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Wood, Metal, Canvas or Acrylic?

Today, I am going to write about a question that I get asked a lot: "Which is the best medium to print my photos on?"

Well, in a snap, there is no "one" medium that may be considered the best. It all depends on you: what characteristics in a given medium resonate with you; and what the decor of the room where you intend to display your photos is like.

Essentially, it boils down to your understanding of each medium and its characteristics, which helps you decide which one will work best for you. So, here is a crib sheet on four of my key media:

1. Prints on Wood:

Wood prints give a warm and rustic feel, and are a great choice for a vintage interior. Because photographs are printed directly onto boards of maple wood, the grain and other characteristics of wood show through the lighter areas of the image. This may be a good or a bad thing depending on the kind of photo(s) being printed, and your personal preferences. Also, any photo printed on wood would appear warmer (read: slight more yellow) than any other media, which again can be a good or a bad thing. Maple is one of the major sustainable types of wood, and hence, may speak more to the eco-conscious ones among us.

Photographic print on wood

2. Prints on Metal:

Slim and sleek, prints on metal will work great not only for the modern, minimalist and contemporary decors, but also industrial and transitional styles. Metal prints look best in a gloss finish, because of the luminescence and vibrancy that it offers. But, at the same time, the type and direction of light available in the room may become a consideration keeping in mind its reflective characteristic. Since the photos are printed directly onto specially coated aluminum sheets, metal prints show off color like no other medium can. Hence, a great choice if your photos are color-heavy.

Photographic print on metal

3. Prints on Canvas:

You know that classic feel of a piece of art on canvas; no reason why your photos can't look like that. Prints on canvas are versatile enough to blend well with traditional, coastal or really any kind of interior. Photos are printed directly onto the canvas, which is then stretched and stapled onto an artist's wood frame. One pro, or con, of canvas prints, depending on how you look at it, is the 'oil painting' effect it gives. Do not expect great detail in your prints, because the texture of the canvas will buff some of it out. Again, this is a great thing for some, while a deal-breaker for others. Also, keep in mind that since the print is stretched onto a 1.5 or 2.5 inch frame, the edges of the photograph will be wrapping around the canvas. Thus, some photographs, especially tight close-ups, may not be a great candidate for canvas prints.

Photographic print on canvas

4. Prints on Acrylic:

Are you a 3D fan? Yes? Well, prints on acrylic may just be the thing for you then. Suited well for a glam, modern, contemporary and minimalist decors, prints on acrylic offer depth, radiance and detail. The refractive characteristic of acrylic brings our the three-dimensional drama in your photographs. One positive, or negative, again, depending on what you prefer, is the weight of these pieces. If you like holding things that have a certain weight to them, great! But if you don't want something heavy on your walls or your table, then do keep in mind that the bigger you go, the more weight you add to your piece. Also, acrylic prints require a teeny-tiny bit more maintenance and care than wood, metal or canvas. Dust particles, finger prints, yes, they do show on acrylic.

Photographic print on acrylic

If you wish to see samples of any of these media, or have any questions, please reach out.

Display and enjoy your photographs!

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