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 giclĂ©e 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!