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Waste less ink and paper in photography classes with the right equipment


Bernard Meyers, director of the photography program at the Waterford School in Salt Lake City, estimates his classes have reduced ink and paper usage by 30 percent to 40 percent

ink-paperHigh school students studying photography need to learn both the art and the craft. The art comes from within—the eye for capturing a visually exciting image.

The craft comes from adeptly using the tools of photography to adjust the exposure, color, contrast, and cropping. We can now reach the proper skin tones, saturation and expression that each image deserves.

The Waterford School, an 885-student private school in Salt Lake City, Utah, provides a liberal arts, college preparatory education for students in preschool through grade 12. Each eighth-grader is required to take at least one term of digital photography, while high school students must commit to a two-year sequence in the visual or performing arts, with photography as one option. Classes go all the way up to the Advanced Placement level for grades eleven and twelve.

(Next page: The problem and solution)

The Problem

When I began teaching at the Waterford School four years ago, we had one small computer lab with a hodgepodge of 18 monitors, and no consistency from the monitor to the printer. Students wasted dozens of ink cartridges each year printing out images that looked different from what they intended. The old monitors also needed to be recalibrated regularly, which added up to a lot of unproductive time.

Because our school puts such a strong emphasis on the arts, and with a burgeoning interest in the program, we needed a larger space and new equipment, including professional-grade, yet affordable monitors that accurately displayed images.

So last summer, we redesigned the photography studios within a 4,000-square-foot space. The new cluster of rooms boasted one digital lab with 24 computers and a second digital lab with 16, now all equipped with 40 NEC monitors.

We also purchased three Canon imagePROGRAF IPF 5100 printers, and one Canon imagePROGRAF IPF 8300 printer. We use a variety of Epson and Hahnemuhle papers and write our own paper profiles using i1 Publish software.

After researching a range of monitors, we chose a combination of NEC monitors: 28 of the 22-inch MultiSync P221W, eight of the 23-inch MultiSync P232W and three of the 24-inch MultiSync P242W displays. These monitors featured the color quality our students needed at a price that fit well within the school’s budget. With their accurate, consistent and repeatable color performance, they are tailor made for high-end photography.

The monitors show the majority of the color space that my students work in, which is crucial for accuracy. The key to success was installing NEC’s SpectraView color calibration software and SpectraSensor Pro color calibration sensor. The SpectraView color calibration software delivers reliable, consistent color through a simple interface. The sensitivity and measurement speed of the SpectraSensor Pro color calibration sensor is five times greater than the last generation, which enables it to deliver accurate, repeatable color over a long time period.

The Result

Since the monitors and the software were installed, I estimate my classes have reduced their ink and paper usage by 30 percent to 40 percent because the new monitors accurately display color so that the image on the screen matches what comes out of the printer. We also used to calibrate the old monitors numerous times each month. With the new monitors, we only need to calibrate them once every 10 weeks.

Not only are we saving money on printing costs thanks to the better monitors, but the quality of the students’ work is improving and students are flocking to photography. The classes have doubled in size from four years ago. Student work can be seen at waterfordphotography.org

Bernard Meyers is Director, Photography Program at the Waterford School in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has three decades of knowledge as a professional photographer as well as more than 20 years’ experience as a university professor and lecturer. His work can be viewed at bernardcmeyers.com

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