My studio, Vision Productions, in Keyport, New Jersey, specializes in event action photography and video for sports events. We offer state-of-the-art digital photography services for everything from soccer events and cheerleading to dog shows. We typically sell a wide variety of custom photos at an event, but a growing number of these sales would surprise most people.
In addition to selling photos on paper, Vision Productions is permanently imprinting them into charms, pendants, and other personalized jewelry.
Using a Roland MPX-70 photo impact printer, we imprint digital images into aluminum, stainless steel, brass, gold, silver, and platinum. The MPX-70 reproduces the delicate gradations of halftone, line art, and text. It achieves resolutions up to 529dpi and can personalize pendants in minutes.
We’ve seen a 10- to 12 percent increase in business with the metal printer. There is nothing on the market in this price range that can print a photo image on jewelry. Our most popular items are dog tags, heart pendants, and key chains. They make great birthday or holiday presents for parents and grandparents.
At our onsite displays, the MPX-70 and its shiny personalized products get plenty of attention. Passers-by often stop by our booth to look at the display, which gives us a chance to explain the product and our more traditional services.
Creating Photo Jewelry
While at special events, we show customers their images on the computer and take their orders. We create the photo jewelry back at our office. Producing a personalized pendant usually takes about 10 to 15 minutes to prep an image for printing and another 10 to 20 minutes for printing. Then we ship the pendants to the customer.
When printing on metal, you want to have an image with a pretty good contrast to the background so that it will look as photorealistic as possible.
Several vendors sell materials for the MPX-70, but be forewarned. The materials and the vendors are not all the same. I bought some dog tag blanks from a less expensive vendor on the Internet. The gold plating, if it was gold, actually pealed off the pendant after I imprinted it. You get what you pay for. So stick with an authorized Roland supplier.
Today, we buy our materials from EI Mirae Image in Los Angeles. The material distributor offers a wide selection of customizable shapes in aluminum, stainless steel, brass, gold, silver, and platinum.
Our most popular MPX-70 product is the standard dog tag on a chain. It costs less than two dollars, and sells for $24.95. Also popular are heart-shaped necklaces and “bling bling” with simulated diamonds. While they cost a bit more, they sell for a much higher price—usually $70 to $150.
Our customers want their pictures in gold, brass, silver. . . everything. They love the idea of giving their memories the permanence of metal. It makes the perfect gift.
The Easy Jeweler
The MPX-70 uses a USB cable and sets up as easily as a desktop printer. Once it’s up and running, you just have to import an image via scanner or digital camera, do the layout and edit the graphics, and press “print.” Employees were producing quality personalized products within an hour.
Bundled Dr. METAZA2 photo editing software makes it easy to manage images, and add text, frames, and borders. It even allows users to remove backgrounds and rotate text and images. The software imports data files in JPEG or BMP format and accepts data from digital cameras and compatible scanners. A plug-in lets users work directly from Photoshop.
For more on The MPX-70, visit www.rolandasd.com