Guide to Fine Art Printing for Photographers

Much of the conversation surrounding photography falls to the camera, the lenses, lighting, the subject being photographed and other factors on the front end of the process. 

It makes sense: A photograph is capturing a moment in time that may never be replicated again, so it’s essential to capture that moment perfectly, even if the picture will receive countless tweaks in Photoshop later. 

The final step — the one in which the photograph becomes a tangible object derived from a digital file — is where fine art photo printing gives the photo real permanence. 

What Is Fine Art Printing for Photographers?

Fine art photo printing is defined by the types of paper and ink used. The paper and the mats the photos are mounted on must be acid-free. Fine art paper can also be specialized according to the type of art it will display, with some favoring bright, bold colors and others working better with monochromatic schemes.

A regular inkjet printer will not provide the quality demanded by fine art printing photography standards. Instead, special fine art photo printers are used to provide a wide color spectrum through the use of eight to 12 inks rather than the usual four in a home or office printer. 

The pictures from these unique, high-end printers come out far more comparable to the detail and quality of the original image thanks to their ability to precisely mix colors in extremely high detail.

Steps to Fine Art Printing for Photographers

Preparing your photos for the non-digital world requires plenty of groundwork. Below are the details you’ll need to consider to ensure they come out the way you want them to.

Working with the Right Printing Partner

If you don’t want to spend money on a specialty printer, it’s better to work with an experienced printing partner. Print Bind Ship can provide you with vibrant, stunning photo prints so you don’t have to invest in new equipment. Our designers will ensure your photographs are properly set for printing and will help you select the paper and inks needed to get the results you want.

Choosing the Right Printing Technique

In addition to having the right materials, fine art printing photography relies on the right printing method. There are three main forms: inkjet, giclee and digital chromogenic.

While giclee (pronounced g-clay) is technically an inkjet printing process, it’s not what most people mean when referring to typical inkjet printing, which is fine for printing Word documents and amateur photos. Giclee prints use high-end printers that have eight to 12 colors. It’s a more expensive process, but the results are professional.

Digital chromogenic or c-type prints use RGB lasers on exposed film or photographic paper. It’s a technique that combines modern digital technology and the traditional silver-based chemicals used in film photography. It can glean excellent results, but it requires more specialized materials and tools than giclee printing.

Selecting the Right Paper and Inks

Determine the variety of fine art papers available and how they can impact the final print’s appearance. It’s important to use archival-quality inks to produce long-lasting prints.

Preparing Images for Printing

You must calibrate your monitor to ensure you see your photo properly. The brightness, contrast, white point and black point must all be accurate. You also must ensure your photos are the right resolution, which is usually between 300 and 360 pixels per inch. The more accurate you get your photo to be in the digital realm, the better it will look when printed.

Working with Professional Print Labs

Printing at home can involve lots of trial and error while working with a print lab that understands fine art photographic printing ensures you’ll get excellent results the first time. A print lab understands how to prepare your digital files for the best possible fine art print, and it will have the tools ready to do so quickly.

Showcasing and Selling Fine Art Prints

You can get creative with how you display your photos. Turn them into canvas wraps to look like paintings. Choose between ostentatious framing and matting, or use more spare styles.

Take excellent photos of your pictures for display on your website and social media to make them look enticing to potential buyers, and showcase a variety of different printing techniques. Contact galleries about including your pictures in their shows, and ask about their submission criteria.

Ensuring Print Preservation

Use acid-free paper, and avoid handling your photos with bare hands. Special gloves ensure oils from your fingers do not affect your fine art prints. Framed prints can be safely stored between acid-free mats, while loose prints should go into thick, bend-resistant folders with archival glassine.

Create Fine Art Photos with Print Bind Ship

There’s more to fine art printing than having a great photo on hand. The printing process is an art itself, which is why you need to partner with the professionals at Print Bind Ship. We create incredibly detailed, durable, high-quality prints for artists around the world, and we are ready to do the same for you. If you want to send prints directly to customers along with custom notecards, unique offers and cool bonuses, Print Bind Ship’s Print Genius service is for you. You can even get notes that look genuinely handwritten. Contact Print Bind Ship today to get started.


What is fine art printing?

Printing on acid-free paper with high-resolution printers to create long-lasting, detailed prints.

Why should photographers opt for fine art printing?

It preserves their photos permanently and accurately presents the images.

What types of images benefit most from fine art printing?

Detailed photographs and digital paintings in black and white or color.