Photo Print or Canvas ??
How to Choose The Best Option
One of the most common questions I get is what exactly are canvas prints, and what are the diﬀerences and/or beneﬁts in relation to more traditional matted and framed prints. The short answer is it all depends on your personal tastes and preferences, budget, interior design, and location where the photograph will be hung.
Let’s look at each option, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and why you would select one over the other. I have been printing and framing my own work from the very beginning of my career as a landscape photographer, and it is very much a part of the creative process for me. The print is the ﬁnal “performance” of a photograph, and as such is open to interpretation by the print maker. I chose early on to be completely involved with this crucial step and have invested lots of time, energy, and passion in producing prints that oﬀer the best interpretation of my photographs.
Prints on Paper
Printing on paper is the traditional way of displaying a photograph, and it certainly has an aesthetic quality that is unique and well understood. Most of my printing has been onto paper of various ﬁnishes and textures, and I currently use a ﬁne art 100% cotton based mat paper. When matted and framed, this creates a very dramatic ﬁnish that I like very much.
• traditional look and appeal
• our beautiful wood molding selections can add a formal and decorative accent to your home or oﬃce
• Paper prints exhibit more detail than canvas
• Black and white prints excel on ﬁber based papers
Now for some important disadvantages:
• glare and reﬂections from light
• a smaller image size for a speciﬁc wall space (accounting for a 4-5″ border around the print for
mat and frame)
• larger sizes are heavy and expensive
• perception of being separated from the print (becomes much more apparent when you
experience the same photograph as a canvas)
• frames need to match the decor of home or oﬃce
Prints on Canvas
Looking to combat some of these disadvantages, as well as oﬀering new and great looking options for
customers, I began experimenting with alternatives a few years ago. I hesitated printing to canvas
because I did not want to compromise important elements to my work, namely detail, texture, and
richness of shadows. However, very recently both inkjet printers and new formulations of canvas have
allowed me to maintain these important critical details. I now print onto canvas without hesitation.
After printing and letting the canvas dry for 24 hours, I double coat the canvas with a protectant
against UV and dust, then stretch onto 2” stretcher bars. I create the entire ﬁnished product in my
studio, guaranteeing consistency and quality control.
Canvas w/ Floater Frame
Multi-panel Canvas• much easier and economical to create extremely large sizes (up to 40″ x 100″)
• canvas prints provide a frameless presentation which creates a window into the scene
• creates a painterly eﬀect which is very pleasing
• can be installed in semi-humid environments (bathrooms)
• lack of frame blends well into any style decor in home or oﬃce
• can be placed into wood ﬂoater frame for a “ﬁnished” look
• creative multi-panel options available
• texture of canvas can sometimes be distracting (I choose the images I print onto canvas
• photograph can not be changed (permanent)
Deciding the Best Option
In the end, it all depends on your tastes, preferences, and needs. I have installed many canvas prints in corporate oﬃces where any other option would have been cost prohibitive and certainly not as large and dramatic. Likewise, many customers love the frameless look and the ﬂexibility of positioning without the need for speciﬁc lighting. I really love the non glare feature, ﬂexibility with large and panoramic sizes, and wonderful texture and color that a canvas brings to a room.
Of course, a beautiful frame is a classic, traditional look that will never go out of style and works well in an appropriate setting. For me, some photographs just work better on smooth photographic paper. Matted and framed, the image stands apart and creates a nice accent to a formal dining or living room.