- What papers do you use?
- What mat and backing board materials do you use?
- What canvas do you use, and how do you prepare it?
What is a giclée print?
A giclée (zhee-KLAY) print is a superb-quality copy of an artwork or photograph made using archival materials. With care, a giclèe print will last for generations.
A giclée print is made with specialized inkjet printers that use pigment based inks. The French word giclée was first applied to this technology by Jack Duganne, a California artist and photographer who wanted to distinguish his prints from inexpensive inkjet prints made with dye-based inks.
Giclèe prints must be printed on archival materials as well. We offer a selection of naturally acid free cotton papers or canvas.
All our giclée prints are made on Epson printers using the latest Ultrachrome archival pigment inks. We print on naturally acid-free cotton papers or canvas. With care, our giclèe prints should last for generations.
What papers do you use?
We offer a selection of five fine art papers for our giclèes. All are naturally acid free and contain no artificial brighteners. Their textures range from very smooth to heavily textured in order listed. The gsm number refers to grams per square meter. The higher the gsm number, the heavier the paper is.
Epson Hot Press Natural.
Epson Hot Press Natural paper is made from 100% cotton fiber. Cotton papers are naturally acid and lignin free. This fine art paper is pH buffered for long lasting protection against airborne contaminants. The natural cotton finish has not been treated with chlorine bleach, and it contains no artificial brighteners. The hot press manufacture of this media provides an extremely smooth finish. It is the paper of choice for making giclèe prints of photographs. It is also a good choice for artists that prefer a neutral surface for their fine art prints. It is optimized for the Epson UltraChrome Ink family to provide rich, deep blacks and an incredibly wide color gamut. 300 gsm
Somerset Velvet for Epson.
Somerset has always been the first paper choice among serious artists and printmakers. Ever since the 1700s and the days of handmade paper, Somerset has enjoyed a reputation for quality. That reputation has continued to grow through the years. Now Epson brings you this old-world paper, with an ink jet coating, to meet the quality requirements of the most demanding printmaker. Somerset Velvet for Epson is a 100% cotton, acid-free paper that delivers long-lasting prints when printed with Epson UltraChrome Ink. As the name implies, Somerset Velvet has a softer texture than Epson Hot Press Natural. It is just a bit less dense at 255 gsm.
The traditional Hahnemühle paper mill has developed the first fine art inkjet paper made from renewable bamboo fibers. Hahnemühle Bamboo is a natural white paper made from 90% bamboo fibers and 10% cotton. It is a good choice for both photographic and fine art giclèe prints. It’s an acid-free paper that complies with the highest archival standards. With its premium matte inkjet coating, it meets the highest industry standards for density, color gamut, color gradation, and image sharpness. 290 gsm
Epson Cold Press Natural.
Epson Cold Press Natural paper is made from 100% cotton and is naturally acid and lignin free. This fine art paper is pH buffered for long lasting protection against airborne contaminants. The natural cotton finish has not been treated with chlorine bleach, and it contains no artificial brighteners. The cold press manufacture gives an elegantly textured finish to giclèe prints. It is particularly popular with watercolor painters. It’s optimized for the Epson UltraChrome Ink family to provide rich, deep blacks and an incredibly wide color gamut. 340 gsm
Hahnemühle William Turner.
Hahnemühle William Turner is a natural white, 100% cotton, paper that is ideal for fine art giclèe prints. It is a popular choice for watercolor painters. It also makes striking and expressive photo reproductions. The mould-made watercolor paper features a distinct textured surface. With its premium matte inkjet coating, it meets the highest industry standards for density, color gamut, color gradation, and image sharpness. 310 gsm
What mat and backing board materials do you use?
We selected mat and backing board materials for color compatibility with our natural white cotton papers and for the highest standards of archival quality.
We make our window mats are from Crescent RagMat Museum mat board. These archival mat boards are made from 100% natural cotton that has not been treated with chlorine bleach and contains no artificial brighteners.
Depending on what you have ordered, we will use either Crescent RagMat Museum mounting board or Crescent Acid-Free Fome-Cor® as a backing board. We will mount your fine art giclèe print to the backing board using hinges along the top of the image made of Neschen Filmoplast P90 tape–a removable acid-free tape.
What canvas do you use and how do you prepare it?
We use PremierArt Museum Bright Satin Canvas for our canvas giclèes—a poly/cotton canvas with a natural white base. This is then coated with PremierArt Eco Print Shield, a solvent-free varnish that has been formulated especially for PremierArt canvas. Independent testing by Wilhelm Imaging Research has shown that it will increase the life of the image significantly, while protecting the print from scuffing and other physical abrasions.
Can you send me a proof before I place my order?
We do not offer proofs as a separate product, but we think it is a good idea to order a single reference print to make sure you are satisfied with the image quality before you place a large order. A smaller reference print would probably be adequate, since we use the same materials and methods no matter what size the final print is. If you become a regular customer, we hope you’ll soon develop a high level of confidence in our work, so you may no longer think a reference print is necessary.
Can I get a refund if I’m not completely satisfied?
As we mentioned above, we encourage you to purchase a reference print before you place a large order. We will guarantee your satisfaction with the reference print and work with you until we get it right or refund the purchase price. This guarantee applies to any single unmatted print or unstretched canvas. For any other order we offer a 75% refund of the purchase price when you return an order that has dissatisfied you in any way. Returns must be made at your own expense and within 30 days of receipt of your order.
What sizes can you print my image?
That depends on the proportions of the original. For example, an original that is 16×20 has a proportion of 4:5. So you could have it printed at any multiple of that proportion. For example, 4×5, 8×10, 12×15, or 16×20. Any other size would require us to crop your image to fit.
You might find this proportion calculator helpful in determining the sizes we can print your artwork.
How large can you print my image?
That depends on the size of the file you provide us. The ideal resolution for printing is 300dpi at the size you want printed. For example, to print an 8×10 at 300dpi your file should have dimensions of 2400 x 3000 pixels (or greater).
Our printing software uses sophisticated scaling algorithms, so you should not scale your own images to reach this resolution. While 300dpi is the ideal, we have had excellent results with images that have 200dpi resolution. And we’ve had very good results with resolutions as low as 100dpi. If you are uncertain how to determine if your image file will produce an acceptable print at the size you want, you can send us your image, tell us how large you would like it printed, and we will advise you. You can email files as large as 20MB to email@example.com. For larger files we recommend using wetransfer.com.
Can I photograph my own artwork?
Most artists don’t have the equipment and knowledge required to produce extremely accurate digital files. But, with a modest investment and a bit of care, you may be able to get “good enough” results photographing your own work. The essential elements are a good camera, a good lens, a good tripod, and good light.
- A good camera. The best option is a professional level digital SLR that allows you to shoot in the Adobe RGB color space. The second best is an enthusiast level camera that shoots in the sRGB color space and has interchangeable lenses. The worst option is a smart phone.
- A good lens. Simpler is better. A single focal length lens (prime lens) will have less distortion than a zoom lens. Single focal length macro lenses are usually among the best lenses offered by a manufacturer. I glare is a problem on your artwork, using a polarizing filter on the lens may help.
- A good tripod. Really, any tripod. If you do not use a tripod, your images will not be as sharp as they should be. And you should use a self-timer or remote—not your finger—to trip the shutter.
- Good light. Diffused sunlight is ideal, the kind of light you find under a skylight or on a lightly overcast day. If you have a tent with a translucent white top, that would be a great place to set up a temporary photo studio.
It is also important that you get the correct exposure in your photographs. Most digital cameras have a histogram display that shows a graph of tonal values in your image. On a properly exposed image, the histogram will have a peak near the middle that slopes down to just touch the right side of the display. If the histogram is bunched up on the right side, your image is overexposed. If the histogram is bunched up on the left side, it’s underexposed.
How should I prepare my image after I’ve taken the photograph?
This is where things get tricky. A photograph of a painting will rarely match the original closely without some adjustments. At the very least you’ll want to do the following:
- Open your photograph in an image processing program like Photoshop.
- Compare what you see on screen to the original.
- Make adjustment to the file until it matches the original as close as possible.
- Print the file on high quality paper and compare this proof to your original.
- Make additional adjustment until you’re are satisfied that the print matches your original as closely as possible.
- Save you file as a jpeg.
Why should I consider having you photograph my artwork?
The procedures I’ve outlined for photographing you own work are only intended to get results that are “good enough.” If you want results that are extremely accurate, you should have someone who specializes in creating digital files of artwork create the image.
Let me describe our process:
Our Camera and Lenses
We use the latest Canon professional digital SLRs–currently the 50 megapixel Canon EOS 5DS R. This camera is matched to a selection of single focal length lenses that we’ve chosen for their superb optical qualities. These include the Canon EF 50mm f/2.5 Compact Macro, Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 USM, and the Canon Macro EF 100mm f/2.8 USM.
Our dedicated copy studio is outfitted with a pair of Westcott Spiderlite TD6 lights mounted in large soft boxes. These lights use six 35-watt, full spectrum, daylight balanced LED bulbs. These specialized bulbs provide extremely accurate color reproduction. We calibrate our cameras to this light source.
To eliminate glare on your artwork we use a technique called cross polarization. First, we place a polarizing film on the light sources. Then we adjust the polarizing filter on the lens of the camera to eliminate all glare.
Our Digital Files
We capture your image using the RAW file format. A RAW file can contain 64x more color information than a standard jpeg file. This gives us much greater latitude to edit your files later without degrading the file.
We also capture our images in the AdobeRGB color space which is 35% larger than the sRGB color space that most cameras use. We then process your image on a calibrated monitor that faithfully reproduces the full Adobe RGB color space. Standard monitors are designed to reproduce the much narrower sRGB color space. We use the X-rite i1Display Pro to calibrate our Dell UltraSharp monitors.
Despite all of the care we take to create as accurate a digital file as possible, it is still necessary to fine-tune the image for printing. We print as many proofs and make as many adjustments as is necessary to assure that our giclée is as close a match to your original as possible.