Recently, I was contacted by a client, asking if they could purchase two of my images, but as Posters prints (24×36 inches).
It is not usual for me to get Print orders from 5×7 to 11×17, but never something as big as 24×36!
I said Yes, and then began to panic, especially when I realized the two requested images were taken back in 2013, with my Canon EOS Xti/400D, which is only 10.1 megapixels!
Starting on Google, I searched for suggestions on how to enlarge files without losing quality.
I knew from passing interests, that there were some specialized software for doing larger than ‘normal’ sizes, and some of them were interesting, but I could not justify the cost for just two images.
Eventually, I found a trick with just using Photoshop.
Basically, instead of enlarging it in one step, in my case 3888×2592 to 11096×7396 (or 285.39%), you do a series of incremental enlargements at 110%, up to the size needed.
I did it both ways, and you can see the difference!
But, one problem.
The final working file size.
The color image, “Marsh Creek sunset” is a 16-bit HDR (11096×7396 @ 300dpi) file weighing in at 1.38 GBs; the B&W images was not as bad, coming in at 403 MBs.
Dealing with files over 1 GB is not usual for me on my local computer, but I knew my Print house in New York City (NYC) had a 200MB limit (TIFF 8-bit sRGB, no compression).
With the color file, the first thing that I did was reduce it from 16-bit to 8-bit, which got me down to 466MBs.
Finally, after some design changes of the poster layout, I got both files down to about 378MBs, still far too large for NYC.
Finding a Printer
So I started to look at local places to print, and Brilliant Studios in Exton popped up.
After looking at their home page, I needed to visit!
My Tech Geek was kicking in!
During my days at Kodak and TV Guide, I had to visited many commercial print facilities around the United States and Canada, and on the surface, Brilliant Studio looked too good to be true.
So I emailed the main contact on the website, Bob Tursack, who also happens to be the CEO, with the information on my poster project.
Changing Printers is not an easy thing, especially when it comes to color printing.
I’ve been using the same Printer in NYC for 10+ years, so switching to someone new, on such a unique project, from my point of view, was very risky.
During several email exchanges with Bob, I mentioned my file size issue, and to my surprised, I never got the idea there was a limit, which seemed odd considering the 200MBs limit in NYC.
I was also introduced to the term giclée printing, “fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers.”
Sounds like a marketing term, but when you dig deeper, there is a broader color range and papers.
Bob suggested the Hahenmule Baryta Gloss, “this paper has its own quality that is akin to traditional darkroom silver fiber papers”.
Now he had me hooked.
In my youth, I spent hundreds of hours in the darkroom, printing black & white photos, for hobby, school and work, so this was music to my ears!
After a day or so, late in the holiday season, Bob invites me in for Proofing.
I was excited.
I arrived at a building, that I had passed countless times in my 17+ years of living in Downingtown, questioning what I was going to see.
I walked into the reception area, and introduced myself to the receptionist.
While waiting, I looked around at various books on the tables and prints covering the walls.
My commercial printing background was kicking in.
Was this stuff being printed here?
I flipped through several art books, and the quality was amazing.
After several minutes, Bob arrived and escorted me back to the Proofing area.
Past the beautiful offices and sub-studios, and finally into the main printing area.
My jaw was on the floor!
Traditionally, high volume color printing is not a clean activity.
This place seemed spotless.
Even their 60+ year old Heidelberg offset printer looks brand new!
(If I remember correctly it was imported from Germany and rebuilt!)
I snickered to myself as I entered the nearby Proofing booth, similar to the one I entered at Kodak, on my first day, to test for color blindness and how many places had I visited that had no concept of controlled lighting.
Part of me was in Geek heaven.
Needless to say, the Proofs looked great, and things that I worried about in my head, did not come up.
A couple of days later, I returned to pick up the final 24×36 prints, and they were gorgeous!
The size, print quality and paper all worked together to enhance the final pieces and I was extremely happy to present them to my client!
A Gem of a Neighbor
Again, I am blown away with this GEM of a Print house, right in my back yard, roughly 2 miles away!
I’m also amazed that I had never heard of them before, and they have been there since 2003!
As for pricing, it is definitely more expense then going with my NYC house, even with shipping, but now I have two options to present to future clients!
Update – A couple of days later, another new client wanted two 11x14s, and I immediately sent the files to Brilliant Studios, and also got excellent prints! – I have printed these in the past, and the yellows tended to be a little ‘hot’, but when done via the giclée printing, they were still rich without being too vibrant.
So with that being said, who wants a Fine Art Print?