For photographers, choosing a lab is a fairly big deal and a decision that can really impact your business. If you find a good one, they work with you to help your business run smoothly and improve your sales. However if you end up with a bad one, it can end up costing you money and precious time. I know this only too well as I recently sent a client's Queensberry album to a lab to have scans done that colour matched images in the album. When it returned from the lab, it was obvious that the album had been dropped on it's spine which caused damage to the overlays and the whole book has had to be remade from scratch. Ouch!
So when Loxley Colour invited me up to their lab near Glasgow for a look around, the timing was right for me. I had seen Loxley's impressive stand at trade shows and they were always really friendly when I looked at what they had on display. Now if you ever get a chance to do the lab tour, I would highly recommend it. I admit I was expecting a fairly dull afternoon looking at machinery but instead it was an inspiring day spent chatting to lots of different people in all the various sections of the lab. From the showroom through to the delivery department, everyone was super friendly and passionate about both photography and the company. The space is very impressive, it's the size of a substantial factory but split into zones that each take care of the different processes and products that Loxley offer.
And despite the vast array of machinery, it's all taken care of by the staff. There are eyes on your order, the whole way through the process. Sure the machines take care of a lot of the hard work, but it's hands that pull things together and there is an artisan feel to all of it. Your order goes on a little journey from the department that oversees them when they first come in, to the place where it is produced, then checked, packaged and finally dispatched. So yes, it's very efficient as a lab but what I came away thinking was it felt like a family business, a family that really cares about photography and about being progressive.
So, how have I been using Loxley Colour since then? Well at first I actually found the array of products that they have to offer quite overwhelming. They cater to a wide market and with all that space, staff and equipment I can understand why. But there are products that they produce that I really love. First of all prints, I've started sending all my clients a small selection of prints in with their USB as a gift and to encourage them to print their images. Ordering prints from Loxley is super easy through their online system and they have a terrific choice in papers. But why stop with just prints? It's been years since I sold a framed product, I simply never have clients in my office any more to show them these lovely things so I figured I would show them virtually and I've been posting images on my Facebook page like this one.
As soon as they were posted, I received an enquiry for a framed print. The client had an image number in mind and I was quickly able to put together a pdf quote including preview images showing what their print would look like generated using Loxley's handy online design tool. It's little things like that that can make such a big difference. Suddenly what was going to be a £5 print sale become a £175 frame sale. I'm so happy with the frames that I have as samples, they are beautifully made and the ones that I picked out really enhance my images. I've gone for ones in the Coastal and Urban ranges with the double mounts.
Next albums, again Loxley offers a giant range so there will be something there that floats your boat for sure. However I already have a nice range of albums on offer, so the gap I wanted to fill was a nice looking linen covered book in rectangular format. I like to keep things really simple and let the images shine and this is the Bellissimo Fine Art with a bubblegum linen cover with their names laser etched on it. Their leathers are also gorgeous and no extra price. It comes in a lovely presentation box and I also ordered the memento and mini versions which are scaled down versions of the main book.. thinking about parent or gift versions of the album. I love it so much, I made a little film to really show it off, again thinking about how I can virtually put it into a client's hands.
I'm very glad that I switched to Loxley Colour and I'm excited to see what new products and developments they have in store. If you see them at a show, don't be shy to chat to them or get in touch with their friendly rep Graham who can arrange to show you some products. As Loxley are sponsors of farm Week 16, they have given us some very sweet prizes to give away on our Facebook page this week so head over there to get involved.