With the advances in technology and printing, you can practically print on anything in today's market. I worked for a Canon America partner for a number of years, and they had a 6 foot flatbed printer that allowed you to print on doors, blinds, ceiling tiles; you name it, you could do it. These days, you can print your photographs on mugs, t-shirts, puzzles, phone cases, and anything else you can think up, within just a few minutes using your mobile phone. Times have changed and the days of sending in your rolls of film are quickly disappearing into history.
While options have gotten greater and more complex, there are still mediums out there worthy of a great landscape fine art photography image. In the following sections, we'll cover the best of the best, from the least expensive to the most impressive and, in my opinion, the best money can buy.
Glossy Photographic Paper
Why paper? Isn't it obsolete? Not at all! While glossy paper can have a sheen that easily reflects light, it is the most vibrant and color-rich photographic paper available. This paper features exceptionally deep blacks and excellent shadow details, with a glossy surface, unlike other coatings such as matte or luster. I, specifically, print on Fujicolor Crystal Archive as it balances the cost and features quite well. Although it's still paper, it showcases fine art photographic prints very well.
One of the drawbacks with choosing photographic paper as your print medium, however, is the added expenses of framing and glass to protect your investment. These can become quite expensive and outweigh the cost savings of glossy paper prints over other options. Before investing in a fine art piece for your home or business, I would advise that you get quotes on framing options for the size of print that you intend on purchasing, so you know the true cost of the photographic medium you choose to hang on your wall.
While my main offering for images is the Fujicolor Crystal Archive paper, my absolute favorite medium for paper prints is Ilford Galerie. I haven't come across anything that compares to it's vibrant colors, while maintaining a natural, but bold, look. It has fantastic, deep blacks and vibrant whites. If you are willing to invest more into your photographic paper prints, reach out to me before ordering and I can provide a custom quote.
Framed Canvas Wrap
Framed canvas prints can be another great option for a cost efficient print medium. They come ready to hang on the wall with no additional hardware required, except for a screw or a nail. The most popular option for canvas prints is what's defined as a gallery-wrapped canvas. This means that the image wraps around the sides of the canvas.
Canvas has a unique texture to it and, because of this, it gives the print a much more artistic feel, almost like it is a painting. This painted look can be a fantastic addition to someone's wall where they already have fine art paintings presented. If you are looking for a more modern look, however, I would choose one of the other photographic print options I offer.
Chromaluxe® Metal Fine Art Print | Gallery Float
Metal Prints are a unique style of printing. Brightly colored dyes are infused into aluminum, which has a special coating to provide a clear and vibrant image with great detail and resolution. The substrates and coatings provide incredible scratch resistance, while being fade resistant and still allow for easy cleaning. These custom prints are designed to last a lifetime. They come with hanging hardware as well as a wall mount that "floats" 1/2"-3/4" off the wall.
From the different vendors over the years, I've found there is a large variety of how metal prints are designed, coated, as well as printed. Big box stores that print on metal cannot match up to professional print shops. Many don't use ChromaLuxe and you can immediately see a difference in the quality of the output. The biggest issue, and easily seen, is the print is darker than what's defined in your file. They also tend to be inconsistent in the results, even if using the exact same file for multiple attempts. If you print your own photographs on aluminum, be sure to use a professional print shop to get a quality end product.
Framed Lumachrome TruLife Acrylic
Now, it's time for my favorite medium, Lumachrome TruLife Acrylic prints. This is the most expensive medium, of course. I don't really have any one reason why Lumachrome is my favorite medium. These prints have such an incredible resolution, dimensionality, color accuracy, clarity, and vibrancy that it rivals any museum or gallery quality prints in the world.
Combining that amazing print with a TruLife Acrylic Facemount makes this medium a head-turner. Literally. People's heads will be locked on these prints as they walk by my booth at a market, so much so that I've seen people lose their balance.
Lumachrome TruLife not only looks fantastic, but it very scratch resistant, is easily cleaned, and has very little glare. Adding lighting will make the image look 3D and draw you into the scene, as well as making the print look so vibrant that appears to be backlit. These prints, with the right fine art image, will make for a stunning conversation piece in your home or business and will last a lifetime.
I hope this article helps show and explain what makes up some of the world's best fine art print mediums available today. If you have further questions, please reach out and connect with me directly through my website.