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The Forgotten Money-Maker

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One of the most satisfying of discoveries is that your handiwork, born of a satisfying and absorbing hobby or pastime perhaps, has actual commercial value. After all who among us has not day-dreamed of perhaps earning a living as an artist one day, being a famous author or of various other means of turning a labour of love into a practical means of regularly paying the mortgage and filling the supermarket trolley.

Millions of homes actually have a means of doing just that - by utilising an often grossly under-used item, forgotten and gathering dust in a corner:– the simple computer printer!

Digitally printed photographs, or photoprints, are now practically indistinguishable from the 'real' thing with the aid of today's Photo Capable Printers - in fact with added enhancement especially for digital printing plus careful restoration of age-worn originals, modern printer-produced ‘rare vintage’ photos, prints, repro paintings, model theatres and paper toy sheets can even be better than the real thing!

Logical Step Forward

It's a perfectly logical next step forward therefore to utilise digital printers for the making of reproduction Collectible and Antique Prints and Photos which can often be an improvement on traditional methods such as letterpress printing with it's usual unfortunate tell-tale dot pattern or obvious micro cross hatching signs.

Just to illustrate the point take one of the digitally-enhanced photos or lithograph Master Images from any ‘PrintnSell’ collection, and print it on the recommended stock using a photo capable inkjet.

Then take a magnifying glass and try and tell the difference between a real lithograph, the digitally printed one and a repro made by any of the more traditional methods. Only the traditionally made copy will be an obvious fake. The same applies for photographs.

Real Commercial Value

What I am referring to in particular are specially enhanced and restored images such as those offered by PrintnSell and Timecamera.com etc rather than the run of the mill standard usually included in amateur image collections or those taken directly from un-enhanced original images.

With all the painstaking restoration work already done on the ‘master images’ all you need is your computer printer to turn such faded memories once again into quality prints and photos which have real commercial value, framed or otherwise.

Specialists in the field, such as PrintnSell.com and Timecamera.com also offer a handy starter manual for those with little or no experience in using a computer printer or of which type of papers to use for various effects and of how to market the end product.

A Little Caution

It isn’t all a bed of roses however as a little caution is required when shopping for images for potential reproduction. If you intend to make prints for saledon't be lured into buying image collections where a large quantity is trumpeted in the headline. You can't beat the law of physics and fit a quart into a pint pot! It can be very expensive to ignore copyright laws also, as many amateur fly by night, on-line sellers commonly do. Here are a few tips:

1. The larger the quantity the less you will get (in quality). Don't be lured into buying large numbers of low quality, tiny size images - they are simply unprintable. Thousands of images on a CD only means one thing - wasted money!
2. Some image collections offered for sale, such as branded advertising or travel posters, may be still under copyright protection. If an unknown amateur seller's description encourages you to start a business selling such prints be wary - ask.
3. Be sure the antique images have been restored and/or enhanced especially for digital printing. This is an essential task that can make all the difference in a print's saleability or otherwise. If the seller has not already carried out this work it will mean a great deal of extra time for you and affect the viability and the reputation of your business.
4. Make sure the supplied images are both a suitable size physically for making prints and also well over the basic 72dpi often supplied. Image pixels are often quoted as a physical dimension but this can be misleading for beginners if they need to compress them themselves to achieve a high enough resolution/physical size ratio for saleable prints (assuming the supplied quality is high enough to begin with).
A high dpi resolution is only meaningful if it is accompanied by a large enough physical size too and the original is also of high clarity. It is easy to create so called high resolution 300dpi images by reducing poor-resolution images down to small physical sizes or alternatively by expanding the dpi figure artificially with a graphics program (without making an actual difference to the quality of the print) so be wary of dealers using these deceptions which rely on the ignorance of a purchaser.


WITH a cloning technique we skilfully remove the join lines of original raw Panoramas (such as the un-restored one shown left) to make One, Long, Uninterrupted and Enhanced Image!


LEFT: Ravages of Time are skilfully retouched and removed in expertly restored images.

RIGHT: Period Panoramas look impressive using Glossy Photo Stock - and sell for high profits Framed or Loose. Total materials cost including paper, ink and a clearance frame for this c1909 panorama of Piccadilly Circus, London, for example was just a few dollars - selling price was times eight! We've got many other great city scene prints from all round the world.


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