Canvas Prints

Canvas Prints Overview

Canvas Prints have been around since the early 1990s but have been popularized in recent years by the availability at local photo labs and a number of online services. Canvas Printing is normally done on large format inkjet printers at sizes between 12 inches and 60 inches wide.

Originally used to create reproductions of paintings, canvas prints now have a strong following in the photographic world as they have been largely accepted as a valid means to display images in the gallery and home.


Canvas Printing Explained

One of the main differences between canvas and other media such as regular photo paper is the texture. Higher quality canvas is made from a tight cotton weave; an emulsion is then applied to the surface of the material so it is ready for printing on a large format inkjet printer. Like digital photographic paper, most companies print at resolutions of 360, 720 and 1440dpi.

Canvas Prints normally come stretched over a wooden frame which is made up of stretcher bars that have been tapped together and stapled at the back. The frame depth is commonly around 30mm thick but can range from 20mm to 50mm; this helps to give the artwork presence and you can get your canvas printer to bleed and clone your image around the edges of the canvas so you don't lose part of your image on the face of the canvas. The canvases should also come with wedges to help tighten the canvas in case it slackens over time.

Advantages of Canvas Prints

One advantage is you're able to apply a number of extras to a canvas print - such as mirrored edges - where your photo is cloned on the edges of the frame. You can also protect and enhance it will a matt, pearl or gloss laminate of its likely to be displayed in a public space.

Canvas Prints also give your photographs an instant gallery feel to them. They emphasize work within a space and are an affordable way to create an exhibition of works with the minimum of hassle. They have now become widely accepted as a contemporary way of displaying photos and give you an alternative method to the tried and tested traditional picture frames used for photography.

Pitfalls to Watch Out For

There are some companies that sell inferior canvas prints. In particular watch out for MDF frames without corner wedges - these give the product a cheap manufactured feel to them and the canvas may sag over time.

Print resolution varies widely - printers using 1440 dpi will provide a finer print quality and superior colour richness than a 720 dpi or 360 dpi print. So go for a printer that has a higher dpi to avoid banding and quality issues.

You can have your canvas prints coated with a varnish or laminate. Generally varnishing with a roller or brush can cause problems as streaking is more likely to occur. A better solution to go for is the laminate, which is applied with a hot press to the print gives more consistent results.

Watch out for cheaper inks. You should always look for archival quality inks that last 70 years plus such as Epson Ultrachrome or Lyson Pro.

Do not accept cheaper polyester canvas unless your image is suited to a more manufactured and commercial feel.


Recommended Specs and Pricing

Average price you can expect to pay for an A2 print with this spec: £70

Lower Quality Specs and Pricing

Average price you can expect to pay for an A2 print with this spec: £50

This article was kindly supplied by Kerry Keays of Point101 Canvas Printing.

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