Fine art prints refer to archival pigment giclée prints; however, what’s so special about fine art prints, and why is this style more expensive than traditional photo printing?
Unlike your typical c-print, giclée prints use a combination of high-quality pigment-based inks and acid-free fine art papers. Furthermore, fine art prints, often called “pigment prints”, are made without light sensitivity or chemistry.
Giclée printing produces a product of a higher quality and a much longer lifespan than a standard desktop inkjet printer.
Any image that is to be printed as a giclée needs to be created at a resolution of at least 300 dots per inch (DPI). That means that the camera or scanner used to capture the image or scan the artwork must be able to do so at 300 DPI.
The term Giclée was adopted by the printer and artist Jack Duganne around 1990. He was a printmaker working at Nash Editions. He wanted a name for the new type of prints they were producing on a modified Iris printer, a large-format, high-resolution industrial prepress proofing inkjet printer on which the paper receiving the ink is attached to a rotating drum. Since then, it has been used widely to mean “fine art, fine art prints or fine art printing.”
Galleries, artists, photographers, and print and photo labs often use fine art printing to produce high-quality fine art prints for customers. Still, it is also used generically for art printing of any quality.
The word giclée has come to be loosely associated with other types of inkjet printing, including processes that use dyes or fade-resistant, archival inks (pigment-based), and archival substrates primarily produced on Canon, Epson, HP and other large-format printers.
These printers use the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) colour process as a base with additional colour cartridges for smoother gradient transitions (such as light magenta, light cyan, light and very light grey), up to 12 different inks in top model printers (orange, green, violet (Epson); red, green, blue (HP); 11+ Chroma Optimizer [a clear coat] (Canon)) to achieve larger colour gamut.
Various substrates on which an image can be printed with such inks are available, including multiple textures and finishes such as matte photo paper, watercolour paper, cotton canvas, pre-coated canvas, or textured vinyl.
Giclée printing is more expensive than traditional C-type printing because of the cost of the materials used in the printing process. Giclee printers use high-quality, archival-grade inks and papers to produce images that will last decades without fading or yellowing. Most fine art prints can last up to 200 years.
Another factor contributing to the high cost of fine art prints is that they’re often sold in “limited editions”. For example, I shoot limited edition artwork for clients such as the Swan Lake Collection, Dancing Tulips and Low Light Flora wall art.
This means that only a certain number of images are made from a particular artwork, making them more valuable and rare. Limited edition prints are highly sought-after by art collectors and can command high prices.
Like photo printing, giclée prints come in many fantastic textures, which you can find in the fine art prints shop here.
Norfolk Prints & Frames Fine art prints come in Fine Art Omega Rag (ultra white), Hahnemüle Photorag (white) and Fine Art Baryta (semi-gloss).
When choosing a fine art print from our shop, you can rest assured that the print team we use is certified for Hahnemühle. One of Hahnemühle’s highly trained technicians was awarded this status after completing a series of training sessions and assessments. This means the photo lab we use to print your work is one of the best in Europe.
Furthermore, the print lab uses only the latest professional giclée 12-colour printers with UV-resistant, archival inks.
Whichever print project you choose, you can rest assured that you’re investing in a product that can last up to 200 years rather than buying one that may need replacing in a few years.
Giclée fine art prints are worth every penny; they can resist fading and last up to 170-200 years, and they’re an investment too.
When you purchase a giclée print from us, you’re buying a product of the highest quality, with long-lasting results, that will wow your audience.
Giclée prints also have a higher resolution than traditional prints, meaning they will be sharper and more detailed.
Additionally, giclée prints are made with a finer quality paper or canvas that is acid-free and of archival quality. This means they will have better longevity and look better over time than “non-giclée” prints.
J. J. Williamson | The Norfolk Photographer
My name is Jon Williamson; I’m an ethical photographer and writer with fifteen years of experience in the photography industry. I shoot landscapes, seascapes, fine art and portraits. I also offer one-on-one tuition, run photography training courses and hold talks about photography-related subjects. For more information please contact me below.