Help & Advice

Answers to some common questions & practical tips

Sending Digital Files

If you have a digital image file of your work please send it to us via WeTransfer and we can assess its quality and check file size/resolution for your desired print size.

If all is okay we can print an a4 hard proof for you to check quality, color and tone or you can go straight ahead and order prints.

If you do not have a digital file we can arrange to photograph or scan your work. Please see our Photography and Scanning sections for details.

Screen Calibration

This may be the trickiest issue of all and the only certain solution is to print a hard proof. If we are making the digital file and printing it we can trust our calibrated equipment and high quality monitors and usually can get a print to replicate an original within 1 or 2 hard proofs.

If we have a digital image sent to us for printing we cannot be sure that the sender has a calibrated screen or what quality their screen is. If accuracy is very important we suggest a hard proof and better still let us create the digital file also, if this is possible.

Digital File Types

We can print from various image file types: Psd photoshop file, Tiff, Png, Jpeg or vector files. Jpeg is probably the most common and although it is perfectly acceptable, it is a compressed file (some information is lost) and it is not as high quality as a Psd or Tiff file. Psd and Tiff are of similarly high quality and our preferred file type.

If we are photographing  an artwork we will produce what’s called a raw file which contains the whole image info/data and has more scope for colour, tone and white balance manipulation.

Once worked on, we will transfer it to photoshop and save as a Psd photoshop file with an Adobe Rgb 98 (or ProPhoto RGB) colour space and 16 bit colour.

File Size/Resolution

We recommend a minimum of 300dpi resolution at your desired printing size (in cm). For an A3 print (42 x 29.7cm) this is 4961 x 3508 pixels. This information can usually be found in imaging software (such as Lightroom or Photoshop) under “Image Size”.

You cannot make an image any higher resolution by changing the resolution in the software as the resolution is dependant on the capture device and changes up will only lose quality.

Enlarging an image print size will result in lower resolution whilst decreasing print size will increase the resolution. We can print at lower resolutions than 300dpi quite successfully but this depends on the quality of the digital image.

We can also print at higher resolutions than 300dpi if the digital image is very high quality and benefits from this.

CMYK vs RGB

(Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black vs Red, Green, Blue.) There are lots of articles online about colour space and it can be a complex and scientific investigation. Most searches for CMYK v RGB will bring up articles stating RGB is for display on monitors and screens and CMYK is for printing purposes. This CMYK usage only applies to higher volume commercial printing of brochures, posters and business cards for example as the CMYK colour space has a much smaller gamut/range of colours than RGB.

Commercial printing equipment can only reproduce this lower range gamut. High quality Giclee printing uses many more ink colours (12 in our case as opposed to 4 in CMYK) and our machines are able to process much more colour information and reproduce the much wider colour Gamuts of RGB colour models.

We use the term RGB colour models as there are many different RGB colour spaces. The more familiar ones and commonly used would be sRGB, Adobe RGB 98 and ProPhoto RGB. Each has its own colour space as shown in the diagram. ProPhoto RGB has the largest colour gamut and will display/print up to 98% of colours.

Our equipment is capable of printing this huge range of colour. It is not always discernible and not all artworks will have this range so it is not necessary in all situations. Wherever possible we recommend using the colour space of Abobe RGB and sometimes ProPhoto RGB.

Giclee Printing vs C-type Print

Photographers will have traditionally used c-type printing (chromogenic) and newer digital c-type printing is still a wet process using led or laser light and chemicals to expose images. Giclee pigment printing is laying very fine dots of pigment ink onto the paper surface. C-type is likely a bit cheaper but I think the advantages of pigment printing far outweigh this. Advantages as follows:

  1. Print Permanence – C-type prints are rated around 40 years whereas Giclee prints 80-100 years (both depending on environment). This in itself is reason if you are selling work.
  2. Colour gamut – Some c-type printers may offer up to Adobe RGB 98 though likely less. Giclee can manage the extra wide colour gamut of Prophoto RGB but I believe much more care is also taken with specific paper icc profiles to ensure good colour representation with Giclee printing
  3. Paper selection – A huge range of papers and textures, matt and glossy are usable for Giclee printing
  4. Print size – Giclee printing is much more flexible with print sizing
  5. Artistic control – more control of input image and output with Giclle printing. Partly due to the easeier nature of tweaking colours and hard proofing

C-type prints are a continuous tone as opposed to thousands of tiny drops with Giclee but the resolution is so high that it is not visible and the extra colour and tone is so beneficial.

Choosing the Right Paper

We use quite a few different papers and they are all excellent. They differ in textures and white tones and also sheen if looking at photographic papers. They all have excellent archival qualities and almost all are Artsure approved (they haven’t tested all papers).

Some papers print a little sharper and punchier and others slightly softer. Some feel structurally stiffer even at similar paper weights. You can get an overview from our paper types page but we recommend getting in touch for a chat to see what might suit your image or send us an image to assess. All the papers are so nice that the usual comments are “lovely paper” regardless of which one chosen.

Paper Sizing

We can print to 118.9cm wide by several metres long. We can do all the “A” sizes but also print from paper rolls (which come in 5 different widths) so it is worth getting in touch to see if we can advise a certain size parameter to  make costs as efficient as possible particularly if you have some flexibility.

Delivery & Turnaround

Visit the Postage & Packaging page for delivery options and prices.

Our Prices

Visit the Prices page for delivery options and prices.

Please get in touch for further information or some friendly advice.

We offer discounts on multiple images and combined print/scan orders. Use our contact form or call 0794 665 9180