Made in Italy at Graphistudio with Jeremy Price
Welcome Jeremy, I have known you now for a good few years, so it is wonderful to feature you here at RISE and share your industry knowledge with everyone.
RISE: Graphistudio has become synonymous within our industry and is truly a globally recognised brand, tell us a little more about your role within Graphistudio and where you are located?
In 1999 I was given a Graphistudio pocket book by Renzo Fantoni, a very good Italian friend whom I had known for many years. I was amazed when he told me they could make these little albums, as well as more luxurious ones in singles, rather than large print runs. It lead me to visit the then factory (a shop with some offices above) and I saw the incredible Wedding Book that Graphistudio invented. The way they blended incredible old world craftsmanship with modern technology, along with developing their own binding systems to enable us to use the new digital printers that were starting to appear was inspiring.
I was astounded by the innovative ideas of the team and asked to become their UK sales & marketing company to look after all their UK & Ireland business. Before starting Graphistudio the Chairman, Tullio Tramontina, was a professional wedding photographer. His daughters currently run their own wedding photography business http://www.tramontinastudio.it, as well as working inside Graphistudio, so we get amazing real life influences into the products and up-to-date global trends.
My UK company, based in the lovely countryside of Hertfordshire just outside London, started off with just myself and John Hughes (retired) and together we grew the UK market by launching the Original Wedding Book. Now we continue to help develop the market here as the team in Italy keep building the incredible range of high-quality handmade products for professional photographers.
RISE: You have a fabulous, warm, knowledgeable team, tell us more about them?
The photography industry is a small but an incredibly important one which brings so much joy to so many people. It keeps alive so many important and special moments in their lives. To be a part of that process and to help photographers is something that everyone in the company finds really rewarding. People buy from people and my all female team who have now been with me and supported thousands of photographers for many years have learnt so much that they love to share. Charlie has been with me for 13 years this month, Aimee and Sharon both in their 6th year. Each of them bring a different, very caring perspective and do their very best to help photographers to understand our range, how to order, design and on occasion that friendly voice on the end of the phone when you just need some advice.
RISE: Graphistudio have really stayed at the forefront of technology, why is this so important to the company?
We invented the Original Wedding Book back in the mid 1980s. It was the very first lay-flat book, but as the patent ran out it was clear we had created a whole new product category. We started to see copies appearing and realised it was time for us to create new concepts, new processes and look to see if new technologies could be adopted that could again give Professional Photographers something unique and beautiful for their clients. The lay-flat book is now the ubiquitous product made by many companies, but none like ours as we developed our own machinery to bind our books and hence why we put the lifetime warranty on our binding.
The spirit of innovation is inside everyone in the company and it is key at a time when many products that used to be only available through professional photographers, can now be bought direct by consumers, so it is up to us to keep giving you beautiful vehicles for your photography that your clients can only get through you. That search keeps us looking at new technology developments and even making them do things the original manufacturers never expected. The adoption of the HD Dreamlabo print system by Canon is a great example, as we are able to give photographers the capability to have stunning Adobe RGB profile printing in our lay-flat albums and portrait products. But it’s not just about new printing, we also look at how to adapt our print systems to print on the beautiful hand made iconic 100% cotton pulp papers made in the Amalfi region.
RISE: The Graphistudio factory is based in Italy and I have had the wonderful pleasure of visiting 4 times now, when you visit there is a real sense of pride from absolutely everyone you meet. How do you maintain this level of commitment and enthusiasm for all who work for Graphi?
The region of Italy we are based in, whilst a beautiful spot at the base of the Italian alps, is not a tourist area and people don’t commute long distances to work. As a result our workforce is local and know that the community rely on Graphistudio to keep them employed. But it isn’t just that, we all are inspired by the hardest working person in the factory, Tullio the Chairman. His tireless strive for perfection, new ideas and innovation keeps everyone looking forward and with his commitment to helping photographers to grow by restoring and offering the castle as a training centre, it is hard not feel a part of the Graphi family.
CASTLE CECONI – THE PEARL OF THE DOLOMITES – NORTHERN ITALY
RISE: Tell us a in your own words, why print is so important within our industry?
Digital files can be viewed on so many different devices, very few of which are calibrated. It is only once they are printed that the colours set to how you and your camera saw and captured them. As professionals it is in all of our interests to make sure that all the amazing technology you have invested in, along with your training and hard work, is not wasted by allowing your work not to be seen how it should be. It is this rush to sell only digital files that has affected our industry and given the public the feeling they don’t need to buy products from you. By giving the very best professionally printed products, so much better than they can get themselves, you will give your clients something that reinforces professional photography. It is not a photograph until it’s printed. The word “photography” was created from the Greek roots (phōtos), genitive of (phōs), “light” and (graphé) “representation by means of lines” or “drawing”, together meaning “drawing with light”.
RISE: Over recent years, the digital era somehow slipped its way into the photography world, I personally feel a shift in this, what do you see happening?
The digital world has made a huge impact both positively and in some ways negatively. When we started back in the 1980’s all social photography was on film, when we launched Graphistudio UK in 1999 most were still on film and we scanned negatives to create digital files. We were the first to use the new digital printing technologies to make wedding albums and we continue to evolve as technology does.
My first digital camera was a Kodak 14n Pro, a 14 megapixel pro level camera and way back then it was seen as an incredible innovation, but it was hard to manipulate the files on the computers then. Now we have 100 megapixel cameras capturing more and more of what the naked eye can see and it is these amazing files we want you to be able to print.
Digital has gone through such a rapid expansion where our phones not only include incredible cameras, but also many other features that used to require separate devices. They have given the capability for everyone to take pictures, which I am afraid as a result have contributed to the reduction in value in some people’s minds of what a professional photographer can bring. Many of us grew up waiting for the big envelope of prints with negatives that came from Bonus or True Print to arrive through the post after a holiday or special event and thoroughly enjoyed sorting out the out of focus, wrong exposure photos from those gems that still mean so much to us. Now the most photographed generation will have the least to show for it. The finding of old family albums will continue to bring a huge smile to those in generations to come whose families have remembered to print them. But all is not lost, instant cameras and little blue tooth printers are on the rise and the desire of thousands of youngsters to hang those photographs on lines in their bedrooms are a new generation who again want something tangible to hold, touch and keep forever.
RISE: You hold wonderful training events within the UK, not just about products but on business, can you tell us more about these?
In my 21 years in the industry I have had the privilege to learn from so many incredible photographers from around the world and also some of the most successful businesses too. My previous background working with blue chip companies gave me the skill sets in sales and marketing to learn from all of these and I continue to do so as new ways of .
So many photographers have incredible skills at taking beautiful photographs, but for many they stumbled into business with no formal business training. Without successful photographers we don’t have a business as we only work with professional photographers, and not the general public. Whilst it is amazing that we have such an incredible portfolio of products, we need our customers to be successful. If by sharing my knowledge I can help your businesses to grow then we all win.
RISE: You really do listen to photographers and their needs and Graphistudio don’t only produce albums, tell us about some of the other products you have?
The last 6 years have seen us introduce products and product ranges that have brought incredible new market leading, and some instances like the Original Wedding Book, market changing products to help portrait photographers offer something very different and special. It is with the support and help from our customers that some of their ideas and visions have become products. Sue Bryce, Kelly Brown, Jerry Ghionis, Yervant and many others support us and help us to develop new ranges of products. Our great friend Yervant helped to influence many photographers around the world with his new style of wedding photography and he also brought that fresh vision in to our ranges. The Sue Bryce Reveal box is a great example of a new product that has changed the market. Along with the small but perfectly formed range that she helped us build it gives you beautiful and stylish vehicles to share your photographs with your clients and them to their families. Kelly Brown brought her unique newborn photography vision to our company and helped to bring to market her collection of gorgeous high-quality products.
Kelly Brown Favola Book
RISE: I am delighted you support RISE and our growing community, why did Graphistudio decide to become a ‘Trade Supporter’ to RISE.
Having been in this industry for a long time, I have seen our evolution as a company. With over two thirds of our staff being female and the influence of the Chairman’s daughters, Alice and Lisa, inside Graphistudio, we are unusual in a very male orientated society of Italy.
The UK market for many years has been a traditional one with what has seemed an old boys’ club at the forefront. Fortunately this is starting to change with your influence. I talk to photographers on a daily basis, and with well more than half of our customer base being women I do understand that no matter how fast the change, a safe place for female photographers to learn, to grow, and to share became necessary. We are here to support your members in any way we can.
RISE: I like to ask if there is one piece of advice you could give to photographers what would it be?
Many people in this difficult time are re-evaluating everything about their lives, many are prioritising family and loved ones more than ever. We won’t return to the old normal and in-fact I believe that more than ever we all have the opportunity help families reconnect, help loved ones find the reason they fell in love, capture incredible moments to share and save for their loved ones and families to see in the many years to come and be reminded of this defining moment in our lives.
RISE: Finally, is there anything new on the horizon for Graphistudio, can you share any little darkroom secrets?
We have given a sneak preview of a host of new products that lift again the level of quality, design and printing during our live event at the castle which can now all be seen on our Youtube channel. New Pyramid Frames, Larger Chromaluxe Metal artwork, Young Book 2.0 and the Jerry Ghionis range of luxury photography products, but watch out soon for us to announce the adoption of a brand new print technology that we believe will once again give professional photographers who work with Graphistudio the edge.
Thank You so much Jeremy for this wonderful insight into what goes into the technology behind producing beautifully presented images and products.
You can learn more of Graphistudio products in this video LIVE from Italy.
As a member of RISE, head over to your members area to access the video with Jeremy Price, on what you can do right now to increase your business sales
Find out more about the beautiful products that Graphistudio have to offer