Printing Photos on Canvas

Printing photos on canvas can look awesome when done correctly with the right image. Once the realm of painters, canvas printing is now readily available to photographers.

A few years ago people were crazy for it when the retailers started offering it. Now, the fad has subsided so the value and uniqueness in a photo printed on canvas is returning.

Some of my thoughts for getting good quality canvas prints…

They look great at home or in the workplace. When done right.

Pick a quality printer

You need a decent printer. Some of the suppliers tend to use thin material, or are cheap on ink and tend to do thin coverage. You want someone who uses strong canvas material, is liberal with the ink volume used and quality, and has good sealing properties. You don’t want to see pinholes in your print, have a washed out look, or frayed edges.

At close inspection do you want to easily be able to see the print dots? No. So choose a quality canvas printer.

Your printer also needs to be able to convert your print to their printing system with a high bit depth. I’ve seen some who don’t do a good job of this. Why is important? If you have an image with shadows that have a lot of detail, you run the risk of loosing the detail in those shadows as colours are blended. At the same time, you want to retain the details in the highlights. So if you want to print complex, detailed images you can enjoy looking at, with the detail retained in the shadows and highlights, use a good printer. If you are in the USA, try OpenPrints for good value and quality, in Australia, I recommend Camera House.

For large prints, this video helps explain things really well.

Choose your image wisely

Not all photos work best on canvas. Sometimes if you have a lot of subtle differences between lighter colours in a gradient, they don’t work out well.

Choose an interesting image

When I worked in photo retail I remember all the armatures bringing in a sunset photo to print on canvas. Big deal, you took a photos of an orange Australian sunset at the beach. Boring. Everyone does it. Try something different. Maybe not an awkward family photo, but something more interesting.

And don’t forget the wrap

Don’t crop your photo too tightly with canvas. If they are being block mounted, you need extra space around the image, as it is stretched and wrapped so if you crop your image too tight when editing, you may be disappointed when you see a perceived crop when your print is wrapped and block mounted. Good suppliers like those above can help.

Ethics statement: I have not been paid by the suppliers mentioned above, I have just researched them and share my recommendation.

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