Art prints are not just reproductions; they’re opportunities. They extend the reach of your creativity, making your work accessible and amplifying its impact.

— Barney Davey

Whether you’re an established artist, freshly venturing into the market, or somewhere in between, converting your creative passion into financial sustainability cannot be overemphasized. One efficient yet potentially beneficial strategy is using art prints to expand your business avenues.  

Prints, if done right, are a consistent source of income and a way to reach more art lovers since they are typically more affordable than original works. This post is an in-depth look into the world of prints and explains how they can be a game-changer for your art business. 

The Potential of Art Prints 

Many artists are captivated by the idea of selling original works exclusively. The prestigiousness, the singularity, the hefty price tags—all of these aspects can certainly be attractive.  

However, it’s crucial to remember that this model presents significant limitations: original works are expensive, and not everyone can afford them. Besides, once an original artwork gets a new home—it’s gone forever, along with all the potential profit it may bring you. 

This scenario is where prints come on stage. Reproducing your work in print allows you to sell the same artwork several times. Prints transform one sold-out piece into a license to print money. They bridge the gap between art and affordability, inviting those who might not have the budget for an original piece to enjoy your work. 

The Importance of Quality 

Like any other industry, the world of art operates mainly on reputation. Producing quality prints is paramount, as any substandard prints could adversely impact your reputation in the art world. Ultimately, it’s worth investing in superior printing materials and services.

Reliable, high-quality inks are a must, as is choosing the right paper. In short, you must ensure that your prints act as a faithful facsimile of the original. They should match the original in color, tone, texture, and detail as much as mechanically possible.

Remember, a high-quality print can be as beautiful as an original piece, and your customers will appreciate and value the attention to detail. 

The following information comes from this post: Insider Tips on How to Work with a Giclee Printmaker.

Critical Questions for Artists to Ask Giclee Printmakers 

  • Experience in the Industry: How many years have you specialized in digital fine art reproductions? A track record of at least five years often indicates a mastery of technical challenges. 
  • Materials and Equipment: What printers, inks, and substrates do you use, and why? Look for up-to-date equipment from reputable brands and various substrate options, including archival-quality materials. 
  • Image Capture Process: How do you digitize original artwork? The quality of the digital file is crucial for large-scale, high-quality prints. Some providers use specialized, high-resolution cameras or scanners for this. 
  • Paper Types: What kinds of fine art papers do you offer? Options can range from cotton and canvas rags to polyester fibers and matte boards, each with its own characteristics. 
  • Ink Selection: What type of ink do they use? The choice of ink can depend on the substrate and should offer quick drying and vibrant colors. 
  • Special Treatments: Do you apply any protective coatings? These can include UV varnishes or conservation clearcoats to protect against environmental damage. 
  • Artwork Storage and Insurance: How is my art stored and insured during the scanning process? Ensure that the printmaker takes adequate security measures and has insurance in case of damage or theft. 
  • Digital File Archiving: How do you manage and back up the digital files of my artwork? Confirm that the printmaker has reliable backup systems to safeguard your digital assets. 
  • Proofing: Can I see the proof before the final print? Viewing a proof under color-correct lighting can help ensure color accuracy for the final image. 
  • Additional Services: Do you offer other services like marketing or traditional printing methods? Some printmakers may provide extra services that can benefit your art business. 
  • Copyright Assurance: Does the contract specify who retains the copyright for the reproductions? Artists must ensure a clause is included in the contract stating that they retain all copyrights unless explicitly transferred. Without explicit written language in the agreement, the artist risks inadvertently transferring copyright ownership of the reproductions to the print shop. 

My highest recommendation is the Digital Arts Studio in Atlanta. They’ve been at the top of the digital fine art printing business for decades. And they are artists and great people you’ll love to work with.

Image Capture Is Critical  

Whether using a professional service or a DIY process, photographing and scanning art can be a game-changer for artists looking to expand their art business. Whether you create digital art or work with traditional mediums, capturing high-quality images of your artwork is crucial for showcasing your talent online and attracting potential buyers.  

By mastering photographing and scanning art, you can ensure that your prints accurately represent your original pieces and appeal to a broader audience. This article will explore the benefits of photographing and scanning art and provide tips and techniques to help you achieve professional-looking results. Let’s dive in and discover how you can use the power of photography and scanning to boost your art business.

Photographing Art to Sell 

Photographing art is a crucial step in effectively selling your artwork. Whether you’re an independent artist or running an art business, high-quality photographs can make all the difference in attracting potential buyers. For more minor works or pieces without complex features, you can carefully photograph them yourself using a good camera and proper lighting. However, hiring a professional photographer is highly recommended for more significant works or pieces with three-dimensional or glossy elements. 

When photographing art, capturing precise shots from multiple angles is essential. Doing this allows potential buyers to get a comprehensive view of the artwork. Additionally, zoomed-in images should be taken to showcase the texture and detail of the piece. This process helps customers appreciate the craftsmanship and uniqueness of your artwork. Lifestyle photos can also be incorporated to give viewers a sense of the scale and how the art might look in their living spaces. 

Investing in professional photography or taking high-quality photographs can significantly enhance your chances of selling your art. Clear shots from various angles, zoomed-in images, and lifestyle photos give potential buyers a better understanding of and connection to your art. So, take the time and effort to photograph your art effectively and reap the rewards of attracting interested customers. 

Scanning Art to Sell

Although I don’t recommend DIY scanning, some artists will do it anyway. So, I offer information to help them get the best results, given the limitations of smaller scanners.

Scanning art is a cost-effective alternative to traditional photography for selling 2D works. By using a desktop scanner, artists can digitize their artwork and create high-quality, detailed images that can be used for online sales and marketing purposes. 

Scanning involves placing the artwork on the scanner bed and capturing multiple scans of different sections. The individual scans are then digitally stitched together using image editing software to create a seamless, complete artwork representation. 

One of the benefits of scanning is that it allows for precise capture of details and colors, ensuring that potential buyers can fully appreciate the intricacies of the artwork. Scanning also eliminates the need for professional photography equipment and services, making it a cost-effective option for independent artists. 

However, scanning may present challenges for high-gloss coating or resin pieces. These materials can cause glare and reflections, which may affect the accuracy and quality of the scanned image. In such cases, seeking assistance from galleries or printing services with experience handling and checking these artworks is recommended. 

Scanning art offers artists a convenient and affordable way to capture and showcase their work online. By using a desktop scanner and seeking assistance when needed, artists can effectively present their art to a broader audience and increase their chances of making sales. 

Drawbacks of Using a Desktop Scanner for Fine Art Prints 

While desktop scanners offer a convenient and cost-effective means of digitizing artwork, they come with limitations that can be particularly impactful when creating fine art prints: 

  • Limited Size Capacity: Most desktop scanners are restricted to capturing images up to a specific size, often no larger than a standard sheet of paper. This limitation can be problematic for artists who work on a larger scale. 
  • Color Inaccuracy: Desktop scanners may not capture an artwork’s full range of colors and nuances, leading to less vibrant prints or subtly different tones from the original. 
  • Detail Loss: The resolution of a desktop scanner may not be sufficient to capture the intricate details of a fine art piece, especially regarding texture and depth. 
  • Glare and Reflection Issues: Scanners can struggle with artwork with a high-gloss finish or made with materials like resin, leading to glare and reflections that distort the image.
  • Calibration Challenges: Properly calibrating a desktop scanner to ensure color accuracy and detail capture can be complex, requiring expertise that the average artist may not possess. 
  • Software Limitations: The software with desktop scanners may not offer the advanced editing and stitching options required to seamlessly piece together multiple scans of a larger artwork. 
  • Time-Consuming: Scanning extensive or highly detailed works can be laborious, requiring multiple scans and subsequent editing to create a cohesive image. 
  • Wear and Tear: Physical contact with the scanner bed can lead to wear and tear on the original artwork, a significant concern for fine artists. 
  • Lack of Technical Skills: Managing a desktop scanner’s hardware and software intricacies can be daunting for artists who may not have the technical expertise, which includes the initial setup but also ongoing calibration, software updates, and troubleshooting. The learning curve can be steep, and mistakes in any of these areas can compromise the quality of the scanned image and, by extension, the final print. 

In summary, while desktop scanners offer a more accessible way to digitize artwork, they may not meet the stringent quality requirements for fine art printmaking. 

Pricing Art Prints Properly  

When it comes to pricing your prints, it’s a delicate balance. If you price them too high, potential customers may pass on your work in favor of a more affordable alternative. Price them too low, and you risk cheapening your work—not to mention slimming your profit margins significantly. 

You should strive to place your pricing in the Goldilocks zone: not too high, not too low—just right. Market research is essential in achieving this. Look around at what other artists are charging for similar works and weigh up the cost of production with factors like your invested time and your brand’s value. 

Art Print Pricing Considerations 

When it comes to pricing art prints, there are several factors to consider to determine the retail price. One of the critical factors is the cost of printing, which includes the materials used, the printing technique employed, and any additional services like framing or matting. 

In addition to printing costs, selling and marketing expenses should also be considered, which includes expenses related to promoting and advertising the art prints, such as social media campaigns, website maintenance, and other marketing materials. 

Miscellaneous costs like packaging and shipping should also be factored in. These expenses ensure that the art prints are delivered safely to the customers’ doorsteps. 

Lastly, it is vital to consider the desired profit margin. Artists must determine how much profit they want from each sale and adjust the retail price accordingly. 

While determining the pricing, it is crucial to consider the value proposition of the art prints. Artists should communicate any unique features, such as limited editions, hand-signed prints, or unique packaging, that may justify higher prices. 

By carefully considering these factors and communicating the value proposition, artists can find the right balance between affordability and profitability, ensuring their art prints are priced competitively in the market. 

Diversifying Your Print Offerings 

Offering a range of print options is a great way to cater to a broader audience. Consider introducing prints of various sizes, with such variety, allowing your artwork to decorate the homes of customers with different budgets and spatial constraints. 

You can offer prints on different substrates, like canvas, photo paper, or metal. These various media can drastically alter the look and feel of your printed artwork, providing an opportunity to expand your customer base. Additionally, purchasing your artwork framed or unframed can cater to your customers’ varied preferences and budgets. 

Leveraging Online Platforms 

The rise of eCommerce provides artists with an unparalleled opportunity to reach a global audience. Online platforms like Fine Art America, Etsy, and Society6 can be excellent spaces for artists to sell their work. The work these platforms do—handling everything from payment processing to shipping—can save you time and stress, giving you more mental space to create. 

The Role of Effective Marketing 

Putting your prints out into the world for purchase is an initial step. An effective marketing strategy is a decisive factor in the success of your endeavor. From regular posting on social media platforms to maintaining and growing an email newsletter, there are many avenues to explore. 

Consider leveraging limited editions or signed prints—it can draw art collectors in and create a sense of urgency around your work. Show behind-the-scenes shots of your printmaking process and tell your artistic story to engage with your audience on a deeper level. 

The Argument Against Limited Edition Prints

That being said, I am opposed to using limited-edition prints. You can sell open-edition prints at fair market prices. You don’t need to artificially limit your income with limited editions of digital prints. It’s extra work and time you can’t get back. You don’t need the gimmick to market your work as worthy of the price you set.


Boosting your art business is a process that requires diversification and adaptation to changing market trends. One such avenue of diversification is art prints, which offer a profitable and scalable solution. High-quality images can significantly augment sales of original artwork, expanding your customer base and profits. 

By focusing on quality, pricing your work right, diversifying your offerings, properly leveraging online platforms, and formulating an effective marketing strategy, your art business can reach new heights of success. 

Artists worldwide must continue to innovate, evolve, and adapt their creative endeavors into profitable business strategies. Embarking on creating and selling prints can be the first step towards a thriving art business.  

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  • Here in Los Angeles, the price of good copy-stand photography for art is about $200 per photo. You can get that a little cheaper if you do several at one time. The cost of a high quality print on decent paper (not the best) is about $50 to $80 per print, depending on the size. Again, this can be cheaper if you do more quantity at one time. That means you have to sell the first 10 prints for around $80 to $100 each to cover costs and have a little left over.

    Anybody disagree with these numbers? I’d love to hear about cheaper alternatives.

    • Thanks for your comments. Your estimates for the cost of printing are in the range of typical. While seeking lower prices is always a good idea, your costs should not affect your ability to profit from marketing your work. Read the post about selling for ideas on how you can charge more for your work. You owe it to yourself and your art to come out with more than a little left over after going to the process of making prints for your clients. I would start with doubling your prices and believing in their value at that rate. Learn to talk about your work and the print making process so clients understand the true value of the work. Then raise your prices once or twice a year after that. Good luck with your art business.

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