Tag Archives: wildlife photography

Print Partner | Voted Best Print Company For Photographers

For those of you who already know you want to print with Print Partner and just want the Print Partner Coupon Code it is coolwildlife30.

It wasn’t so long ago I bought my Epson 2880 printer and I was thrilled to be able to print up to 13×19 for my wildlife prints.  And best of all I had a variety of options available, I could print on glossy, matte or art paper so I had a variety of offerings that I or my clients could choose from. When I look back on those days I am reminded of the amount of time I spent printing, framing, matting and if it was for a client the additional crating and shipping.  Then there was the cost of the inks and the waste when I messed up if the paper jammed up or the colour was off and I had to reprint. Returns if the shipment was damaged or lost in transit and on and on.  Even for my own home printing needs, I’m no longer happy with just a 13×19 framed wildlife print, it’s just too limiting given all the available options today.

People not only want framed landscape and wildlife prints they want metals, canvas, acrylics, wall peels, etc. and they want them in large formats and of course they want them yesterday.  Whether printing for clients or your own needs if you want options you will eventually be exploring  outsource printing options.

Owl Wall Peel

Customer installing 9 ft Wall Peel

When you finally decide to outsource you will be overwhelmed with all the options that are out there to choose from.  There are the Costco, Wal-mart’s of the world all the way up to high end gallery printing and everything in between so how do you choose?  I built out a checklist of what a print service would need to provide to earn my business and used that to narrow down the list for a final selection:

My Outsource Checklist:

  • Quality was my #1 priority (accurate colour reproduction  to match original image)
  • Available Print media (archival prints, canvas, acrylics, wall peels, metals, framed under glass, etc.)
  • No print size restrictions (I wanted the option to go big, like 9 foot big, as shown in the image herein)
  • Shipping and returns handled by the outsource company, no touch from me
  • Prompt customer service with a personal touch and a direct point of contact
  • An easy to use web interface for uploading images and placing print orders
  • A fair price
  • White label possibilities should I wish to move in that direction in future

I initially started with a smaller print company called Fotomoto however they were acquired by Bay Photo, a much larger company with 300 + employees based in California.  They did a good job however I felt like I was just a number

Wildlife Print Wall View

Choose Your Room & Wall Colour

and as a Canadian the USD conversion killed any profit margin.  Thus my quest for a Canadian printing company began.  After a ton of research I narrowed down a short list, interviewed them and long story short finally chose Print Partner based in North York, a suburban district in Toronto, Ontario.  They met every requirement on my checklist right down to using the same x-rite monitor colour calibration software I use which helps to insure what I see on my monitor is accurately reproduced on theirs.  They even offered to send me a few sample prints in the mail so that I could compare those printed images to my originals for colour accuracy.  And here’s a nice touch, through their web interface I can even select the type of room the print will hang in along with the exact print size and wall colour so I can provide my clients with a visual rendering of what the wildlife print will look like in advance of their purchase.   It’s that kind of attention to detail that I believe sets Print Partner apart from the competition.

I’ve run several print jobs with Print Partner and it has been top notch in every way.  I have processed orders through their online portal for standard sizes which was super easy and when I required a custom size my point of contact James was quick to respond, accepted my image and processed my order for me the same day.  The three large metal prints were crated and on the truck for delivery to Idaho in nine days.

By my assessment Print Partner is definitely a premium printing service provider.  They offer international shipping, five star customer service, all of the modern day print media one could want all at a reasonable price.  For Canadians using a US A based print company is no longer a viable option with today’s currency exchange so switching to a Canadian print company is a no brainer.  For those of you living south of the Canadian border using a Canadian print company makes doubly good sense, you get the benefit of a favourable currency exchange along with the additional discount offered below, that’s pretty tough to beat.  Whether you’re a professional photographer printing for clients or a hobby photographer printing for yourself and friends, I highly recommend that you give Print Partner a try, Coolwildlife votes them as the best print company for photographers.

Print Partner has generously offered all Coolwildlife patrons a 30% Print Partner discount code.   This is NOT a one time offer, it will apply to every order you process, just enter coolwildlife30 in the discount code field to receive a 30% discount on all of your orders. 

Print Partner Logo

Posted in Photographic Print Offerings Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Wildlife Photography Awards – The Winning Formula

You’ve read the title of this blog and perhaps you’re now thinking that finally someone is going to give you an easy to follow winning formula for taking award winning National Geographic wildlife images.   Truth is there is no easy step by step guide, it takes a lot of time in the field to master the craft, understand your subjects and you require the patience of Job. Let’s face it you wouldn’t sign up to an online gaming site like Castle Jackpot unless you already knew how to play because you know the odds of winning are better if you know what you’re doing.  Capturing winning wildlife images is no different.

Sure there will always be those one in a million lucky moments when magic presents itself and you just happened to be in the right place at the right time.  However I would argue that luck is certainly not a repeatable process for success. Professional wildlife photographers like Canadian John Marriot have a well thought out plan and thought process.  So what is it?

Wolf Picture in snowLet’s use this image I took of a timber wolf shaking snow off of himself to demonstrate what went into the making this image.  Note: I planned ahead to get this specific image and the steps below detail the thought process behind capturing it.

1/ Research to find a location where timber wolves reside and can be photographed.

2/ Use The Weather Network to find a day when it will be snowing heavily at the location where the wolves are.

3/ Pack the right photography gear, below was my checklist;

  • Shoot with long lens to fill the frame as much as possible.
  • Bring fast frame rate camera to improve odds of capturing that decisive moment.
  • Heavy snow conditions means low light and long lenses with slower shutter speeds require the use of a tripod. I brought along the Gitzo GT5542 LS with a Jobu Pro2 Gimbal Head.
  • Pack rain/snow cover to protect camera and lens.  Tip: Spare batteries are a must in cold weather shooting.

4/  Research wolf behavior.  Ever notice how a dog shakes when it comes out of the water or has snow on its coat, wolves are no different. I observed this wolf sleeping for about two hours as the snow built up on his coat, knowing when he did finally get up he would shake.  Yes two hours to capture 2 seconds so you have to be ready when the magic occurs.  Being ready means just that, eyes on the subject at all times.  Watch for tells on when he/she might stand up.  If another wolf approaches, a bird lands nearby, a branch breaks due to snow build up and makes a loud noise, etc. these are all things that may trigger activity.

5/ Knowing your camera and its settings is critical, practice until it is second nature.  The moment you want may only happen once and very quickly so determine exposure, white balance, ISO and shutter speed requirements in advance and visualize the motion blur you want in the image.  I wanted a tack sharp eye but a blurring of the fur and snow so I went with a slower shutter speed intentionally.  Experiment with 1/15th to 1/60th for motion blurs.

6/  The truth of the matter is even the best thought out plan won’t always get you the award winning shot you were looking for, in fact the odds are in the houses favor which takes us to the final and perhaps most important tip of all, lucky number 7.

7/ The more you play, the more chance you have of winning.  Simply put, the more you get into the field and put yourself in a situation that has the potential to yield success the more likely you are to hit the jackpot and capture a publishable image.

There you have it, no magic, no secret winning formula, just good planning, lots of practice, plenty of patience and willingness and desire to get out there and shoot.

Bonus Tip: Never leave one subject to find another.  I can’t tell you the number of times I have been shooting with an impatient fellow shooter who leaves in pursuit of a better opportunity only to have the magic unfold 20 minutes after they’d left. PATIENCE PAYS.

 

 

Posted in Wildlife Photography Shooting Tips Also tagged , , , , |

So You Wanna Shoot The Shit

Osprey ShittingThis COOL Wildlife Photography shooting tip is brought to you by the many bird pictures that I have missed before I became privy to this one key observation. A few weeks ago I was out trying to get snowy owl pictures of a juvenile bird that had parked itself for a few weeks about 20 minutes from my home, how handy is that?  After about three  hours of observing the bird on a marina dock (not conducive to great photography) on what was a very cold and windy winter day there remained only myself and one other photographer whom I had never met but he obviously had patience and a warm parka as everyone else had packed it in. Continue reading »

Posted in Wildlife Photography Shooting Tips Also tagged , , , , |