In this blog we will cover the key points regarding photo prints such as which companies to print through, the different printing mediums, and other helpful tips!
A Printing Primer
Printing can be intimidating and costly. It can be overwhelming not knowing where to start and which companies to trust. We believe our research, experimentation and costly errors can all benefit you! Over the past several years we have trialed different print materials, print shops, color options and finishes for our clients and have developed a list of the companies, materials, and styles we trust for your spaces. We will be recommending the exact companies that we use and trust with hope you will love them as much as we do!
Our Printing Partners
We are partnered with professional printing labs only available to photographers. Through our online galleries we are able to extend printing access to our clients. The printing labs include ProDPI, WHCC, and Millers. These labs have been tested and rated as some of the best options out there. By partnering with multiple labs we are able to offer a wide variety of mediums to our clients as listed below:
Photo Paper Large Format Square Fine Art Mounted
Our photo paper prints are printed on Kodak Endura Professional Paper. These are the highest quality archival prints that have a longevity of 100 years in typical display conditions and 200 years in dark storage. Due to this our printing services are more expensive than many companies you will find online. These companies are geared towards professional use and are considered a luxury item that will last well beyond your lifetime.
Tip: Our favorite photo print option is a Deep Matte finish.
Don’t want to print through us? No worries! In the next section we will provide you with other fantastic companies we have tested and love!
Our top third party recommendations include:
Canvas Champ - Durable canvases at a low price point. If you are worried about your artwork getting damaged or exposed to the elements this is a great option that won't break the bank. They have other mediums available but we have only used them for their canvases.
Mpix and Nations Photo Lab - Similar options that are budget friendly and offer a little bit of everything from photo paper prints, wall art, albums, cards, and photo gifts. Both are good quality options that will not break the bank. These options would be considered a step above companies like Walgreen, CVS, and Walmart.
Artifact Uprising - If you want prints with more of a traditional paper feel and matte finish, this is a great option. What we really love their photo books. We printed all of our personal wedding albums and thank you cards through this company.
Framebridge - Framed prints can be expensive. Framebridge balances affordability with quality. We have purchased a few framed pieces from them and were very happy with the results.
Bayphoto - Metal prints can be tricky due to how reflective the medium is but we loved the ones we received from this company.
Printing finishes affect how the final print will look and feel. This is how you get images to look matte, glossy, texturized, etc.
Common types of photo paper finishes:
Lustre - a semi-gloss paper with vibrant colors and vibrant skin tones
Glossy - the most vibrant colors with a highly reflective, glossy finish
Deep Matte - a true non-reflective matte paper great for skin tones, soft images, and black & whites
Printing mediums also affect how the finished image looks. For example, metal is highly reflective and shiny, canvas can have a linen like texture and non smooth finish, wood looks earthy and can add character/distress from the wood grain, and acrylic prints provide a sleek and modern look.
If you want something classic, stick to variations of photo paper prints. If you want something durable and that can more easily withstand the elements, look into canvas and acrylic prints. If you want something modern and sleek, metal and acrylic prints will get the job done. If you are looking for something unique, wood prints may be the way to go.
We cannot stress the importance of this enough. Choosing the proper printing size will allow you to print the entirety of the image. If you choose the wrong size then part of the image may be cut off. If you want to print at an alternative ratio, we recommend choosing an image the has a lot of negative space. This will allow some flexibility in sizing without cutting into any subjects.
All of our photos are either a 2x3 or 4x5 ratio. Below we will provide popular image sizes at each ratio:
4 x 6
8 x 12
12 x 18
16 x 24
20 x 30
24 x 36
Other Helpful Printing Tips
We DO NOT recommend Shutterfly, CVS, Walgreens or Walmart. We ourselves and many of our clients have experienced altered colors, softened focus, among other issues from printing through these companies. While they are good in a pinch, there are better quality alternatives available at similar prices.
DO NOT allow color correction. It will affect the color of the images and often times does not look natural or intended.
If you are not printing directly through the gallery we provide, please make sure to download and submit the high-resolution files for printing. We offer web-optimized versions of the images for social media, but these should not be used for printing.
When printing a gallery wrapped canvas, be sure to choose an image with lots of negative space. This will allow for the image to be wrapped around the edges of the frame without cutting off any of the subjects. Otherwise, choosing a white or neutral wrap works too!
Be mindful with wood prints, they are not always recommended for traditional portrait photography, as the wood grain can appear anywhere in the image, including on someone’s face.
If you are looking to create a gallery wall, most companies have premade layouts that take out a lot of the guess work. All you have to do is upload the photos you would like to print and compare them to the space on your wall.
If you have any questions, be sure to reach out! We are always happy to help!