Fine Art Printing a primer for a discerning eye
Click and read this first! Seriously, read it before sending over your images!
Basic info to get you started
As of 2017, bulk of the work we print here at Imagefoundry is done using high-end inkjet machines. We presently use both Epson and Canon platforms, capable of printing up to 60" wide (by however long) - these are top of the line printers designed specifically for fine art applications - meaning high resolution, extended color response, archival pigment-based inks and the ability to handle heavy-weight premium artists papers.
We also maintain traditional analog equipment for darkroom printing (B&W only, both silver- and platinum-based), and intaglio printing (Takach etching press, along with ability to make plates and screens) - so if there's an interest in running a print project based on analog techniques, we are well positioned to answer that challenge. Call or write for details! Although we no longer offer chromagenic printing services (ie. large format digital photo imaging using machines such as Lambda, LightJet and Chromira) we still possess plenty of expertise preparing images for printing on these systems, so feel free to approach us for consultation on these matters.
Understanding prices for fine art printing
The cost of making a fine art print depends on a huge variety of factors, such as - size of the image area, border width (if any), amount of wasted paper, ink coverage, number of prints, paper type and so on. It is logistically impossible to publish a price list that can take into account all of these variables - please inquire with us for a precise quote. Having said that, here is a sample pricing of popular sizes to give you an idea of what to expect.
All prices are in Canadian dollars. Prints are delivered flat, trimmed to specified size, and are packaged in cardboard folders with glassine interleaves.
Once again, these are sample prices designed to give you a basic overview of costs of printing. Contact us for exact quote for your project.
Finally, I thought it would be a good idea to make a quick list of things that can affect your print quote.
Things that we DO for free:
- scaling and sizing
- color transforms
- adding borders and trim marks
- adding mirrored edges (for gallery-wrap canvas prints)
- sharpening *
- simple tonal corrections *
- flattening prints
- trimming and tearing off edges **
- stamping and signing *
Things that we do NOT do for free:
- algorithmic up-sampling
- fancy photographic edges
- complex color corrections
- localized sharpening
- tonal remapping, ie. HDR look, etc.
- dustbusting, removing sensor dust, etc.
- raw processing **
- mitigating banding and other visual defects
- noise and grain reduction
- adding grain textures
- retouching of any sort
* - only if you trust us with these types of interventions
** - depends on quantity of prints being produced. For example, tearing the edges on one print might be free, but tearing edges on a set of 50 can take a lot of hours.
About paper choices
We carry some of the best printmaking papers available today, and the variety can be quite bewildering. When I talk to artists I usually draw a little diagram mapping out the choices, ranging from:
smooth to heavily textured,
glossy to flat matte,
yellow/natural tone to bright white
Stop by our shop to look at and discuss all the available options and look at the samples. We generally always have most popular papers in stock, and can bring in other stuff as needed - although that sometimes means longer wait times and/or extra costs.
We charge flat $25.00 for a single proof print - which can be set up in a variety of ways, ie. full image scaled down to approx. 11"x14", or a section of the image, at final printing size - useful when you want to check sharpness/detail, or a 10" wide strip across the whole width of roll - again, usually done to see a section of the image at a final printing size.
There's a 20% discount on proofs when you are printing more than 3 , and we include color tweaks into that cost - this is useful when we are color matching prints to the original artwork.
Most fine art papers are available in following sizes:
Cut sheets - 8.5x11", 13x19" , 17x22" Rolls - 17", 24", 36", 44", 50" and 60" wide
Not every paper mill has all sizes available, and most stop at 44" wide rolls - so if you are thinking of printing larger, reach out to us ahead of time to determine the availability. We generally only stock roll paper as sheets are significantly more expensive, but we flatten all the prints before shipping so it's a bit of a moot point.
Is it possible to print on a fine art paper that is not specifically designed for inkjet printing? Yes, it is - but with limitations. We had some pretty great results printing on Japanese handmade paper, and even on uncoated Arches Aquarelle sheets. But, broadly speaking, general-use fine art papers lack the ink-receptive coating needed to for the extra contrast and sharpness. Inquire with us for more info.
And finally more links:
A guide how to set up and send in your print project can be found here
More excuses about why it's impossible to have an all-encompassing price guide are here
And some years I ago I wrote this piece for a friend, talking about Limited Editions, printing in general and the public perception of multiples. Much of that reads vaguely naive now, but hey! - if you are interested, have a gander here.