Can Fuji's remarkable Greenbox software really make printing disasters a thing of the past? These professionals seem to think so.
You've got a client desperate for prints on Monday morning. Your normal lab's closed for the weekend, and, confident you can print your own photographs, you've attempted to wrangle your previously reliable largeformat printer into service - only to have it suddenly go rogue and start indignantly hurling out unbalanced, and more importantly, unsaleable prints. You have absolutely no idea what you did to provoke it. Sound familiar?
Taking responsibility for your own image output is a step that many photographers choose to make, but an equal number are put off by similar daunting anecdotes. But this is where Fuji's unique Greenbox option kicks in. This photographer-friendly package combines a printer; easy-to-use print software; drivers and everything you could possibly need to produce professional quality prints - including full installation, training and on-call technical support, into one simple package. Its simplicity has turned hundreds of previously print-shy photographers into delighted Greenbox disciples who sing its praises at every opportunity.
But what exactly is Greenbox?
Peter Hayward, Fujifilm's print guru, explained: "It's a complete solution for photographers and other print providers. It allows them to produce highquality prints in a quick and simple way."
He added: "Originally the bundles were sold in 'Fuji green'-coloured boxes, but as the years have passed we've dropped the box to allow us to be more flexible with what we offer. However, we've kept the name as it has become a recognisable and trusted brand."
So what does the Greenbox package comprise?
Said Peter: "All the bundles are sold with a large-format printer, anything from a 17" to a 64" - printing software and, depending on which bundle you pick, one or two rolls of Fujifilm media. There are also options that offer installation and training. The idea is that everything is provided for the customer to start producing quality prints as quickly as possible."
The Greenbox system was developed specifically with the photographer and small print run provider in mind. Fuji is constantly updating the bundles offered - a new one includes a self-tensioning canvas stretcher bar system called "Wunderbars" - to help photographers produce canvas prints at home. And they're completely customisable.
But what do real photographers think?
Imagemaker spoke to four SWPP photographers to discover when they first went 'green'.
Wayne Wilkins is a Pembroke-based specialist in designer weddings who recently moved his business into a new, much larger studio. "We've now got an exhibition space for landscape images, all printed out with my Epson 7880 with help from the Greenbox," he said.
He originally heard about Greenbox from Focal Point Imaging in Exeter, who invited the photographer down to see how a large-format printer works. "It was Chas and Ken who introduced me to the Greenbox software," Wayne said. "Their exact words were: 'There is nothing to touch it in today's market' - so with their advice, I ordered one. Amazingly, the Greenbox paid for itself within the first three months."
Greenbox devotees agree that having complete control over when and how you can print your images is one of the most life-changing aspects of the system. Wayne quickly found the new software and printer combination invaluable, particularly at busy times of year when pro-labs close or get backlogged with orders. "Having your printer in the studio and to be able to print instantly is irreplaceable, especially when clients arrive a few days before Christmas and want portraits for gifts to give in a few days' time," he remarked.
Wayne's Greenbox software even managed to help out the world's favourite teen wizard.
He recalls: "During the shooting of the latest Harry Potter movie in Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire, the film crew needed two hundred and eighty-four 6x4" prints as soon as possible. The local supermarkets and chemists were unable to produce them using their one-hour-printing machines, so they turned up at our studio needing help. We came to the rescue with our Greenbox software and printer. We delivered all the prints the crew needed. I think the film's art director was mightily impressed with both our speed and the quality of prints."
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