Fine Art Scanning FAQ
There are many reasons why you shouldn’t. First off, the camera and lenses to which you have access probably can’t shoot at a high enough resolution to capture all of the detail necessary for quality fine art reproduction. Secondly, you’ll probably have problems illuminating the artwork evenly enough to eliminate hot spots, glare, and falloff, all of which will appear in your image if not controlled. Third, you’ll need a color-managed workflow as well as an expensive camera system that doesn’t interpolate (essentially, guess at) color in order to accurately match the colors present in the original artwork. It’s simply more cost-effective to work with a professional photographer who already has all of the necessary equipment *and* skills.
Creekside Digital can scan 2D artwork up to 40″ x 60″ (or even a bit bigger) vertically on our TTI copy stand. We can capture even larger canvas on our wall-mounted easel: up to eight feet high by 12 feet or more in length, up to 200 pounds in weight. Larger pieces will need to be scanned using multiple exposures and digitally “stitched” together. Pixel-wise, we can scan up to 40″ x 53.3″ at a full 300dpi true optical resolution in a single shot — that’s 12,000 x 15,990 pixels.
Creekside Digital proudly uses the BetterLight Super 8K digital scanning back system for the ultimate in no-compromise fine art reproduction image quality. In fact, if you’re evaluating photographers and companies who claim to do fine art scanning, make sure they’re either using a BetterLight system or one of the excellent overhead scanners from Cruse. Quality art reproduction has very different requirements than most other types of digitization, and requires specialized equipment and knowledge. Our BetterLight system is matched with the finest large format lenses in the world, manufactured by German optics companies like Schneider and Rodenstock. We also have several 4×5 view cameras to choose from depending on the specifics of each project. We use our BetterLight in a fully equipped studio environment, using lighting designed for art reproduction which emits “museum-safe” levels of heat and UV light.
Yes. Creekside Digital can minimize the specular reflections (glare) bouncing off of a glossy canvas surface (and into the camera, potentially ruining the shot) using a variety of techniques. It’s always preferable to *not* use cross-polarization unless absolutely necessary, as it can add a color cast to the resulting image for which we must compensate post-scan; so we try to minimize any glare through creatively lighting the piece in order to keep specular reflections at a minimum. When required though, we can and do use cross-polarization in order to eliminate the glare altogether.
Yes, so long as the edges are dry enough to allow us to handle and position the work for imaging. We typically shoot these projects on our wall-mounted easel to minimize airborne dust and other particles that might settle onto the varnish. We do not recommend that wet or tacky canvas be photographed vertically on a copy stand (with the camera suspended over the work) for this reason.
Fine art scanning projects are left with us and picked up at a later date when completed. We never like to rush artwork scanning jobs, as it puts undue stress on our staff and can prevent them from doing their best work. Each piece is a little different, and requires custom setup. It sometimes takes time to get things right, especially when it comes to lighting and color correction, and therefore we ask our customers to leave their artwork with us and pick it up once we’ve completed their project. Regarding security of your items in our care: our facilities are monitored 24/7 by ADT, and we also carry a rather hefty insurance policy for your protection and ours. Feel free to contact us for more details.
Absolutely. Please contact us for details.
All of our fine art scanning is done by Chris Becker, Creekside Digital’s on-staff photographer, who has worked professionally in photography for over 20 years. Formerly with the Maryland Historical Society, where he digitized many priceless paintings, manuscripts and other historic artifacts, Chris is well versed in proper art handling techniques as well as current digitization and preservation guidelines for cultural heritage materials. He has also worked as a large-format product photographer and photojournalist. We are thrilled to be able to offer his talents to our customers!