In the world of fine art photographic prints, many mediums exist for printing. Acrylic, Metal, Fine Art Archival Papers, and canvas. When I first got into photography, I wanted to print some of my images but couldn’t afford to have them framed. Canvas wall art prints were a good choice because it’s inexpensive compared to other mediums. Look at https://www.canvasdiscount.com. Just remember, you get what you pay for. A discount print shop will not have high quality wall art prints.
As I go to art fairs in the summer, some photographers only have canvas pictures in their booth. The quality difference between those and an artist with metal prints or acrylic fine art is night and day. Large canvas prints look cheap with little detail and are not an option on my website because of this reason. Some people prefer canvas prints and there’s nothing wrong with that, but for high end fine art prints, aluminum metal, backlit acrylic, or archival papers are the way to go.
When it comes to print finishes, canvas wall prints have a matte look. The purpose of a matte finish is to refract as much light as possible. This comes at the cost of color not being as vibrant as a glossy finish. Think about a milky way shot with mountain from my Mountains and Night Sky gallery. An aluminum metal or acrylic print will show all the detail of the stars and mountains. Now think how anti-dramatic a matte vs glossy photo finish would be. That would be a bland print and I may fall asleep looking at it. I guess the only advantage would be glare is non-existent, but so is the detail.
Due to the textured nature of gallery wrapped canvas, small details and sharpness are lost resulting lower quality. When spending good money on photo wall art, low quality is not an option. I’m sure texture has its place in fine art prints but loss of detail does not. Having several of my own images hanging up, the canvas wall art does not have the look I wanted. Something about the texture and matte finish doesn’t work. But like I said earlier, I was just getting into printing and didn’t know better.
ARE CANVAS PRINTS OUT OF STYLE?
This question has been around for a while now. Many fine art photographers think canvas art prints have been out of style for some time now. When compared to backlit style acrylic prints or aluminum metal prints, custom canvas prints look outdated. Have you seen a family portrait printed on canvas? It looks like it should go back to the 1980s. I think it has a place in painting and drawing but canvas printed photos do not have a modern look. However, trends come and go so maybe in a few years, canvas prints will be back in style. Only time will tell.
Photo canvas sag can be a problem as time passes. Horizontal sagging is the most common across the weave. If the print shop staples the print around the internal frame (stretcher bars), it will sag. Therefore, the staples should be across the long sides first, then the short sides. This spread the tension evenly. Humidity is another factor. For instance, if the print shop is in Utah and you live on the east coast, by the time the print arrives, it will be sagging. The desert air is dry and the east coast has a lot of humidity. Or maybe the canvas is tight in the winter but sags in the summer. If you tighten it during the summer, it may warp the stretcher bars in winter when the air dries. Sagging is one reason I don’t offer large canvas wall art and it doesn’t occur with other print mediums.
Searching for a shop that does canvas prints online, the options are endless. This goes back to “you get what you pay for”. With choices like Greatbigcanvas.com and Easycanvasprints.com that do more volume and cheaper prints, quality is not that great. In fact, I used easycanvasprints.com for the few I had printed. Two of them showed up damaged because the print is wrapped in plastic and put in a cardboard box with no padding. Some of the shops like Greatbigcanvas.com sell the wall art to stores like Target, Home Depot, etc. If you want one of your own custom canvas prints, your better off using a well established company like Bayphoto.com. Bay Photo doesn’t mass produce wall art. You upload the file and they print it. After uploading the file and choosing the size of wall art, the website says if the file is too small so you may to resize the file.
DISCOUNT PRINT SHOPS
When it comes to printing canvas, many choices exist. There is no shortage of discount canvas prints shops like Easycanvasprints.com. Several years back, I had a couple prints made by easycanvasprints.com and I had to get most of them remade. The prints showed up in cardboard boxes with no padding and wrapped in plastic. Nothing kept the canvas wall prints from damage during shipping. At least the company was good about remaking the print for free. I would have paid a little extra in shipping for protection. These sites offer a way for artists to order canvas prints online made by themselves or others. The prints are mass produced at a discount and you get what you pay for. Discount canvas prints are not for collectors. These prints are great for chain hotels but not much else. As an artist that sells limited edition fine art photography, my prints will not be made with discount print shops.
When it comes to fine art prints, cheap is not the way to go. Art should leave an impression on the viewer. I have a few canvas prints in my home from years ago. Next to the Silver Halide prints, the canvas looks dated and cheap. When was the last time you went to an art show and saw the photographers with metal and acrylic prints? It's vibrant, clean, sharp, and viewers are impressed. You walk into a photographer's booth with canvas and the art doesn't have the same affect. Cheap art is a great thing for chain hotels but not your home.
As an artist that sells photographic prints, canvas is not a great option. Maybe in a large office building where tenants want lots of art hanging on the walls for cheap but not in a home gallery. The loss of detail in the texture and matte finish don’t offer the proper representation of the print. If you like canvas, then by all means, buy custom canvas prints. BayPhoto.com has the best canvas prints so I would start there. Everyone has different tastes. I prefer the vibrant colors and details of the acrylic, archival paper, or metal over large framed canvas prints. Checkout my Prints and Framing page to see what I offer for fine art prints. But that’s my opinion. And we all know how important my opinion is.