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Archive 2009 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers
  
 
Jeff Napier
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


I ran this over in PP& Printing but got no response after 24 hours so I will try to run it here as this is mostly the group that use this equipment. And probably can give me the best advice.

I have done some reading with Google searches and searches here on FM. I am still a bit confused or uneducated regarding printing on site at sports events and the benefits and limitations using dye sub printers and am looking for advice and perhaps guidance in this endeavor.
Call me crazy or whatever may come but I have decided and purchased all the equipment to have a 5 viewing stations setup that will go in my 16' trailer and be mobile enough to be wheeled and setup at gyms and so forth.
I will be using Photo Parata software to accomplish this, I have CS3 and Light room 2 just some info that my help you help me. If you need more please ask.
I may be forgetting to ask questions and I may have more as this goes along but here is a few to get started.
I think I want to go with the capability to print the larger prints on site like 8x12 and such for posters and the like, but answers to some of the questions below may change my opinion after getting some responses.
A couple of the units I have looked at are the Sony UP-DR700 and its counter part DR200 for smaller print sizes and the Mitsubishi CP3800DW (may be discontinued?) as well as the CP 9800DW and CP 9500DW.
It seems like the Sony is the most versatile printer with its 12x capabilities but not sure.

1. Recommendations for a good outlet to purchase a refurbished printer and what is a good price for a referb unit?

2. Is one more reliable than the other? speed? cost for paper, cost of cartridges?

3. Am I correct in that I can print say 8x10 and any variation of sizes as long as it fits within the media being used? Like (2) 5x7's and (3) wallets and other combinations, and if so do I need other software to accomplish this?

4. Easy availability to get paper and cartridges.

Any other help or advice would be great that you can think of when looking to purchase a dye-sub printer.

Thanks
jni-ss



Jul 21, 2009 at 09:32 PM
leewoolery
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


We used to print on-site when we first got started but decided it was better to offer on-site viewing and ordering, send off to a pro lab and mail to customer.

Printing on-site requires a skilled individual who knows what they're doing to adjust sharpness, levels, contrast, color balance, remove noise,cropping...etc...or the print quality may suffer.

We did the math and found it is cheaper to send the prints out and mail them than to eat up consumables such as inkjet cartridges, paper and ribbons for dye subs and pay an employee...not a minimum wager...to do the job right.

Printers can be damaged in transit and/or may need to be re-aligned upon arrival.

Dusty or hot, humid conditions can destroy a printer...ink jet or dye sub.

Many clients have told us that they prefer now to get their prints in the mail rather than take a chance on:

-losing them at an event

-getting them wet

-ruining prints while viewing and spraying mosquito repellant containing Deet.

-sitting on them

Impulse buying is great for the event photographer but the quality of your prints must match the quality of your sports images on screen or you won't be in business very long.

Just my thoughts,

Lee Woolery
Speedshot Photo




Jul 21, 2009 at 10:56 PM
Steverock01
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


Subscribing...


Jul 22, 2009 at 12:12 AM
luketrot
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


We use to use Shinko S1245's for 8x10's onsite but the smaller DNP DS80's have all but replaced our older Shinko's. Cheaper cost per print, smaller, lighter, easier trasportation and better drivers..

Sony Dr150's are still our workhorse for 5x7's.



Jul 22, 2009 at 01:53 AM
regish
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


thanks luketrot... was going to go for kodak 6810 but the dnp are much cheaper. both at purchase and print cost...almost 30%


Jul 22, 2009 at 02:10 AM
regish
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


anyone tried the up-cx1 from sony?


Jul 22, 2009 at 02:29 AM
HAYNBUCKEYE
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


I use a trusty UPDR 150 and I love it! That's all I can offer. Would love the UPDR 700 too.


Jul 22, 2009 at 02:39 AM
HorseRacing
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


The shinko is a great printer and the media costs can be as little as 1.00 per sheet if you order from the right vendor, it is a great workhorse, sony has come out with a newer 5x7 and 4x6 printer that can print in Lustre and it seems pretty nice. I still like the shinko with its Matte finish 30 seconds a print is hard too beat

Does the DNP DS80's print only in glossy or do they have a lustre or matte finish?



Jul 22, 2009 at 01:02 PM
mervifwdc
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


I have the Sony 700 and the 200. Both are pretty rugged from the point of view of carting them around, but the 700 is one heavy mother!

I sometimes print in a field (and yes, I mean way out in a field with no power etc, and I use a 3000w inverter with a truck battery to do it. Lasts for a few hours, and the buzz generated by folks carrying around their prints and showing them off is worth a lot in terms of "word of mouth" sales.

I sometimes will have folks purchase and ask us to mind them till the end of the event, I get them to write their name and address (in case they dont come back I can mail them) on an envelope, and once it's printed, mount it, then put it in the envelope. As I'm dealing with a lot of repeat customers and seeing them semi-regularly (2 to 5 times per year) the goodwill this creates is worth the few envelopes and mailing costs I take. usually less than 5% of any event will go home without their prints.

We usually try shoot to get things perfect coming out of the camera, so the only PP is cropping to suit the paper size. There really is'nt time to be tweeking anything. Our biggest issue is that I shoot cannon, and my partner shoots nikon, and while both sets of images are good, they do have slightly different looks to them (white balance, canon has better colors, but nikon has sharper images) Only slightly different, but if someone is comparing the 2, it is then noticable.

and yes, you can make them print smaller images and cut the 6*8 into 2 6*4's but I dont bother, 2 sizes only because the more options, the slower they are to make a decision, and they may even say "I need to go talk to my husband/wife/mom" and thats a disaster as they dont always come back.

And relating to the original questions, yes, the 700 will do 12*8 and 10*8 (and 7*5 even, but you have to trim the images with a giloutine, which takes too long).

Merv.




Jul 22, 2009 at 01:32 PM
P Alesse
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


I'm hearing prices for on-site printing "as low as" a dollar per sheet. I don't understand why I'd want to print on-site when my lab is offering $0.78/sheet and the quality is a lot better.


Jul 22, 2009 at 03:52 PM
 

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timgangloff
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


Because we are an instant gratification nation. I am guessing it increases sales enough to justify it.

"I'm hearing prices for on-site printing "as low as" a dollar per sheet. I don't understand why I'd want to print on-site when my lab is offering $0.78/sheet and the quality is a lot better."



Jul 22, 2009 at 03:56 PM
regish
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


alesse...

as tim said i can make more money printing on site than ordering and shipping it... as well as avoiding the "i want to cancel" problem.

as far as quality it is very close and an 8x10 can be as low as $1 ...

and anyway the price difference is eaten away by the cost of shipping.



Jul 22, 2009 at 04:56 PM
P Alesse
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


...and the debate rages on.


Jul 22, 2009 at 05:21 PM
Hammy
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


Paul A wrote:
I don't understand why I'd want to print on-site when my lab is offering $0.78/sheet and the quality is a lot better."


And all the reasons Lee pointed out...

timgangloff wrote:
Because we are an instant gratification nation. I am guessing it increases sales enough to justify it.


Amazon, Ebay, Newegg, B&H Photo, Adorama, Buy, etc... all mail order companies. They have gone beyond catalog sales to online. Except for downloadable music and programs there is no physical product that is instantly delivered. Yet they all succeed...hmmm

And even Walmart, Target, Costco, etc... have online stores - WHY?!? Cost savings. They can ship from their regional centers or even one big warehouse, but there is way less staff and all the associated costs of many stores (mortgage, electricity, insurance, etc....)

I agree that we live in a world of 30 second lunches, ATMs and convenience stores, but the instant gratification of our society is PERCEPTION of having it right away - expecially for photos. Having an onsite SALES presences is critical IMO - but delivery does not need to be immediate.

Unless a show is large enough to offset mailing costs, all of my printing is done back at the office. I've had maybe 1 sale per year lost to not printing onsite - but I save about $1000 at each show without the staff, hotel, meals, travel, additional setup, maintenance, supplies, teardown. Even when I move to Memphis for the month of July, I bring all my printing - because we are physically here for a month. Being busy and shooting during the day, all sales are printed/burned at night - then picked up the next day - but usually mailed because the team is leaving. There has yet to be an issue of not getting it in their hands right away.

As most people know - I used to print onsite. Been there done that. There is more control, better results and LOWER costs with NO IMPACT in sales in the three markets (gymnastics, cheer and baseball) that I do is cities across the country.
I might say that when running 2-4 shows per weekend, it gets to be to much to manage. But the reality is I'm running a business - costs matter, profits matter. Printing onsite has not changed sales - rather it allows me to dedicate more time, space and gear to SELLING more. All the while, my costs are down.

So I agree that GETTING the sales onsite is key, 500% better than online only. But printing onsite is 0% better than not - in my experience (and most other established event photo companies too)

If we think that prints walking around the venue is our marketing vehicle - think about it. I sell a print to Tommy's Mom. She really knows how many other people on her team really well: 2-3? IF they aren't going home or leaving right away (which most do) then 1-2 of those friends may come look at photos - but the isolation is certainly within the team. The snowball effect will never take place due to time, # of stations and team isolation.
EFFECTIVE marketing is a broadcast to ALL competitor and parents. Companies don't put billboards in isolated residential areas where they can talk among themselves. Billboards are on the main traffic avenues where they have the most impact on the most number of people.

I also understand trying to be that ALL-n-ONE service provider - that's how I started off. But in the end it all comes down to time or money. Printing onsite takes more time (pack, setup, deal with customers, maintain, teardown) and more money. If we have a day job that doesn't allow us to afford the time to print after the event - then ask yourself what the end game is? Grow the business to be full time - multiple shows per weekend - printing at each one of them? Or is it just a hobby to kill the time - because then there is no worries about the justification of spending money - that's what hobbies are all about.

I'm NOT knocking anybody's choice or perogative to print onsite - just expressing my opinion based on my experience.

Hammy.




Jul 22, 2009 at 05:22 PM
Hammy
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


regish wrote:
alesse...

as tim said i can make more money printing on site than ordering and shipping it... as well as avoiding the "i want to cancel" problem.

as far as quality it is very close and an 8x10 can be as low as $1 ...

and anyway the price difference is eaten away by the cost of shipping.



The only time I get people cancelling an order - is when they realize the team is buying the CD - then they are extremely happy to hear that I'll refund their order (and I've lost nothing as I haven't printed it) and then they buy the LARGER, MORE PROFITABLE team cd package.


If you're scope is doing small local events with friends and family doing your printing - then stop reading.

When (if) you get asked to do that HUGE National show that is out of your area - can/will you do it. If you've impressed them enough to get noticed with your quality - and ultimately can deliver a commission worth of putting in somebody elses budget, then consider the costs of:
- Staff (hourly wage)
- Staff (travel expenses)
- Staff (hotel costs)
- Staff (meals)
- extra supplies to take with to sustain ANY and ALL possible sales
- extra setup time
- extra maintenance of equipment
- dealing with customers who didn't want that crop like that
- dealing with customers who flooded your booth as the show ends and you're backlogged by an hour with lots of orders and prints to do.

Versus

Take it all back home, print it in a controlled environment - in LESS time that it took to do it onsite because there are no interuptions and emergencies to do it with - and its already all setup up, not torn down and still in trailer. (you do still offer web sales that have to be printed, right?)
Then there is a mailing cost that can be reflected to the customer: $2-3 shipping charge if you please. Personally I don't even offer that, and yet my mailing costs from sales onsite come nowhere near the additional costs of printing onsite. Only if the shows are large enough (over 10,000 competitors) will that make business sense.

So again - what is our endgame.... weekend tourneys at the park down the street - or a full fledged business. There are two different camps of thought required for each: photo hobbiest, or business manager.



Jul 22, 2009 at 05:31 PM
HorseRacing
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


I have been shooting T&I and School T&I for a while now and this year I will be doing my own printing. Mainly because of the time it saves me in my workflow, yes my lab is 20 cents cheaper per print but I have to calculate shipping and turn around time, lets say 4 days to have it back too me. then i get it back and I have hundreds of photos to go through and arrange by team. Now I can print as I go through their order and keep each team together as I receive them, it might not sound like much but printing a league or a school in one night and not having to sort through the photos is a HUGE advantage not too mention I can have them back to the School in a couple of days instead of a week or two. For me it is a workflow savings which ends up saving me time = money. I have not printed on site yet and don't know if I will be I have the ability to do it and I do think it will increase sales, even if I print some of the best pictures from Day1 of the tournament to show off on day two it still beats sending them off to a lab and waiting. I shoot a couple thousand kids each Fall and Spring and Reorders can cost a lot with shipping so I have taken care of that issue as well. the quality is as close to lab quality as I have been able to find. I always have my Lab as a backup but from a pure workflow issue the printing yourself became a nobrainer after the past 3 years. Printing on site is something I am going to explore, some tournaments I think it will work and others I think online will still be the best way too go


Jul 22, 2009 at 05:34 PM
regish
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


i always printed on site and sure it is more work but i never had the need to hire additional staff. also i was fairly small (very small by your standards) but i was booked every weekend for 2 to 3 days, count it travel time and everything printing on site actually saved me time. Obviously you need images good enough but for outdoor horse event it is easy...for indoor events i did it for horse events, dog shows etc... so it is doable.

on top of that i really saw less order and smaller order when i had people ordering.. like 700 to 1000 for a weekend vs 1500 to 3000 for print in site events.

The refund were mainly due on "overspending" competitors and mom or dad buys and the other parents comes back to scale back the order. without print no wow factor on the order.



Jul 22, 2009 at 06:32 PM
timgangloff
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


Hammy,

Clearly, you have a different model than almost anyone here and probably most in the country and you offer wonderful insights. But one quick question. I think I recall reading here previously that you provided DVDs for contestants at some of your events, thus had to bring burners, replicators and media, etc. Is this much different than printing? And if you are doing this, I would suggest that it supports the notion that we do like instant gratification.

Anyway, It looks like your model is clearly working for you so no one can really suggest you don't know what you are doing or ignore your suggestions out of hand. I don't offer onsite sales (yet) or printing. But,then I don't do this full time (yet). I can see however, when on-site printing at some events could be a value-add service. I don't know that you would have to fullfil all of your orders that way and perhaps could even offer an onsite sales discount to those who select delayed delivery (mail order).

And what is amazing to me, is that just a few years ago, relatively speaking, none of this onsite viewing, purchasing or printing was even available. And in fact, this onsite selling method without view stations, order stations and printing stations still happens everyday when kids get their T&I pix taken. In my area, the company takes the order (pen and paper usually), takes the check, takes a picture or two, and then mails the products to the team or player. And this method seems to work pretty well too.



Edited on Jul 22, 2009 at 06:41 PM · View previous versions



Jul 22, 2009 at 06:40 PM
luketrot
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


Hammy wrote:
Bla bla bla bla


Hammy, you can't take your personal experience based on daisy chained inkjet printers over 8 years ago and translate that into relevant information for today's event photography business. You also can't compare Amazon, Ebay or Newegg which sell based on price point NOT emotion. These are completely different business models. Even Wal-Mart understands the importance of a 1 hour photo lab.

As far as extra staff costs..... If crossed trained they also take orders, setup and break down equipment and even take photos when necessary to assist in breaks.

Is printing onsite a necessity? No, but any business to survive needs to separate from their competition and having the ability to print onsite definitely doesn't hurt.

Now I just got back from a VERY successful weekend covering a National competition. Instead of dealing with 1000's of customers wondering where their product is and spending the better part of the next two days printing and burning CD's I'm off to the Marina to enjoy this beautiful day. I can of course because all my customers walked away that day with their images in hand and smiles on their faces. That doesn't make my business model small, just more complete....


Edited on Jul 22, 2009 at 06:44 PM · View previous versions



Jul 22, 2009 at 06:41 PM
regish
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · On site Printing & Dye sub Printers


ho...and no i wasn't doing web sales...at all....i had enough work with the live events.

I will next season because i want to build that business to be a little bigger than the old one....

Your post actually makes a lot of sense hammy.... lot to think about... thanks you are a great source of info.

Another thing it that it is a LOT easier and cheaper to hire in the US compare to Europe where i was before. that was what prevented me from hiring even when i could have used it.



Jul 22, 2009 at 06:41 PM
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