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Questions to Ask:
• What size scan will I get and at what cost?
• Can I choose a 100, 200 or 300mb scan?
• What is the cost of burning the scan to CD?
• Are the scans mounted with KAMI fluid?
• How much time can be spent on my image before it costs extra?
• What types of changes are possible without extra cost?
• Will I receive my Master File with all changes at no extra cost?
• Can I visit sit down with the Master Printer in the studio at no extra cost?
• Are the people working on my image artists themselves?
• Is all output archival?
• How many output options do I have to choose from?
 

The digital printing process offers an artist so many options that it can become difficult to make the right choices and certainly difficult to compare different services from different studios. This page will help you understand the critical factors that are important in the making of fine art prints. As you consider which printing studio to work with, you should consider all of these factors and understand what approach is offered and what the real costs are.

We believe that when you compare what Color Folio offers relative to other labs, you will realize that you are receiving maximum value from us for your investment.

Scanning
Any investment in a digital print is a relatively considerable one. We suggest getting the best quality scan possible up front.

One of the critical factors in scan quality is file size - the larger the file (up to a point), the larger print you can make without compromising image quality. Many times we have had customers come to us to rescan an image because they had received a scan that was sufficient for the original print but not large enough for their current printing requirement. Some studios only scan for the size print you are presently ordering or they anticipate a lower output resolution than is optimal. Make sure you are getting a scan that will meet all your future printing needs - with fine art images, it's very difficult to know in advance how large you may need to print down the road.

Fine grained film does not have more than 5000dpi worth of information in it so scanning beyond that is a waste of your money. For 35mm film we recommend a 5000dpi, 100mb scan - all Color Folio Print packages include a 100mb scan, regardless of how large your inital print is - your investment is protected. For larger film formats, we offer an option to upgrade to 200mb, 300mb or more for an incremental charge.

Drum scans are typically wet mounted using fluid. The old method of wet mounting was to use oil, a very messy process which can leave residue on your film which can over time break down the emulsion. Color Folio only uses KAMI fluid, a petroleum based solution which does not leave any residue.

Finally, are there hidden costs for either burning your scans to a CD or for removing and dust or other scanning artifacts from the file? At Color Folio, there are none.

Imaging
Rarely does one want to print a raw scan, even a high quality scan from a Tango drum scanner. The objectives at scan time are a little different than at print time and there are many subtle but critical actions that can be performed on an image in Photoshop to make it into the finest print possble that cannot be done in scanning software. So the imaging stage is critical.

Different images require different amounts of time and different strategies and techniques. Color Folio charges a flat rate for imaging work rather than charging by the hour so you know up front that you will get the print you want (within the limits of the printing process) for a known cost. We don't charge more for selective changes vs. overall changes - after all, one of the advantages of digital imaging is the ability to be very specific!

The only time we add an hourly rate is for extensive restoration or manipulation of image content (removing a thousand telephone wires, for example). If an image requires an hour or more of critical changes, including complex masking, etc., we include that in our package prices. Be aware of how much imaging time and what kind of changes you get for your money!

If you are shooting digitally, are you paying the same price for your print packages as someone having their film scanned, or do you receive a discount because your image is already in digital form. Color Folio discounts your packages $20 if you provide us a usable digital file to begin with.

When we are finished with your image, we will send you the Master file with all changes still in Photoshop layers. This allows you maximum flexibility to revisit any changes in the future without degrading your image quality. You also get to see the techniques we've used to make the final print.

We also keep a copy of your Master File here for future printing. Some studios do not provide you with your Master File, or they flatten the layers and many will charge you extra for this file. We believe you own this file and should have a copy of it at no extra charge.

If you are local to Color Folio, you are invited to visit us in the studio and sit down with the Master Printer working on your image to make final corrections. There is no additional charge for this service.

Finally, all the staff at Color Folio are practicing fine artists themselves in the areas of photography and painting. We feel that this is an essential service to you as an artist - we can collaborate with you on both a technical and artistic level.


Printing
At Color Folio we offer several different printing processes, all archival and each with a particular set of strengths. This not only offers you options for different interpretations of your images but allows us to help you determine which is the strongest option for any particular image.

We always suggest creating at least one 8x10” full frame proof of your image on the same paper and printing process as your final prints. We believe it is essential to see exactly how the image will print before investing in the final print. We do not use a different, cheaper printer to create the proofs as this may lead to small but critical differences with the final print.