Does anyone have experience creating their own giclee prints, or recommendations for a printer?
February 10, 2004 9:38 AM   Subscribe

I've been experimenting with various photographic processes for a few years now, and would like to begin selling prints of my work. Does anyone have experience creating their own giclee prints, or recommendations for a printer that they've worked with? (more inside, naturally)

I used to work for Epson, and am pretty familiar with their line of inkjet printers and archival inks. When I first began getting into photography around April 2000, I bought an inexpensive photo printer. Creates great prints, but is not at all archival (meaning, prints will likely fade noticeably in a few years).

I've looked into having them printed for me, but I want to sell them for around $20 a piece, and most print shops charge more than that for print runs of less than 500, hence my wish to try it on my own. Can anyone share their experiences creating and/or selling prints of their work? I'm a bit at a loss.

(P.S. CafePress is not a reasonable option for me, as their base price for prints is already higher than the price I want to charge).
posted by annathea to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not certain where the line between "giclee" and "high-quality inkjet" is... if there is one. But the Epson 2200 seems the obvious choice to me, as long as the prints are big enough for you. Are you saying that their ultrachrome inks are not, as advertised, archival?
posted by stonerose at 9:55 AM on February 10, 2004

Look here for an earlier discussion. I'd be curious to hear more opinions, though.
posted by mert at 10:02 AM on February 10, 2004

Response by poster: No, they are definitely archival, but it would require my purchasing a 2200, which is enough of an expense that I may as well just outsource it. I have an 820p that can print "high quality inkjet" prints onto Arches watercolor paper. I've compared them with a loupe to digital prints made from a local printer, and the differences are slight enough to make me think that it's an option to print my own with what I have, except for the archival part, which is a problem.

I have considered purchasing a 1280, but that would be a little ways down the road. Ideally, I would like to find some way of doing very, very small print runs (50 or less) on very nice paper, with ink that lasts at least a good five to ten years. I don't need prints that are larger than 8"x 10", because the images I am starting with are all in the range of 3.5"x4.5". And I don't want to sell them for more than $16-20 a print.

Am I being unreasonable? Should I just take the chance of printing my own inkjet prints and not worry about their lightfastness?
posted by annathea at 10:04 AM on February 10, 2004

I have a 1280, impressed by the quality.

The only issue I've had is the black on a couple of photos turned some sort of oxidized-ish bronze color. I believe this was because the black cartridge was as-purchased and running low.
posted by evilbeck at 10:09 AM on February 10, 2004

Response by poster: By the way, I've looked at earlier threads (thanks mert) and they were helpful. I am just curious to hear from folks who have experience either making and selling their own prints, or who have had good luck outsourcing it. For those who make their own, has lightfastness been an issue? I have a few early prints from when I first bought the printer that have held up alright in the sun for a couple of years, which I just realized.

I have a show coming up in March that I will be presenting my originals at, and my work is also on display at the cafe I work at. I've had several enquiries for prints, and would like to have a few on hand to meet the response without sinking thousands of dollars into it.
posted by annathea at 10:11 AM on February 10, 2004

annathea, I think the Epson R800, which is being released this month, meets your requirements: not large format, half the price of the 2200, UltraChrome inks.
posted by stonerose at 10:11 AM on February 10, 2004

The just-announced Canon i9900 is a large-format printer with eight, yes eight, inks for an impressive color gamut. Kodak just announced a new inkjet paper that provides archival quality (100 years without special storage requirements) from nearly any inkjet. The combination of the two should be a winner. If you don't want the large-format option, I imagine Canon will be coming out with a regular-sized version shortly, assuming I didn't just miss it. Downside: the i9900 won't be out until May. Upside: only $500.
posted by kindall at 11:36 AM on February 10, 2004

[oops - just posted this in the wrong (old) thread.]

sorry to butt in, but can i ask for some clarification?

the other threads talk about photo processing places and chain stores that don't exist in chile. i take images (on cd) to a copy shop and they print them for me on moderately thick, glossy paper - the results look fine, but are not completely smooth (you can see lines from the bubble jet or whatever it is if you hold the paper at the right angle in the light). is that the kind of quality everyone is talking about, or should i be trying other places? (i too am thinking of selling prints - these are computer generated art, not photos and 5k pixels to a side, so print out pretty small (about 6" looks ok)).

i have no idea what giclee is either, but can probably google for that. cheers.
posted by andrew cooke at 11:56 AM on February 10, 2004

this might help....I'm a big fan of dye sub prints myself.
posted by amberglow at 7:35 PM on February 16, 2004

"Giclee" is just a word pretentious galleries and photographers use because they can't bring themselves to call it an inkjet print. It comes from the french verb "gicler" meaning "to squirt".

you can see lines from the bubble jet or whatever it is if you hold the paper at the right angle in the light

I'd try somewhere else.
posted by normy at 8:24 PM on February 16, 2004

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