In 2012 I had the opportunity to travel to Dusseldorf, Germany for the Drupa Print expo, the biggest gathering of all things print in the world. It’s where all the big names in the Graphic Arts/Printing industry gathers to showcase the latest technological advancement in printing. Drupa is held every four years in Dusseldorf, Germany and most of the visitors and exhibitors comes from different parts of the world. Although I haven’t worked in the printing industry for a long time now, I still keep a keen interest where things are heading into, what the new technological advancements there are by the leading big names in the Graphic Arts industry.
Before embarking in the world of full-time photography, I spent six years working in one of Sydney’s best printing company, (GPP) Graphics Plus Printing as their pre press and design guy. Graphics Plus was, as they are known in Sydney Graphics Arts industry: the printer’s printer. Here’s why,(GPP) Graphics Plus Printing printed what other printers could not print. Graphics plus specialises in printing UV (Ultra Violet) waterless print onto plastics, pvc substrates as well as conventional printing on old Heidelberg machines converted to print UV. It was here that I learnt technical aspects of printing and specifically prepress, solving other designers work coming from different design studios into printable artwork to print onto different substrates.
The prepress job was a skill on its own and it required a lot of technical problem solving. One could even say that although we are working with graphic art, in pre press and printing it could get pretty scientific. UV waterless printing? I couldn’t get my head around that for awhile, but not until I hung around the printers asking a lot of questions about how it all worked, I finally could get with the program. It was a real challenge.
I found prepress work a challenged back then and I enjoyed the job so I decided to stick around pre press. I found there was a lot to learn in printing and its processes. It was also the time where the new technology of (CTP) Computer To Plate entered the market which greatly reduced time in the stage of prepress preparation: the process of printing negative and positive film, planning, laying and exposing it out onto each set of plates of Cyan,Magenta, Yellow and Black (CMYK).
Computer to plate was a welcome change and a great addition too, it certainly made things a lot easier as things could be done automatically on the computer, it reduces time of preparation and the workflow was even faster but sadly, it also made old school skilled tradies redundant of their work.
This might seem none related to wedding photography, it does in a lot of way. Printing knowledge and experience has helped me to properly prepare and manage my images to print. Although this might not be of any interests for most clients (clients says who cares, right?) or maybe even photographers. But as a photographer who is concern about producing the best quality images for my clients, printing good quality images is the end product of why we shoot the images we make. The end product is what the client will treasure. Print matters. After all why buy an expensive gear only to see the end result of the image poorly printed.