Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jump Start Your Art Business - Part II

by Kate Dardine

In my last blog I talked about how most artists – at least those trying to start or restart an art career – need a website. Today I’m going to talk about how to optimize your website to be searchable for engines like Google and Bing and create a good first impression once prospective buyers find you.

The most important thing to remember is this: just because you build it, doesn’t mean they will come! And the second most important thing: just because they come, doesn’t mean they will buy. So, how do you get people to do both things – come to your site AND buy?

First I’m going to start with what NOT to do.

1. DON’T load your site up with pretty to look at but useless for searching Flash functions. Flash is basically unreadable (for web crawlers) and can be slow to load.

2. DON’T put huge watermarks on your images to discourage people from “stealing” your images. Those who really want to steal the image know how to remove the watermark, wouldn’t have bought anything anyway, and are really just a tiny fraction of the people who will hopefully be wandering around on your website. Do you really want to send the people who are interested in your work and may purchase a signal that says, “I don’t trust you?” If you really feel you must watermark your images, choose a small watermark (perhaps a copyright symbol and your name) placed in the lower right hand side of the image.

3. DON’T upload huge files to your site, or have “pages” with hundreds of images on them. Both will take too long to load up and you will lose your viewer. A good rule of thumb for sizing for the web is 600 pixels per inch (ppi) on the long dimension, set at a resolution of 72 ppi.

4. DON’T use an obscure url for your website. For instance, I call my business “Painted Wind Studio” but my url is katedardine.com. Why? Because more people will know MY name than the clever but meaningless name I’ve given my studio. What if your name is a common one, or someone else (how dare they?) already has a website with your name? Try johnsmithstudio, or johnsmithart, or johnsmithpaintings, or artbyjohnsmith . Be creative, but get your name in there!

5. DON’T just load your site with images and no text. Text is what the crawlers are looking for, and what people search for.

6.) DON’T opt for a “cheap” website, like those offered by Go Daddy, UNLESS you possess the skills to make it look professional. Most web hosting services that are free are only free because you allow them to put banner advertisements on your site. You have no control over what ads appear, and what they look like. If you are going to take the time and put in the effort to build a web presence, you want one enhances your image…not something else.

And now, for things TO DO:

1. DO make sure your name appears on every page.

2. DO make sure the words that people would use to find you are on the pages where those things appear. For instance, the description of a landscape of the rocky mountains might be: “This beautiful winter landscape depicts the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, with the morning light casting deep blue shadows on the new fallen snow.”

3. DO make sure to use descriptive title tags on every page. Title tags are what show up as the description about a page when it comes up in a search. For example, the title tag on the home page of my website says "Land and Animal Spirit Paintings by Kate Dardine." Most template websites do this for you automatically.

4. DO use social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to drive viewers to your website.

5. DO put your url on all your collateral materials (brochure, business cards, resume, etc.) as well as in your signature tag on all outgoing emails and in any print advertisements.

6.) DO subscribe to other people’s blogs and post comments frequently – of course entering in your website url along with your name.

7.) DO update your content frequently. Once a day is not too much (that is where having a website from a company like Fine Art Studio Online really comes in handy – with its self contained blog and easy to update pages, adding fresh content is painless!)

So this has been all about getting people to come to your site, wander around and look at all the beautiful images. Now, how do we turn lookers into buyers? Subscribe to this blog so you’ll know when I post the next segment of this continuing series of using a website to jump start your fledgling or flagging art business. Need marketing help? Check out our marketing tips, or subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Jump Start Your Art Business - Part I

by Kate Dardine
During a recent marketing consultation, an artist asked me what he could do to revitalize his career. He’s been successfully selling paintings for nearly thirty years, but in the last two or three has seen his sales diminish. Rather than chalk it up to the sluggish economy, I asked him what he had been doing before that worked. He said he’d mostly sold through galleries and occasionally taught workshops. He also sold prints through a local interior design firm, and advertised in a couple of magazines. The gallery sales had sustained him – but after 9-11, he gradually lost six out of the ten galleries he was in. And of the remaining four, two hadn’t sold anything of his in over a year. His print sales had also dwindled. He was unable to afford print advertising. “Is anyone buying art anymore?” he asked.

Since he is a customer of Fine Print Imaging, I was able to take a look at some of his work. It was nice – easy to live with still life and landscapes with a slightly contemporary feel. But most of what we had on file was older work – nothing new within the past two years. So I decided to go to his web site to see what his newer work looked like. I googled his name and…guess what? A few references to his work came up, but no images. No web site. And apparently the galleries still carrying his work either didn’t have web sites or rarely updated them, because nothing came up on the first three pages of my google search.

“If someone is interested in seeing your work,” I asked, “how can they find you?” He realized then that the only way a potential client could find him is if they happened to walk into one of his four galleries – one in Helena, Montana, one in Portland, Oregon, one in Laramie, Wyoming and one in Denver, Colorado. He had totally relied on others to sell his work for him, and hadn’t prepared for the shift in how people find – and sell – art.

I advised him to get a web site. At first he resisted, insisting he didn’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a web site. I told him about Fine Art Studio Online, a web hosting service that is affordable and allows you to upload your own images and text. “I don’t know anything about computers!” he lamented. I asked him if he could email. He said yes. I asked him if he could find a file on his computer and send it as an attachment in an email. He said “sort of.” And I asked him if he could use word processing software, like MS Word, and he said he could. “OK then,” I said. “You have all the skills you need to start!”

One of the common themes I see with artists trying to re-establish once flourishing careers is that they know what worked before, and they know that isn’t working now, but they are afraid to venture out of their comfort zone in order to compete in the new marketplace. Like it or not, if you want to play the game, you need to have some skill sets.

Just like ten years ago when you needed to know what a transparency and a slide was, today you need to know what a JPEG and a TIFF file is. You need to know how to resize and format a file to enter art shows. You need to know how to find a file on your computer and upload it. If you can’t or are unwilling to learn how to do these things, you have to hire someone to do it for you.

Assuming you have basic computer skills, you can manage your own web site using a service like FASO. There are others out there, but to my knowledge none that comes out on top in all categories of: ease of use, quality of design, price, built in amenities ( blog, bulk email and e-commerce), and customer support. Plus FASO sends out wonderful marketing newsletters to their clients, helping them use their web sites to promote their careers.

Although having a web site doesn't guarantee sales, it does allow prospective clients to find you on the internet. According to an informal poll, 70% of shoppers do their preliminary shopping on the internet. And having a web site doesn't guarantee that people will find you - unless you or your web designer know about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), chances are the website you paid big bucks for still won't show up in searches. That is another plus for using a service like FASO - the SEO is done for you, behind the scenes.

Want to do some comparison shopping? Here are a few template style web sites to check out.
Fine Art Studio Online
Beautiful Artist Websites
Pro Artist Websites
Art Studio Online

In my next blog, I’ll address some of the ways you can jump start a flagging - or fledgling - art career using your website as an online catalog.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Ten Tips for Hosting An Open Studio

by Kate Dardine

Hosting an Open Studio is a great way to give your collectors and potential collectors a glimpse into your creative process, interact in a relaxed setting and possibly even make a few sales! If you've never opened your studio to the public before, here is an action list that will help you organize and prepare for the big event!

1. Two months out - Giving yourself plenty of time to plan and prepare, select a date for your Open Studio. (I suggest at least two months preparation time.) The fairly moderate temperatures of Autumn and Spring make these two seasons great for Open Studios. Decide whether you want to hold the event on an evening during the week or during the day on the weekend (Sunday’s work best.) Decide what time you want people to arrive – and how long you want the event to last. Arrange to have a “helper” available on that day. Arrange to have someone baby sit the dog.

2.) Take a look at your studio – is it big enough to hold the event in the studio itself, or will you be opening up your home as well (assuming your studio is in your home)? Do you have enough wall space and good lighting to best show off your work? If not, can you bring in some display easels and purchase or borrow picture lights?

3.) Six weeks out: Design and order postcards to send to your mailing list*. The image on the front of the card should be one that is available for purchase. If you want people to RSVP, an incentive such as “10% off any purchase if you RSVP before ____” can help motivate and plant the seed of purchasing. Let people know whether or not it is appropriate to bring children.

4.) Five weeks out: Design and order or print brochures or sell sheets to have available for people to pick up at the studio. Check your stock of business cards – order more if needed.

5.) Four weeks out: Take stock and start organizing your originals and prints. Create labels with titles and prices.

6.) Two weeks out: Mail your postcards. If you send out an e-newsletter, send out an electronic invitation – use the same design as your postcard.

7.) Two weeks out: Decide on what type of appetizers and drinks you want to have available. Opt for finger-type foods that people can munch on as they walk around and view the artwork. Drinks can be as simple as a club soda and fruit juice punch to wines to mixed drinks.

8.) One week out: Clean your studio! Stash as much clutter as you can. If you have print bins, you can fill them with unframed prints or originals. No print bin? Baskets work wonderfully! Send a reminder email to your list.

9.) A few days before: Make sure you have the food and drinks you need. Decide what music you will want to have playing in the background and gather up those CD’s (hint: you might play the music you like to listen to while creating.) Hang paintings that are for sale clearly marked with labels. Take down any artwork not for sale – there is nothing more disconcerting to have someone fall in love with a painting on the wall – and have it not be one of yours! Make sure you have cash on hand for making change (yes, some people still pay with cash!) Make sure you have a Sales Receipt book (you can pick up a generic sales receipt book at any store that sells office supplies.) If you have a credit card machine, make sure you have enough receipts. If not, remember you can use your PayPal account for credit card transactions. Decide where you are going to set up your “cashier” stand/table. You want it easy to access with everything there, but you don’t want to hit people over the head when they first walk in the door. Gather up some packing materials – newspaper, bubble wrap, etc. and stash in an easy-to-access place. And make sure you have a guest book - you can increase the number of people who sign by having a raffle for a small print or notecards.

10.) An hour before: Have something to eat before guests arrive. It is difficult to talk about your art with your mouth full. Start setting out food and drinks, make sure paintings on the walls are lit, turn on the music (low at first, you can turn it up when there are lots of bodies!), take a deep breath and …relax! Enjoy the day!

Open Studio Checklist:


Sales Receipt book

Cash/credit card machine

Labels for artwork

Brochures or sell sheets

Business cards

Packing material

Guest book to get names, emails (for your e-newsletter ;-) and addresses


Finger foods – salty/crunchy and sweet

Wine or punch, coffee or tea

Water in pitcher

Glasses (recyclable plastic or “real”)

Plates (recyclable paper or “real”)



CD player/ CDs


Candles/Diffusers (very light scent, not overpowering)

*Only have three people on your mailing list? Make one up. Add: your neighbors (you can get names and addresses online in “City Records”), your friends, your doctor, accountant, insurance agent, dentist, co-workers, church members, club members, etc. Don't be shy - no one minds getting a beautiful postcard in the mail and many people will be thrilled to have the chance to see you in your creative element!

Kate Dardine has been helping photographers and artists market their prints for over 20 years. She is currently Marketing Director at Fine Print Imaging, as well as a professional artist selling original paintings and prints.

Friday, October 16, 2009

So Just How Green Is Fine Print Imaging?

I promise! I am only going to use the word “Green” three times in this blog. And since I’ve already used it twice, um… I’ve got to do some fancy footwork since this whole blog is about being… environmentally conscientious.

Fine Print Imaging has been around for 35 years, so naturally we’ve seen a lot of transition in earth friendly philosophies. In September 1969, U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin announced that in spring 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration about the environment and that was the start of Earth Day.

That certainly shaped our small staff’s philosophy about how we wanted to run our business. That and also being products of the 60s and 70s generations.

And here we are today. Has Fine Print Imaging evolved into being a good steward of our planet’s resources? Let’s take a look:

  • Our commitment to conservation began with Images for the Environment in the 1980s and continues today with our Art for Conservation program.

  • Fine Print Imaging was awarded the 2009 Environmental Business Award by the Fort Collins, Colorado, Chamber of Commerce.

  • We promote grass-roots conservation initiatives by providing tens of thousands of dollars in printing services to artists, photographers and organizations world-wide who are working to protect and preserve the natural world and its inhabitants.
  • As a founding member and partner of the North American Nature Photography Association, we initiated the Philip Hyde Conservation Grant which annually gives $5,000 to a photographer who is using his or her photography to help preserve the planet.
  • We partner closely with the International League of Conservation Photographers, and a host of other conservation artists and organizations, providing funding, services and gallery space to promote their efforts to further environmental and cultural conservation through photography and art.
  • In addition to being 100% Alternative Energy Powered, Fine Print and its employees are focused on environmental responsibility in all of our daily decisions and actions. As we add new products to our printing line, conserving our natural resources and the quality of our environment is foremost in our minds.
  • Our fine art papers are made from either cotton or bamboo, both recyclable. Our papers made from easily replenished bamboo come from farmers in Thailand who are contracted by Hahnemühle, our paper supplier. Our cotton papers are made from cotton waste created by the textile industry. Neither our bamboo nor cotton papers are processed using chlorine.
  • We use “soft-proofing” wherever practical to color correct images. This requires no paper.
  • We have always far exceeded the EPA’s standards for our water quality (refuse water from our photo printing process).
  • Every scrap of recyclable paper is saved and recycled - much of it through re-use by making “Art Packs” for our customers and students.
  • We participate at the 100% EPA Eco Partnership level. (OK, the word isn’t really “Eco”, but I’m saving that other word for the end.)

This November, I’ve been invited to present at the World Wilderness Congress in Merida, Mexico.The two presentations I'll make will highlight the importance of conservation photography in convincing people to care for their planet. Face it, if we mess this one up, we really don’t have any other options.

While I’d like to think that they selected me for the presentations because of my charisma and natural intelligence (not likely), the real reason is that Fine Print Imaging and its employees have demonstrated throughout the last 35years that not only are they great stewards of our planet, they also are committed to assisting others deliver the conservation message.

If you think like us, we strongly urge you to join us not just as a customer, but as someone who wants to join an organization that will work with you to keep our planet Green!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Pricing Prints Made (relatively) Easy

How do I price my prints? That has got to be one of the most frequent questions I get when talking to artists and photographers about entering the print market. For this article, I will concentrate on the simplest method for calculating resale pricing on your prints. That method is Multiplied Print Cost.

1. Artists and photographers just starting to sell prints of their work usually make one of two mistakes: pricing too high for their market or pricing too low and not making a profit. You have to find that happy medium. (Did I hear you say, “Duh?”)

2. The easiest method to calculate your print price is to figure out how much the print cost you to produce, and then multiply that number by four to get your retail price. For example, if you are selling an unframed, un-matted 16x20 print on Somerset Velvet paper, and the print cost you $46 to produce, your retail price would be $184. This pricing system works well if you are selling through a gallery that takes a 50% commission. After the gallery takes its $92, you are left with $92. Out of that you subtract your print cost of $46 and end up with $46 in profit.

3. If you are not selling in galleries or shows that charge a commission, then you have a little more leeway. Try multiplying print cost times three – in the case of the above-mentioned 16x20, your retail price would be $138. When you subtract out your cost of $46, you are left with a profit of $92. In this case, you can play around with the numbers to see what “feels” right. If $138 seems too high for your customer base, try multiplying by 2.5, for a retail price of $115, etc.

4. Another common mistake is forgetting to add in all the costs when figuring out your prices. If you have matted and framed your print, then you have to add that into your total cost. If you spent $100 framing your $46 print, then you have to make $146 to break even. If you are selling through a gallery, and they are taking 50%, then you have to at least double the cost of the framing ($200) and then add that to your print cost x 4 ($184). You won’t make money on the frame, but you won’t lose, either, and your profit will be the same as in #1. Some artists tack on a “framing fee” to the original framing cost. Even if you are just poly-bagging the print, you have to add that cost into the “cost to produce the print.”

5. When you are first starting out, it is better to sell for as low as you can and still make a profit. One way to do that is to reduce the cost of the print. The example above was for a giclée print on Somerset Velvet paper, which Fine Print charges .13 per square inch if you are ordering under 700 square inches. To get a better price, order more prints at once. If you order 2-16x20 prints (714 square inches), your “per print” cost goes down to $39. Or consider going with a less expensive paper. The same print on Epson Presentation paper would be $32. If you ordered two at once, the price would be $29 each. Another option is Lumira digital photographic prints. One 16x20 is $28, but if you order five, the price goes down to $17 each. Another way to keep your costs down is to produce smaller prints. An 8x10 on Somerset Velvet is $13.

See, it is not too difficult. Like most things in the art world, there are no hard and fast rules, no “magic bullet” for success. As I mentioned, if you are just starting out with prints, you will probably want to start as low as you can and still make a profit. If you are not selling through galleries, then you can even just double your print cost to start out. It is easier to raise prices if prints are flying off your shelves than to lower them if they are just languishing. And if this method doesn’t work for you, there are plenty of other formulas for pricing out there. This just happens to be one that I think is easy – and works for me.

Here’s a bonus tip:
When establishing the price, try to keep it under the “barrier” numbers. So instead of $50, sell for $49. Instead of $100, sell for $98. Strangely, once you’ve broken a barrier, you can go higher. For instance, if someone is willing to pay $125 for something, they’d probably not blink at $149. Study pricing in retail stores and you’ll see what I mean.

OK, one more tip.
Sell in “package deals.” A photographer I know sells matted 5x7 prints at shows. One matted 5x7 is $39. If you buy two, you get them both for $59. But if you buy three, you get them all for $65. Guess what he sells most of? Yep, three prints.

Kate Dardine has been helping photographers and artists market their prints for over 20 years. She is currently Marketing Director at Fine Print Imaging, as well as a professional artist selling original paintings and prints.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What's All This Fuss About Frogs?

As Roseanne Rosanadana would say, "What's all this fuss about frogs?" Uh, no, not frogs, Roseanne. Blogs. Seems like every where you turn, either someone is either talking about or writing about blogs. Even at Fine Print Imaging, we are dipping our toes into the still unfamiliar waters. We know, blogs have been around for a relatively long time. But heck, we're VISUAL people here! We work with VISUAL people. After all, isn’t a picture is worth a thousand words? But in today's viral internet market place, a well-written and informative blog can put your name - and expertise –in front of hundreds or even thousands of potential buyers for your images (or in our case, services).

So what is a blog, anyway? It is a somewhat short, informal conversation about something that merits sharing. People blog about everything from current events to how to market art to how to find the right car to how to make a relationship work. They can be funny, serious, incendiary or just informative. They are mostly just someone’s opinion.

And what does blogging have to do with you? If you’re reading this, then I’ll assume that you are an artist or photographer selling, or hoping to sell, your work. If you read my last blog on using FaceBook to market your work, you’ll know I’m a fan of embracing social networking as a way to introduce your work to a wide audience. A blog is just an adjunct to social networking. It is where you can get more in depth about topics that you feel strongly about or are knowledgeable about. Whereas posts on social networking sites are short snippets of information, a blog allows you to tell a story. It is in the story telling that you are building relationships and credibility with your collectors and future collectors.

So what should you write about? The key to a successful blog is posting relevant information. Some artists, like Kathi Peters, uses her blog, Cob Cottage Studio to give readers access to life in and around her Maine studio. Through her blog I’ve gotten to know her dogs, admire her lovely gardens and see works in progress. She writes in a personal, friendly tone; reading her blog is like visiting over the fence with a close neighbor.

I happened upon a blog by a photographer who calls herself Corvinus as I was doing research for this article and was immediately attracted to the name “Not As The Crow Flies” and the tagline “thoughts on travel, nature and photography, with meanders, occasional diversions and flights of fancy.” How could I resist?

Another well-written blog I stumbled on is written by artist Stapleton Kearns. He tends to be a little more controversial in his blog posts, and his thoughts make you think. If you are interested in using your art to help conservation causes, you'll want to check out the Art for Conservation blog. This is a new blog which promises to help keep readers informed on conservation efforts and show them how art and conservation can team up to tell an important story. Another good blog is sponsored by Fine Art Views - written by Clint Watson, with guest bloggers from all walks of the art world. And lastly, check out Tony Moffitt’s blog about art marketing.

Like photography or painting, finding one’s own “ blog voice” will probably take some trial and error. Just remember, a blog is intended to be conversational and informal. And if you borrow content from others, it is essential that you site your sources by providing a live link back to them.

How do you get people to actually read your blog? Well, if you have a website through a provider such as Fine Art Studio Online, a blog is included in most of their packages. So people coming to your website can find your blog listed. But that’s a pretty passive way to get readers. A better way is to invite people to sign up to receive your blog using an RSS feed, so each post you make comes right to their email inbox or their internet homepage. You can invite them via email and/or through postings on social media sites. If your web site provider doesn’t offer a blog, you can create your own quite easily using Blogger. In fact, that’s what we use at Fine Print Imaging. Just go to http://www.blogspot.com/ and follow the instructions and you’ll have your own blog created in minutes. Upload a few pictures and start writing!

Kate Dardine is the Marketing Director at Fine Print Imaging and a professional artist who uses blogs, tweets, Facebook, Linked-In and her website to market her Animal and Land Spirit paintings. She says if you don't know who Roseanne Rosanadana is then you are obviously didn't watch SNL in the eighties!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Market Your Art with Social Networking

by Kate Dardine

The basic premise of marketing your art using social networking is building relationships. Since many artists and photographers are rather solitary creatures, spending hours in the studio, in the field or in the darkroom (digital or actual), online social networking provides an opportunity to connect with people – people from your past, family, friends, colleagues, your friend’s friends, your family’s friends, and so on. And in this mix of people there are people who will be struck by your work when it pops up on their computer screen and some of those people will be motivated to find out more and to purchase.

True story: I put up my personal Facebook page a few weeks ago and posted a few images and a link to my website. I connected with some old friends from my hometown in Connecticut, and with some of my friends here in Colorado and a few other folks. Within 48 hours of putting up my page, I sold a painting – as a direct result of my Facebook page. Talk about instant affirmation: I was onto something.

I don’t claim to know everything there is about using social networking sites to market Art. But I can tell you what has worked for me. And I don’t mean to imply that you can just use social networking alone to market your art. This is just one more cog in the Marketing Wheel.

1. If you haven’t already, get over your fear of social networking sites and set up a (free!) account Facebook. Yes, there are lots of other social networking sites out there, including a bunch that are geared toward artists. But for the purpose of creating a buzz about your work and connecting with people who might buy your work, Facebook will give you the most bang for your time invested.

2. If you haven’t already, get a website! This is where you are going to drive traffic TO from Facebook. If you have a website, make sure it is up-to-date, professional looking, and easy to navigate. I have my website (which includes my personal art blog) hosted by Fine Art Studio Online, and give them the highest recommendations for ease of use for both the artist and the viewer. Bonus tip: If you don’t have a website and just want a way to get your images online, go to Blogger.com and set up a free account and post images to your personal blog that you set up.

3. You’ll also want to open a PayPal account if you don’t already have one. That way you can sell paintings and photographs directly from your website or your blog (PayPal will give you a link to embed in your website’s or blog’s html coding.)

4. Plan on devoting an hour a day, five days a week to social networking. Sounds crazy, I know. But it takes time to upload images and content.

5. If you already have a Facebook profile, you are ahead of the game. The rest of you can catch up by opening an account with Facebook and creating a personal profile. Next you need to add some friends. Facebook makes it easy. You can search for people who graduated from high school the same year you did. Or college. You can search for people by name. At any rate, spend some time searching for people you know and “friending” them.

Want the next five tips? Click here!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Don't Shoot Yourself in the Foot

I guess I should start out by introducing myself and telling you a little about what you can expect to find in my blog postings.

My name is Kate Dardine, and I’ve been working with professional photographers and artists at Fine Print Imaging for over 20 years. I started out part time in the finishing department, dust spotting photographs, and gradually worked my way through customer service to my current position as Marketing Director. Along the way I also started and continue to grow my own business as a fine artist, selling my work in galleries and over the internet.

I will be writing on topics from two vantage points – that of an artist “in the trenches” and that of someone who has 20 years experience in helping artists and photographers market their prints. Future blogs will contain entries such as “Ten Steps to Promoting Your Art on Facebook”, “I’ve Got Great Images – Why Can’t I Get into a Gallery?”, “Building an Art Identity”, “Writing an Artist Statement”, “How to be a Big Fish in a Small Pond” and other topics I haven’t even thought of…yet. In fact, if you have a topic you’d like me to give my 2 cents on, let me know!

Today’s blog is geared toward artists. A lot of artists I know – myself included – are looking for ways to cut costs, save money, make do. The one thing I won’t compromise on is the materials I use to create my art. But, I start thinking, well, maybe I don’t need to have my painting professionally shot. Maybe I can just prop my painting up and take a picture with my digital camera. So what if it’s a little out-of-square? I can fix that in Photoshop. And if it isn’t tack sharp? Well, that’s okay. It’s good enough. Good enough for what? To display on my website? To submit to juried shows? To make postcards to mail out to collectors? Really? Who am I kidding? I might end up shooting myself in the foot with the "good enough" mentality.

If I care enough to use they very best materials to create my artwork, why wouldn’t I want to have that artwork professionally copied, so that everywhere I display that image, it looks its very best? I think of it as an investment in myself, in my art. I cringe every time I look in an art magazine and see an ad that an artist took out using an obviously self-shot photo. I know that artist spent good money (and lots of it!) to put that ad in – and I know that artist will be disheartened when the ad doesn’t result in a sale, or even any interest.

Not long ago, I entered and was accepted into a juried national show with a digital file taken with my own camera. I have to admit, I’ve gotten pretty good at shooting my own work. But here’s what happened to make me vow to always get my better work professionally shot. The piece sold at the show. And I had two people contact me wanting canvas giclée prints of the painting. Guess what? I only had my little 2 Mb file. Certainly not big enough to print a 10x10, let alone the 30x30 that one of the buyers wanted! Luckily, I was able to contact the buyer of the original and make arrangements to have the piece shot at Fine Print before being delivered to her home. But, it could have turned out differently, and I could have lost two sales. So I learned my lesson.

I recommend that each time you finish a piece that you are proud enough of to want to offer for sale, you get that piece shot by a professional photographer who is knowledgeable about the art of art copy. At the very least, the photographer should have a studio set up with daylight balanced lights, a tripod and a DSLR camera. At Fine Print Imaging we use a Betterlight® Super 6K2 digital scan-back with a Calumet 4x5 view camera, equipped with a Rodenstock 240mm lens to take ultra-high resolution Direct Digital capture of your art work.

This camera, lens and scan-back system is set up under daylight balanced studio lighting (we use the North Light HID copy light system) and literally scans the art, capturing all the nuances of your original; the highlights, shadow details, brush strokes and even the texture of the canvas or paper is all captured in stunning detail. A scan can take up to 15 minutes and produces up to a 300mb file.

Compare prices. In most cases, Fine Print’s art copy costs are less than what your local photographer charges – and for a significantly better file. And, with our premier art copy scans, you get a color-corrected proof on your choice of substrates to use for your portfolio or as a guide for future prints. Give us a call and let us know what you need. We can probably get you set up for much less than you’ve imagined.

Want more info on our art copy services? Visit our website, email us or give us a call (800.777.1141). We’re always happy to help!