There are three steps to create Giclée prints of your original art paintings:
- Scan or take a professional photograph of your original paintings (discussed here)
- Use Photo editing software to edit the photo to accurately match the original painting
- Print your photograph with a Giclée Fine Art Printer or create a Lithograph (ps. Lithographs are not the same as Fine Art prints!)
OK let’s start talking about scanning and photographing art
You can either scan or photograph your original painting depending on the resources available to you. Painting size may also play a factor as larger paintings cannot be put onto a scanner nor can framed or stretched canvases.
3 steps to scan or photograph the painting:
- To create scans of your paintings you will need a flatbed scanner, with a strong optical density and high colour depth (ideally 48-bit)
- To take photos of your paintings you will need a high-resolution camera (ideally around 50-megapixel), great lens and Professional lighting
- After photographing/scanning you will need Photo editing software for tone and colour balancing adjustments on the photograph of the painting to closely match the original painting
You will want to end up with:
1. TIFF version of your artwork (master file)
2. JPEG version of your artwork (print-ready file)
3 things to consider if hiring a professional to scan or photograph your work:
- Do they store your art in a secure location
- Does the company encrypt all digitised images so fraudsters don’t take your painting off the server and create their own copies (this happens too often and then artists are surprised when their paintings end up being sold on AliExpress!!)
- Your artwork is covered by specialist insurance whilst at their location in case of damage or loss.
3 factors when creating copies of artwork:
- Framed works with glass in front of the painting are much harder to take photos of so the specialist photographer will need to set up the shot to eliminate reflection
- It’s always easier to photograph artwork so that it’s reproduced in the same size without loss of detail. If you plan to enlarge the image, take into account the potential for fuzzy pixelated images
- I’ve seen many artists say that they’ve used their iPhone to take shots as a cost effective solution to creating prints of their paintings. I strongly believe one can’t get the same variety of detail and colour with an iPhone as one can get with a scanner or DSLR/mirrorless camera
Scanning and photographing original paintings is a useful way to share your painting with a larger audience, to provide a range of sizes of your paintings and to allow for a variety of prices.
Hiring a professional photographer who specialises in artwork reproductions is often the easiest option although with the right tools and enough practise and skill, one can achieve fantastic results oneself. The trick is to focus on the texture, details and colours used in the artwork so that one accurately matches to your originals.
Prints are perfect for my work especially as I gravitate towards painting on massive canvas sizes for my original paintings. However many of my Collectors prefer a smaller version of my paintings to fit in with their decor so Giclée Fine Art Prints allow them to purchase my art in a size that suits their home.