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Working With Digital Capture

raw filesMore and more of our clients are working with digital SLR cameras. We are happy to use your digital capture as the starting point for one of our print packages. We will deduct $20.00 from the cost of the package in this case. Following are some suggested guidelines for submission of digital files.

The optimal format for submission of your files is Camera Raw. We can also start with TIFF or JPEG files, though these offer us less control over the image. In particular, JPEG files are by definition compressed, which can result in artifacts or other image degradation. On the other hand, some JPEG files can be printed with very good quality - we can help you examine your files to see how yours may print. If shooting JPEG, use the highest quality mode and avoid making any changes to the JPEG file and saving it out in that same format - if you change anything in the JPEG file, save it out as a TIFF file immediately.

We prefer to receive your files unaltered, as that gives us the most control and options to start with. There are three strategies to use when submitting your digital files:

1 - Leave the interpretation of the image to us - we will use our aesthetic and technical experience to create a high quality image for you. We recommend a proof for all print packages, so you will have an opportunity to instruct us to make changes to our initial interpretation.

2 - Provide us with specific input as to how you would like the image to finally appear. This may be based on your viewing of the image on your monitor. Be aware that the image will likely look different on our monitors, so the use of relative description is not that helpful (eg "I want more contrast" may be hard to interpret because we don't know how much contrast you are seeing).

3- Provide us with some form of hardcopy that is close to what you want. If you do this, please make any changes to a copy of the file you are sending us so that we have the original, unaltered version of the file to start from.

Feel free to send different exposures of the same image for us to select from. Please let us know from which images we are to make a selection.

We are often asked how big a print can be made from different size digital files. Ultimately this is a very subjective decision. Also there is variation in image quality with each camera - some based on factors other than number of pixels. For example, it's possible that a 6 megapixel capture may create a better print than an 8 megapixel capture from another camera. While this issue is a matter of taste, we will state that we have created 20x30" Lightjet and Epson prints from 6 megapixel files that rival those created by 100mb drum scans of 35mm film.

Please send your digital files on CD, or you may send them via FTP. For information on FTP, please call or email. Please include an order form with your submission, download here for Mac or Windows. You may send the order form by mail, fax or email.