How to Make Prints From an Original Painting

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High-quality prints capture the textures of the original artwork.
High-quality prints capture the textures of the original artwork. (Image: Kaiha/iStock/Getty Images)

While they don't retain the value of an original painting, prints offer an effective and efficient means of reproducing your artwork. These reproductions can be sold at a lower price point than the original piece, and are, in many cases, the only way art lovers on a budget can bring home pieces created by favorite artists. To create high-quality prints of your own paintings, you'll need access to a high-resolution camera or flatbed scanner, some photo-editing software and a photo-quality printer.

Reproduce the Image

Capturing your artwork in a digital format means it can be edited and resized on your computer before it's made into a print. The best quality prints are born from professional digital capture equipment -- which includes studio lighting, tripods and high-resolution cameras. A consumer-grade flatbed scanner, however, will also work well as long as it's configured to its highest resolution scan settings. If your artwork is too large to fit on that flatbed, either scan the piece in installments or take advantage of a local print shop's large-scale scanning services.

Edit Away

Save the new digital reproduction of your painting to your computer and then open it in a comprehensive photo-editing application. Professionals typically use Adobe Photoshop for this, but it's unnecessary if you are familiar with something else. You'll likely only need basic tools to perform minor edits such as cropping, rotating or adjusting the colors. Depending on your eventual choice of printer, you may also have to use this software to reformat the saved file or modify its color output settings.

Find a Printer

With the image file ready to go, the next step is either finding a print shop to produce your prints or buying your own printer and doing it yourself. If you decide to hire it out, start locally since you may have to do a few trial print runs to get your colors matched perfectly. A variety of online vendors will also reproduce images at poster size in the event you don't find local help. If you choose to print on your own, use a high-resolution device and archival quality ink and paper for best results.

Test the Output

Color calibrations often vary between your original painting, your computer monitor and the printer. Proof prints will help you determine whether additional edits are necessary on the digital file -- for example, you may need to brighten the black hues or tone down yellow tints to counteract the printer's default. If you're using an online printing service and want to avoid the hassle of shipping proofs back and forth, you may be able to provide a printed photograph of your artwork as a reference instead.

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