Art prints from the service provider: this is what you need to pay attention to
You don’t have to go without a good art print just because you don’t have your own photo printer. Many service providers offer this on the web or in the print shop for photographers. But even if you’re not printing yourself, a calibrated workflow is important. Those who cannot offer it will find suitable service offers.
Everything on paper is not a print
Print service providers use one of two techniques to put your images on paper. For a long time, the most common and qualitatively the best method was exposure. It is also called Type-C (Continuous Tone Print) or Lightprint. This is an exposure process known from analog photos. Instead of enlargers and negatives, modern machines use lasers or LEDs. The paper is then chemically developed. Most manufacturers offer a standard paper from the Fujifilm Crystal Archive range online, but there are other papers available, for example from Ilford or Kodak. Image quality is generally solid; good fine art papers are worthwhile for special exhibitions. Type C printing produces rich to very delicate colors with fine transitions. The surface structure ranges from glossy to matt. Most of these images are lightfast between 15 and 40 years; if properly archived, they can sometimes last up to 80 years. Due to the high costs of production facilities, exhibits are usually only available from the service provider.
The second variant is inkjet printing. This is available with pigmented and non-pigmented inks. These are mainly used on glossy photo papers. They offer bright, saturated colors, but their lightfastness is limited. For fine art prints, providers mainly rely on pigmented inks, sometimes called giclées. Depending on the printing device, a width of 1.0 to 1.6 meters is possible. For example, you can get larger prints from Whitewall. In cooperation with Epson, the service provider has built a machine that prints up to a width of 2.40 meters. Large formats are called master prints, but are only delivered laminated between an aluminum dibond plate and an acrylic sheet and are therefore expensive. Depending on the size, the costs are in the four to five figure range.
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