I was asked to review two photograph products from www.zor.com, based in Belgium. The products that I am reviewing are one 20 x 30 cm Zor – Alu, an aluminium dibond materiel and one 20 x 30 cm Forex/PVC product. Please note that the image in this post does not showcase the true colour accuracy and quality of the forex print and is for illustration purposes only. I am set up as a portrait photographer and not for reproducing artwork.
Starting with the website…
I found the website easy to navigate and there is plenty of information, including a Q&A section on how to upload your files and what format will give you the best result. Uploading my photos was very easy and the checkout process went through with no hitches at all. An order conformation email was sent to me containing all of my order details including order number and shipping information. When my photos were dispatched I received another email which included information to enable me to track my parcel, a nice touch. Although the website states 3-4 days turnaround, it took 14 days from ordering to receipt. Maybe this is due to ordering from the UK but it is something to allow for when ordering. When the photos arrived, they were well packaged with foam bits on the corners to prevent damage and I felt that this worked very well.
Moving onto the photos, Adobe RGB is the preferred colour space and not sRGB like some labs. They also provide icc colour profiles which you can use in Photoshop (although I could not get them to show up in Lightroom) to proof the colours, something that I would highly recommend you do as there is a noticeable colour shift when you turn on proof preview in Photoshop. After using the proof setup option in Photoshop and brining the colours back into line I found that the colours on the finished products were an extremely good match to my calibrated screen; I use a Spyder device to calibrate my PC monitor. For the dibond I used a photo with muted tones and a splash of red. The tones were handled well although there was a bit of grittiness in the darker clouds in the sky, the shot was taken with a Canon 6d and a 17-40 L f/4 lens at iso 100. Overall though, it is a very pleasing image and people (non photographers)to whom I have shown the print to have fallen in love with it and would love something like this on their wall.
Moving on to the Forex/PVC, for this product I chose a vibrant and colourful image, shot with a Canon 6d and a Canon 85mm f/ 1.8 lens, and again, I proofed and adjusted using the icc profile for this medium. The resulting image on the Forex was equally vibrant and a very good match to my screen. I have also shown this photo to several people and I have had a similarly great response as with the dibond product.
I was very impressed with the quality of the products and the customer service was very good. Zor.com will be a company that I will look to order from in the future. When presenting prints to hang on your or a clients wall, you want the best quality possible and I feel that this company has the potential to fulfil that requirement.
This was taken at a rocky beach bear Bristol, I like the colours of the models hair and the scarf that is flowing around her arm. Taken with a Canon 6d and a Canon 85 mm f/1.8 lens. Zoom lenses can be convenient but I do like to use prime lenses, they get you to think about what you are doing, have a nice shallow depth of field and make you use your feet instead if just standing there and using the zoom to frame.By using your feet, you can discover new angles which you may of otherwise missed.
This shot was taken at Kings Weston House in Bristol. Kings Weston House is a grade 1 listed building and was completer in 1917 and was designed by Sir John Vanbrugh and was the home of Edward Southwell. During World War 1 the house was converted to a hospital. In 1935 the house was bought by the Bristol Municipal Charities and leased to the education authorities to be used a s a school. It went on to be Bristol Technical College of Architecture which later went on to be Bath University School for Architecture. During the following years the house was used for a verity of functions including a police training centre. The house is now used for conferences, weddings and private events, there is also a cafe which is open to the public and lovely walks around the surrounding estate.
This photo was taken during a rehearsal of a dance show that was held at Churchill Academy and Sixth Form near Bristol UK. The dancers of Danceblast did eight performances over seven days during the Easter holidays. The dancers ages range from 4 to 18 and the show featured a live band. This was quite a challenging environment to try and photograph as you are at the mercy of the stage lighting so you have to use what you have got to your advantage. Coupled with the lighting is the need for high ISO and a quick reaction to try and capture the moment. I did not want to use flash as that would have killed the atmosphere.
The days are beginning to get longer and the spring flowers are starting to appear . I have a Sigma 105 mm macro lens which I haven’t really used much so I thought I would have a play. This shot was taken on a tabletop with a mottled brown paper backdrop. I used a large octabox, fitted with a grid, camera right and a foam core board as a reflector. The light was provided by two cheap Aperlite speedlights, one in the softbox and one with a Rogue Flashbender grid on the background. I set a custom white balance in camera and did some basic processing on the resulting RAW file. The vignette was created by the lighting and not in post. Other processing was to bring out the vibrancy of the yellow colour of the daffodil.
This is a photo of the famous Clifton Suspension Bridge, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, which sits across the Avon Gorge.The bridge spans 214 meters and is supported by two 26 meter high towers. At high tide, the bridge sits at 76 meters above the water. The bridge opened in 1864 and links Clifton to Leigh woods in North Somerset.
Dating back to 1766 the Clifton Observatory, which sits on top of the Avon Gorge, gives fantastic views of the suspension bridge and the surrounding ares. The observatory was originally a windmill that was used to grind corn but was later adapted to grind snuff; the Observatory then became known as Snuff Mill.
In 1777 the mill caught fire, this was caused by the sails being left to turn during a gale and the equipment overheating. The mill was then left derelict for about 50 years until a Bristol based artist, William West, rented it for his studio in 1828. William West was responsible for transforming the building into what we see today, he installed a large telescope on top of the mill turning into an observatory. In 1829 the telescope was replaced by convex lens and sloping mirror which is known as the camera obscura; this still works today. Light travels through the lens and is reflected vertically down by the mirror onto a table which gives a true image of the surrounding area.
William west also built a cave below the observatory which leads to a viewing platform in the cliff face about 250 feet above the base of the Gorge. The cave, known as Giant’s cave was opened to the public in 1837 and is still accessible today.
This is a shot looking towards Millennium Square from Pero’s Bridge in Bristol City Centre. The big wheel is only there for a short time and I was able to frame it between the two horns of the bridge. This was taken at pedestrian rush hour but the long exposure has rendered almost all of the people invisible.
I had the opportunity to do some photography in a local gym, I have never done a fitness style shoot before so I was up for the challenge. Although it looked bright in the gym I had to boost my ISO to 1600 to enable me to get any usable levels of ambient light. I added two speedlights to the mix, one with a shoot through umbrella and one in a small Calumet softbox which I used as a rim light. I used a Canon 6d and a Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 lens. Looking back at some of the shots showed me areas that can be unproved upon but overall I was pleased with my first attempt at this type of shoot. Shooting in a working gym was quite an experience in its self due to the fact that other gym members were busy with their workouts. I will definitely be having another go at this type of shoot.
This photo was taken during a trip to Brean Down in Somerset, this is a popular beach which is just along the coast from Weston-Super-Mare. I was trying out a Sigma 105 mm f/2.8 DG macro lens and so far I am quite impressed with the lens. Being a 105 mm lens it also makes a great portrait and short telephoto lens.The image stabilisation works really well and the lens is nice and sharp. I find this time of year great for taking photos like this as there are fewer people on the beach to get in the way.