WHAT IS BE YOUR OWN LAB?
Be Your Own Lab is a simple, automated, and affordable method for professional photographers to print and cut their own photographs rather than paying an outside lab service. Easy-to-use software streamlines layout for maximizing images on the page, reducing waste and saving time. Archival quality prints are produced by a Canon Pro-Series wide-format printer. Finally, the individual images are cut perfectly to size by a Graphtec cutting plotter. In moments, with just a few clicks, you can go from digital files to finished prints.
WHAT COMES WITH BE YOUR OWN LAB?
Be Your Own Lab consists of three primary components. First, a Canon Pro-Series printer. Second, a Graphtec cutting plotter, and finally, the Colorbyte Imageprint R.E.D. software which automates the process and drives both pieces of equipment from a single streamlined interface. We will also train you on the software and equipment to make sure you are able to get the most out of your investment.
WHAT ARE THE ADVANTAGES OF BE YOUR OWN LAB?
There are several advantages to bringing your print production in-house with Be Your Own Lab, and different ones may seem more or less important or relevant to different users.
One advantage is not having to rely on other services to be timely or secure. You can produce your own prints, in whatever quantity you need, without having to wait for outside processing.
Cutting out the outside lab also means that your pictures stay yours. There is no worry of your high-resolution originals being captured or misused as they travel around from computer to computer outside of your control.
Quality is another major advantage. Sending out your prints sometimes introduces file compression or conversion which alters the image, or less than ideal settings being used when the print is produced.
There are hundreds of options for media ranging from extremely inexpensive proofing material to the highest end fine art grades of handmade paper and canvas available for Be Your Own Lab, far more than any single lab normally offers. This variety allows you to better tailor your offerings to your market or clientele.
Go beyond photographs! While Be Your Own Lab is primarily focused on photo production, the same equipment can be used to create a wide variety of products, some which you might offer to customers as premium services, or some which may aid in your business more directly. Some examples include business cards, banners, stretched canvas gallery wraps, posters, packaging, gift wrap, stickers, t-shirts, wall graphics, photoshoot backdrops, and much more.
Finally, price. While there is obviously an initial investment, for most professional photographers Be Your Own Lab will create a significant savings over a relatively short period of time!
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO OPERATE?
There are a lot of variables, the biggest being the type of media you choose to print on. You can use any aqueous coated material, and there are a lot of types out there! Let's use Canon's Pro Lustre media as an example: Canon's own cost analysis using this media for a variety of photo types (black and white, portrait, and nature scenes) puts the average cost per square inch at about eight tenths of a cent, between ink and paper. For comparison, we surveyed a number of local and national photo labs and their least expensive services worked out to about one and three tenths cents per square inch. That's almost exactly 50% more!
That example uses Canon's Pro Media line, but there are many other medias to choose from. Our own Dorado Dry Dock premium photogrades are less expensive, saving you even more on each print -- and all of this is before any shipping charges or minimum orders you'd have to consider to get a rate that low from an outside lab. That 50% savings pays for the equipment in no time; after that, it's all profit!
For a detailed analysis of the profitability of a new Pro-Series printer purchase CLICK HERE.
WHICH PRINTER SHOULD I CHOOSE?
All of Canon’s Pro-Series printers use the same professional grade technology and 12 archival inks. They represent the very best in photo reproduction. The differences are in the maximum size of image you will be able to produce, and the initial value of included ink.
The best value for almost all users is the standard 44" printer, the PRO-4100. The only reasons that would indicate a different printer should be chosen are if you typically need prints larger than 44", or if you have an extremely limited amount of physical space in your work area.
The 44” printer is the most economically sound and nearly pays for itself as compared to the 24" model as it includes more than twice as much ink as the 24" model, as well as opening up the possibility of occasionally printing larger images such as banners, full-size canvases, and backdrops. The primary reason for choosing the 24" printer over the 44" is simply a lack of two feet more space for the larger unit, while the 60" unit represents a more substantial investment.
WHAT ABOUT THE SOFTWARE?
Build Your Own Lab is powered by Imageprint R.E.D. software from ColorByte. R.E.D. stands for Runs Every Device, and the software can indeed power any printer with a printer driver installed on your computer. Place, crop, resize, move, and lay out images faster and easier than ever before. Be Your Own Lab includes the Cut-It-Out plugin which powers the Graphtec cutting plotter. There is also an add-on called Templates. The templates pack gives you the ability to create drag and drop photo templates for your photo package layouts. Simply Drag the images into the template and populate different images into eight wallet size, three five by sevens, and an eight by ten - or set up whatever combinations are appropriate for your business. If you sell pre-designed photo packages, this feature can save you a ton of time. A set of pre-made templates for common photo package layouts is included and it couldn't be simpler to custom make your own.
TRAINING & SUPPORT
Dorado Graphix will train you how to use the package! We want to make sure you know what your equipment can do for you. We have training documentation and videos, and you will also get a live session with a technician, either on-site (if you are within our service area) or by phone/zoom (anywhere in the USA). After that simply email or call and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have. The equipment and software are fully warrantied and technical support by phone is always free for as long as you own the equipment. The Canon printers include a full year all parts and labor warranty and a one year printhead warranty. The Graphtec Plotter includes a two-year warranty. Extended warranties are available for both.
Freight delivery to anywhere in the contiguous 48 states is a flat $250.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: What if I already own a wide format printer or a cutting plotter?
A: You can use an existing wide-format printer and simply purchase the plotter and software. R.E.D. stands for Runs Every Device and will just as easily drive a HP or Epson printer as it does on the Canons that we sell. The Cut-It-Out plug-in currently only drives Graphtec cutting plotters, so it will not work with another brand at this time, but if you already own a recent model Graphtec plotter, you can add a wide format printer and the software to complete your setup. We will be happy to make sure your existing equipment is compatible before a sale, just contact us with the details and we can create a custom package for you!
Q: Can I use a wider or flatbed plotter?
A: Any recent model of Graphtec plotter is compatible, including wider plotters that some shops already have, and even flatbed plotters. Be Your Own Lab comes with a 24" plotter as it is sufficient for virtually all photo production uses, but if you have needs for a different model plotter, we can easily customize a package with that in mind.
Q: What if I already use Imageprint R.E.D. or Imageprint BLACK?
A: We can help you get the plugins you need and make sure everything is compatible. Just let us know what you have and we will help you get what you need.