Making the Right Choices with Canvas Prints
For working photographers interested in expanding your print offerings, canvas prints are an option worth considering. Canvas prints are an affordable way for your images to make a big impact, and they’re the perfect upsell for many of the packages you may already offer. However, there are a few considerations you’ll want to help your clients think through as you’re deciding which canvas format to order, making recommendations on the canvas edge treatment, and providing information on how they need to care for it once it’s in their home or office.
Choosing Between Stretched or Unstretched Canvas
The choice between ordering a stretched or unstretched canvas print is likely dependent on a number of factors, namely:
- Client preference: Does the client plan on framing the canvas, or does he want to be able to hang it directly on the wall without a frame?
- Cost: Can you stretch the canvas yourself and increase your profit margin? Unstretched canvases are typically much cheaper to ship, and cost less to order, so there may be an opportunity for you to charge for the service.
- Level of expertise: Are you familiar and comfortable with stretching a canvas?
If you aren’t an expert at stretching canvas, your best bet is to order it pre-stretched. Though the cost is a bit higher, you do get the benefit of a professional preparing your canvas and alerting you to any potential problems.
Choosing the Right Edge for your Canvas Print
Unlike traditional photos that are typically displayed in frames, canvas prints are often mounted on wooden bars and hung directly onto the wall—often referred to as a gallery wrap. As a result, canvas prints have the depth of a framed image without the actual frame. With this in mind, you’ll need to make some decisions when it comes to how those edges appear. The edge style you choose will ultimately depend on the type of image you’re printing (e.g. portrait, abstract, landscape) and your client’s preference. A few of the most commonly available edge choices include:
- Solid color edge: A solid colored edge allows you to choose a color to serve as the ‘frame’ for your canvas. Most canvas print providers allow you to choose from a set array of colors, with the most common being black, white, and gray. Many people believe that a solid colored edge gives the piece a more contemporary look.
- Mirrored edge: A mirrored edge presents the entire photo on the front of the canvas. The edges are mirrored by simply copying the outer edges of the front of the image and printing the copied image onto the edges. Mirrored edges allow you to virtually ‘extend’ your original image without having to change dimensions. They’re a great choice when it comes to landscapes, abstracts, and other images that don’t have faces or other important elements in the outer perimeter.
- Blurred edge: Similar to a mirrored edge, a blurred edge copies the perimeter of the front of the image and then repeats it on the edges; however, before it is added to the edges, a blur filter is applied. This means that the edges of the canvas are similar to the image on the front, with complimentary colors and shapes, but without sharp elements. Blurred edges are among the most popular of the edge treatments because they allow the image to maintain continuity without the worries of odd edge elements.
How to Clean and Maintain a Canvas Print
Similar to photos printed on paper, canvas prints require a bit of care in order to last a long time. As with regular photographs, direct sunlight and humidity can cause fading or sagging, so remind your clients that it’s best to avoid hanging canvas prints in extremely bright or damp areas. If the canvas gets dusty, the best way to clean it is with a soft cloth or towel; alternately, if your vacuum has a soft brush attachment, you can also use that to gently remove dust particles from your canvas print. Avoid using water, soap, cleaning sprays or other chemicals to clean your canvas, as these fluids may react with the dye and/or have a negative impact on the canvas fabric itself.
- Pixels to Paper: Printing your Print Portfolio
- Where should you sign a canvas gallery wrap print for photography?
- Test Results: Best Online Print Lab
- What Photographers Need to Know About Sharpening for the Web and Print