When Andy Lara came to us with his stunning coastal image and wanted it to be big (I mean gigantic), we were pleasantly challenged. With a little creative collaboration and partnership, we helped Andy determine that a print on Dibond was perfect for a large format print, plus he added some truly custom finishing touches.

How Do You Go Big and Keep a Print Seamless? Put the Print on Dibond!

Andy’s shot of the ocean along the sand with staggered clouds and a jagged cliff really demanded an extra large format print size. We first considered photographic HD finishing with acrylic mounting. But alas, the 60′ x 108′ size was too big to keep it to a single-piece print. We then identified that putting the print on Dibond with inkjet was the best material and process for that impressive size.

The next challenge – Andy wanted a glossy finish. So he took matters into his own hands and found a local custom automotive paint shop that agreed to add a gloss clear-coat to the final print. This really gave Andy the look he was after and an exceptional, custom piece of artwork for his home. And bonus – the glossy coat will also protect the print from the harsh Arizona sunlight.

Such a fun project! Thanks for your partnership, I always felt like a priority and you gave us a great product! Looking forward to posting the next piece!
– Andy Lara

Meet The Artist – Andy Lara

We would love to learn a bit more about your background. How did you initially get into photography? 

I got into photography when I was 18. My interest in visual design was driven earlier though, creating flyers for band Is used to play in when I was about 15 years old. I would have to cut out pictures and printed text, layout the flyer, tape it together and make copies at Kinkos etc.

The first digital camera I shot on was a 1MP HP camera that came with HP printers back in 1999. From there, I used it to take photos of bands I was playing for web use and early social networking (Friendster, My Space, Geo Cities websites etc.) I later took photography classes in college, focusing on film use.

To this day, I still LOVE film. I shoot on a Nikon F100 from time to time, usually capturing abstract subject material that interplays with the film medium more successfully. During college I shot a lot of film for local bands and touring bands that traveled through Orange County, using flash and long exposure tricks for creating stage light painting elements and motion dynamics.

Over the past 20 years playing music and seeing the world I continued to capture more lifestyle and street photos. Ultimately, finding more interest in video production while importing my passion for still photography.

As of late, I’ve been a Creative Director for the past 5 years working in Non-Profit work and curating custom jobs on the side. At this point, I truly enjoy photography that tells a story. In particular, I am an adoptive parent to a child with Down Syndrome, and I especially enjoy capturing and sharing our journey on social media. I also especially love nature and landscape photography. Living in Southern California I am immersed in the beauty around us and truly love organic elements.

I primarily shoot digital these days. I particularly love the recent development in full frame mirrorless technology offered by Sony and the Alpha series. (a7sii, a7rii, a9 etc.)

What was the inspiration behind the image you chose to print?

This image was provided as a specific request to a close family friend. She took a proof image on her iPhone of the same scene and requested that I provide a higher MP image for oversize print. It’s special to her, as it is a POV from a path she walks on a regular basis the opens up to a beautiful north facing view of Strands and Salt Creek Beach. You can see the gazebo lookout from the Ritz Carlton, Laguna Niguel on the right at the top of the cliff. A wonderful view to enjoy often.

What was your process to achieve the final end result on this particular image? 

The image was shot on a Canon T3i with the Sigma 30mm Art Lens. We faced a couple of challenges. She specifically wanted puffy cloud cover. So, I had to pay especially close attention to the weather and look for a day after rain that usually provided that coverage. Also, we had to get the angle of the sun just right to cast a shadow on the less desirable high tide warning sign that is a bright blue when reflecting light.

I successfully captured the clouds in the late morning, but the lighting was wrong on the path. I came back on a different day when the light coverage was correct and captured the path. I then, pixel by pixel, traced our the horizon landscape of the second photo and brought it together with the cloud coverage in Photoshop CC to give us the image we have now, clouds and proper lighting coverage.

The second major challenge was curating the print solution. Printing direct to metal at 9ftX5ft was nearly impossible to find from calling around in my local area. Once I found Artisan HD, we determined we could use a high-quality inkjet print laminate to place on the metal of that specification. However, we could not achieve the high gloss look of metal with that laminate. After many pursuits, I found a local auto body shop that was willing to try and spray 3 coats of a high gloss car urethane on the image, achieving the same effect.

art photography

ArtisanHD is More Than Just a Print Shop – We’re a Print Partner.

Projects like this one with Andy are an excellent example of why we consider ourselves Print Partners, not just a print shop or a print vendor. Putting our heads together, we came up with a solution that wasn’t a compromise on the final vision. In fact, the end piece was better than either of us had imagined! Thank you for partnering with us, Andy – we can’t wait to do it again!

Want your own custom print on Dibond with 3M graphics? Check out all of our custom print order options, then reach out for ideas and we’ll help you out… in a BIG way.