Technical Stuff

Is all this technical stuff giving you a headache?

Then just send us a file and we will let you know how big we think it can go and whether or not it will print well.

Send us the file here and make sure you include in the message what size you want the print to be.

If you have original work and don't have a file then take a picture of your artwork with your phone and send it to us with the dimensions and we will come up with a plan. Or you can just come in with it!

Stuff for photographers



We love digital, a digital image shot with a steady hand and good light can be enlarged many times and normally the color is spot on. We would print the file in the same color space as the camera for the absolute best results. If you prefer you can send us the file in your camera's native format.

I am a social media photographer (Facebook, Instagram etc)

The size of an Instagram image is 640 x 640 pixels (more recently 1024 x 1024). The lowest dpi of an image we normally recommend is 180 dpi so in theory that would give you an image of 3.55” x 3.55”. BUT having said that we have enlarged Instagram images to over 20” x 20” and they looked good. Actually did a very successful gallery show entirely of 20 x 20 Instagram images, but it depends on the image. If you want to know, send us the file and we will check it out and see how big it can go and still look good.

I am a traditional photographer
(film based)

Then  you have film based media. You might be able to find a local photo place with the old Kodak Photo CD system. If you ask (and they know what they are doing) they can put pretty decent sized scans on a CD.

We can covert film based media including negatives, transparencies and photographic prints to digital files using our Hasselblad Imacon Virtual Drum scanner. With this scanner the film is held by a magnetic holder so that nothing is between the scanning element and the film. This makes for the best scans available. From these scans we can make large format prints. If you send your valuable photo media to us make sure you use a service where you can track it and make copies of the slides or negatives where possible. e-mail for more information.

Image: The Headache, A Print after George Cruikshank, Enrique Chagoya. A Chine Collé printed by Rick De Coyte in Philadelphia.

General FAQ's (scroll down)

  • What file types can I send & how do I prepare a file to print?
  • What color space should I use
  • How can I make sure my screen will match my prints
  • How can I put a matte or white space around an image
  • Photoshop costs a lot! are there cheaper alternatives?

Stuff for Artists


Can I use my own digital camera to photograph my artwork?

Digital cameras are great but not always so great as photographing artwork. But if you want to give it a go use as much light as you can and put the camera on a tripod.  For smaller work they sometimes work out fine.  A lot depends on the number of pixels (Mpix) the camera has and the available light. In our studio we use 2 banks of 900 W Northlight HID lights and a 144 MPix Betterlight Scanning back camera. Our lower end solution uses a Nikon 36 Mpix camera. We also have available polaroid filters for both our lights and cameras for taking images of oil based painting where there is a lot of reflection. If this is you then you might try shooting your artwork outside with a polaroid filter.

Can I use my own scanner to digitize my art

It depends on the artwork and your scanner, but try it and send us the file and we can check it out. Scanner quality is determined by how much detail can be captured in the shadow area of the image. The better the scanner the more detail it will capture. This is not a function of dpi as even the cheapest scanners claim 4,800 dpi or more. Epson make a pretty decent scanners, the V700 and V800 series which costs between 2,600 dhs and 3,600 dhs and are very good for film and flat art up to A4 size.

Our Scans

Information on our scanning system HERE

What file types can I send & how do I prepare a file to print?

You can send JPEG, TIF, PSD files in 8 bit or 16 bit RGB sized to the size you want to print at 240 or 180 dpi. If you want a white matte or white space around the image that should be included in the file (see below).

What color space should I use

There is a lot of argument over what is the best color space to work in. Adobe RGB 1998 is Adobe's version of Red Green and Blue color space and arguably has a wider color space than sRGB. BUT we will print in whatever color space your file is sent to us in. Most Smart Phone and entry level digital cameras shoot in sRGB, higher end cameras use either their native color space or Adobe RGB. Problems come when converting files from one space to another. If you are using Photoshop make sure that your color setting are set to prompt you when you open a file. This screen capture will show how to set the color settings so that files are not changed when opening. As a general rule once you set the color settings you should keep the file in it's native color space. Adobe Pro Color is a 16 bit color space and the best space you can use especially if you are going to do a lot of image editing.

If you are opening a RAW file from your digital camera make sure you save it in a 6 bit color space. Too confusing, just come in and we can show you the correct settings. Please make an appointment first.

How can I make sure my screen will match my prints

Sadly it’s not so easy. First you have to have a monitor that is capable of displaying the range of color that we can print. They are usually specified as monitor’s that can display 100% of Adobe RGB 1998 and they cost anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 dhs. Then you need a device that will calibrate your monitor correctly and then you need to be in a space with constant light and no bright colors. Once you have done all of that you will get an approximation of the print assuming you are using a glossy or lustre paper. If you are printing on a matte fine art paper paper it’s going to be off unless you look at it using a preview with the correct ICC profile. Most consumer monitors (including Apples) are designed to look good with Video so they are much brighter and only display around 75% of the Adobe RGB Color space but they are better on sRGB files as they have a narrower color space; most computer gear is setup to use sRGB.

Some of our repeat customers send us a file, we look at it, sometimes make an adjustment (yes we use the fancy monitors and have them calibrated) and make a proof. The proof is king, if you are unsatisfied with the proof we can adjust it until it looks the way you want it but we can’t print gold, silver or flouresecents!

Photoshop costs a lot! are there cheaper alternatives?

Photoshop Alternatives (W = Windows M = Mac)

Of course Adobe Photoshop is the most widely used program and with the new subscription plan it costs AED37 per month. There are some much cheaper alternatives. Most of these programs, including Photoshop, have trial versions that you can download and use for up to a month free so try before you buy! Trial

CorelPaintshop Pro W - <$100 a fully featured image-editing program from the leader in Windows graphics programs which has pretty much all of the features of Photoshop for a fraction of the price. Trial

Corel AfterShot Pro  W <$80 similar to Lightroom, another workflow program with some image editing features Trial

Corel Painter - Another Corel product which has a different take on digital image creation and manipulation. It was designed by artists and uses tools that are familiar to traditional artists like oils and watercolors. It's an awesome program you can check it out or get a trial version here.

Adobe Lightroom W/M - an image workflow management programs with many slick  features and included in Photoshop subscription and stand alone version is aed739. Used by a lot of professionals. Trial

Apple Photos M - Comes free with Apple's new OS and is another entry level program with decent features, it's free so try it.


How can I put a matte or white space around an image

If you are using Photoshop use the “Canvas Size” command, either use it with “relative” unchecked and add the amount of white space you need to to print size i.e. if the print is 8 x 10 and you want 1” white space all around make the “canvas size” 10 x 12. Or if you have the “relative” checked then add the total amount of white space needed so for 1” all around you would add 2”.

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