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Which is better scanning or photographing artwork?

Which is better scanning or photographing artwork?

The first consideration is why do you want a digitised image of your artwork. What will you use the image for?

When you have spent hours on your painting you need to apply the same level of thought and decision process into what you want to do with the painting when it’s complete. Generally artists think of using artwork reproduction photography services when they want to create Giclee prints of their artwork.

Artists need to assess the potential revenue and publicity possibilities of each and every painting they create. If artists realise this at the beginning they can save themselves time, energy and expense in chasing up customers to gain access to their sold paintings. Thinking ahead can save time and money.

So you’ve finished your painting and wondering how to get your artwork digitised. Should you have your artwork scanned or photographed, which is best?

Photographing artwork

It’s wise to use a professional artwork reproduction photography service, which should be available from companies offering Giclee printing services. You can ask to see previous artist’s work they’ve photographed, to assess the quality of artwork reproduction photography offered.

All 3D artworks and oil paintings must be photographed rather than scanned. Oil paintings have layers of texture that will require expert lighting to assess the shadows created and eliminate the shine from the applied varnish.

You don’t necessarily have to remove artworks from their frames, they can be photographed in situ.

A better colour balance can be achieved with photographing artwork and all the subtle layers of washes will be captured. Therefore you won’t lose all the varying tones of blue watercolour wash in the sky, which happens in scanning.

All sizes of artwork can be photographed, no matter how large. Use a photographer who specialises in photographing artworks for fine art Giclee printing. They have the experience and knowledge when it comes to lighting and capturing the fine detail of your artwork.

If it’s difficult or too expensive to transport your artwork, a photographer specialising in artwork reproduction photography can attend on site to photograph the artwork.

Overall a great digitised image can be created from photographing your artwork, but you do need an expert artwork reproduction photographer, who understands how to capture your painting or 3D artwork, with all it’s colours and detail.

Photographers need artwork reproduction too

Generally photographers have created their own image, but when they want to turn this image into a fine art photo Giclee print, they want adjustments made to the image. They will need the expert advice of a professional fine art printer, offering Giclee printing services. They will have an understanding and the software to achieve the type of image a photographer is looking for. They will also use their knowledge of fine art papers, to turn a photography image into a stunning fine art Giclee print, bought to life.

Scanning artwork

Scanning artwork can be great for small artworks, that are very simple in style for fine art Giclee printing.

The artwork needs to be flat for scanners, so not a great choice for oil paintings. All the protruding  points of oil paint will be flattened in a scanner.

Artworks have to be removed from their frames to use a scanner.

One of the main complaints of scanning artwork is, all subtle washes and fine details tend to be bleached out. All the varying tones of grey in pencil drawings tend to look black, with all definition lost.

Finally when you are looking for Giclee printing services that offer artwork scanning, bear in mind, they may advertise they scan to a large dpi, but they don’t actually have their scanner set to this high level. Basically if it takes a minute or two to scan your artwork, then the scanner is not at it’s optimised setting, so not capturing all the detail.

Possibilities for your digitised artwork

So in conclusion, there still remains the question of how best to use your digitised image. If you have the best quality image of your artwork, that is professionally archived too, you have long-term options available. Using professional artwork reproduction services, means the possibilities for future options have increased, from publicity, marketing images, competition entry images, fine art Giclee printing, large scale printing options to licensing potentials.