we use that are inbuilt with the canon software.

    The OEM Epsom ink is Pigment but I use the dye ink my supplier has.
    I tested the printer when I first got the thing with its OEM carts and then did a print with the Bulk ink . I couldn't see any better quality with the Pigment ink which is 3 times more exy in bulk than the dye Ink. I then profiled the printer on the Dye ink and really couldn't see much of a difference over the std Epsom profile.

    The output of the Epsom I think is some circumstances is marginally better than that of the canons but it is definately variable and when you can see it, it's not much at all.

    The other idiosyncrasies of the Epsom make the canons an infinitely better machine for event work
    however.
    My bulk ink guy says the canons tend to be a lot more reliable and last longer than the Epsom and are far less finicky as well.

    Epsom are also going to a LOT of trouble to prevent the use of Bulk ink in their machines so it is unlikely that they will even be viable for event work soon and given their ink prices which are about 25% more than Canons already extortive prices, they just won't be economically feasible at all.

    The reason I bought the Epsom is I wanted to build it into a rolling cabinet and it is much lower than the canons due to the frontal paper feed. Given it only holds about half the paper the canons can be loaded with, the slower print speed, the need to reset every 50 or so prints and the inferior software, they aren't up to the task I want to use them for.

    I was in the office supply place the other day and saw a canon which I believe has a frontal feed and output so that may be my next machines. They were double the price of the current machines as I think they are a multi but that's completely irrelevant given the return the things generate for me.
  • SamSam San Jose CA Posts: 7,418Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 2, 2013
    Glort,

    This was a great explanation of your set up and rationalization for using the bulk ink systems. Anyone looking at doing LARGE events and or a lot of events would be smart to investigate these bulk ink systems.

    That said, once the OP sees your last post and pictures my money is on her running and screaming from any thoughts of a bulk ink system. :D

    The poor gal is trying to help a friend with a smaller one time charity event not set up to photograph and print images of the entire city. rolleyes1.gifroflrolleyes1.gif

    But seriously thank you for taking the time to explain your set up. This will be very helpful to anyone considering printing at larger events.

    Sam
  • imagesofhimimagesofhim Psalm 46:10 Posts: 524Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 2, 2013
    Glort wrote: »
    This is the setup on the Epsom.

    This model Epsom has stationary ink tanks and it's own supply tubes to the head. The design is supposed to be good for bulk in because the carts don't move. What I have been informed by the bulk ink supplier is that if one lets the ink in the bulk tank run out, it's virtually impossible to get the air out of the lines.

    After so many cleaning cycles the printer will throw and error which requires it to go back to epsom to have cleared and the ribbon re primed. No doubt the cost of that would be more than a new printer.

    Despite the higher designated output of the Epsom over the canons, the thing is probably 50% slower on an A4. It is a lot quieter if that matters but the software is no where near as good and it doesn't have the ability of the canons for things I use a lot like 2 6x8's of different images on one page, Calendars and a few other things we use that are inbuilt with the canon software.

    The OEM Epsom ink is Pigment but I use the dye ink my supplier has.
    I tested the printer when I first got the thing with its OEM carts and then did a print with the Bulk ink . I couldn't see any better quality with the Pigment ink which is 3 times more exy in bulk than the dye Ink. I then profiled the printer on the Dye ink and really couldn't see much of a difference over the std Epsom profile.

    The output of the Epsom I think is some circumstances is marginally better than that of the canons but it is definately variable and when you can see it, it's not much at all.

    The other idiosyncrasies of the Epsom make the canons an infinitely better machine for event work
    however.
    My bulk ink guy says the canons tend to be a lot more reliable and last longer than the Epsom and are far less finicky as well.

    Epsom are also going to a LOT of trouble to prevent the use of Bulk ink in their machines so it is unlikely that they will even be viable for event work soon and given their ink prices which are about 25% more than Canons already extortive prices, they just won't be economically feasible at all.

    The reason I bought the Epsom is I wanted to build it into a rolling cabinet and it is much lower than the canons due to the frontal paper feed. Given it only holds about half the paper the canons can be loaded with, the slower print speed, the need to reset every 50 or so prints and the inferior software, they aren't up to the task I want to use them for.

    I was in the office supply place the other day and saw a canon which I believe has a frontal feed and output so that may be my next machines. They were double the price of the current machines as I think they are a multi but that's completely irrelevant given the return the things generate for me.

    Glort,

    Thanks for the info... I've read it and re-read it multiple times... While I appreciate ALL of your knowledge and I pray for the best possible outcome, I don't think I can justify doing all of this for the one event. There will likely only be 150-200 couples in attendance and I will do my best to satisfy all couples!
    Blessings,
    Marjohn

    Images of Him Photography | visit my oft-ignored blog
  • GlortGlort Major grins Posts: 1,015Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 3, 2013
    Sam wrote: »

    That said, once the OP sees your last post and pictures my money is on her running and screaming from any thoughts of a bulk ink system. :D

    The poor gal is trying to help a friend with a smaller one time charity event not set up to photograph and print images of the entire city. rolleyes1.gifroflrolleyes1.gif

    HAHAHH!
    That did actually make me laugh! I can see your point.

    Hasn't everyone cranked out 9200 A4 Prints in a week though?? ne_nau.gif
    Judging by the amount of lever arch folders that took even when the prints were bundled 3 sheets at a time in a plastic Sleeve, I'm pretty sure I could have covered at least a the land area of the facility I was shooting in that week! rolleyes1.gif
  • GlortGlort Major grins Posts: 1,015Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 3, 2013
    Glort,

    Thanks for the info... I've read it and re-read it multiple times... While I appreciate ALL of your knowledge and I pray for the best possible outcome, I don't think I can justify doing all of this for the one event. There will likely only be 150-200 couples in attendance and I will do my best to satisfy all couples!

    A small event like that should be fine to cover with one machine, 3 sets of carts and 2 boxes of 100 of 5x7 paper.

    I think in reality you will only need one set of carts to cover the amount of paper you will need but if you do have a predominant colour then you may need the extra's.

    Is this going to be a one off or are you looking at doing these events in the future?
  • imagesofhimimagesofhim Psalm 46:10 Posts: 524Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 3, 2013
    Glort wrote: »
    A small event like that should be fine to cover with one machine, 3 sets of carts and 2 boxes of 100 of 5x7 paper.

    I think in reality you will only need one set of carts to cover the amount of paper you will need but if you do have a predominant colour then you may need the extra's.

    Is this going to be a one off or are you looking at doing these events in the future?

    Glort,

    I was thinking of the one machine and 4 sets of cartridges and 4 boxes of 11 paper. Specifically, because you'd given me the idea of a full-length shot and a close up shot... I might do that for each couple???????????

    I'm anticipating this to be a one-time deal (or, perhaps, an annual event only). My specialty is family and pet portraiture, so I'm not looking to corner the event market!

    Again, thank you for your help--it is GREATLY appreciated!
    Blessings,
    Marjohn

    Images of Him Photography | visit my oft-ignored blog
  • GlortGlort Major grins Posts: 1,015Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 3, 2013
    Glort,

    I was thinking of the one machine and 4 sets of cartridges and 4 boxes of 11 paper. Specifically, because you'd given me the idea of a full-length shot and a close up shot... I might do that for each couple???????????


    What were you meaning by 11 paper? A4? 11inch?

    For an event that size you should have more than enough time to shoot the full length and Closer up shots. Normally I get 30 min to shoot people as they arrive and that is for generally around 500 people. Did 700 a few months back and that was no problem although you do have to move fast. An assistant telling the people what to do and making a game of them getting in and out quick speeds things along nicely.

    If you are doing say 200 People that's 100 Couples. Easy to just pose them together for a full length then tell them to put their heads together for the close up. Pick a pose where they don't actually have to move, just lean in closer. And that small thing of bringing the heads in really changes the shot and adds the emotional factor which tugs at the woman's heart strings particularly, whom then in turn tugs on the Husbands Wallet.

    If you have time or things are slow, go for the 3rd pose. You can make up some in higher sales to fewer people if you can just do volume outright. Try and pick your targets, I even ask them if they would like another pose to test if they are interested in the pics or not. Sometimes you can see people are enthusiastic and that's when you do the extra pose straight off.

    For the additional pose, Maybe just turn the woman with her back to the gentleman and have them cuddle up together. Another good one is to shoot the guy on his own. The women will have lots of pics of themselves or they don't like getting them done but they will always get pics of the guy who also doesn't like having his pic taken but the women will push them into it given the opportunity.

    Be a little careful of the after dinner groups if you are going to stay set up for them.
    You'll find there will be a few people that want to be in 20 shots ( and usually have had about the same amount of drinks) but will maybe buy 2 or end up in the foyer passed out on a couch after having a drive of the Porcelain bus and wont buy anything.

    What I tried successfully at the last event was getting payment up front. When I took the pick I asked how many copies of that shot did they want and ( Jovially) who's credit card it was going on?

    Most of the time we did get the number of prints and the payment. I then got my wife who was doing the sales to ask if they would like us to bring them to their table or did they want to leave them with us for safe keeping till the end of the night? We also got a name and number so if they were left we could leave them with the organiser for delivery.

    Normally we sell on spec and don't bother with payment at the time of taking the pics but if you were doing a smaller event where time wasn't so tight and have the assistants, nothing better than getting the money there and then before they spend it all on other things particularly if it's a charity auction thing.

    I think that's what I'l be pushing for where time provides in the future.
  • imagesofhimimagesofhim Psalm 46:10 Posts: 524Registered Users Major grins
    edited March 5, 2013
    Glort wrote: »
    What were you meaning by 11 paper? A4? 11inch?

    For an event that size you should have more than enough time to shoot the full length and Closer up shots. Normally I get 30 min to shoot people as they arrive and that is for generally around 500 people. Did 700 a few months back and that was no problem although you do have to move fast. An assistant telling the people what to do and making a game of them getting in and out quick speeds things along nicely.

    If you are doing say 200 People that's 100 Couples. Easy to just pose them together for a full length then tell them to put their heads together for the close up. Pick a pose where they don't actually have to move, just lean in closer. And that small thing of bringing the heads in really changes the shot and adds the emotional factor which tugs at the woman's heart strings particularly, whom then in turn tugs on the Husbands Wallet.

    If you have time or things are slow, go for the 3rd pose. You can make up some in higher sales to fewer people if you can just do volume outright. Try and pick your targets, I even ask them if they would like another pose to test if they are interested in the pics or not. Sometimes you can see people are enthusiastic and that's when you do the extra pose straight off.

    For the additional pose, Maybe just turn the woman with her back to the gentleman and have them cuddle up together. Another good one is to shoot the guy on his own. The women will have lots of pics of themselves or they don't like getting them done but they will always get pics of the guy who also doesn't like having his pic taken but the women will push them into it given the opportunity.

    Be a little careful of the after dinner groups if you are going to stay set up for them.
    You'll find there will be a few people that want to be in 20 shots ( and usually have had about the same amount of drinks) but will maybe buy 2 or end up in the foyer passed out on a couch after having a drive of the Porcelain bus and wont buy anything.

    What I tried successfully at the last event was getting payment up front. When I took the pick I asked how many copies of that shot did they want and ( Jovially) who's credit card it was going on?

    Most of the time we did get the number of prints and the payment. I then got my wife who was doing the sales to ask if they would like us to bring them to their table or did they want to leave them with us for safe keeping till the end of the night? We also got a name and number so if they were left we could leave them with the organiser for delivery.

    Normally we sell on spec and don't bother with payment at the time of taking the pics but if you were doing a smaller event where time wasn't so tight and have the assistants, nothing better than getting the money there and then before they spend it all on other things particularly if it's a charity auction thing.

    I think that's what I'l be pushing for where time provides in the future.


    That "11" was a typo... meant to say 5x7... thanks for the other ideas... I'm anticipating between 125-200 couples... Neat thing is it's being held on a military air base so there shouldn't be much unruliness to deal with!!!
    Blessings,
    Marjohn

    Images of Him Photography | visit my oft-ignored blog
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