General Question

kutelilkat's avatar

Need information: best way to capture images of my artwork for prints DSLR or SCAN?

Asked by kutelilkat (279points) May 6th, 2009

I have a bunch of original artwork I’ve created over the years that I’d like to have on file so I can get prints made.

I mainly use acrylics and pastels. but Am starting to work in oils and watercolors.

Some can fit a scanner. but many are larger like 17“x14”

Would it be best to use the scanner for the ones that do fit?

1. Is scanning the image better than taking a picture?
2. Should I do it myself? Price difference?
3. What camera or scanner to get?
4. What would be a good way to have the prints made? Online or ?

I’m trying to save on the costs also.

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19 Answers

Dog's avatar

What medium is the artwork in?

kutelilkat's avatar

I have edited the original question ;)

Lightlyseared's avatar

Have you considered going to a document printing company (or what ever they are called). They will have the kit to make better copies than you could produce easily at home and then print them out. You would save on the expense of having to buy equipment.

kutelilkat's avatar

I’ve heard that scanning is better. Is this true?

Also, is having a shop do the scanning much more expensive? Or having a pro photograph the pieces? I’m just not sure which way to go

kutelilkat's avatar

@Lightlyseared ; you mean they do it all or I buy a kit?

Lightlyseared's avatar

I meant for them to do it all ie you take the art in to the shop they scan it and print out to your specifiactions.

If this is something you are only planning to do once in a while and you don’t need the equipment for anything else then I’d guess this would be the cheapest way to do it.

jrpowell's avatar

You might want to look into what is called a prepress service bureau. Having it scanned will produce better results.

Dog's avatar

I work in oils- so there is usually a sheen from the oil that will mar the image. Scanning my work intensifies the glare so I do not scan. I do have a friend who uses a top quality scanner and loves it- she works exclusively in acrylic.

Here is what I do- and the digital files are good enough not just for prints but for companies to manufacture products with my work on it.

I use a Canon Digital Rebel (my choice- I am sure there are other high end digitals that are as good)

Shooting at superfine large with no flash and taking the art outside at either 11:00am or 2:00pm so that the sun is not directly overhead but the light is still at its brightest.

I shoot the panting in the shade at several different angles. Each painting I will take at least 20 photos of tilted differently to cover every light angle.

Then I can go into a photo editing program and pick the best of all. They rarely need much adjustment.

Be sure to save your files at a minimum 300dpi 16” x 24” (rough dimensions of course will vary by canvas size)

For my purposes this has met every need I have encountered for my artwork- even making one life size from an 11” x 14” oil painting.

EDIT: I just saw your last question and can strongly reccomend ImageKind for online printing. I have used many online services and Imagekind is by far the best I have used.

They offer a free gallery that holds 24 images. I have done very well through them.

kutelilkat's avatar

Wow, thank you so much for your information :)

kutelilkat's avatar

I read online that if you only have a small scanner you can scan the original in pieces then edit them together in a program. That seems kind of tedious though. I thought maybe I could scan the ones that are small enough to fit my scanner then take pictures of the ones that art too large. But I wasnt sure if I should do the photographing or a pro. I guess I’ll call a few places and see what the pricing is like. I think I may end up buy the camera and doing it myself.

Dog's avatar

There is no reason why you cannot take your own photos if you have a quality camera.

kutelilkat's avatar

Thanks, I feel more confident now :)

what mega pixel camera is good?

kutelilkat's avatar

Do you think the scanner produces better quality?

kutelilkat's avatar

Does anyone know what size prints are usually sold? I was thinking I wanted my prints to be original size (usually 14“x17”)

Dog's avatar

If you go through Imagekind they take your upload and offer a variety of sizes to meet client need if you wish. They also handle the sale and you choose your markup.

I have noted that two factors work in to print sizes:
1. Client size need- not everyone has a lot of wall space or they could be looking for a large work for a large space.
2. Standard Frame Sizes.

To offer prints that need custom framing due to an unusual size will make them harder to sell.

Standard Frame Sizes:

# 4“x5”
# 4“x6”
# 6“x8”
# 5“x7”
# 8“x10”
# 8“x12”
# 8–1/2“x11”
# 9“x12”
# 10“x13”
# 11“x14”
# 12“x16”
# 14“x18”
# 16“x20”
# 20“x24”
# 22“x28”
# 24“x30”
# 24“x36”
# 30“x40”

kutelilkat's avatar

Good point. Hey, how many mega pixels should the camera be?

CMaz's avatar

All depends on the resulution of the scanner and/or the camera. Then the issue is lighting.
You don’t want glare.

Dog's avatar

@kutelilkat I sent you a link in your IM :)

TitsMcGhee's avatar

I would get a professional to photograph them for you, or scan for you. It would be cheaper than purchasing your own equipment, and the results will be better. Do this especially if you’re looking to submit a portfolio anywhere.

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