Why You Should Invest in High Quality Scans of Your Original Art

Don’t overlook the importance of photographing and archiving your artwork—big opportunities may be right around the corner.

Your images are your business assets. Even though you might not need it today, having high quality digital files of your artwork is a smart business decision. Big money making opportunities have been lost to artists who have poor quality or low-resolution digital scans/photographs of their artwork.

Just this week, an artist came to us for help with printing for a hospitality project. He had the opportunity furnish a 150 room hotel with canvas reproductions created from his original painted artwork. These types of projects are few and far between, he was excited and this was a chance to make a good sum of money. Unfortunately, what we learned was that he did not invest in high quality scans of the original, which was now sold—the sale opportunity was lost.

Two things went wrong:

1/ His digital captures were too low quality. Although well intended, the digital files were not large enough resolution (only suitable for web-use, not print); they were not evenly lit, studio lighting and a polarizing filter were not used, and the file was not colour calibrated to match the original likeness of the painting (which has now been sold).

2/ The artist didn’t have a long term, “diversified” business sales plan.

8 Solid Reasons Why Every Artist Should Invest in High Quality Scans of their Art

1. Future art publishing (limited editions, décor prints or licensing)
2. Required when applying to a commercial gallery (finding a rep or art dealer)
3. Files are often needed when applying for grants or competitions
4. For submitting to juried shows and exhibitions
5. Insurance: theft or fire
6. Creation of a book or catalogue
7. In the case of personal injury or inability to create new work
8. Life legacy, create an income for your dependants, charity or church

Saying this, I know many artists can’t afford having all their artworks captured in high resolution. However, if you are in the business of “selling art” you need to develop a long-term plan that anticipates every need.\

How much will it cost?

Expect to pay between $100 and $250 Canadian to have a good quality capture done at a reputable firm. See my post on “Step 2: Imaging/Scanning, in the Printmaking Section” to learn about what specifications you need to be able to handle making prints of your artwork when the time comes.

Important: Be sure your invoice for your original artworks explains that you (as the artist) (or your estate) retain the sole copyright of the artwork. And that the artist retains the right to reproduce or make prints of the said artwork at anytime in the future. This is good business practice and maintains your sales integrity with the buyer of your original.

Find a way to afford this service:

  1. Invest in your “best” or  most popular pieces. Use some of the profit from the sold artwork and have it digitally copied before it is delivered to your customer.
  2. Add $100 to the sale price of each artwork.
  3. Barter your services with an experienced studio photographer, at the very least get 4×5″ film shot.
  4. Take advantage of slow season specials and “set-up fee” or “multiples” discounts for volume pieces scanned at the same time.

I hope this post will help you avoid future disappointments or missed sales opportunities. I’m always happy to hear from you. Share with our readers creative ways you have afforded to have your originals scanned?

Let us know by commenting. Thanks!

K.