Understanding the Differences Between Metal and Acrylic Prints
One of the great things - of many - about photography today is that there are more options than ever before for getting your images printed.
I mean, there's more printers out there offering more sizes on more kinds of substrates that give folks like you and me a ton of options for showcasing our favorite photos.
And speaking of substrates, two of the hottest kinds of prints are those done on metal and acrylic.
Let's do a quick overview of this type of printing so you can get a good idea of what to look for in a high-quality metal or acrylic print.
Metal Prints: What You Need to Know
Getting a photo printed on metal is much more involved than simply uploading your image to the printer's website and choosing "metal."
In fact, there are actually a lot of factors involved in getting a metal print - a good metal print, anyway.
The Surface and Finish
The surface of the metal impacts the vividness of the image.
If you choose a white surface, for example, your photos will be bright, vivid, and the details in every nook and cranny of the shot will be on beautiful display.
That makes a white surface ideal for family portraits, wedding photos, and landscapes.
By contrast, a silver surface turns any whites in the photo into silver.
That means that high-contrast images, especially black and white photos, really shine on a silver surface.
Get the scoop on the differences between the two in the video below:
The finish you select also has an impact on how your images look when printed on metal.
For example, a glossy finish gives the image added depth. Glossy finishes also have a sheen to them, making them a more dramatic choice that helps the image pop.
Conversely, if you choose a matte finish, you'll get a glare-free product that has a clean, simple look.
Mounting and Hanging Options
You also need to think about how you want your metal print to be mounted and how it will hang on your wall.
If you choose a high-end printer, you'll have more choice on both fronts, like mounting the metal print to wood or metal.
What's more, you can choose between options like birch wood, black wood, or silver or black aluminum, giving you a greater ability to customize how the metal print looks, particularly when viewed from the side.
Speaking of which, there are different options for hanging your metal prints, too.
If you opt for a wire hanger, which tends to be the most popular, particularly in gallery settings, the top of the print will hang away from the wall ever so slightly, giving it a downward angle of view.
A cleat hanger, by contrast, is usually preferred if you're reselling your prints. It attaches to the wall, and the print is then hung from that hanger so that it's virtually parallel to the wall.
Either option can be beautiful - it's simply a matter of your personal taste and specific needs.
Two of the most popular mounting styles are recessed and flush.
A recessed mount, shown above, has an inset frame, giving the metal print the illusion of floating on the wall.
The floating effect is clean and simple and adds a touch of drama to your photo.
By contrast, a flush mount places the frame right at the edge of the print.
Instead of having the appearance of floating, flush mounts give the print a little more body and bulk.
That's advantageous if you want to give your metal print more visual weight as it hangs on the wall.
How Metal Prints are Made
The most common metal printing options are to apply inks directly onto metal and infusing inks into the metal with heat and pressure.
In the case of the former, the ink is simply printed onto a metal surface, like brushed aluminum, which gives the image an artistic look.
Beware though - this method produces metal prints that aren't waterproof or scratchproof.
For a more durable application, consider opting for an infused printing process.
By infusing inks into the metal itself, you get a waterproof image that's highly resistant to scratches.
The image quality is also high definition, giving your photos an added sharpness of detail.
Acrylic Prints: What You Need to Know
Just like with metal prints, there are a few considerations to be made when getting high-quality images printed on acrylic as well.
Mounting and Hanging Options
The beauty of an acrylic print is that you can mount it in several different ways.
As described earlier, you can have a natural or a black wood mount or an aluminum mount to customize how the image looks on the wall.
But with acrylic, you get another option - mounting posts.
With four stainless steel posts on the corners of the acrylic print, it has a distinctly industrial look.
Just mount the posts to your wall, align the pre-drilled holes in your acrylic print with the posts, and attach the print to the posts.
Of course, you can elect to mount your acrylic print to the wall by more traditional means - the wire hanger or cleat hanger systems I mentioned earlier.
How Acrylic Prints are Made
There are a variety of ways to print on acrylic, but the best printing companies use a process by which the image is printed and then mounted to the acrylic.
After the image is printed on photo paper - preferably something like Epson Metallic photo paper - the print is face-mounted to the acrylic, giving it a high-definition appearance with incredible resolution.
See for yourself in the video below:
Lesser printing companies print the image directly onto the acrylic, but that produces an image that suffers from reduced detail and sharpness.
So, if acrylic is the substrate of choice, choose your printing company carefully!
Metal and Acrylic Prints - What Printer Should You Choose?
As I mentioned in the introduction, we benefit from having an incredible variety of printing options available to us today.
Unfortunately, many of them simply are not up to snuff, offering products that fall flat and don't bring your images to life.
That's not the case with Artbeat Studios...
Not only have I been to their facility on multiple occasions, but I personally own a number of metal prints from these guys.
And I have to say, their facility and their products are impressive.
In fact, the craftsmanship and detail they put into their products is second to none. Take it from me - I've seen a lot of metal and acrylic prints over the years, and nothing comes close to what Artbeat Studios is putting out there.
The prints are vivid, bright, and detailed. I love the fact that there's so many options for how the print is mounted and hung, too.
And something else I appreciate is the quality of the mounting frame.
I love to build things, so I know a thing or two about building something solid.
Artbeat Studios knows a thing or two about that as well, as their mounts are perfectly crafted so my prints hang beautifully on my wall.
If you're looking for a printer that can help you create stunning metal or acrylic prints, trust me, Artbeat Studios is the one you want to work with!
Give their products a look in the video above to see what I mean.