High quality digital reproductions are important for the working artist. Whether it is to create a vital source of passive income through print sales, to show your work in exhibition catalogues or other print media or simply to promote your work on the web, capturing a high quality digital file should be an essential part of your working process.
High-resolution digital photography is the superior means for obtaining a quality reproduction. Scanners use a fluorescent light source aimed directly at the work, which can result in unsightly reflections off glossy surfaces and even colour shifts. Using a photographic process means the lighting set-up can be tailored to the individual work based on the media employed by the artist to accurately capture the colour and texture of the original piece. This is essential in the case of works with reflective surfaces such as gilding. Photography can also be used to capture an image of an artwork which is already behind glass, as in the case of the lizard below.
Another great advantage of photography over scanning is that size is no issue and more often than not it is the only way to produce a print file for a work on canvas. I have produced 1:1 print files of works over 2 metres long with perfect preservation of fine detail, as can be seen in the image below. More importantly, photography is the safer option with regards to protecting the work itself as most scanners will come into contact with the surface during capture. This is critical in the case of pastel works or three-dimensional pieces such as collages.