Holiday GuideNovember 21, 2021
So you are thinking about getting some of your photos or artwork printed, and choosing a printer is a crucial decision. Where do you begin?
In this guide, I will cover some of the basics of photo and fine art printing, from file creation and setup to current printing technology and media. I will show you how easy it can be to create artwork from your images.
What does GICLEE PRINTING mean?
Giclee (think Zsa Zsa Gábor when pronouncing the first G sound) is a commonly used term that refers to the process of printing a high-quality inkjet reproduction (or print). It is made using inkjet printers and pigment inks and is typically given the designation as archival.
How do we make our giclee prints?
We print using Epson’s SureColor P9000 and UltraChrome HDX Inks.
Also, all our media is archival. This combination of equipment and materials gives all of our prints a 70+ year permanence rating.
The giclee printing process can be used to make several different types of prints.
Reproducing Original Artwork
First things first, Is your artwork digital?
The Stackhouse is a digital print shop. Being a digital print shop means that everything we print comes from a digital file. For some artists like photographers and digital artists, this process is incredibly simple because they make a digital file when they take a photo or when they create the art. For more traditional forms of art, this process is a bit more complicated.
But fear not, The Stackhouse has solutions.
The Stackhouse can take your two-dimensional art and turn it into a color correct, digital file that can be used to print from. We do this through a combination of scanners and studio photography.
For more info on how we reproduce original artwork click the link below.
You can also do this yourself.
If you have even a halfway decent camera, you can take photos of your artwork yourself. We then use these digital photos to make prints.
Here are a couple tips.
- Take your photos outside on a sunny day between 11-1 o’clock. You want to make sure the sun is out and high in the sky. The more light, the better.
- Square up to your artwork. Make sure that your artwork fills the viewfinder or screen, that way you are using as much of the camera sensor as possible. The goal is to get the highest quality possible.
- Make sure that your camera is on the highest quality settings. If possible, you will want to change your camera settings from sRGB color space to AdobeRGB(1998). Doing so will increase the color gamut of your images.
There are also tons of videos online on how to photograph your artwork.
Most modern print shops are digital and therefore require a digital file to make prints. When it comes to digital file types the single most significant factors are file type, color space, and pixel dimensions.
The software that I use to run our printers allows for JPEG, TIFF, PNG, PSD file formats. TIFF is always preferred as it uses a lossless compression format which means that it is uncompressed. PSD is another common file type that stands for PhotoShop Document. This file format is capable of storing an image with support for most imaging options available within Photoshop. The downside to the TIFF and PSD file type is the size. TIFFs can be up to a 4GB and PSDs 2GB. JPEG and PNG are file types that are more concerned with file size. They are the most widely used compression formats on the internet. While we prefer maximum quality JPEGs with AdobeRGB(1998) color profile, a TIFF or PSD will certainly suffice. JPEGs are small enough to upload, and they still maintain color quality and resolution even when enlarged. Most print shops prefer JPEGs, and I agree that up to a certain size a JPEG will satisfy most customers. Now if you want to print something 40″ x 60″, then we might want to think about a more robust file format.
While file types vary, color space has a much narrower set of options. Although our printers use CMYK ink sets, they are RGB printers. Meaning they prefer file types with an RGB color space. For the best colors, I suggest using the AdobeRGB(1998) color space. AdobeRGB is a color setting used when creating a digital file. Check your camera settings and software settings to embed this color profile in the files you are using. If you are shooting in RAW and are using a RAW editor such as Lightroom, your color space settings are set when you export your file.
I get asked a lot about how large I can print a file. While file type and color space affect overall quality, the single largest contributor to the size of the print you can make from a file is pixel dimensions. To determine how large of a print you can make from the digital file you need to divide the file’s pixel dimensions by 150. For example, you have an image that is 2400 x 3600 pixels. Divide each number by 150 to get the largest print size you can print. That would make a 2400/150=16 and 3600/150=24. That would mean that you could safely print a 2400 x 3600-pixel file up to a 16″ x 24″ print.
You do not need to enlarge your images. Leave that part up to me and my staff. We need a minimum of 150 pixels per inch to print from, but always prefer more when available.
Determining the size of the prints you want to get can be a bit overwhelming. It can be a bit more manageable when we break it down into aspect ratio categories. The aspect ratio is the height related to the width. For example, an image that has a 2:3 aspect ratio increases 2 inches in height when the width is increased by 3.
Once we know your aspect ratio, then it is easy to see what other sizes you can print your art.
6 x 9
8 x 12
10 x 15
12 x 18
14 x 21
16 x 24
18 x 27
20 x 30
22 x 33
24 x 36
26 x 39
28 x 42
30 x 45
32 x 48
34 x 51
36 x 54
38 x 57
40 x 60
42 x 63
6 x 8
9 x 12
12 x 16
15 x 20
18 x 24
21 x 28
24 x 32
27 x 36
30 x 40
33 x 44
36 x 48
39 x 52
42 x 56
6 x 7.5
8 x 10
12 x 15
16 x 20
20 x 25
24 x 30
28 x 35
32 x 40
36 x 45
40 x 50
The lists above give you options for common sizes that match your aspect ratio. If you see your size in one of these categories, then any other size in that category can be printed without having to crop.
But wait! You crop everything differently?
Then don’t worry. The Stackhouse offers custom sizing on all media; however, the custom sizing will require a custom quote for the exact price. If a rough estimate is all that you are looking for, then please use the next available standard size to estimate the printing cost. All custom quotes are completely free.
We can print your images onto several different types of media. Our media can be broken down into three categories: Photography Papers, Fine Art Papers, and Canvas.
These papers are most commonly used for photography prints, although they can be an affordable solution to fine art applications as well.
- Premium Luster Photo Paper – Pebble Finish
- Premium Glossy Photo Paper – High Gloss
- Metallic Photo Paper Glossy – High Gloss w/ Pearlescence
Fine Art Papers
- Hot Press Bright – Smooth Matte Finish
- Cold Press Bright – Textured Matte Finish
- William Turner – Textured Matte Finish
NOT SURE WHAT TO CHOOSE?
It is ok. We have something to help you make up your mind.
Everyone loves samples. We will give you tiny square swatches of our media for you to feel and touch for absolutely free.
The images get printed on our high-quality inkjet printers. We then hand finish each one and package for shipping.
Turn around times vary for the products we make.
Turn Around Times
Printing – 2-3 days
Canvas Printing – 3-5 days
Stretched Canvas – 5-7 days
We guarantee you will like the prints or you don’t owe us anything.