by Gavin Stoker Published 01/04/2013
With a century's experience of paper production plus almost 30 years of delivering photo albums and books - a product strand that has been up and running since 1985 - Hullbased GFSmith is very well placed to serve the social and wedding photographer. Indeed you can find the brand well represented at the Societies mini conventions and road - shows taking place throughout this year (for the latest dates see www.gfsmithphotomount.co.uk) - which forms GFSmith's main 2013 marketing thrust - whilst, at the time of writing, it was due to attend both Focus on Imaging followed by Photovision Edinburgh on 26 March.
Since we previously spoke a company profile, roughly at this point last year, GFSmith has continued to innovate and introduce new products to help photographers make money in a challenging climate. At the same time it is seeking to deliver a product with a high-perceived value and recognisable photographic quality.
New products for 2013 include Naturals Designer Baby Frames aimed at the 'bump to baby' market, plus the Expressions One digital album, described as an 'affordable' version of one of GFSmith's most popular books, and to which early industry reaction has been nothing short of phenomenal, since it was first introduced to the public at the Societies Convention in early January.
"It's big news for us," confirms GFSmith's Sales and Marketing Manager Gail Mellors. "As it sounds Expressions One is one size, A4, and offers one page capacity, which is 10 spreads - or 20 pages. It's also one price: £58 including postage and packaging."
The new product has a section of its own on the GFSmith website to differentiate it from the rest of the range, and, in a nutshell, Expressions One provides photographers with a solution for making bespoke photographically printed books at an exceptionally affordable price.
"Our intention was for it to offer the same Expressions quality. It's printed on Fuji Crystal Archive paper and at that price people can use it not just for portrait sessions and weddings, they can use it for a commercial job too. We've had the Expressions One being used for a shoot in a restaurant or to showcase a range of scooters for example. So it's not just primarily for weddings and portraits - there are other little genres you can use the book for. But the quality is certainly there for people to be able to use it for weddings by all means. At that price it's just such a fantastic product and is very 'now'."
With a choice of matt or gloss, plus portrait and landscape versions available, the A4 Expressions One album can be self designed using GFSmith's free, downloadable multi-platform Print Presentation Software, 'PPS'. Both Mac and PC versions are available by following the links online.
"It's very easy for the customer to design their album and FTP it to us," confirms Gail Mellors. "We'll then print it and bind it and deliver it back to you. The service offers fantastic quality, excellent value, and, if you do want a broader choice still, then there's a massive choice of covers in the standard Expressions digital albums range." Using the PPS software the photographer selects the album they want, the cover style, the page style and number of pages, and they then use the provided templates to 'build' their own bespoke album.
Turnaround time for any Expressions digital album, including the Expressions One, is 10 days, although, depending on when it receives your artwork, if it can be turned around any quicker the company states that it will be.
If you want to expand on the 'One', standard Expressions albums start from around £88 going up to £300 "for a 16x16 in full leather". Going for the standard Expressions range affords the opportunity of choosing from a variety of other sizes - from 8x8 up to 16x16, with A3, A4, 14x10 and 12X12 slotted in between - and page counts, starting as low as five pages or 10 sides, and going up to a maximum 50 pages or 100 sides. Thus customers can go as crazy as they want to, or alternatively stick to a budget price and opt for the Expressions One if they like.
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