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Frequently Asked Questions

General

What kind of prints do you make?

We make archival pigment prints on cotton rag papers. 

What is a Giclee Print / Inkjet Print / Pigment Print? 

These are all different names for the same thing. Originally, the term Giclée referred to prints made on an Iris print system, a technology that we no longer use today. More recently, the term has been used to describe high quality inkjet prints on archival paper using pigment based inks. These are the prints we produce here at Lightsource.  

Is my print archival?  

Yes! At Lightsource, we work exclusively with archival paper and ink sets to ensure your prints will remain beautiful for a lifetime.  

Our Canon printers use the Lucia 12-ink set to give your images all of the color, saturation, and contrast they need to look their best. With a native resolution of 600 dots per inch, our process is able to render fine details with incredible precision. 

We carry only the very best papers available, made from acid and lingen-free cotton rag fibers. We offer a wide variety of paper textures and surfaces that draw on the legacy of both printmaking and traditional darkroom papers.

To make the finest possible prints, we use color-calibrated monitors and custom designed profiles for each of our papers. Every print is inspected individually by our trained and experienced technicians, and we pride ourselves on uncompromising quality.

Under ideal storage conditions, this particular combination of inks and paper is rated to last two hundred years before any of the colors begins to fade. If the print is going to last that long, it better be the best possible.

What about darkroom c-prints?

Archival pigment prints are sharper, last longer, and offer better contrast and color reproduction when compared to chromogenic prints. Our printers use stable inks rather than light-sensitive dyes that fade over time, and ee use acid-free cotton rag papers rather than the unstable plastic base of c-prints to ensure archival longevity. There are only a few c-print papers remaining in production, while we offer a wide array of paper types, textures, and surfaces.

Can I bring in my own paper for you to print on? 

Please note we do not print on customer-supplied paper.

Do you have a pricelist?

Yes we do! You can download our current pricelist here.

Ordering Prints

How large can I print my file?

There is no exact scale for converting file size to print size, but in general, the larger your file size, the larger your print. However, file size is just one of many factors, including sharpness, the nature of the image content, and the ultimate viewing distance, just to name a few. In many cases, it is possible to enlarge your file with specialized software.

Our technicians have the training and experience to evaluate files and advise you on print size. Feel free to ask a LightSource technician, and we will gladly take a look! If you’re seeing the PPI alert on the file uploader, you can email the file to us along with the desired print size, and we will review.

Where do I upload my files?

The best place for you to upload your files is through the File Uploader on our website. This form provides us with the important details of your job. If you are having trouble with the uploader on the website, head over to https://lightsource.wetransfer.com and upload your files manually. If you prefer Dropbox or another platform, you may send download links to studio@lightsourcesf.com.  

Do you have a pricelist?

Yes! Link coming soon.

I don’t see my size listed. Can you print any other sizes? 

Yes! We print from roll paper, so any custom size is available up to 60×90. 

Recommended File Specs

What are the best settings for my file?  

  • The best print files are TIFF, PSD, or PSB format. 
  • RGB color space preferred
  • Native resolution preferred
  • 8-bit and 16-bit are both fine. Our printers can print 16-bit upon request.
  • We prefer files that are tagged with the Adobe 1998 RGB or ProPhoto profiles. Other RGB profiles such as sRGB or Display P3 are also fine. Files that are untagged or missing profiles can cause color management issues. If your file is untagged (missing the color profile) or otherwise has issues, we will reach out to you.  
  • We also accept JPG, PNG, AI, PDF, HEIC, WEBP and many other formats. If your file includes Adobe Photoshop layers, it can be helpful to include these for our technicians. 

Is my file too small to print?

Pixel dimensions are just one of a number of factors that contribute to file quality, and it may be possible for us to upres your file with special software to a suitable print size. If you’re seeing the yellow PPI alert, fear not! A technician will upres and review your file before printing.

If your file has been red-flagged by our uploader, please note that files smaller than 1000px are not accepted. Please check to make sure you’re uploading the full-sized version of the file. If you think your file has been flagged in error, you can email it to us at studio@lightsourcesf.com and a technician will review the file.

What if my file is too big to send?

If our website uploader won’t accept your file for some reason, send it to us via our WeTransfer channel. WeTransfer can accommodate up to 20GB in a transfer. 

Aspect Ratios and Print Sizes

Why am I being asked to crop my image or change my print size?

The aspect ratios of the uploaded file and the requested print size do not match. 

Aspect ratio is the relationship between the height and width; both your file and your print have an aspect ratio. If these two aspect ratios do not match, then you’ll need to either adjust one of the dimensions of the print size, or else to crop your file. If you’re unable to find an appropriate size, please email your file to studio@lightsourcesf.com and we will make a recommendation.

In digital photography, aspect ratios are typically 2:3 (ex. 16×24), 3:4 (ex. 18×24), or 1:1 (square, ex 24×24). 

Paper Types

What paper types do you offer?

We primarily offer premium cotton-base papers by Epson and Hahnemuhle. The “premium” options listed in the online store are as follows:

Premium Glossy – Epson Legacy Platine, heavyweight cotton-fiber fine art paper with a glossy finish.

Premium Matte – Epson Hot Press Bright, a heavyweight cotton-rag fine art paper with an ultra smooth matte finish.

Premium Textured – Epson Cold Press Bright, a heavyweight cotton-rag fine art paper with a watercolor textured matte finish.

Can my print be on something else?

If you’d like to request a specific paper type, please specify in the “Notes” section. Other available papers include:

Epson Cold Press Natural – Natural-toned version of Cold Press Bright

Epson Legacy Etching – Matte cotton-fiber paper with a tooth, like drawing paper

Hahnemuhle Photo Rag 308 (Matte) – Cotton-rag fine art paper with a smooth matte finish

Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Pearl – Cotton-rag fine art paper with semi-gloss pearl finish

Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Baryta – Cotton-rag fine art paper with a glossy “baryta” finish

Hahnemuhle William Turner watercolor paper – Cotton-rag fine art paper with a toothy, mould-made watercolor surface

Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Satin – Cotton-rag fine art paper with a satin finish

Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Metallic – Cotton-rag fine art paper with a metallic finish

Hahnemuhle Torchon – Fine art matte paper with an unique crinkle finish

Hahnemuhle Bamboo, Agave, Hemp, and Rice papers – Fine art matte papers with alternative, “green” base

We have the following RC-style papers:

Epson Glossy Photo Paper

Epson Luster Photo Paper

Epson Semi-matte Photo Paper

Metallic Chrome Gloss Photo Paper

We also print on other materials like fabrics, display trans, and washi paper. Do you have a project in mind? Give us a call to discuss!

Our Studio

Do I need an appointment?

Appointments are currently required to visit our studio. Please give us a call or send us an email ahead of time so we can be prepared for you!

What are your options for pickup during COVID-19?

In accordance with San Francisco and California health guidance, we’re offering three different options to pick up your prints:

  • Free shipping over $50. If your order is $50 or more, and it fits in a tube or a small flat, it ships free! We also have special discounted rates if your order ships in a box.
  • Contactless drop-box. If you would prefer to limit your contact with others, we have a contactless drop box outside of our studio door. Use the intercom at 1661 Tennessee Street, dial 448#, take the stairs or the elevator to the second floor, and use the marked drop box by the door.
  • Curbside delivery. Just give us a call at the studio when you’re outside of the door at 1661 Tennessee Street, let us know the make and model of your vehicle, and we’ll bring the piece to you.
  • In-studio service. With a previously scheduled appointment, we’re offering a version of our normal studio experience with all the proper precautions. Our staff is available for project consultations, and we have a routinely sanitized table for customers to sign and examine their prints. As mandated by San Francisco health authorities, masks and social distancing are mandatory.

    If you would like to visit our studio, please contact us to schedule an appointment in advance. We are scheduling visitors one at a time in 30 minute blocks, so that there is no overlap.

Can I send you files without paying for an order up front?

Yes, you can email your files to us as attachments or download links, you or upload them here: https://lightsource.wetransfer.com

My file is larger than 5GB.

You can upload it here: https://lightsource.wetransfer.com