Print Porfolio Production: Matt Hawthorne
On an otherwise quiet Friday morning, we received a panicked email from Dallas, Texas-based photographer Matt Hawthorne. His agent at Held & Associates was on her way to meetings in New York and wanted to bring along a current portfolio to show Matt's work. He already had a leather book from Hartnack & Co. and a sequenced edit in a PDF. The only issue? There were no printed pages!
Enter Wonderful Machine. Matt heard about our printing service from photographer Justin Clemons and loved the final results from Justin’s book. But could we print an 11x17, full-bleed book in just three days and ship it out to Matt’s agent in LA? With two Epson printers plugging away and a steady hand trimming down the final images, we were confident we could get the job done.
Usually, when I do an edit for a print portfolio, I talk with the photographer about the layout of the book and if/how we’re going to crop the photos to fit the physical pages best. That wasn’t an option this time around. Luckily for me, the PDF Matt sent was already formatted for 11x17 — I was able to crop in Lightroom and match his reference.
Once Matt sent the files, I stretched my printing muscles and began sequencing the images in Lightroom. I used their star rating system to distinguish left from right pages, keeping the images for when I finally press Print.
Most printers are finicky about printing full bleed, so I built a Lightroom preset just for Matt’s book. I formatted the template to move as close as possible to the edge of the page, leaving 1/8 of an inch border to trim down later.
With the files prepped and the printing preset selected, I began printing Matt’s book. The first day of printing went smoothly, with 37 pages popping out of the printer throughout the day. They were set to dry over the weekend, and side two would print on Monday morning.
Double-sided pages are tough to produce. Printers are a system of rollers, built to grab and pull the paper as the ink is applied to the page — printing the second side can result in roller marks across the page, especially in darker images with more ink. Matt’s photos have beautiful, deep blacks, so I took extra care to check for any marks or scratches once both sides were dry.
A fast turnaround meant quickly looking over every image as soon as it was dry to see if any reprinting was needed. When I was confident in the quality of the pages, I cut them down to the full bleed Matt wanted for his book.
With a few minutes to spare, I overnighted the book to Matt’s agent. It arrived Friday afternoon, just in time for a trip to New York and a week of meetings.
Here is what Matt had to say about his experience printing with us!
In some last minute planning for a lighter weight portfolio to carry around NYC, I was tasked with getting a full book reprinted in a week. After hearing great feedback from an experience a fellow photographer had with Wonderful Machine, I hit them up to see if they could knock out a whole portfolio worth of prints in days. I'm not a Wonderful Machine member, so I didn't know if they could take on the job, but they did quickly. The WM print team recognized the rush I was in and treated me with the comfort I needed. They responded to everything quickly and efficiently. I prepped all the files as best I could and they took my direction and executed it perfectly.
I was super impressed by the efficiency and quality they gave with such little time. Printing is one of the things about my job that frustrates me. It's something I just just don't have time to commit to and I would definitely hire them again and suggest anyone give them a call for printing needs.