photo by scanrail via iStock
If you’re new to photo printing substrates, it can be kind of overwhelming. Not only are there so many different options for substrates, but there are hundreds of different companies that sell them with wildly different qualities.
Unique photo prints are not only one of the best gifts you can give (Father’s Day is coming up, after all), but they can provide you a great revenue stream for your business, especially if you know which companies to work with.
This is why we created this photo printing guide. We understand that times are tough for just about every photographer and in an effort to help as much as we can, we will be creating a photo printing guide regularly to try and teach you something new about your industry that may just bring in extra money.
Huge thank you to f64 Academy for the video.
So, metal prints are the first up on our photo printing guide because I don’t think they’re used quite frequently enough.
The best metal prints convey a contemporary feel that no other substrate does. You can choose what type of a finish you want on your metal print, so it can either look glossy or matte, depending upon the atmosphere it will be hung in.
Metal is also frequently used for its color brilliance, which is especially noticeable if you use a white metal background.
Metal is fade resistant, if you use the correct shop. For instance, one of my favorite fine art printing studios, ArtBeat Studios, uses a fade resistant metal that is rated for over 65 years.
Despite the fact that there’s a rumor swirling around about how expensive metal prints are, this isn’t true of most regularly-sized metal prints. They’re frequently only a tiny bit more expensive than canvas.
And, if you didn’t catch my Father’s Day hint in the intro, ArtBeat Studios is running a 30% off sale on their metal prints just for dad.
Now that you know a little bit about metal prints, you can watch this metal prints vs. acrylic prints video by Artbeat Studios to learn the differences.
Acrylic prints are another substrate I included in this photo printing guide because I don’t think it gets enough love in the photography community.
Acrylic prints are one of the more expensive options out there for photographers, which may be one of the reasons it got left out of a photo printing guide I recently read, but I think the price is well worth it and so will your clients.
Acrylic glass feels just as elegant as metal, but I would argue its color brilliance is just a bit better than metal. Acrylic glass also adds a sort of 3D feature to your photographs since your print is actually placed behind the acrylic, which adds depth to the piece.
Each studio creates their acrylic prints with a different amount of depth, so make sure to ask any potential studios if they make all of their acrylic prints the same across the board or if you can choose how much depth your photo has.
Keep in mind that the thicker your acrylic is, the heavier your piece will be.
I also included acrylic substrate in this photo printing guide because it's more durable than some options like canvas. So long as you don’t bang it around too much, it should survive multiple moves and hangings.
Thank you to Troy Nikolic for the video all about canvas prints.
Canvas is a tried and true substrate for all types of photographers, although there are a few different ways you can use this substrate.
For instance, ArtBeat Studios does rolled canvas prints, in case you want to frame your own print, or they will do a gallery wrap for you.
Canvas prints are a favorite because they are generally pretty cheap, available in just about any size you can imagine, and will last a lifetime.
The best advice I can give you in this photo printing guide about canvas prints is to make sure you ask whatever printing company you go with about their ink quality. Not every studio uses Giclee printing, like ArtBeat Studios, and that’s when you can end up with a crappy end product that looks like it came from Walmart.
But, since you can find info on canvas prints in any photo printing guide, let’s move on to something a bit more exciting: wood.
If you’re interested to know exactly how wood prints are created, you can watch this fascinating video by Lucas Moore.
I actually didn’t know if I wanted to include wood in this photo printing guide because it’s much less popular than the rest of the substrates here. However, I love how natural wood prints look. They add warmth to any space and work especially well with photos of nature.
Since ArtBeat Studios doesn’t offer wood prints, I would recommend you use Woodsnap. They provide different options for wood prints, like wood photo blocks, which are an incredible way to decorate a home office that still feels very modern, or traditional wood prints for your walls.
Woodsnap is also running a discount code for Father’s Day. Use the code “superdad” for 25% off.
I hope you found this photo printing guide helpful. Let us know if it inspired you to try a new printing method.