- Beginner Tips for Printing Photos
- What Types of Images Look Best on a Metal Print?
- Metal Print Buyer’s Guide
Metal prints create fantastic wall art for your well-crafted images.
Since this may be a newer process for some of us, going over the common questions about metal prints sounds like a good idea.
With that, let’s cover a few basics about metal prints.
What is a Metal Print?
Simply put, it’s your photographic image printed on a thin sheet of metal. The way your image gets to the metal can be accomplished in several ways.
From one of the metal printing companies I often use Metal Mouth Prints is this explanation on their website. By means of the dye-sublimation process, the image files for making metal prints for photography are transferred or infused directly to a sheet of coated aluminum with heat and pressure.
Chromaluxe aluminum panels that are only 0.045 inches thick are used for Metal Mouth Prints enlargements. Chromaluxe is the industry standard for high-quality photographic prints on metal. Not only are the panels virtually flawless, but the special coatings used are specially designed to reproduce photo art properly and to last a long time.
What Types of Images Look Best?
This is one of the top questions about metal prints that I run across. As for subject matter, there are lots of styles and subjects that will look great on a metal print.
To get the best WOW factor out of metal print enlargements, choose image files that already have that type of reaction from viewers in order to take advantage of what metal prints bring to your wall.
Sharp, well-focused images, great color, good contrast, interesting composition, properly exposed, all of these variables being top-grade, that’s the type of image that looks best as a metal print. You really don’t want to waste your time and money making specialty process enlargements of lackluster images.
File Sizes, Color Corrections
Most of the online printing companies, and virtually any printer you may go to in person, are able to accept JPEG image files. Some may request other formats, but JPEGs are such an entrenched industry standard that we pretty much expect it to be accepted.
TIFF files are an excellent way to work with uncompressed format images and some printers, such as Metal Mouth Prints allow you to submit images as the TIFF file format. An advantage of TIFFs is that you can save and send as completely uncompressed images. The disadvantage is that a TIFF will likely be several times larger than a JPEG.
What size JPEG or TIFF should be sent or uploaded? I find it’s best to use your largest files, not resized but saved with full size and the least amount of compression. A JPEG is already a compressed file of what the camera sensor outputs, don’t compress any more than that.
Color profiles are generally requested to be either sRGB or AdobeRGB, and color corrections won’t be done by most metal printers. This is actually a very good practice because you don't need some automatic sensor or a technician unfamiliar with your artistic intent adjusting the colors you worked so hard to perfect with your exposure and post-processing work.
Many online printers like Metal Mouth Prints allow you to upload directly from their website. As an alternative, you can send a link from other services such as Dropbox or Google Drive or you can send via email.
The files should be at least 240 dpi, with 300 dpi being preferred for high-quality printing. The maximum file size usable by Metal Mouth Prints is 512MB.
How To Display Metal Prints
A large part of the appeal of metal prints (acrylic prints, too) is the edge-to-edge viewing experience without any matting or frame competing for attention, it’s all image.
Hanging on a wall is a natural method for displaying your large metal prints. Metal Mouth designed a fantastic wall mounting system called éZi mount that allows quick and easy interchangeability for when you mount multiple enlargements in your home or office.
In their FAQ about metal prints, you can also see an interesting method for displaying your enlargements on a desk or tabletop - an acrylic foot mount.
You can find answers to many more common questions about metal prints in the about and FAQ sections of the Metal Mouth Prints website. Once you get your own metal prints, I’m sure you’ll find them as intriguing and beautiful as I have.