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Image Capture Your Original Art

Image CaptureGetting a high resolution digital file of you original art can be one of the most important investments you can make as an artist to preserve your copyright and maximize your profit potential from each original you create.

This is an important step to undertake before art leaves your hands. It is not necessary to commit to file prep or printing to get a digital image capture of your originals with Old Town Editions. Even if you have not decided what you are going to do with the file, it is important to  digitize your artwork. You will regret not having a record of your work once it is gone.

An image capture is not the same as taking a snapshot with any point and shoot camera  or even with a professional grade DSLR camera.  Most professionals photographers selling art photography are using at maximum a 30MP camera.  This is just not the same as getting a high resolution image capture of your original with our 216MP system.  You will be greatly limited with just a 30 MP photograph of your original.  You may have saved a few dollars but gained much heartache when you learn that the shot the “professional” took will just not suffice for quality reproductions.  Most professional photographers don’t have the need for a $40,000 image capturing system that an art reproduction studio or museum will have to pick up all the detail and subtle nuances of your originals.

Old Town Editions offers a stand alone image capture for $75 per original artwork. We discount this cost to $60 each when given 10+ pieces at one time.  These prices are below industry standard.  Many places only offer scanning at $1 per MB.  We will give you the largest digital file we can make of your original every time we make a capture of your original.  You will receive a 200-315 MB image file of every piece of art you submit for image capture.  The size of the final capture just depends on the proportions of your original art. This image capture service has a usual turnaround time of 2-3 days. You will be given a disc with large, medium, and small/web sized files for your use.

An image capture is essentially a hybrid of a photograph and a scan. It is not just a snap of the shutter. It is made using a digital scanning back in a traditional medium format camera.  It actually scans the original from top to bottom through an open camera aperture.  This is the best form of digital preservation possible for your originals.  This “preservation” image capture can be used for digital fine art printing, portfolios, web sites, printing, promotions, insurance records and every other digital need you will ever have. All the best museums and galleries utilize this form of photography for their originals.

Image Capture CompAn image capture with Old Town Editions is created using the top of the line Better Light Digital Scanning Back Model Super 6K.  This Scanning back has the the equivalent resolutions of 216MP.  This digital scanning back technology replaced the transparency or film step in art reproduction.  Now the scan goes directly into the computer and there is literally no information lost from the original painting like there used to be with film.  An image capture takes anywhere from 5-25 minutes to “digitally capture” the detail of your original.   This kind of image capture is the very best kind of photography you can have of your originals.

Commonly, artists forget or do not think to get an image capture before parting with their original artwork.  Once the art is out of your hands you may never have the chance to get that high resolution image capture to archive. It is necessary to have a record of your work and a high resolution file offers you the most possibilities for future use. Do not limit your ability to make prints and bring in extra income in the future. If the original is sold you still own the copyright.  Just because you sold the original artwork you created it does not mean that you can’t make reproductions.

Some artists borrow their artwork back from the buyer for image capture and return it as soon as you have it captured.  Most art collectors don’t mind lending the original back to the artist for image capture. Some artists provide substitute art to fill the void in their clients wall until their original is returned. This has also led to more sales because a client gets exposed to another one of your paintings that they otherwise may not have. We usually find that the original art owners are thrilled to find out there will be prints available of the original they own. Having prints available often increases the value of the original art.



Remote File Preparation and Printing

Stirling's paper prints framing arranged by

Stirling’s paper prints framing arranged by Old Town Editions. Upon Stirling’s specific instructions we communicated to the framer what he wanted.

Pete Muller and Stirling Elmendorf are two photographers we have worked with for years.  The most complicated component of our relationship with these two photographers is that they reside in different countries on the other side of the world.  Pete Muller, a photojournalist, was in Sudan on long term assignment with current location unknown. Stirling, an architectural photographer, resides in Osaka, Japan. With their locations being so far from our printing studio, we are trusted to create the very best prints from their images without showing them proofs or even the final prints before delivery to their clients.  These two photographers are confident with our extensive file review and preparation we provide for all images submitted to Old Town Editions.  During the file prep each file is proofed, color corrected, cleaned up, retouched, archived for future printing, custom edited, and even digitally restored if necessary. These are just two examples of our many clients printing remotely.

Stirling Print

Stirling’s 40″x60″ print on canvas stretched ready for delivery. Image reflected on sides stretched on 2″ bars.

Image file preparation insures that an image looks its very best as a print, especially when printing large. Image technicians such as the ones on staff with Old Town Editions are  familiar with printing many different types of images whether it be photography or art and artifact reproduction. These technicians have the ability to tweak an image to create the most pleasing print presentation possible.

Of course photographers are skeptical about the investment in the image file preparation. Each photographer has different levels of image editing experience. Different levels of tonal adjustments, sharpening, and color adjustment must be applied to an image in varying levels to optimize for a print surface.  No image is optimized from just a monitor preview. All it usually takes is one file prep to convince each photographer that their images can be improved upon to create the best print. Even in a perfect color managed workflow like our own you still need to make decisions based on review of a printed proof.

File prep is even more important when getting a file ready for enlargement and/or printing on canvas.  Just because you like your image on your screen does not mean that you have the image ready to create the best print possible.  Knowing exactly what moves to make for an image to look its best as a print only comes with years of training and experience. Preserving subtleties in the highlights and darks while adjusting an image’s tonal range maximizes its final appearance.  Minimizing chromatic aberrations and image artifacts that may be present in an image are important steps in maximizing an image’s potential for enlargement.

Muller Final 40x60's

Pete’s final 40″x60″ prints ready for delivery. Image reflected on sides stretched on 2″ bars.

We are excited to be working with Pete, Stirling and many others in such a way. This obviously shows their confidence in our ability to make the very best prints from their images without having them provide feedback, view proofs, or even view the final product before its delivery to their clients. Once an artist or photographer works with us for a while they know they do not even need to view a proof before going ahead with their final prints.  Our clients are confident in our ability to create the very best print.

All of our clients are welcome to be involved during the whole digital fine art printing process, although this is not necessary when working with Old Town Editions.

See image galleries bellow to view all images Pete and Stirling have available for printing from our archive.

Old Town Editions and Blue Line Studios Donate Embellished Print

Officer Peter Laboy BenefitOld Town Editions and John Kiernan of Blue Line Studios have teamed up to donate a custom hand-embellished print for a special charity auction this Sunday March 10, 2013 from 3 to 6 PM.  This benefit auction is for 17 year Alexandria Police veteran Peter Laboy. Laboy sustained a catastrophic gunshot to the head last week in a traffic stop just blocks from our own Old Town Alexandria print studio. He is still in critical condition. The benefit auction on Sunday is to raise money for him and his family to help as much as possible with bills and anything else they need during this tough time. Please come out to Virtue Feed & Grain this Sunday to show your support for your local law enforcement.

The donated fine art print will be custom embellished for the highest bidder at the live auction this Sunday. The winning bidder can get the print customized for themselves or even have it embellished as a gift to officer Laboy and his family.  Kiernan’s embellishing allows him to customize his police and fire department prints by adding unit number, badge number, agency,and even a patch for officers or family. Kiernan’s hand-embellished prints are customized for retirement, end of watch, and gifts for officer’s families.

Artist John Kiernan is a world renowned for his police and fire department art.  Kiernan is also known in the community for creating art work for the Washington Capitals, large trompe l’oeil murals and decorative finishings . His work has been featured in several publications such as Washington Spaces Magazine, Faux International, Washington Post, Elan, Home & Design, and The Artistic Stenciler.

A hand-embellished print allows an artist to put a special unique touch on a print.  This technique can be used to offer variations of a fine art reproduction (also known as a giclee).  An embellished print is more valuable than a print that has not been embellished but less valuable than the original painting. It is important to note that just because the artist has put his/her unique touch on each print this is not to be mistaken in any way, shape or form as an original.  It is simply a hand-embellished print.  This technique allows an artist to offer a custom product for each of their clients at a lower price point from the original and a higher price point than the limited edition giclees.  This allows an artist to hit several demographics creating a larger market for themselves.  Someone that can’t afford the original painting from an artist but still wants a custom piece of art from that artist can purchase the hand embellished print.

You can get updates on officer Laboys progress and make donations at


An Artist’s Many Uses For Digital Fine Art Reproductions (Part 1)

VanWagoner_White_HorseWhen artist Susan Van Wagoner approached Old Town Editions in 2007 about doing digital fine art reproductions of her work, she was not interested in doing limited editions at that time.  Her main concern was to create a single identical reproduction of her paintings to use as samples of her works which would not be for sale. Van Wagoner does very large commissions and all her work, once completed, reside in her clients homes.  Without having her prospective clients visit another client’s house to see the paintings she had no way of showing the extravagance of her life-sized work.

Linen Cropshrp

Fine Detail Linen Texture Crop

The solution was to create one-off reproductions of her originals. These reproductions would travel to promotional events as displays to market her commissions.

Her originals are painted on linen and her main concern was whether or not the prints would look exactly like the originals. She was concerned that the prints would not show the intricate detail of the originals, especially the texture of the linen canvas.  We eased her concerns by letting her know that we have no problem reproducing the linen texture and fine detail of her paints with the high resolution image captures that we create from her originals. The texture can be seen in the image on the left. Some of the sizes of her originals are 61″x26″, 76″x49″, 88″x46″, and 88″x32″.  With sizes like these only the highest resolution capturing equipment would capture all the fine detail of the originals from corner to corner.

Over time Susan expressed interest in offering limited editions of one or more of her works.  The only reason she hesitated is that all her works are commissions and she felt out of respect to her clients she shouldn’t do limited editions of the commissioned paintings.  Usually her commissions are intimate portraits of beloved family pets, some of which have passed away.  If she sold prints, she would be selling an image of someone else’s family member or pet. Even though Susan retains all reproduction rights to those paintings, she chooses to not make prints of them.

This time around Susan is preparing two of her her non-commission images for limited edition printing on paper.  The two images that she is preparing for printing are the Texas Longhorn and the Greyhound seen in the image gallery below.

Which one is the original?

Which one is the original?

Making reproductions is always an artist’s decision even after the painting has sold unless their client explicitly purchased the painting with the rights.  This is rare and usually very costly to the purchasing party.

Susan has had clients order reproductions of the commissions to use in second homes or for other family members to enjoy.  This is the case with the current piece she has in for reproductions with Old Town Editions.

Whether you are ready to sell multiples of your paintings or you just need one reproduction of an original for a client, please consider Old Town Editions for your giclee printing.


Drawings From Afar For Image Capture

Amy Lin-2Artist Amy Lin is back in Washington DC from her recent move to Russia. Amy’s brilliant new collection of works brings her back to our nation’s capital for her solo show opening “Diffusion” at Addison/Ripley Fine Art on March 2, 2013. Old Town Edition’s role in this endeavor was the capturing/photographing all of Amy’s fine detail drawings. Professional art image captures/photography is essential for making sure an artist’s digital images look identical to an artist’s originals.

Old Town Editions is proud to work with talented young artists such as Amy. Congratulations on a gorgeous collection Amy….

“Amy Lin is an artist whose distinctive, vibrant and ambitious drawings masterfully balance precision and an elegant chaos. The works, in her own words, explore “cultural diffusion and are inspired by my residency last year in Singapore and my subsequent move to Russia.” In this, her second exhibition at Addison/Ripley, Lin’s colored pencil marks fly and flare on their unspoiled white surfaces, constellations of tiny dots suggesting wings and fireworks, microscopic organisms and Northern Lights. This new collection maps her recent experiences and forms them as recombinant organism with an aesthetic life of their own.

The artist’s emboldened color sense, the growing complexity of her compositions and her deep commitment to her task, spending countless hours weaving tiny points of colored pencil into exuberant arrangements, suggest a growing maturity. Barely contained on the paper, Lin’s work has the wonderful compulsive feel of work by Tara Donovan or Yayoi Kusama but maintains a lightness and assuredness on the infinite seeming white ground on which she works.”  Addison/Ripley Fine Art

Amy is one of many other artists working with Old Town Editions utilizing the digital capture part of our process alone. It is especially essential with work like Amy’s to have a professional art photographer or reproduction studio with the proper equipment to evenly light and capture all the very intricate detail.

A digital image capture from our 216 MP capturing system is the last image one will need of your artwork.  The image capturing services that we offer for artists like Amy are just like the services we provide for museums. This is the best form of digital preservation for antiquities and artwork. This digital file encompasses any use that one would need.  Alternate uses for these high resolution digital captures include, but are not limited to, show entry submissions, card printing, lithography printing, book printing and many more. If the artist decides at a later date that they are interested in limited edition printing, they will have a file suitable for digital fine art or giclee printmaking with Old Town Editions.

Amy has not had any digital reproductions or giclee prints made of any of her work to date.

Having a professional image capture/photograph of your work insures that your digital images look identical to your originals.  Only photographers that regularly capture artwork  with the proper equipment understand and can apply the precision process of the setting up the camera and lighting for a perfect art capture.   You cannot achieve this with any professional or consumer grade DSLR camera.  This process is only achieved with the use of a few types of  digital scanning backs. Only the proper equipment operated by a true artisan themselves can have the capability of giving you the best image possible.

Below you can view Amy’s beautiful new body of work captured by Old Town Editions.


Things To Consider When Oversized Printing

Oversized canvas print and Pat.

Oversized canvas print and Pat at Old Town Editions.

There are several things to think about when considering oversized printing. Oversized printing with Old Town Editions can be up to 60″ wide by 54 Feet long on either paper or canvas. Oversized prints pose obstacles that a standard sized prints do not.  Some of the obstacles to overcome are shipping, delivery, installation, framing, and stretching. Oversized prints can be expensive to frame and difficult to ship once framed.  Make sure you consider the recommended methods of framing before deciding on canvas or paper.  These two completely different looks can have large price variances for framing.

Oversized framing by Carriage House Framing

Oversized paper framing by Carriage House Framing

Matting and framing your oversized paper prints with archival materials and techniques provides the best possible protection. Framing costs increase significantly when printing above the standard size of 32″x40″ because this size is the largest you can source mat board and glass at standard sizes. The high cost of oversized mat boards, backing boards, and glass when framing paper prints can be overwhelming if one is not prepared.

Framers do not usually stock oversized glass and mat boards. If timing is tight plan ahead because most framers need to special order materials to frame oversized.

Oversized canvas prints can be significantly less expensive to frame than paper.  Oversized canvas prints are usually stretched and do not need to be behind glass.  Most framers do not need to special order materials to frame oversized canvas prints.  The materials they already stock usually cover most finishing options that you have with canvas.

A gallery wrap is a good way to save even more on finishing oversized canvas prints. This method allows you to skip the cost of a frame. A gallery wrap is when a print is stretched around the side of the bars and stapled on the back. Usually the print area is extended or a solid color is added to become the sides of the print. This is the least expensive finishing for an overzized print.  You are only paying for the stretching of the canvas, saving you the most money.

Before deciding on framing it is also good to think about shipping and delivery.  Shipping framed prints can be very expensive because the packages are larger and weigh more. They are also more susceptible to damage. Costs can be saved significantly if you ship the prints before they are framed.  This way you would use a local framer at the print’s destination.

Of course, the most important factor in this decision is which method will produce the best possible reproduction of your work. Framing an oversized paper print may be most expensive but can be most appealing in certain situations where a canvas print may not.

Get your Oversized printing done with Old Town Editions today.

To Restore, Or Not To Restore?

That is the question when digitally reproducing your old photographs, paintings, or artifacts.

When reproducing historic artifacts, one must ask themselves if they are trying to digitally restore it to its original state or just recreate its current state of preservation. We get requests to identically match, partially restore or to fully restore an artifact when reproducing historic works. Museums usually request a reproduction to be identical to the original. Private owners and collectors base their decision on personal preference and purpose of use.

When reproducing artifacts for museums, artifacts are usually reproduced identically to the original in their current state. The main use of digital reproductions in museums are to put on display instead of the original. This extends the life of the original artifacts.  Because the reproduction is on display, the original artifact can be kept in cool dry storage. This way it can last for many more years than if left on display.  Many people do not always know this because if the reproductions are done right they look identical to the original.  And, this fact is not necessarily something a museums wants to publicize.  They don’t intend to ruin experiences for patrons, they intend to preserve our historic artifacts for future generations.

Document repro sampleWhen reproducing artifacts digitally for private owners and collectors we get the full range of requests.  We  get asked to match originals identically, partially restore or completely restore them to their original appearance.  Digital restoration can allow one to see how a deteriorated heirloom may have once looked.  Or like museums, it can allow you to put the original in cool dry storage to have for future generations displaying the reproduction instead. Or, As seen in the picture to the left, the second side of a two sided document could be framed along side the original for full viewing.  These are just a few of the uses for digital reproduction of historic artifacts.

Among the many reasons to reproduce an old or historic artifact, preserving them for many generations to come is the most important of all.  Preserve your heirloom artifacts today. We are Northern Virginia’s leader in digital photo restoration.

OTE minor retouch sample

Dana Scheurer Limited Editions for Reston Interfaith

Dana Scheurer signs prints at Old Town Editions for Reston Interfaith.

Dana Scheurer signs prints at Old Town Editions for Reston Interfaith.

Reston Interfaith commissioned artist Dana Scheurer to create the original painting “Dancin’ On The Dome”, and one hundred limited edition fine art reproductions. Scheurer has created a following from her involvement with groups like Greater Reston Art Center. She also participates in local area art shows selling originals and prints.  She’s created original artwork for: Reston Triathlon, Reston Kids Triathlon, and the Reston Home Tour.

Her involvement in the local arts community and her subject matter have drawn attention from several Reston based businesses.  Dana’s involvement in the community has created strong demand of her artwork.  This is evidence that being involved with local art associations, shows, and galleries helps an artist to gain publicity to become successful.  Dana has been creating limited editions with Old Town Editions since 2004.

Selling reproductions allows more people to afford an artists work, and ultimately, offers the artist more exposure.  People come to her shows looking for her new prints and originals.  Images she’s created were used to conceal construction around the Reston Ice Rink.  OTE captured her artwork for printing in an extremely large format.  OTE’s ability to push the limits of convention and size has allowed her artwork to gain even more publicity.

OTE:  How do you use prints to help advance your art career?
Scheurer:  To sell of course…people that cant afford the originals can afford my work, ultimately to return at a later date to buy an original.

OTE: What words of wisdom or advice do you have for anyone looking into creating giclees from their original artwork?
Scheurer:  Find yourself a reliable printmaker. One that you can depend on having the highest quality, and  will always be there for you.  Always look for ways to promote yourself like having small card size prints to hand out for someone to take away at a point of sale to establishing connections.

About Reston Interfaith
Since 1970, Reston Interfaith, a nonprofit, has reached out to 250,000 neighbors-in-need, helping them overcome tough economic times in an already high cost-of-living region. Reston Interfaith helps people build more stable lives by connecting them to vital resources that solve their needs for housing, childcare, food or financial assistance.

Old Town Editions Mentors Students From TC Williams High School.

-1_TCWilliams_USA_logoThis week we met with Alexandria Recreation Outreach rep Michael Johnson and TC Williams printing program teacher Bob Trout. This meeting set the framework for Old Town Editions to mentor high achieving students from the TC Williams print program to our print studio.  We want to give the students a chance to learn printmaking and how it applies in a real world business environment. We have 2 excited students lined up for the program.

Soon, these select  students will come over during school day for 2-4 hours a week to learn digital fine art printmaking. This time will help these students prepare for their full time internships starting with us in May. Since the students are Seniors, and the school has a special student placement program they will spend their last month of High School working as full time interns with Old Town Editions.  This is a unique opportunity that we are excited to be involved with.

During the meeting we uncovered the fact that The TC Williams printing program will be coming to an end at the completion of the 2014-2015 school year.  We are currently trying to gain media attention to garner the communitie’s support in an effort to raise the funds to update and save the print program at the high school.

Please forward our press release to anyone you think might be interested in picking up the story.  Thanks for your support.

The Death Of The IRIS Printer.

This is how we got the IRIS machines into our space in Old Town Alexandria VA.

This is how we got the IRIS machines into our space in Old Town Alexandria VA.

Yesterday, at approximately 9:30AM we unplugged our last IRIS printer. This was a bittersweet moment for us.  Don’t get us wrong, Its a great feeling to be out with the old and in with the new. Bitter because these machines originally cost $40,000 each. It pioneered the industry we are in today and still creates beautiful prints. Sweet because the benefits of using new printers including larger color gamut, more durability, and prints being more archival far exceed the cost and other faults of the IRIS prints.

The machine is just no longer the best most archival machine like it once was. The richness of the inks and the beautiful velvet appearance of its prints still rival all the printers on the market today. Due to its faults it is just not realistic to keep the machine alive any more.

More reasons the IRIS had to go: IRIS archival ink is no longer manufactured, it is very expensive to operate, it constantly purges ink, any little droplet of spit or water lands on the print it is flawed, it takes several rejected prints to make one perfect print, and inks only have 60-100 year archival rating, amongst many other reasons. It just had everything going against it for a digital fine art printing shop like our own in today’s economy.

At one point we had 3 IRIS machines in full production.  If you did not know, these are the machines that started the whole industry. We were also one of the original shops pioneering this digital fine art printing industry. We have now been in business for over 15 years and are thrilled to have been able to adjust with the industry and continue to provide industry leading digital fine art printmaking to our current and future clients.

The hum of the IRIS is no longer present and the printer room is quiet and lonely without it.  The new printers only hum when printing and the IRIS would hum non stop.  It’s going to take some getting used to.  We have been really connected and attached to each individual IRIS machine we have ever had.

The last of our IRIS Printer fleet.

The last of our IRIS Printer fleet decommissioned.

Their names were Betty, Beast, and Bubba.  We have been very close with these machines as it is an intimate marriage owning and running these amazing extremely difficult to operate machines.  Yesterday we unplugged Beast.  It was named beast because you could always depend on it.  Its a sad day at Old Town Editions…….