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The Art of Fine Art Printing

Written by Avant Print & Frame

July 14, 2021

There is a common misconception that a print is merely transference of digital photograph to paper. From this perspective the quality of the picture is determined simply by the type of printer. 

But transforming an excellent photograph into a museum quality fine art print is, well, a fine art. To illustrate the challenges as well as the expertise involved consider the television display in a department store. 

There may be a dozen or more televisions on display. Each is showing the same program or movie. But each picture is subtly different. To show colors and tonal values accurately in a print is dependent on proper calibration. 

Paper can have as much to do with the quality of the print as accurate color reproduction. There is a distinct difference in the composition of printing paper, photo paper and fine art paper. 

The composition of fine art paper makes it ideal to receive inks and pigments and allows for a wide range of gray tones. This paper usually made from natural fibers such as cotton is not artificially bleached with chlorine and offers a neutral pH that allows for minimal fading over the course of time. 

A careful selection of frame and mat are equally as important. For small pieces, a mat pulls the focus into the picture. You might say that acts as a window. 

A larger print often works better with a full bleed (the picture goes all the way to the frames edge). But here to a properly coordinated mat can enhance the appearance of the work. 

The frame is the proverbial frosting on the cake. A frame that highlights but does not distract from the picture is half the puzzle. The second is selecting a frame that accentuates the setting where the picture is to be displayed. 

The entire process of transforming a photo into a fine art print is limited only by the imagination and the budget. Nowhere is this made more evident than in the selection of a frame. 

And there are the details and touches that will never be seen but set the print apart. As an example, for “floating” you will need an acid-free foam core lift. Mounted to a supporting white mat this would be hidden behind the work. And then that gets into a discussion about spacers, their size, and their composition. 

So, what is floating? This gives your print space. It ensures separation and allows for a reveal of the outside border of the artwork. And that takes us full circle to paper as this is where the texture of the paper takes on an importance. Floating is also something to consider if your work will be signed. 

If all of this seems a bit overwhelming and confusing simply contact the professionals at Avant Print & Framing. In the tri state area, they are your one stop shop for frames, framing supplies, gallery display, fine art printing, and large format printing. 

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