photo by franckreporter via iStock
I’m on the search for photography projects to do around my house since the pandemic is still preventing me from shooting directly.
One of those projects I’m currently doing is getting prints of some of my favorite photos done so I can hang them up around my house (and try to sell them to old clients to bring in some extra revenue).
But every time I talk about getting prints done, I get a lot of questions from PhotographyTalk members about different printing types and different printing companies (for good reason).
I’ve worked with dozens of printing companies since I started my photography career and only a handful of them are good, and I definitely feel the same way about different types of prints.
So, let’s break down the canvas or paper prints debate. But, before we do...
If you're in the market for a canvas print, what printing company should you use? It's a question I decided to test out.
In the video above, I share the results of my $100 secret shopper canvas shootout. Which company was tops? Which ones should you avoid? Find out in the video!
Benefits of Paper Prints
photo by Kostyazar via iStock
There are a lot of advantages to paper prints. It is, after all, the original print type.
For starters, paper prints allow you to keep the most amount of detail from your original, digital photo.
Paper prints also feel traditional and nostalgic. I definitely don’t think paper prints are ever going to go “out of style.”
When you purchase a paper print, you also get to style that print in a variety of ways over the years by picking different picture frames to put your print in.
Plus, if you’re going for a fine art feel, black and white photos printed on paper can be incredibly stunning.
Disadvantages of Paper Prints
photo by franckreporter via iStock
A lot of the benefits of paper prints are also disadvantages…
For instance, while you can style your paper prints in a variety of ways over the years by purchasing different picture frames, the cost of those frames add up, especially if your print is large.
Plus, while you may be able to keep the most amount of details in your paper prints, this detail won’t always be noticed because paper prints tend to be behind glass that can produce a lot of glare in sunlight and can be distracting.
Speaking of sunlight… it’s terrible for your paper prints. Whereas other types of prints can handle direct light over the years, paper prints will fade as the years pass. The same can be said for water. If you have a flooding incident or a freak storm and your paper prints get wet, you won’t be able to salvage them.
Benefits of Canvas Prints
There are also a ton of advantages of canvas prints. In fact, the best canvas prints will do a lot of things a paper print can’t.
For example, my favorite canvas company, CanvasHQ, creates canvases that can be hung in direct sunlight and won’t fade over time because they use UV-resistant ink.
The best canvas prints are also water-resistant. CanvasHQ uses water-resistant inks so that you can easily clean your canvas prints with a damp cloth. This also means that you can hang CanvasHQ canvases in damp environments or rooms, like the bathroom.
Canvases also come in virtually unlimited sizes and options, and while the same is true of paper prints, I’ll take the durability of canvas for a large-format print over paper any day of the week.
Finally, canvas prints weigh a lot less than printed photos in picture frames do. This means it will be cheaper to package and ship if you ever need to move, or if you want to pass them on to other family members as an heirloom.
When you’re trying to decide between canvas or paper prints, keep in mind all of these advantages of canvas prints.
Disadvantages of Canvas Prints
Photo by Ratapan Anantawat on Unsplash
There are a few disadvantages of canvas prints you need to be aware of if you’re planning on purchasing one.
One disadvantage is that canvas prints are typically much more expensive than paper prints. Of course, if you go with a smaller canvas print maker like CanvasHQ you can probably catch a great discount to make that disadvantage less costly (they frequently run 30% off coupon codes).
Another disadvantage is that canvas prints are bulky. Whereas, you can ship your paper prints without their frames relatively easily, canvas prints are going to take up space no matter how you store them.
Canvas or Paper Prints Summary
In summary, whether you’re thinking about buying canvas or paper prints, it really boils down to what printing company you want to use.
Paper prints are better if you’re looking for a cheap option that you can easily move around. I hung a lot of paper prints up in my college dorm room and they fit that aesthetic really well.
But, if you’re looking for an option that’s going to last decades longer in different weather conditions, you should look into canvas prints.