About Us

Blow Up Lab is always experimenting and following technological advancements.  As a result, The Lab prides itself on its ability to offer its clients custom, state-of-the-art digital production with old-fashioned, personalized service.

Owned and operated by Frank McGrath since 1978, Blow Up Lab was the first in the city to convert from traditional chemical photo processing to 100% digital in January 2000.  Additionally, we are dedicated to eco-friendly printing and use:

Green Statement

The Blow Up Lab conversion from traditional, chemical photo processors to a 100% green, digital system 15 years ago was an avant-garde transformation. We were the first photo lab in the area to shut down the chemical printers, which were being monitored by the EPA for silver in waste-water and produced toxic fumes. This significant change represented a positive, paradigm shift in the industry, one in which we were proud to be a leader.

This green system occurred by eliminating all old equipment and installing a variety of state-of-the-art computers, software, scanners and printers. It also cut water usage by 95% and electrical energy consumption by 80%. We also have much higher productivity due to our computers’ and printers’ enhanced capacities.

Fortunately, the digital printing industry also started manufacturing green supplies such as non-toxic, aqueous, vegetable-base, archival inks; 100% cotton (rag), acid-free papers and canvases; as well as acid-free mounting substrates and adhesives. All of which we stock and use daily. The prints we make with these materials on that equipment are therefore 100% non-toxic and recyclable, too.

Additionally, our packaging materials are recyclable; since we mostly pack our products with craft paper, cardboard and wood crates. And we recycle mounting board scraps by donating them to local art programs.

We practice all eco-friendly options currently available in all aspects of our business, and we own an electric vehicle for errands and job deliveries!

Frank McGrath and Carol Covington, Owners

Meet The Owners

Painted Portrait of Frank McGrath by Valentin Popov

Frank McGrath
Master Digital Printer

Frank is a photographer, digital printing master and Photoshop wizard. He has owned and operated the Blow Up Lab since 1977, soon after he received his BA in photography from SFSU.

On the forefront of the digital imaging transformation, Frank realized in the mid ’90s that digital printing was the industry’s future. He has always been experimenting and following technological advancements. As a result, Frank prides himself on his ability to offer clients custom, state-of-the-art digital productions. He has helped many clients realize their art and projects in exceptional ways through his expertise, knowledge and talent. And they will be the first to say that the result could not have been accomplished without him.

Frank’s Passion Statement

“In primary school, I was one of the first kids to be diagnosed with dyslexia. Thus, going to class was always a very painful experience for me. Then, in my sophomore year of high school, I took a course in photography and my world changed drastically! My brain was on fire. Finally, I had found something I could do with exceptional results! I worked on my photographic art day and night, cramming in as much time as I could, shooting and developing in the darkroom before, during and after school. I feel I was very lucky that year because I discovered my passion. Photography has consumed my life and is still as, if not more, interesting to me today as it was then. It’s still exciting to go to work at the Blow Up Lab. Because every day, our varied clients bring us new challenges and projects that need creative and technical solutions I enjoy working on.”

Painted Portrait of Carol Covington by Valentin Popov

Carol Covington
Vice President/Owner
Art Director

Carol became the Art Projects Specialist and Co-Owner of Blow Up Lab in 2009.  Since then she has been art directing Blow Up Lab’s projects and managing the printing, finishing and installing of murals, graphics, and fine art for the printing business’s diverse clients.

Carol began her career as an Art Director at McCann-Erickson advertising agency where she became experienced in visual communications design and production.  In the late ’90s, she also worked for “start-up” companies as Creative Director, managing the design and production of corporate identities and product branding.

Furthermore, Carol spent many years in the art business as an Art Gallery Director and Independent Curator.  Her company Exhibits produced over 100 exhibitions in public spaces and museums from 1990 to 2008.  And she produced permanent, historical exhibitions for several corporations and institutions.

Carol’s extensive experience in the fine art and commercial design worlds has given her the ideal skills to assist Blow Up Lab’s clients in reaching the best results possible with their unique projects.

Carol’s Passion Statement

Carol Covington decided to pursue a career in fine art & graphic design while attending college in Florence, Italy and London, England.  “As I traveled extensively around Europe during my studies abroad, I was so inspired by the art I saw in museums as well as the commercial graphics on the streets everywhere, I knew then I had to pursue my passion for art and design as my career.  I feel so fortunate that I have been able to realize my potential in both realms.  My experience as Art Director and Art Curator are a perfect blend to partner with our clients at the Blow Up Lab.  I believe the difference between Blow Up Lab and our competitors is the rare, old-fashioned service and expertise we offer, thus allowing us to take care of our clients’ needs in exceptional ways.”