A Closer Look
By Amanda Burse
When asked to review MpixPro’s photographic print papers, I looked around my home and was a bit surprised—you’d think that a photographer with four beautiful children would have photos on every wall. Nope. I have two photos circa 2008 in the living room and some in the kids’ rooms. I have a bazillion photos, but like most people, they just sit on the computer—a digital drawer of memories that go unseen.
I want to print all of them! But I wonder how to showcase them, how to frame them, and whether the twins will be able to reach them and put their peanut buttery fingerprints all over them.
My personal conundrum aside, everyone should print their photos. Zenfolio is partnered with MpixPro, so you can easily print high-quality photos through your website.
When it comes to photo paper, the finishes really do matter. It is up to you, the photographer, to educate your clients on what finishes are best for them on an image-by-image basis. Educating your clients puts you well on your way to a successful sale, and, most importantly, gets return customers every time.
Let’s break down what Zenfolio offers from MpixPro: E-Surface, Metallic, and Black and White.
E-Surface Photo Paper
E-Surface is your classic photographic print paper. The colors are amazing and true to your own processing style. That is what I love about it… I can edit an image and it will look how I intended. Another great distinction about this paper is its smooth, vibrant color in any light. There is very little reflection off of the image, and this makes it a great finish for rooms that may have a lot of high or crossing light coming in from windows. If you are looking to add a bit of a gloss to the print, you can go with lustre coating. This will not only kick up the shininess of your images, it will add longevity to your print and protect it from fingerprints. It isn’t just color prints that E-Surface is good with—it’s your own converted black and whites too! I have my own special black and white processing that I use, and I prefer to keep true to my style. So yes, you can print your black and white or Sepia-toned photos in E-Surface and it will be true to color for those as well.
MpixPro E-Surface Color Photographic PaperMpixPro E-Surface Color Photographic PaperBW image printed on MpixPro E-Surface Color Photographic PaperMpixPro E-Surface Color Photographic Paper
Metallic Photo Paper
Next is the Metallic finish. This is tricky. If you are a portrait or wedding photographer like myself, there are a select number of images that will fit this finish. When you take the photo, you will know it will look good in that finish before the processing stage even starts. There is a distinct “glow” that will make parts of your photo stand out. You will want to assess the light in a room before offering any advice to your client on where to hang the image in their home. I would not hang this image in my sunroom, for example, because the paths of light shining on the image cause too much reflection and the image itself loses a certain amount of integrity. Therefore, it will really help to ask your customer a bit about their space first. I even have clients send me pictures of their space in the morning, at noon, and early evening. Once you and your client find the right spot for their print, it will look truly stunning and will make a statement in its new home.
MpixPro’s Kodak Metalic Photographic Paper
True Black & White Photo Paper
Finally, there is the True Black and White Photographic Paper, which is classic and beautiful. This photographic paper has a lovely finish and is less glossy than the E-Surface or Metallic papers. The paper has a more muted finish when compared directly with the E-Surface paper, although it’s still not a matte paper or fiber paper (which would absorb the light and have little to no gloss or reflection). The True Black and White photo paper is somewhere in between those. It is important to note, by allowing your customers to choose this option, you are comfortable with them turning any of your color prints into black and white. Additionally, if you are like me and prefer to process your black and whites in Photoshop and are fond of the particular tint you use—a little bit of brown… a little bit of blue, etc.—this choice will strip those away too.
MpixPro True Black and White Photographic PaperMpixPro True Black and White Photographic PaperMpixPro True Black and White Photographic Paper What I love about having a Zenfolio website more than anything is the ability to turn on Order Approval. That way, I can educate my clients and treat it as a learning experience. Even better, I can fix any finishing issues before the photos are printed. Perfection!
As photographers, it is up to us to show our clients what will work in their own space. Not every space is the same, not every image is the same, and not every client has the same style. Encourage them to print those photos and hang them up! Finally, from this digital photo hoarder, I hope this has inspired you to do the same.
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Amanda BurseAmanda is a devoted wife and mom to four children between the ages of 2 and 12. She is part of the Zenfolio Customer Support Team and has been a professional photographer for eight years.