1. Do Not Enlarge Your Images
This is the #1 mistake made by artists and photographers. Do not enlarge your images in Photoshop or any other photo-editing program. When you enlarge an image, the image instantly becomes blurry, blocky, and unprintable. The small image that appears on our website will still look OK, but when you zoom in and look at the high resolution version, you'll see that it's blurry and blocky. If your image is blurry and blocky, we can't use it to produce a print. If you want a larger image, then you need to purchase a higher-resolution digital camera or scanner.
2. Do Not Use File Compression
When you save an image as a JPEG file, you have an option to "compress" the image. When you compress the image, its pixel dimensions remain the same (e.g. 4000 x 3000) but the file size gets smaller on your hard drive (e.g. 5 MB vs. 25 MB). How does the file size get smaller? The image quality is reduced. If you apply too much compression, your image will become blurry, blocky, and unprintable. You'll only notice these problems if you zoom in on your high-resolution image. Best bet - don't compress your images, at all. When saving your images as JPEG files, make sure that you select the highest possible quality setting (i.e. lowest possible compression setting).
3. Make Sure Your Cropping is OK
This is a big one for painters. Make sure that your images are cropped correctly. Absolutely everything that appears in your images will appear in your prints. That means, if you forget to crop your image tight enough and there is a tiny sliver of the wall showing in the corner of your image, your buyers will return your prints and ask for a refund. Please take the time to zoom in on your images and make sure that they are cropped perfectly. You won't be able to see small mistakes without zooming in. When in doubt, crop more than you think you should.
4. Check for Focus / Motion Blur
Zoom in on your images before you upload them to and make sure that the high-resolution versions are in focus and that there is no unintentional motion blur. After you upload an image to, it's very difficult to detect focusing issues because, when an image is displayed at a small size on the web, it almost always looks like it's in focus. You have to zoom in and inspect the high-resolution version before uploading.
5. Check for Even Illumination
This is a major problem for painters and illustrators. You can't simply take a snapshot using the flash from your digital camera and expect to capture a print-quality image. You have to take steps to ensure that your entire piece is evenly illuminated. You can set up external lights. You can use a flat-bed scanner. You can even use outdoor sunlight. Your camera flash isn't going to cut it.
6. Check for Flash Glare
Using a camera flash is generally a bad idea (see the note to the left). If you do have to use it for some reason, check your high-resolution images to make sure that you don't have hot spots from the flash. If you're photographing acrylic paint, for example, you'll probably have white hot spots all over the image where the flash happened to hit the paint at a very reflective angle. That's not good. Buyers will notice the hot spots on the prints, and they'll return them.
It's never too late.
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