Image Capture Of Original Artwork - The Complete Guide

Image Capture For artists Looking to make prints of their work

Image capture of original artworks can be one of the most difficult parts of getting your original artwork to the print ready stage. We have been producing prints for the photographic and art markets for close to two decades and while print and image capture technology has moved on in leaps and bounds over those years there is still a few challenges associated with getting a good quality image capture and this can often be constrained by budget and the technical awareness of the artist. This is a guide on how artists can get good enough image capture to get printing at archival quality quickly.

The first thing you need to consider when taking an image capture of your artwork is what do you intend to use the image for. This is important as your intentions will then determine which image capture process to use. The majority of our customers want to image capture original paintings so they can get archival quality prints in sizes ranging from 6" x 6" to 16" x 12" as well as 150 x 150mm greeting cards. Size is key here - the bigger you want to print, the better quality image you require and thus more likely going to cost you more. In the digital print world you will often hear the term DPI which is an acronym for Dots Per Square Inch. This simply refers to the quality of the image and the golden number here is to get over or around 300DPI. So if you want a high quality print with no fuzziness or pixels visible then the DPI should be as close to 300 as possible - where does this number come from?



How Do I calculate Image quality or pixels per square inch?

its easy - lets talk about the latest iphone 6 plus which has a camera that can take 8MP or 8 Megapixels shots - that means each shot at its highest quality setting is 3264 x 2448 pixels So if i want to print that image at 10" x 8" well then i divide 3264/10 = 326 PPI ( DPI) and 2448/8 = 306 PPI ( DPI) so with your iphone 6 plus you could take a photo of your original and you could print it at size 10 x 8 and have it at very good quality of over 300 DPI.

Do i have to have over 300 DPI? The simple answer is no - we have printed good quality prints at 200 DPI. So taking those figures from using your iphone 8 and X, from the example above you could print that photo from your iphone at 16" x 12". The technoloy in smart phones is improving very rapidly so this number will continue to increase. We would not recommenced printing under 200DPI unless printing on canvas or if the piece will be viewed from a distance.
Budget Method
Iphone Camera 
quality prints up to size 16 x 12"
greeting cards 150 x 150mm no problem
lighting conditions must be good 
use auto features once imported into photoshop - Begginner = Auto contast/colour/ tone  intermediate users = eg levels/vibrancy and contrast for better results
get monitor screen calibrated if possible to further improve results
 Image Capture Using Iphone
Medium Relatively cheap to purchase a flatbed scanner - start at €60 for an A4 scanner on amazon
limited by sizes of scanners ( unless multiple scans takin and combined on photoshop which requires technical expertise)
layered or 3D works will be problematic - eg felt/ flower /  ribbon  arrangements /arrangement 
perfect DIY solution for sketches and flat artwork
 Flat Bed Scanner
Professional Photographer
Ranges in price anywhere from €5 to €100 per piece.

Digital Slr cameras are now up to 120 MP and a standard Nikon is now 45MP. This means you could print one of the those photos at almost 6 times the size of our original iphone 6+ example.

This would mean good shots could be printed at wide formate sizes eg 60 in x 40 in and more.
For high quality images multiple photos can be stitched together ( will cost more as more work for photographer)  

 Professional photographer Image Capture
Cruse Scanner
Price ranges from €30 to €160 depending on the size
such institutions as the Guggenheim, the V&A Museum and the Vatican Secret Archive
Gold standard and can do wide format work
Available at the copper house gallery in dublin
 Cruise Scanner Image Capture

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published