I also make fine art prints for other photographers. Here's what you need to know if you want to order one.
On Fine Art Printing
Priced from $50.
Avoid JPEG files, if possible
14 megapixels or more.
What is a fine art print, and why are they so expensive?
If you just need a nice print of your children's birthday party, or your vacation in Cancun, then a Costco print will do just fine, and may only cost a dollar or two, depending on size.
But, if you've been to a museum or gallery, you have no doubt noticed that richer, deeper tones and "special" quality to the prints hanging there. Those images are created by printing experts, who know how to bring out all the qualities a particular image holds. They are not printed "in bulk" on great rolls of paper by an automated machine like Costco.
Instead, each individual print is carefully analyzed, touched up, corrected for tone and/or color and sharpness. A paper is specifically chosen for the subtle differences each has, to match the artist's desired intent for the viewer. In some cases, the photographer can deliver an image that is already close to his/her intent, while in other cases, many hours must be spent to achieve the desired result.
About the prints
Tracy's prints are in private and corporate collections. They are held the permanent collections of museums where they have been featured in various shows. Prints made for clients have sold for over $1000. Finally, he has been printing digitally for 20 years.
Tracy makes both color and B&W prints. He uses Epson pigment printers for longevity and detail. He also makes B&W prints on matte paper using the famous Piezography inks, which contain 8 shades of black/gray for extended tonal range (beyond the three black inks usually used in professional inkjet printers).
The price list can be downloaded here:
I do not do framing.
The image Format
It is extremely difficult to make a museum-quality print from a jpg. The color space is too small to allow critical printing adjustments, and there simply are not enough tones for shadow depth or to avoid banding in the final print. JPEG files are 8-bit (256 tones) SRGB colors by definition. It's what your iPhone yields unless you tell it otherwise. (Yes, I -will- work with JPEG files, but you need to understand the quality limitations inherent in that format. I don't recommend it.)
So, please provide a 16-bit file (65,536 tones) in a larger color space, such as Adobe RGB (ARGB) or better, ProPhoto RGB. To do this, your file will have to be saved as a TIFF (.tif) file. (You can, of course, send me the raw file instead, and just have me do the whole thing from scratch.)
Most photographers will be starting with a raw file from their camera, and then open it in Lightroom or Photoshop using ACR (Adobe Camera Raw) on the way in. Either of these will allow you to set the color space and bit depth as the file moves into Photoshop.
Here's how to set it:
If you are using Lightroom, visit its preferences, and click on the "external editing" tab at the top. Then enter these in the "Edit in Adobe Photoshop..." section:
File format: TIFF
Color space: ProPhoto RGB
Bit Depth: 16 bits
If you are opening the raw file directly in Photoshop, it will automatically open ACR first. You can access the setting for ACR at the very bottom center of its window. You'll see aline of text that displays the current output information. That text is a live link, and if you click on it, you can alter the settings. Choose the same settings as mentioned above for Lightroom.
Make your adjustments in Lightroom / ACR as you wish, but remember that you will be "baking them in" to the image, so I recommend that you keep them to a minimum. Specifically, I recommend that you don't sharpen the image. Make only large, global changes, such as color temperature. The more adjustments you make, the less latitude I have in adjusting the print.
Yes, bigger is better, and I'm talking about the -original- file size here. Please do NOT enlarge the image yourself. If you have a 12 mp (megapixel) camera, your image should be about 4000 x 3000. If your camera 16 mp, your image will be about 5000 x 3200 and if 24 mp, it will be about 6000 x 4000.
Anything from 14 mp on up will make a nice 12 x 18 print (on 13 x 19 paper). An iPhone 12 mp file might stretch to 12 x 18, but is really best up to about 10 x 15.
I'd generally recommend a 24 mp camera if you're serious about making fine art prints.
I'll provide an upload site for you to send me the image file. (Zip it, if possible please.)
After I've looked at it, I'd like to talk with you by phone to get an understanding of what you're after, and how I should gear my approach to the print.
When it's done (matte papers require 24 hours drying time) you can swing by the house to pick it up, or I can mail it to you, at your own expense. (Tubes or flats are not cheap, and this can easily add $20 to the price.) If there is something wrong with the print, I will fix it and reprint it at my own expense. However this does -not- cover you making a new and different artistic decision, which will be at your own expense.
Finally, I'm always happy to talk about photography and printing, and welcome email or phone calls.
(contact info is in the price list pdf.)