Sourcing surfaces is at least a part-time job for photographers like myself. The search for engaging textures and colors has more than once led me to shuffling through awkward piles by the side of lonely backroads marked with the ubiquitous “FREE” sign on torn cardboard. Even finding a surface that might work, however, doesn’t change the fact that they’re heavy and unwieldy to work with (have YOU ever tried lugging a piece of granite to your studio??!).
This problem got Joe, my husband and co-founder of Poppy Bee Surfaces, thinking about using his fine arts background to paint the surfaces I wanted and needed for specific shoots. Even now, the walls of our studio are hung with his creations. We received a lot of requests to buy them from fellow photographers, but they were too expensive to ship and we don’t live in a city with a large enough population of photographers to make renting them viable.
Then we started looking into offering vinyl surfaces and we got pretty excited… at first. Sourcing a reputable and reliable printing service became an exercise in frustration. Consistently, the prints came back with issues: poor color matching, banding or damage from the printer and, as customers, we were deemed too high maintenance to work with.
After going through 5 different printers, we had the ridiculous thought that perhaps we could make printed surfaces ourselves. “How hard could it be?” we laughed casually, like a child eyeing a hot stove. A technical advisor from Canon helped us find the right printing technology and, suddenly, we were able to perfectly replicate our digital files. The quality of the prints far exceeded anything we had seen before. But we had a new issue: the beautiful, matte material we chose is also supremely scuffable. Did I mention that Joe has a fine arts background? With his work in multi-media art production, Joe created a complex, proprietary, and labor intensive method of laminating each print we sell, so that the durability is increased but also maintains all the rich colors and textures. These surfaces go above and beyond by being totally matte, durable AND waterproof. Joe really outdid himself :)
And with that, Poppy Bee’s signature, hand-made, high-quality photography surfaces were born. Now, we work side by side in our Vermont based studio to design and make every single Poppy Bee surface. All our surfaces are designed and hand-made to order just for you in the USA.