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What is a print ready file , when it comes to giclée printing

giclée print of colourful rhino artwork

What is a print ready file , when it comes to giclée printing

When you place an order for a giclée print of your artwork or photos, one of the requirements is for you to transfer your digital image file. Before you can transfer the image one of the requirements that fine art printers request is that your image is a print ready file. 

We’ll explain what we mean by the term print ready file. Then discuss how your digital image file should look. Next we discuss what technical specifications are required for creating a giclée print from your digital image file. We will explain why we need a print ready file and what we can do to help you, if you don’t have a print-ready file.

We also look at whether your file should or shouldn’t include a border. There’s also information about how aspect ratios help, when choosing your print size. In other words the size of your actual image, compared to the size of giclee print you want to order.

Finally we’ll also talk about print proof options. Taking a look at the benefits of having print proofs. How they can be helpful in deciding whether further edits need to be made, to your digital image file. 

giclée print of colourful flowers artworkWhat does the term Print Ready mean?

Lets begin by imagining you’ve just completed a piece of artwork and you take a photo of the artwork. You use this digital image of your artwork, to upload onto your website or social media sites. In the image you create, you may have your artwork in a frame and maybe part of your studio or art space in the background. This is fine for sharing on online platforms, but this image won’t work for fine art giclée printing. Also an image on your social media platforms isn’t good enough for fine art printing. This is because the social media companies compress the image you post.

Print Ready realistically means the digital image you create of your artwork is just purely of your artwork and that it has been cropped to the desired print size and meets all the technical specifications required. In other words the file doesn’t include the frame or any background. So in essence what you see when you open the digital file is exactly what a fine art giclée printer will print, with the digital file at the exact print size in millimetres at 300-360ppi and saved as a 8bit or 16bit .tif with embedded RGB colourspace.

If you’re looking to order giclée prints of your photos, then again the digital image file needs to be print-ready. This includes ensuring all photo adjustments have been made, such as exposure settings and dust/ mark removals. Also your photo digital image needs to be at the size you want printing.

Please Get in touch if you would like to use our digital image editing services.

Fine art printers can receive hundreds of digital image files a day and they don’t have the time to check that each file they receive is print ready. That is why you must ensure when you say your file is print ready, it actually is print ready.


The technical specifications of a Print Ready file, for Giclée Printing

Giclée printing isn’t the same as commercial printing. Giclée prints are created using archival pigment inks, that can use more than eight colours of ink to produce your print. Your giclée prints are created by tiny micro-dots of colour. This enables all the fine detail of your artwork or photo digital image to be captured. Therefore if there are any flaws in the “Print Ready’ digital image file, these will stand out on a giclée print. That is why the quality of your digital image file needs to be of a high standard.

Giclée printing is fine art printing and a completely different level of printing compared to commercial printing, which use a standard four colour ink system. Therefore the technical specifications for a Print Ready file for giclée printing are:-

The digital image file you supply should have an image resolution of somewhere between 300-360ppi. It should also be cropped to the actual finished print size you require.

We recommend using an embedded Adobe RGB colour space and that you save your digital image file as either 8-bit or 16-bit Flattened Tiff or Photos PSD. JPEGs are also acceptable, but please do not compress the file.

Compressing or Zipping your image file will reduce the gamut information available when it comes to printing, which will in turn reduce the quality of the print achievable.

If you need help with the technical requirements then please Get in touch we’re happy to help.

Digital Image file not Print Ready -Basically you Need Help
print ready image of landscape artwork

How a Print Ready file of your artwork should look without a border.

If you supply a file and it is not Print Ready, then you need to request editing. At The Artists Print Room we are able to edit your file, but of course there are limitations dependent upon the quality of the file you supply. Such as if the image is out of focus, no amount of editing can make it a sharp clear image. Any slight blurring can be rectified and we always offer a viewing distance for images that you want scaling to a large giclée print. Basically the larger the print, the more any flaws will stand out. 

A few examples of image file editing services available :-

  • Straightening, cropping and sizing image. 
  • Enlarging image and noise reduction.
  • Balancing whites, removing colour casts.
  • Removing and editing flaws within the image i.e dust specks.

These are just a few of the adjustments that can be made to your digital image file. It is only by seeing the image file, that we can advise you on what can be achieved. Please Get in touch to discuss your options further.

You need a Digital Image file creating of your artwork

If you have tried taking a photo of your artwork with your DSLR camera or mobile phone and are not happy with the results. Then please get in touch, we offer an Artwork Photography service, where we photograph your artwork to a high standard to create an ideal digital file, which we use to create a stunning giclée print for you. This in the long run saves you time and hassle. Bear in mind we have a long waiting list of customers, for this service.

Please Get in touch if you’d like your artwork photographing

Border or no border in your Print Ready file

Some artists and photographers choose to include a border within their digital image file. This can be achieved by using editing software such as Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. 

Your print-ready file doesn’t need to include a border. When you place your giclée print order, you can specify what size borders you want. Usually artists and photographers choose top and side borders the same and a deeper bottom border.

One thing you have to bear in mind if you decide to include borders within your print-ready file, is that if for example you ordered an A4 giclée print, then your actual print image area would be smaller than A4. This is because your print-ready file has been sized with borders included.

If your print-ready file doesn’t include borders, but then you place your order requesting an A4 print with 25mm borders. Then the giclée print image area will be A4 in size with 25mm borders extra.

See our Blog “Should you have borders on Giclée art prints” for more information on borders.


Aspect Ratios and cropping your image
print ready file of abstract artwork

Giclée art print

Your Print-Ready file needs to have the same aspect ratio to the giclée print size you want to order. This means your digital image file is ready to print at exactly the size you want. If you are choosing a size different to your digital image file, then your file needs to be edited to suit the size print you require. This may involve cropping out sections of the digital image file to suit.

To avoid cropping your digital images it’s worth gaining a better understanding of aspect ratios for scaling your giclée prints to suit your original artwork or photo size. 

There is more information about aspect ratio charts here

Benefits of Print Proofs / Test Prints

Print proofs, which are also known as test prints can be really useful if you’re not sure of the quality of the print-ready file you have. By having a print proof you can save the expense of a costly mistake. Especially if you want a large giclée print. There is nothing worse than ordering a large giclée print, only to discover that the digital image file you supplied actually had tiny specs of dust in the image or that it actually turns out to be a very dark image. 

Also print proofs are a good way to try out different giclée print papers, to see which paper you think suits your art or photo best. At the Artists Print Room we have 19 fine art papers and canvasses for you to choose from.

See our Blog “What is a Print Proof and how does it help artists and photographers” for an in-depth look.

So overall print proofs can be a good way of assessing how much editing needs to be applied to your digital image file.

You can order print proofs here

prints of photographed underwater objects

Giclée Photo prints

Transferring your Print-Ready file

Finally you have a digital image file, that’s print ready. To transfer this to a fine art printers, you usually send it via Dropbox or WeTransfer. Don’t email your image, because it can become a compressed file, losing data. Also don’t send through facebook messenger, it compresses the file again, creating a small image with loss of data. We cannot stress enough the importance of sending your print-ready files through Dropbox or WeTransfer.

Upload Image after Placing your Order

When you place your giclée print order with The Artists Print Room, you always transfer your print-ready file at the end of processing your order. That way you can leave your computer screen open, while it transfers and get on with something else.

Also please make sure to title your image, you’ll be amazed how many images we receive each day titled “001”. A little more creativity with a title would really help us.

Now you know what a Print Ready file is

So in conclusion we hope the above information has helped you understand what a Print-Ready file is and what technical specifications are required. There’s also information about how we can help to edit your digital image file to make it a Print Ready file. We also discussed about including borders within your image file and how aspect ratios can affect the size of your prints. Finally we looked at the benefits of print proofs and how they can help you too.

We believe in providing you with lots of information about giclée printing. We want you to get the most out of our fine art printing services, so in the end you’ll have giclée prints that you’ll love.

If you have any questions or require further help, then please feel free to Get in touch


Did you know that we are the only fine art printing company in the UK which has been accredited by Canson Infinity, Hahnemühle Fine Art, Epson DigigraphieILFORD and the Fine Art Trade Guild? Also, why not sign up to our mailing list to keep up to date with news, products and future competitions at The Artists Print Room – just complete the form below.

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