Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is giclée printing?
Giclée is the name for a specialized high resolution inkjet process using 100% pigmented inks on archival papers or canvas. Depending on the paper or canvas used, giclée prints have fade resistance of 50 to 100+ years. Most inkjet printers use dye based or dye and pigment mixed inks that start out looking bright but fade quickly, sometimes in a matter of months.
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2. How do I have giclée prints made of my work?
For best quality bring or send your original to our studio to be scanned. We will scan your original and do color corrections to the digital file for the media you choose for the final prints. Or you may send us a digital file of the work along with a proof print (a color photo or other print with the colors as you want them). For best reproduction the resolution should be 300 ppi at the physical size of the desired print. An alternate would be a digital photo of your work at your camera's highest quality setting that includes a photographer's gray scale or gray card in the image (Gray Scales and Gray Cards are available at photo supply stores). For more complete instructions click this link. We will then print a color proof for your approval. You may view the proof in our studio or we will send it to you for approval or mark up. Upon approval you decide how many prints you want produced at that time. You do not need to have all the prints in an edition done at one time. We keep the approved digital image and one reference print on file for future printing.
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3. Why are color corrections necessary?
Color is our brain's interpretation of light waves reflected or absorbed by some surface. Under pure white light (sunlight unaffected by stuff in the air: dust, water vapor, etc.) a particular pigment on a particular surface will always be the same color to a particular individual. We do not always view things under pure white light. Incandescent lights have lots of red and yellow light waves but few blue waves; fluorescent lights have peaks of green and yellow but can vary considerably.
Pigments also can change color with the surface on which they are applied. Light may be reflecting from the surface through the pigment changing its apparent color. Pigments may also have a chemical reaction to the surface and change color.
Add to this the variations in color sensitivity of the devices we use to capture an image. Film is notorious for its variations in color balance. But digital scanners and cameras also vary. Cheap cameras and scanners have difficulty capturing subtle differences in blues and violets.
We do our image capture under color balanced lighting and calibrate our cameras/scanners and monitors to standardized color test patterns. However the final color calibration has to be a real person doing a side by side comparison under good lighting. That is a long answer to a short question but the complete answer is book length.
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4. How do I calibrate my monitor?
For color accuracy the monitor you use for preparing your photos must be calibrated to ICC (International Color Consortium) standards.
Hardware calibration is the most accurate and can be done with a colorimeter (X-Rite: Huey on the low end $90, i1 Display $176; Datacolor: The Spyder series of colorimeters from $90 to $250, etc.) or spectrophotometer (X-Rite: ColorMonki $500, i1Basic $1000, i1XTreme $1500, MonacoPROFILER $2000; Datacolor SpyderSR series from $340 to $600).
If these are not available, software calibration can be done. It is not as accurate but it is better than factory settings. On Macintosh computers ColorSync is built into the monitor control panel in System Preferences.
Windows 7 & 8 have Display Color Calibration (for XP and Vista try this); open by clicking the Start button, and then clicking Control Panel. In the search box, type calibrate display, and then click Calibrate display color.
On Mac OS and Microsoft Windows systems, if you are using an Adobe product such as Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, Adobe Gamma should also have been installed in your Control Panels.
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5. How are giclée prints priced?
The original scan and color correction is a one-time cost. Small images, letter size or smaller, that can be scanned on a flat-bed scanner involve little set up time and are less expensive. Large images are shot with a digital scanning back in a large format camera. This requires more set up time adjusting the camera and lighting to produce the best possible image capture. We keep your approved image on file for future printing.
The final prints are priced per square inch of the image based on your desired media and include a one to two inch border proportional to the size of the print. There is not the press set up time that is involved in offset printing so there is no minimum quantity of prints. Each time you order prints the cost per print will be the same unless there is a change in the cost of our supplies.
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