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A frequent question is whether it's better to scan your artwork or to digitally photograph it

There are a number of important variables involved in both methods so it's not easy to recommend one method over the other, however we will try and highlight some of the main aspects.

Much depends on the quality and size of scanning device, scanner configuration, file format, file preparation - and conversely much depends on the quality of camera, lighting, photographer skill level and file preparation. We've seen superb results from standard office desktop scanners and some pretty horrendous files shot on digital camers!

A couple of key issues are:

  1. Final output size. Generally speaking desktop scanners produce file sizes that are probably only good up to A3 or maybe A2 output dimensions (there are exceptions), but a good photographer using a high end professional digital camera will likely produce a file suitable for quality output at very large exhibition sizes.
  2. Photography relies on the artwork being correctly lit and the correct positioning of camera/flat artwork but with a flatbed scanner those factors don't apply.

Free image file assessments
If your art is small enough to fit on a desktop/office type scanner try scanning it at the highest quality settings. Every device is different and so you need to check your user manual for the actual specifics. Then send it through to us for assessment and we will advise on options - our dropbox can be used to transfer a file

Professional scanning - Should your art not fit a desktop scanner then an option is to have it professionally scanned. There are still a few professional digital bureau providers around these days and scanning services are often available at some of the well known chain stores.

But before using any of these services establish exactly what is offered in terms of file specification and setup. For our form of giclee print production we require RGB digital files (not CMYK). Further info relating to preparing your digital image files for printing at is available at

Photographing artworks - if you prefer to have your artwork professionally photographed then it's important that you seek out a local photographer with a proven track record of art photography and experience in colour management and preparing digital image files for print production.

Hopefully this very brief overview is of help but please just contact us through our Contact page if you need further advice on any points.


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