Canvas Prints | Metal Prints – From Camera to Print
Canvas Prints Metal Prints
In today’s world of digital media and digital photography, there are many printers and sellers of canvas prints | metal prints. You can upload you vacation photos to a commercial consumer print service and voila…you have a beautiful canvas print hanging over your bed! Watch for the additional charges to upgrade your images in order to print?
There are companies and businesses which print and sell quality prints, with a quality build, on quality canvas and paper. Yes, there are some which advertise low prices, but how is the quality. The price is great, but when it comes to what is hanging on your wall, quality, beauty, and sharpness of detail are important. Are they not? Where and from whom do I buy? What goes into a final print production of a canvas print or a metal print, or any kind of print for that matter? What is important from the photographer’s standpoint?
I have broken down my process from camera to print in four phases. I mention a lot of detail in image processing, but in the end, I am hoping that it will give you a true picture of the quality I seek to obtain in my finished product – your fine art photography print hanging on your wall.
From camera to print to your wall!
Phase I – The Image: Whether landscape or portraiture, I shoot in a high resolution raw format. Shooting portraits in a large digital file size means possibly slowing down the camera’s ability to process multiple burst exposures. The camera will need time to process these large files. Sometimes it can be just when you wanted that “one more” shot! But different cameras have different abilities, and I chose one that processes quickly with large file resolutions. With landscapes, this works very good. I must mention that this is the large format for a crop-sensor camera.
A sharp, finished print begins with a large, high-resolution file in raw format. Raw, allowing for more color pixel options in the edit process; resolution being the sharpness of the image for reproduction. During the workflow editing process, size can be lost, but not enough to effect print quality unless the image is cropped too small. I shoot all my images in a 3:2 ratio. This affords me more options for print sizes and crop options. But I’m talking about the beginning to the end for producing high-end, high-resolution, sharp images for small to large prints. I’ll continue…
Phase II – Workflow: When importing my files into my photo-processing software, such as Lightroom, I import the raw formats. This is the first phase of my editing process. This is where I make my images look good. In some cases, there is nothing more to do, except save the image, which I mention in the following segment. I export the processed image as a .psd (PhotoShop Document) file. At this phase the file is still a large format. In the next phase I open the file in Photoshop where I will tweak highlights, colors, lighting, etc., where the file size is typically reduced according to cropping. The image below has been cropped to 4578 x 3052 megapixels. This interprets to a canvas of roughly 19 x 13 inches and 236 DPI or PPI (pixels per inch). The image still maintains its 3:2 ratio as originally cropped. This file size is now 40 megabytes. See image below.
I set the DPI or PPI (pixels per inch) to 300. In turn this increases the size of the image which gives me the option to set the size in dimensions to 24 x 36 inches at 10,800 x 7221 megapixels. The file size is now 224 megabytes. I am now ready to save/export this image as a .jpeg file for compression.
Phase III – Resolution/Size: Now I have a completed image ready to export as, print ready (see above image). I have set the size parameters I require for getting the sharpest resolution from the print process. This is where I still require a large file in a high-resolution format, but saved as a .jpeg (Joint Photographic Experts Group) file, which will compress file size without destroying resolution. In the case of uploading images and storage of images on a server, size matters. It also matters in print production. This image file is perfect for print production.
This is my experience for achieving the quality, finished product I wish to sell. I have had images saved in lower resolutions printed in large formats on canvas, such as 36 x 48″, and they look good, but canvas prints are more forgiving. When I speak of file dimensions, I speak in terms of megapixels and DPI (Dots Per Inch) or PPI (Pixels Per Inch). Megabyte is the image file size relative to the amount of digital space the file needs. Thus the larger megabytes the files are, the more space they demand and the longer time it takes to upload.
Some storage services limit up to 50 megabyte. I can save a file in 4500 x 3000 megapixels – 72 DPI – 4 megabyte, and it will print a decent print in smaller sizes, but sharpness will diminish as larger prints are demanded. I save my final images at 300 DPI and set the size according to the largest size print I choose to offer. The larger the size in dimension inches (i.e. 24 x 36) the larger the file. In some rare cases I may need to lower my DPI in order to keep my file size under the maximum limits for upload, but I am assured of its print quality. I usually don’t need to go lower than 250 DPI which still produces a very sharp, large wall-hanging print.
Phase IV – Upload to Print Service: I choose a print service that demands 300 DPI and sized for printing needs. I choose a professional print services such as ProDPI for Professional Photographers. Turn around time is quick and production and build are top quality. Besides, as a consumer of fine art photography for wall-hanging prints, isn’t this what you really want?
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