These days, most of the images we see pass quickly as we scroll through various social media feeds. While this works well enough for catching up with friends and family, it leaves plenty to be desired for preserving our favorite, most important photos. As a result, the print industry has seen an unexpected renaissance for something a bit more tangible and longer lasting, the fine art print. For photographers looking to diversify their income and present their work in a format that demands pause and admiration, fine art prints provide the perfect opportunity. In this article, we’ll give you a guide for how to make and sell fine art prints.
What Is a “Fine Art Print?”
A “Fine Art Print,” often referred to as giclee prints, is a high-quality reproduction of an image using premium materials. These materials include archival-quality paper and pigment-based, acid-free inks, ensuring that the print remains vibrant and fade-resistant over time. The paper for regular photographic prints often contains acid, leading to potential degradation over time. This can result in fading, brittleness, or even cracking as years pass. Zno’s prints serve as a great example of a fine art print. They come in a wide range of sizes, are crafted using top-tier archival inks and printed on acid-free art-grade papers with advanced large format printers. In short, these prints stand out for their longevity and quality.
What Images Make Good Fine Art Prints?
While the term ‘fine art’ can be subjective, it often refers to high quality, high-resolution images that resonate with people due to their subject, composition, emotion, and technique. These are stories captured in a frame, whether of beautiful landscapes, artistic portraits, unique street photography, or even still life.
How to Post-Process for a Fine Art Print
Printing introduces challenges that digital displays can forgive. Here are some tips on editing and submitting your image for a fine art print:
- The image resolution should be high, ideally at least 300 dpi for fine art prints.
- Ensure that you’re editing on a calibrated monitor and that color corrections are made, considering the color profile that the printer uses.
- Use software tools like Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom to refine and perfect your image, zooming in on each detail prior to printing.
- Sharpen your photo to taste if needed.
- Upsample the image if needed. If you’re creating a large print, consider upsampling, otherwise known as upscaling, your image. Some printers will do this for you, but the advantage of doing it yourself is that you have full control, and you can do it easily in Photoshop.
Choosing Print Materials
Your choice of material can enhance or diminish the impact of your work. For a classic look, archival-quality paper with a weight of at least 230 gsm is recommended. While glossy paper can make colors pop, matte finishes reduce glare.
For something different, consider canvas or even metal prints that offer durability and a modern look. The type of ink used, usually pigment-based, also matters as it ensures longevity and fade-resistance.
How to Choose a Fine Art Printer
While home printing has come a long way, there’s a marked difference when partnering with a professional printer. Pro labs like Zno, for example, bring expertise, quality control, and often access to better materials. Research printers that cater to artists and photographers. Reviews and portfolios can also guide your choice.
Making Money From Fine Art Prints
Making money from fine art prints is challenging in today’s world where artistic photos are reproduced and sold by big box stores like Target and Ikea, and beautiful work is uploaded for free to download on sites like Pexels and Unsplash. However, even if you don’t have the name recognition and artwork of more established photographers, fine art prints can still have a place in your photography business.
Beginner and Amateur Photographers – For beginner and amateur photographers, fine art photography can serve as a rewarding, physical embodiment of your passion. You can create fine art prints for your home and your family and friends.
Wedding and Portrait Photographers – For wedding and portrait photographers, adding fine art prints to your product lineup can create a unique product and experience for your clients. With the right presentation, a limited edition physical print carries more perceived value than a digital image.
Consider adding fine art prints as an order option in your Estore. This can be found by Zno customers in their online photo gallery, Zno Gallery. Or as an alternative you can always create a Fine Art Album, which is the equivalent of multiple Fine Art Prints put together. A great way to design a Fine Art Album is through album design software like Zno Designer, which can be used to design fine art albums for Zno or any other printing Lab.
Marketing and Selling Your Fine Art Prints
Defining and understanding your target audience is foundational. Are they art collectors, enthusiasts, or individuals seeking décor? Are they your wedding or portrait clients seeking a unique presentation of your images for their homes?
Harness the power of the internet. A personal website acts as a portfolio and store, while other platforms like Etsy can broaden your reach. Collaborate with local galleries for exhibitions, or look for space at art fairs.
Finally, social media is your friend, especially platforms that prioritize visuals like Instagram. Showcase not just the final print, but also the process, behind-the-scenes moments, and testimonials.
Limited Editions and Certifications
Limiting the number of prints can create exclusivity and demand. Consider numbering each print and even signing them. Offering certificates of authenticity adds value and assures buyers of their purchase’s uniqueness and legitimacy. When pricing, consider the exclusivity, cost of production, and comparable market prices.
Packaging and Presentation
The experience of receiving a fine art print should be special. Use acid-free tissue paper, sturdy packaging, and consider adding a personalized note or care instructions. Such touches elevate the unboxing experience, enhancing the perceived value of your work.
The realm of fine art prints is a challenging yet rewarding avenue for photographers. It offers a means to not only monetize one’s passion but also to connect deeply with audiences, to present work in a format that transcends the fleeting nature of digital consumption.
The journey into fine art printing is as much about self-discovery as it is about mastering technique and marketing. It’s about understanding the value of your work and presenting it in a way that resonates with others. So, as you embark on this adventure, remember to stay true to your vision, continually hone your craft, and embrace the opportunities that arise.