Event photography-on site prinnting

Discussion in 'Wedding and Event' started by bunny_arms, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. Hello
    I am a professional photogapher of thirty years. I have a couple of events which would
    like to have their photos printed on site, instead of mailing, or ordering online.
    I have never done on site printing (I always thought this would cheapen the product/quality), however
    I am not the customer!
    So, I am checking into using the Kodak 6850, what else is needed? Do we need to dedicate a laptop
    directly for prinnting? Is a camera thethered to laptop, or is it better to transfer SD cards? Special software? I am assuming the paper for either 4 x 6 or 5 x 7 comes in rolls, so we also need a cutter?? We need to be able to produce 200- 400 prints, package and labeled. One hour wait time for customers to receive their prints? (participants are at the event for the entire day)
    Do we need more than one printer to handle this volume?
    Currently we do these same events, and transfer photos on SD cards, customers can view them on laptops, and all photos are mailed to them. All participants also receive two prints, by mail, paid by the event.
    Last year, however the event organizers wanted to switch to a photographer who would do on site printing.
    Any help appreciated.
  2. First, congratulations! If you're making at least 200 prints, you're also making a lot of money!
    I don't know anything about the Kodak 6850, but having done on-site printing for a couple of years, I have some insights that I hope will help.
    It is FAR better to have your camera tethered (wirelessly, preferably) to the computer than to swap camera cards with your assistant all night. Having people at the event all day is a benefit that doesn't make tethering necessary, but it's still a big advantage. Some people might have to leave for one reason or another. Also, this allows a second cycle of buying to take place: "oh, I didn't think it would turn out so nicely; may I have two more?"
    Some printers don't need to be connected to computers to make the photograph; some do. I think those that don't need a computer cost more. And, one of the printers I use send the paper out in final form - no cutting necessary. The other makes 8x10 sheets. This allows you to sell two 5x7s and/or eight wallet-sized pictures.
    That gets me to the next point. Even though people are supposed to be there all day, there'll be that one person who needs the picture right away. My favoured printer sends 5x7s out about 12 seconds after hitting the "print" button. It would be great if your model performs that quickly.
    The software for your computer to recognize the printer should come with the printer.
    Make sure you have nice presentation folios/folders to put the prints in. Make sure, if possible, you have labels that you can slap on to the folio/folder AND to the back of the print.
    As a long-time professional, you realize the importance of having backup equipment. Make sure you have extra cords. The printers I've used have been very reliable, so if anything derails you, it'll be something simple like that that will make you slap your forehead real hard. Make sure you know how to install ribbons and paper, and make sure you know how to clear paper jams. The few times my machine stopped working was because slivers of paper accumulated.
    Test the printer before you take it out. My experience is that I have to lighten in Photoshop anything I see on my screen, otherwise it prints dark. I, however, don't have my screen calibrated. Still, take into account density, as well as colour; you might need to adjust for that.
  3. Carl
    Thanks for the input! What model printer are you using? My biggest question is, do
    you think this would require two printers? We will be able to have prints ready within in
    a few minitues, however, I want to allow time, for editing, cutting, unforseen problems, like paper jams, etc.
    The only reason we are printing 200 photos is they are pre-paid by the event organizers. I'm sure sojme particpants will forget to return to pick up their pictures. Although we usually offer additional copies, these will probably be mailed, since there may not be time for extra printing.
  4. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

  5. Hi, I've never used that printer, but it looks like the smaller brother of one I'm familiar with. Kodak specs say 15 seconds per 5x7, so if you run the prints one after another, it's less than an hour's worth of operation for 200 prints. I suspect your bottleneck will be viewing/editing on the computer.
    More than likely, you'll need driver software (for the printer) to install on your computer (make sure a driver is available for your operating system). You probably want an icc color profile, probably from the same place the driver comes from (they're probably on a CD included with the machine). Probably the printer driver can be set up to use the icc profile. Then you'd be able to use any piece of software with printing capability to spit out the prints. The software you currently use to show images to customers likely can even do this.
    I don't know if you plan to buy or rent the unit, but whereever you get it from, they should be able to supply everything else you need. Your media will come in kits with matched paper and ribbon rolls, you'll need to learn how to load these. It'll cut the paper for you; all you need to do is collect the prints it dumps out the front.
    If you've never done this sort of thing, setting up printer drivers, give yourself plenty of time to learn how to do this - there are a variety of settings that can cause you problems. (If you are renting your machine, the vendor can probably walk you through everything.)
    Here's a video of one being used.
  6. Some of my past posts I said to stay with sony and kodak. Well they are not making them anymore. I was using the Kodak 9810 for 8X10's.
  7. Thanks for all your imput guys. My question still remains, why do so many photogs mention
    using more than one printer? Is it merely a backup, or to keep running while you change ribbons? How often do you need to change these? There is still several places selling supplies for the Kodak models.
    I would be purchasing the machine used, there are no rentals for these in California
  8. This is the core of my business, and we use the 6850.

    This is a good printer for you to start with. Personally - I'd buy the 6x8 print kit so you have the flexibility to print either a 6x8 or 2- 4x6s. If people want a 5x7, they can do the trimming. Once you change that printer to 5x7s, that's all you get to print. You can't run 5x7s & 4x6s off the same printer - but we need that flexibility. You may not.

    You MUST run prints through a computer - whether you use a laptop or tower. You must run Windows for the driver.

    Since you shoot on SD cards - USE EYE-FI CARDS!!! They've been invaluable in stopping breakage, bad cards, and speeding up the process. How many stations do you have for proofing, and how many are busy at the exact same time in the past? If you NEED to stick with transferring cards back and forth... then do so, but it makes another step in the printing process.

    You do NOT need a cutter - that's part of the printer's hardware.

    It will print a 6x8 in 15 seconds. The longest part of the wait is for your operator to make any corrections, cropping, and to tell the printer WHAT to print. We tell people to come back in 20 minutes. It usually takes three minutes. There are software packages you can buy that will do the printing automatically, but they're grossly expensive.

    No, you do not NEED more than one printer for the volume.

    Now on to Carl's points:
    You can lighten inside the 6850's printing software, but you need to play with it and just be sure you're shooting em right. It is printing software, not so much adjustment software. I recommend shooting your photos light enough you're on the verge of blowing highlights - especially if you're shooting in jpeg. The prints do come out darker than you'll expect the first few times. We shoot RAW + Jpg because every once in a while, somebody wears all black, or I bump a dial & don't realize and we've needed the adjustment room raw provides. Otherwise, we have our settings memorized now.

    We've never had a paper jam with the 6850.

    It really really really is better to use Eye-Fi to wirelessly send the photos to your printing computer.

    You do NOT need 2 printers for that volume.
    (What sizes do you print for the event?)

    And on to Bill:
    YES, the biggest bottleneck is the proofing. Especially indecisive people. At events such as you describe - I shoot 2 - 5 photos and then my husband picks the best & prints it. I have yet to have one complaint about this system. When we're shooting places where it's more of a 5 shot portrait session & they can choose poses & sizes and then pay on their own... yes, the customer gets to proof.

    Husband says yes, you can set up the color profile if you really need to. We never have. Again - it's all about checking the camera exposure and a matter of running maybe 2 test prints to warm the printer up before hand. If you nail your exposure, your print will be fine. (Get your histogram over to the right!!!)

    We bought our machine from ebay & zero support (overstock clearing company type deal). We've had zero problems even at that. The driver is readily available.

    And one more thing from us:
    BUY YOUR PRINT KITS FROM SPECTRUM IN DALLAS!!!!!! Honest company, cheap price. (The honest company is the hard part to find!!!) Other companies will try to sell you lightweight paper as if it's the exact same as the kodak blah blah blah. NO. And Spectrum will tell you what the differences are!

    Feel free to message any questions.
    My husband handles the technical stuff when we're onsite, so he knows this printer & its software inside out. I can help you with the process - I'm the one shooting the pics while he hides in the back. :)
  9. Bunny - I suspect multiple printers are because of multiple print sizes. As I glanced past above, if you want to print 5x7s AND 4x6s at the same event, you can NOT do this on the same printer. Not with the 6850.
    A back up is handy, but it does NOT take so long to change the ribbon or the paper that you need to worry about down time. Ours operates outside in wind and dirt 3 days straight, then does it again 2 weeks later. 4 years and zero failures. (Do I want a backup? Yes. Can I get one yet? No.)
  10. This is my process exactly. I make sure that Maria shoots like she's got slide film so I don't have to edit in post (usually). I print the jpeg straight out of the camera. We only shoot about 3 shoot-n-print events a year, so I haven't ponied up for any fancy-pants software, I just print from the native WinXP photo viewer.

    I was going to get a second 6850 as a backup, but when we replaced a pair of 1400s with a 9810, I decided the big printer prints fast/cheap enough to serve as a backup for 5x7s.
  11. It looks like the McManameys have already got things well covered, but I'll add a bit more since I already had it mostly typed.
    ...why do so many photogs mention using more than one printer?​
    I don't know; do you have a link or anything where someone says this? Perhaps they were using slower printers. Or perhaps they were printing "packages" where each customer is getting a half-dozen sheets, etc.
    The model you're looking at gets 375 5x7 prints per roll. Reloading should take, literally, one to two minutes if you know how to do it. Here's some info on it: http://www.imagingspectrum.com/kodak-6850-b-stock_printer-6850-b.html
    Since you're buying used, I'd say to check it out carefully. Sometimes the print heads get damaged (maybe someone nicks it during loading or cleaning); this can make a fine streak or line through your print, and may require print head replacement (this is the most expensive part of the printer). So if you buy from an individual, CAREFULLY inspect a print for this. (A streak could also be due to dirt on the printhead, so be sure to try cleaning it.) Also, there is more than likely a front panel menu option to show the total print count on the head (not unlike a shutter count on many cameras), so this may be a factor in the price.
    I've seen "jams" on the "big brother" machine when someone loaded the ribbon upside down - it adheres to the paper, then tears. If such happens, just cut out the bad parts and unload paper. Use a scissors to cut the front of the paper roughly square. The damaged ribbon can also be trimmed, then taped back to the takeup roll. Everything should be fine again, then.
    It might also be worth considering the former Sony SnapLabs, which seem to be carried on under the DNP name. Some models can operate with no computer. They have card readers and a control panel to allow various operations.
  12. We have a few photographers on staff so we have a few printers. None of us use more than 1 printer. When we print an 8X10, it's done in or about 40 seconds. The photographer takes longer to get the correct pose compared to the person printing. Within about 1 and a half minutes from start to finish, the people have their prints.

    You don't need SD or CF cards, unless you want to use them. We run a direct cable from the camera into photoshop. You can also skip using photoshop, however we use it because people often want to order more prints.
  13. Thanks so much for all your help!
  14. By the way Bunny, since Sony and Kodak are pretty much out of the game plan for now, check out DNP printers. We just bought 2 and I like the color a lot and the paper is less expensive. We got the 8x10 model for about $1700. DNP still makes paper for the Sony printers, but I'm nor sure about the Kodak line. Seems like DNP is the way to go, simply because they are the only ones left! Well as far as I know.

    I hope Fuji will consider entering this selected field and put out something light weight and fast. We already know their paper is fantastic. I fear that dye subs may not be around much longer. I should say dye subs that will print 8X10's.

    I'm actually pretty concerned because I can't print with inkjet printers. It's way too frustrating.
  15. Hey, there Bob!
    I'm thinking of getting the DNP DS40 and DNP DS80 dye-subs as well! However, I'm unfamiliar with on-site print pricing, if anyone would care to share. Is the common business model to set up a sort of "photo booth?" Not the automated kind--I mean, where a photographer sets up an on-site "gallery-style" portrait area, where guests can get their picture taken, pay, and receive a print. Or, do some send a wandering candids shooter around the reception, and then later take orders at a desk near the printing station?
  16. Hi What kind of printer you have used????
  17. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    The Opening Post is now several years old, it is likely that you will not receive an answer, if you do not, then do not be disappointed.


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