A few months ago I was started to plan how to present my images for my upcoming ‘Moor then Tors‘ photographic exhibition of Dartmoor. I needed to display them in the best way I could but I was also trying to keep the budget as low as possible. I usually use a good online C-Type printer for my normal photographic images at 300dpi which are very good. However to be able to display enough images at the visitors center in Princetown and to keep the cost down on framing I was limited in print size. I had investigated using a dibond or acrylic medium from a European company that have very competitive prices. However on receipt the quality was just not good enough. I guess you get what you pay for.
I had come across a number of fellow photographers that had used L.Type‘s introductory off of 4 A3 prints for £12 and all of their feedback was very positive. The appeal of 400dpi prints, printed on their own Lumejet printers, was that I could get away with smaller display prints, have more images to present in the same display space and also get the detail and quality that I wanted without the need to display them in a larger format.
I contacted L.Type who were more than happy to send me out some test images. They discussed the export requirement with me (exact output dimensions (369mm x 246mm), for a bordered A3 (420 x 297mm) print in 3×2 format, 400dpi, tiff in 8bit AdobeRGB 98 format with increased sharpening). I downloaded their print profile and chose to use their Fuji Crystal DPII Matte paper as I am used to that (the satin version) with from other orders I have made especially for the lack of glare, given the spot lights in the center. I uploaded them via their own WeTransfer interface and then purchased with a payment link portal. I received them the next day in their bespoke and stylish black branded envelope which was hermetically sealed. I was very impressed so far! The tonality matched almost exactly my proofed images from my calibrated Dell Ultrasharp but perhaps slightly under exposed and a bit too much contrast (This was my fault looking back at my tiffs). The detail was impressive at 400dpi and more than enough to display my images at the size I was after. The prints were also backed on card to prevent wrinkling and come in at 530gsm.
The price of each single print (thereafter) was more than I would normally pay (much less than a dibond or acrylic though!) but for a regular individual sale, with this quality, I would normally not quibble (In such large number I needed to keep the overheads as low as possible). I discussed my intentions with them and they very kindly gave me a significant discount coming onboard as a sponsor. They also do very good tiered volume discounts too. This allowed me to use these as both sale and display prints and I set about curating my 40 images (that another blog in itself). I really wanted the resulting images to represent the onscreen eversion exactly and whilst the test images were extremely good I decided to get some proof sheets printed. After preparing each image I sent them to L.Type and they produced 2 x 1metre long sheets with all 40 images on them at around 6″ long side. This was enough for me to check the tonality, black points and exposure. On review my edits were a little bit off. I re-edited the proofs and dropped the black points, increased the saturation, contrast and also exposure to a very slight amount for paper printing (as they always look brighter with more contrast onscreen usually). I then did a final sharpen and exported the final drafts to exactly 15×10″ and 19×10″, 3×2 and panoramics, to fit them into mounted standard gallery frames.
I received the images a few days ago and I am extremely happy. The proofing is now spot on, they are lovely and detailed, punchy and nicely sharp and I am ready to mount and frame them (mammoth task! ). I would really like to than Huw at L.Type for assisting me and also giving me quite a few ideas that I had not thought of and the support I needed to get these images ready for (and I hope) a successful exhibition.
L.Type at present are limited, by the printer width, and so can only print p to A3.
They have just put out a Kickstarter to gain enough funds to built a wide-format C-Type 400dpi print that will print up toe A0 (required 250mpx images I might add!) which would be absolutely amazing to see in the flesh. If you want to support them then their Project page is here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1461568545/ltype-the-worlds-best-photographic-print-large-for?