Tips for Printing Your Work

Tips for Printing Your Work

Printing your photos is one of the best things any photographer can do for themselves. There are lots of reasons why you should be printing and it gets brought up here on Fstoppers all the time. In my opinion, one of the best reasons is because a decent sized physical print really brings your work to life and gives it a presence. We have become used to swiping through countless amazing images that just stopping and looking at a great print on the wall really has a different satisfying feeling to it. 

There are also countless ways to print your images including tonnes of materials and products to print on. The quality of options available today is just incredible. One idea I have been playing with lately is wall displays that create a story from several images. This was inspired by some of my editorial work that uses a variety of images from establishing shots, portraits, and detail shots to explore deeper themes in my subjects. When I’m traveling on an assignment I often take advantage of some of the amazing places I have traveled and shoot a variety of content that is outside my typical work. This might be wildlife, travel, and more recently macro images of my ants. I’m always looking for new ways to benefit and use this work and recently I've been getting a lot of requests from family and friends for prints of these types of images. I’m sure almost all photographers get these requests and like me often give prints as presents during the holidays. The problems I run into usually are the costs and display mounting. I tend to print large as I feel this really shows off the value of our high megapixel cameras. People also always want a couple of images, not just one, so I started looking for an affordable ready to hang solution. I decided to go with CanvasDiscount.com, which has a large selection of options for canvas prints with your photos and even offers some pretty decent wall display bundles. These wall display options ranged in overall size from 20”x66” to 60’’x74’’ and more. 

Now wall displays certainly are nothing new and portrait/wedding photographers have been making a living off of them for decades. However, there is something about both the process of designing a theme or story and the resulting look hanging on a wall that I really enjoy. I started looking into options for the above reasons but there are lots of great reasons to print wall displays. Maybe you just returned from a photo adventure or family trip. Perhaps you have a personal project you want to display in your office or studio. You have a set of images that individually are not useful but combined really capture a location. 

I decided on stretched canvas prints so that each print would be ready to hang and be easy to arrange on a wall. This also took framing and mounting off the table which can get pricey. The main goal for me was to be able to create a large display ready to hang at an affordable price while being able to use multiple images.

Using CanvasDiscount.com’s built-in bundles and templates I was able to create several really cool stories from my images based on themes like; Wildlife, Atlanta Aquarium, etc.. In most of these designs, I used one of my more popular images but also was able to incorporate several images that up until now had just been sitting on my HDD  to help fill out the story I wanted to tell. 

Here Are Some Tips and Ideas to Help You Create Your Wall Displays

Do the Images Tell a Story, Describe an Event, or Location?

I like to think of my layouts as pages in a magazine spread. I approached each one the same way I would an assignment from an editor. Even if this is something you have never done before it's great practice for creating more compelling narratives in your work. You can even thumb through a few magazines for inspiration. 

What Is the Mood of Your Theme or Story?

When I designed my wildlife layout I started with one or two images I knew I had to have. I then realized that some of my images are much more aggressive than others and when displayed together it completely changed the feeling I was going for. I decided to go softer and more cuddly but depending on what I was making the layout for I could have just as easily gone more fierce and wild. 

How Will the Images and Colors Interact With Each Other?

Color can be a really fun way to display emotion and intent in your layouts. Maybe it moves from cold to warm from left to right. You can mix color with black and white images or use only black and white. The possibilities are endless. The entire story or theme you want to tell could be through the color of the images while the subjects have nothing in common. This has been a popular esthetic on Instagram feeds for a while and works just as well here. 

Don't Be Afraid to Crop

Our cameras take very large and detailed images these days and can easily accommodate printing from some pretty extreme crops. Play with your layout designs by making unusual crops that work with other images in interesting ways. Think about detail shots or close up shot next to a wide shot of the same image. 

Do You Have a Focal Point or a Direction You Want the Viewer to See?

Sometimes I start with one image and then branch out from there. Other times I have a beginning image and an ending image. There are lots of ways to help guide your viewer to experience the design the way you intend. Deciding on this, in the beginning, can really help narrow down the images you want to use. 

Overall when designing your layout it's a good idea to start by following a lot of the same compositional rules we use in photography. Incorporate negative space, leading lines, don't be afraid to split an image into multiple prints. Use the original compositions your shot to help design the larger composition. 

CanvasDiscount.com was kind enough to give Fstoppers readers a 15% additional discount off all already discounted canvas prints on their website. To get the discount just use the code FSTOPPERS during checkout. 


 

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14 Comments

Michael Jin's picture

I HATE printed canvases... I didn't buy a high resolution camera and sharp lenses for the detail in my images to turn to mush on heavily textured fabric. I can see the appeal for many people because it's a stylish way to decorate their home with images while adding (literal) 3D elements to a flat surface, but I very much prefer more traditional photographic media complete with the white mat and and simple black frame. I don't mind a bit of texture sometimes such as in fiber paper or textured fine art papers, but canvas is just way too much for me.

Apparently from the dislikes, many people are fans. That's cool. To each his/her own.

Michael Jin's picture

You could ask that about anything. Who cares about you reply? It's just as worthless as mine.

Lennart Böwering's picture

I partially agree. I think it depends on the theme/look of the photo and on the size of the media.
A very soft/dreamy photo can look more natural with a little texture while a sharp Studio portrait will almost always look better on a higher resolution media. Also the texture can help "hide" some noise when printing very large (I'm talking 60x40cm and larger).

That being said, I personally prefer printing wall art on aluminium boards (which by the way also have a very subtle texture to reduce reflections). But when printing for customers, I will give them my piece of advice and then go with what they want.

A bit of a misleading "article" which seemed as though it was more of an advertisement.

Michael Jin's picture

It has the "Sponsored" tag up top.

Fernando Adrian Robles's picture

oh! there is a "sponsored" tag, thanks for the tip, now I know how to skip this articles.

Greg Hitchcock's picture

I love Canvas prints because it's such as easy way to hang art on the wall. However, Canvas Discount is without a doubt the worst quality product I have ever bought. I gave them three chances. I bought a series of prints as christmas gifts for family two years in a row. I was foolish, I admit. Their prices are good. Each time the prints arrived with loose canvas, in other words, when you hung it, you could easily see "oil canning" or waves in the surface. And they only got worse. I highly recommend Canvas People. Or mPIX.

barry cash's picture

most work today is printed on canvas

Tips I would give are:
don't print lower than 120 dpi from the source file before upscaling, preferably 200 dpi+
Use a calibrated wide gamut monitor (The new Mac use P3 colour space that does not cover all the space of most good printers).
Use photoshop Proof colours with the ICC profile of the printer and paper to test the look of the print (not perfect and must be on calibrated wide gamut monitor) and use gamut warning in perceptual conversion with black point compensation.
Remember the printer cant print all the colours your monitor can display to you, so Proof colours will give you an idea..
Remember paper isn't backlite, so think about where the image will hang...

Teddy Dako's picture

Misleading title indeed. Curiously I clicked on it to read tips, but it is more how to use Canvasdiscount and a promotion for that service. Personally I use another service for printing on canvas, photo paper or aluminium. So didn't read any tips at all.

honest advertising ( or less dishonest), still mixing editorial with paid content is never a good thing. But at least this kind is less dishonest.

Tips for printing? Just another advertisement of where to print. None useful tip at all :-(

Sam Edge's picture

Ordered three prints; two acrylic and one metal print from this company. This was my first order. All three prints had issues. Two had air bubbles and the third had surface scratches. Also on two of the prints there were glue marks marking the acrylic front surface.

The company decided only if I showed to them that I had destroyed the original prints, then and only then would replace their defective work.

I sent them photographs of the each defective print as they requested, yet they did not acknowledge their issue only that I was unhappy with the prints I received.

Stay away from this company...