by Gavin Stoker Published 01/04/2014
Alternatively come along to one of the on-going Digital Imaging Roadshows organised by The Societies and check out GF Smith's products first hand for yourself. "We remain positive. We're bringing products out that we believe in. We believe in the guys on the road. And we believe that a good product at a good price will win out at the end of the day," concludes Gail Mellors.
Testimonials from the horses' mouths
Wedding photographer Neale James (ww.nealejames.com), who shoots between 70 and 80 nuptials per year, is a satisfied GF Smith customer for one. "The Expressions range are the only albums I offer now. What's really important is the quality, the contrast and texture of what you're printing.
My style is pretty contrasty: my black and white is exactly that and my colours are big, butch colours. Finding someone who can print the way I want to see it is not easy, as not everyone prints in the same manner.
I want the images to have a dynamic 'bite' to them. I'm inspired by the great war photographers: I like very strong monochromes and GF Smith were the first people I found who could truly provide that in an album.
For me they've got the edge and I really like the matt printing that I do with them.
"You can use their own fabulous software to make up the albums, or the likes of InDesign and Photoshop. I tend to give my albums an editorial look, with design inspiration cribbed from photographic art books.
But value for money was the original reason I went to GF Smith. I run a business and as much as I want to supply fabulous product, it has to be at the right price. In terms of speed of turnaround, I also find them excellent and they've been particularly helpful when I've been an annoying customer and asked for something to be turned around quicker than it normally would be. There's also a benefit to using a company that's British; that benefit is being able to communicate with somebody who you know can get out of their seat and walk to the shop floor to ask the same question that you're asking. That's really important. If you could see how involved the staff actually are, you'd be amazed."
Fellow social photographer Chris Denner (www.yourperfectday.co), who has a background in fashion, is likewise a long-term fan. "I exclusively use the Expressions range - it's the best way for me to showcase my photography and I feel comfortable it's also best for my clients. From looking at the quality of their work it seemed like a no-brainer to go with GF Smith. My work is very contrasty and saturated, so I wanted to work with a company who knew what they were doing. I use the Expressions Desire and Duo albums with fine art paper.
In terms of value for money and speed of product turnaround, Chris raves that he finds GF Smith, "Utterly amazing. I shoot about 70 weddings a year and each one of those ends up with an exclusive GF Smith product.
I'm in almost daily contact with the lab and the girls who work there are absolute diamonds. If I have an issue I can ring my rep or speak to Gail. I feed back to the rep things I would like to see in future products and will look and see if it can be done. I don't know any other company who does that. I cannot say enough about how good the staff are. It's 10 working days to wait for an album, which is nothing. I also always do Brag Books, they are a huge, huge seller and my clients love them. You can also make a decent margin on the products.
"GF Smith provide great quality and give me the profit margins that enable me to continue doing my art to the best of my ability, so I'll always use GF Smith. I have very high standards with my work and they've never let me down in the five years I've been using them."
The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
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