October 20, 2014

Richard’s Obnoxiously Early Holiday Sale starts now!

We know, we know... it's only October, and you've just started ordering pumpkin spice lattes. But it's time to get rolling with all your holiday orders! That's why Richard is offering 20% off ROES during our Obnoxiously Early Holiday Sale, now until November 21st. Just use promo code 20COZY14 at checkout. Excludes proof prints and albums.

Make sure you're ready for the holiday season with these three easy tips from Richard:

1) Know the turnaround times for the products you're ordering. You can find the turnaround times for all of Richard's print products in the "Learn More" section of our product descriptions. And remember, turnaround times don't include shipping time, so add the two together for your final delivery date.

2) Remind your clients of your deadlines for print products so you have time to prepare an order before sending it to the lab.

3) Get ready to hit the ground running by scoping out our blog; you'll find tons of helpful hints for prepping your holiday orders, like book design tips, details on our latest products like folded press cards, and info on scan resolution for print!

October 10, 2014

It’s back… Noritsu vs Frontier!

A few years ago, Richard wrote a blog about Noritsu scans vs. Frontier scans. It’s our most popular blog entry to-date, and as the use of film continues to come back in vogue, Richard thinks it’s time for a sequel. So here it is: Noritsu vs. Frontier, Part Deux!



Let’s get straight to the question you’re dying to ask about Noritsu vs. Frontier: do they look the same? Well, comparing Noritsu and Frontier is like comparing Coke and Pepsi: they’re pretty similar, but everyone has a preference.

The minor variance you’ll see between the two scanners is based on the magenta tones—each machine interprets them differently, and these interpretations will then vary under different lighting conditions. Because of this, Richard can never say one machine produces definitively “warmer” or “greener” or “anything-er” tones. Both machines produce great images, just with the slightest of differences; the view on which one is best is, well, completely subjective (except for black and white film, but we’ll get to that later).


Check out that snazzy scanning team! Lookin' good, guys.



All the above being said, what’s going to influence your scans more than the machine you choose is the communication you have with the lab doing the scanning and the skills of their staff. Scanning is an art form that takes seasoned pros (like those at Richard) to pull off a killer scan. When your lab listens to your preferences, that’s when you really get what you should out of film—shoot, scan, and get client-ready results (with little to no post-correction required).

A lab that listens to you is harder to find than you’d think. Most labs are shooting for mass consistency… not that consistency is a bad thing! Richard aims for consistency, too. But when consistency across all customers is the focus, the assumption is made that everyone wants the “average”. What you want isn’t necessarily what the next ten photogs want, though. And that’s what makes Richard different; we provide consistency for each individual by listening to what you want, we have the skills to execute it, and we have a system to make sure all your jobs get the same treatment moving forward.

Psst… if you’re working with Richard and spending more than a minute or two editing one roll of film, call the lab and tell us the color is not working for you! We’d be happy to adjust for your next job so you can spend less time editing and more time shooting. Or, get yourself a Richard Color PAC for a detailed custom color profile and support in achieving your business goals.




So, you know that the machines have slightly different tonal qualities, and you know that voicing your preferences to your brilliant lab is vital. But what else should you consider when choosing between the Noritsu and Frontier?

What works for the goose DOESN'T necessarily work for the gander.
So you love the Frontier? You're not the first. In fact, Richard suspects that the well-known popularity of the Frontier amongst certain photogs is what steers many folks in that direction. Thing is, the top photogs are the ones that make their photos spectacular, and the scanner they choose is only a part of the equation that makes their work successful (and trust Richard, there are some superstar photogs using the Noritsu, too). We repeat, YOUR PHOTOS WILL NOT BE PRO-QUALITY JUST BECAUSE YOU USE THE SAME SCANNER AS A PRO. Same goes for your film stock and camera choices. That's why you've got to...

Test, test, test.
You'll never really know which scanner is for you until you try them out. Even then, as your style evolves and your photography techniques change, you might need to switch or use different scanners for different subject matter. So always compare the exact same frame(s) in both digital file form AND photographic print form from both scanners before you proclaim your allegiance to a certain machine.



Think about print size.
The scan quality/structure is different between the two machines (check out our close-up pics... look closer... see the difference?). So, Frontier scans cannot be rez’ed up like scans on the Noritsu; the size you scan is the size you print. Overall, Noritsu scans will always produce better large prints than the Frontier. This can be a bit of a shock, especially if you’re used to the flexible resolution that digital cameras provide.

Timing is everything.
The turn-around time for the Frontier is 2-3x that of the Noritsu (contact us for specific turn-around times, since these will fluctuate throughout the year based on our busy season). So if speed is the name of your game, give Noritsu a try!

Black and white film is the exception to the rule.
Richard talks a lot about how personal preference affects which scanner you’ll choose, but when it comes to black and white film, that concept practically disappears. Without a doubt, Noritsu is the scanner for black and white. Without adding a few extra steps in digital post, Frontier scans of black and white can appear to be muddy brown—Noritsu scans look more like a true black & white, straight off the scanner. Black & white Frontier scans also tend to have less depth/contrast, and when it comes to black & white film, contrast is where most of your control lies! Meanwhile, the Noritsu actually allows us to add contrast to a flat film negative and more easily reign in film that is too contrasty. Stick with Richard’s advice and use the Noritsu for black & white film scans.




To learn more about Richard’s scanning, the relationship with your lab, and the technical foundations of shooting film that affect the appearance of your photos, check out our friend Johnny Patience’s blog entry “The Secrets of Richard Photo Lab”.

For more side-by-side comparisons of Richard’s scans, head over to Ray LaRose’s blog entry “Scanners: Noritsu and Frontier Side-by-Side”.

Just getting started in film? Check out Jose Villa’s "Fine Art Wedding Photography". And don’t forget what you learned in high school science class; stick to the same formula (camera, lens, film stock, lab, etc.) until you know how each element behaves, and then change only one variable at a time.


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film, frontier, noritsu, scan
September 22, 2014

6 Book Design Tips for Your Next Photo Book

In honor of Banned Books Week, we’re giving out photo book design tips all week long! Check back every day this week for a new nugget of wisdom on book design.

1) Think About Your Book's Purpose
Define the goal of your book to help guide your design; consider things like who your audience will be and why they are looking at your book. Making a portfolio? Highlight your very best work with large images and a minimalist layout. Making a book of a client’s event? Think about chronology and emphasizing the most important moments or moods of the occasion. 

2) Group Your Photos Strategically
Like any book, you’ll want to tell a story through your photos from beginning to end; this isn’t limited to just the timeline of the images taken… themes like locations, emotions, and composition can all help create the feeling of a story arch. Try to pair photos with similar tones on a spread to keep cohesion in your collection of images.

3) Room To Breathe
Think of your photo book like an art gallery--you wouldn’t put 50 paintings on the same wall because, even though they may all be part of one collection or show, each piece of art needs to be able to be appreciated on its own as well as part of a whole. So, don’t try to crowd too many images together on a page; this may mean being a bit more selective about which photos you choose to include.

4) Add Variety to Your Layouts
Using the same layout of images page after page is the perfect way to lose the attention of your viewer. Even if you’re only putting one picture on a page or spread, keep it interesting by varying the size, positioning, and orientation (portrait/landscape) of images throughout your book.

5) Large Is In Charge
Size is the strongest way to develop a visual hierarchy in your photo book. What does that mean? The biggest thing on a spread will be noticed first, then the second biggest thing, and so on. So keep the image(s) you want to be the focal point as the largest element on your spreads, and keep text and graphical elements smaller to direct attention to the photos, not take focus away from them.

6) Save Your Images to Print Size
When building your photo book in a print application that utilizes the internet, try to use image files that are the same size (in inches at 300 dpi) that you are printing. If you are using files sized at 16x20 at 300 dpi that will print in your book at size 4x5, you’re using a lot of memory that you don't need and risk crashing the application as you are uploading many files for your book. Additionally, the larger your files are, the longer it takes to upload them to your bookmaker. (For more info on digital file size vs. print size, read this article).

Happy designing, photogs!


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