Printing and exhibiting fashion portraits with Jade Keshia Gordon

The fashion and portrait photographer reveals how the Canon PIXMA PRO-200 professional printer has become an essential piece of kit for driving her business.
Fashion photographer Jade Keshia Gordon hangs a framed photo, printed by a Canon PIXMA printer, on a white wall. Four other framed photos also hang on the wall.

The aesthetic of how different prints hang together is an important consideration for fashion photographer Jade Keshia Gordon. She likes to develop themes that showcase her work, and the Canon PIXMA PRO-200 helps bring her images to life. © Creative Iris

In any line of work it pays to show what you're capable of, and that's especially true if your work is of a visual nature. For photographers with their own studio, creating large format prints to hang on the walls can help to wow both potential and existing clients.

You can use your workplace as free exhibition space by showcasing your abilities, advertising your style and skills, and even creating an opportunity to sell prints. That's certainly the experience of fashion and beauty photographer Jade Keshia Gordon, who founded London-based JKG Photography in 2010. A secret of Jade's success has always been her experimental approach, turning conceptual ideas into extraordinary images that stand out from the crowd. However, conveying that message to potential clients as well as reinforcing her skills to existing customers can be a tricky process.

To help drive her business, inspire her clients and boost her own creativity, Jade creates large-format prints to display in her studio, using the Canon PIXMA PRO-200, a professional printer for photographers. Here, she shares her experiences in printing and the successes she's enjoying.

A print of a model with long blonde hair wearing a denim jacket emerges from a Canon PIXMA printer.

Printing on Canon Pro Platinum PT-101 glossy paper, Jade was impressed that the Canon PIXMA PRO-200 outputs prints so quickly and that they're touch-dry even as they leave the printer, so she can handle them straight away. This glossy paper is also Jade's go-to for high-impact images that she wants to look really vibrant. © Jade Reynolds

A portrait of a model with long yellow-orange hair wearing a white dress, taken by Jade Keshia Gordon.

"I pride myself on being able to shoot all skin tones," says Jade. "When people come to JKG Studio, being able to see the prints enables them to see how their final image could look, especially for my clients who are regularly in print or online press." Taken on a Canon EOS R5 with a Canon Mount Adapter EF-EOS R and a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM lens at 70mm, 1/125 sec, f/4 and ISO 800. © Jade Keshia Gordon

From big ideas to big prints

After running her own studio for about a year, Jade felt that putting large-format prints on the walls would add a touch of colour, as well as giving her a new venture to try. "My work is based on sending digital images to clients so I've never really needed to print them myself," she says. "My studio was looking quite bare so I thought of making some big prints and settled on the Canon PIXMA PRO-200. The first thing that struck me was how much it helps with actually shooting images and the post-production process. It was immediately apparent that my monitor needed calibrating, and that my editing techniques needed some fine-tuning.

"Once that was taken care of, I found that creating prints was a brilliant way of showcasing my work, and a great resource for marketing and promotion. It also makes my studio look a lot more homely and appealing, instead of being just a big and empty white space."

A professional printer for professional results

It's easy to see how the Canon PIXMA PRO-200 can be a busy photographer's best friend. Its 8-ink lineup enables a wide gamut and excellent fidelity for both colour and black and white prints. Running on dye-based rather than pigment-based inks, it's very fast. When time and speed are of the essence, A3 colour prints take as little as 90 seconds to produce. Furthermore, as the dye-based inks are fully absorbed beneath the protective top layer of glossy and lustre photo papers, prints are touch-dry even as they leave the printer.

"Being new to printing, I was really surprised at how simple the PIXMA PRO-200 is to use," says Jade. "Installing the ink cartridges and loading paper really couldn't be easier. I don't just use it for big prints; I also make A4 prints of headshots for models to keep, just to take home or to use in their portfolio. They're genuinely amazed at the quality, it always gives a big wow-factor!"

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Fashion photographer Jade Keshia Gordon holds a print of two photos showing two models with different skin tones but photographed against the same background, printed on a Canon PIXMA printer.

For fashion and cosmetics shoots, colour accuracy is vital in Jade's work. She finds that the ICC printer profiles for Canon's own paper as well as for other leading brands of fine art media ensure accuracy and consistency. Jade also believes that the eight dye-based inks developed for the Canon PIXMA PRO-200 deliver an excellent tonal range, with lots of detail in everything from bright highlights to very dark lowlights. © Jade Reynolds

The importance of colour accuracy

Jade finds that the vibrant colour rendition and tonal range of the Canon PIXMA PRO-200 are perfect for her beauty and fashion photography, when she needs the highest quality printing. "The colours really sing and glossy prints have a real 'pop' that I love," she says. "To add a little extra creativity, I've made prints with multiple images on a single sheet of paper. The Canon Professional Print & Layout software [available as a free download] is ideal for designing multi-image prints and adding borders, which can give a whole new dimension and make them look great on display.

"I also really love the printer's colour accuracy," she continues. "It's a vital element for my work in fashion and beauty photography, especially when it comes to skin tones and the faithful reproduction of cosmetic products. I've certainly learned the lesson that it's essential to calibrate your monitor screen."

Choosing the right paper

"I think it's also a top tip to pay attention to levels of sharpening when you're editing images in post," suggests Jade. "I've found that a little extra sharpening gives my prints real bite. Paper choice is also important. Glossy paper works best for high-impact images where I want bright colours to really stand out, whereas fine art and matte papers are excellent for rich textures. For example, I found that fine art paper really made prints come to life for some of my shots of a model wearing a simulated fur jacket. I'd recommend getting samples of different papers and making small prints to see how the final look and feel compares."

Fashion photographer Jade Keshia Gordon smiles at the camera and lifts her arms up to point at the five framed prints hanging on the white wall behind her.

Jade enjoys framing and hanging her prints herself, and likes that the frames she buys are easily reusable, if and when she wants to change the prints on display. © Creative Iris

Picking a theme

It's often good to create prints with a specific theme that will hang together well, and Jade wanted to create a set of prints that told the story of her studio. "I've done a variety of different shoots during the studio's first year, so it's good to showcase that diversity as well as sticking to a central theme," she explains. "I've also added location shots for fashion and beauty images that enhance the studio-based work and broaden things out, adding depth. It's worked particularly well to hang prints together that are based on similar concepts, or a similar palette of colours. It's a juggling act between wanting to showcase as much variety as possible while still retaining a consistent formation."

Showcasing your work

"Many photographers create prints to sell but that's not really my thing," says Jade. "Instead, I want to hang prints on the wall and show clients what the end product will look like. Compared with on-screen images, prints really help clients to visualise concepts if they're going to use my shots in magazines or other publications, or on billboards. Naturally, it also showcases my abilities, skills and style as a photographer, and what they can expect from my studio."

When it comes to displaying prints, Jade thinks it's important to keep a sense of perspective, and an eye on budget. "It can cost a lot in time, money and effort if you have your prints mounted on board and professionally framed but, for the sake of hanging prints in my studio, I can keep things simple," she says. "In my mind, I wanted slim black frames, so that they didn't detract from the images themselves. I found just the sort of thing I was after quite cheaply online, and the frames came complete with Perspex rather than glass panels. They're less reflective, so the prints themselves are much clearer to see.

"It's important to think about placement, and where prints will work to best effect. I tend to hang large prints with smaller prints that complement the bigger picture either side. Building on that, I can expand the formula to make a feature wall with a larger collection of prints."

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The power of print

From a personal perspective, Jade feels there's a real power to photographic prints. "My love of prints started with flicking through photo albums from my childhood," she recalls. "There's a tangible feel-good factor to prints that you just don't get with digital images. Even as a teenager, I took a digital camera with me when I went out with friends but it was the step of making sets of prints to hand around and to keep that gives me a real connection to those times, and the ability to look back on treasured memories. Digital images just get lost in the crowd."

Having started her project on creating prints for her studio, Jade says, "I've really got the printing bug! I'm inspired to print more images with different themes and really want to experiment with creating collages. There are lots of things I'd like to do with the Canon PIXMA PRO-200 but here's my biggest takeaway from using it so far: I now believe everybody should create prints from their photos at least a few times every year. Real prints will inspire you to be more creative, and deepen your love of photography."

Matthew Richards

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