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Neomodern Opens Concierge Print Service Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

5 July 2017

Somewhere between your photo stream of thousands of images and the revered portrait above the fireplace there's a small collection of photos you can live with. You'd like them on your walls but getting from bits to framed works of art is ridiculously difficult. Enter Neomodern.

CEO Michael Rubin, a life-long photographer, developed the "paint-your-own" pottery studio business. He also worked with Bernardo Bertolucci and held the title of Senior Inventor at Adobe.

Michael Rubin. Posing in front of the Wizard.

Together with Carlos Arrieta, director of operations, who led the digital printing department at RayKo Photo Center just a short walk from SFMOMA, Rubin has developed a concierge printing concept for digital images.

The concept is simple. You walk in with a favorite image. You walk out an hour later with an optimized image framed and ready for hanging.

But it isn't an errand, like going to the dry cleaner. It's an activity in which you participate with a master printer. The company Web site explains:

Neomodern intends to become an important brand for "high-end" amateur photography, reviving the hobbyist and printing industries. In execution and at first, Neomodern has built a concierge photography salon producing museum-quality products for consumers from their personal photos. Walk-in customers get their photos optimized by professionals, printed and mounted and even custom framed, all in under an hour and with their direct participation.

And it starts when you walk into the shop at 1898 Union St. in San Francisco.


What you see is a gallery of images, some of them classics and others by customers.

The Gallery. A mix of classic and contemporary prints.

You work with a printmaster to optimize your selected image in Lightroom. Neomodern works with dSLR images but also lists a number of smartphones capable of 1enlargement, including the Motorola Moto Z Droid Force, Samsung Galaxy S7, Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, Sony Xperia XA Ultra, Apple iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus Google Pixel and Pixel XL. A 12-megapixel image suffices for an 8x10 print.

But the staff will candidly evaluate your image for its potential before doing anything.

Adjustments, which cost just $10 whether you decided to print or not, may be made to the exposure, dynamic range and color balance, including dodging and burning. But the images aren't Photoshopped to add or eliminate elements or retouch blemishes or wrinkles. You can, of course, do that at home.

Adjustments. Just $10 if you don't go for the print.

If you've never edited an image, that may be the best $10 you ever spent.

If you elect to print your optimized image in the store, it will be imaged with pigment inks on on professional Epson photographic inkjet printers using "the highest quality photo papers."

You can choose between two mat sizes: 16x20 for smaller prints or 20x24 for larger ones for $150 or $200, which includes the $10 optimization fee.

You can have that mat framed for $45 for the 16x20 or $95 for the 20x24. Frames are museum-quality, UV-protected wood frames. Add $100 or $200, depending again on size, for zero glare, UV-protected museum glazing.

All in the time it used to take to get a roll of 35mm developed and printed as 4x6 prints.


It's one thing to be delighted with a capture right after you take it. It's another to appreciate what you can do with the image when you get it up on a monitor.

Most people never get that far.

Neomodern is not just a framing outlet. It's a service that shows you what you can do with your image, prints it on a high-end printer you most likely could not afford to keep running and frames it for you immediately.

You walk into the store with an image you'd like on your wall and you walk out with a framed enlargement ready for hanging.

It isn't inexpensive but it isn't ridiculously overpriced either when you consider the expert optimization and quick turnaround. You rarely get Good and Fast at the same time.

A lot depends on the printmaster, of course. And Arrieta is a good start. But his level of expertise will be hard to match as the company expands and the low optimization fee may reflect that reality.

Still, working with Lightroom to optimize an image is not rocket science. And if you've never had the pleasure, you'll be amazed at the difference it can make. We often show before-and-after treatments of our own work here for just that reason.


Rubin hopes to expand to more locations across the United States but more immediately, he wants to take the concept online by the end of the year.

For now, the flagship store at 1898 Union at Laguna, which opened June 30, will be open between noon and 8 p.m. seven days a week.

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