330 New York 17A, Goshen, NY | Orange County's Fine Art Photographer

What to Know Before Ordering Professional Print Products

by | Mar 21, 2019 | Professional Photography | 0 comments

The Background…

So before I tell you WHAT happened, I need to start be telling you WHY I even noticed.

Late last year in November, we bought a house in Warwick, New York. Let me go off on a tangent for a second (I do this a lot) and tell you that this has been my dream for a LONG time! I have finally gone from just a Warwick, NY photographer to a Warwick, NY photographer AND resident! Dream: realized. It’s all very exciting.

The home itself is actually a two family home, with a mother-daughter set up, and once we closed my parents immediately moved into the apartment. We have yet to list our condo (and man, oh man, it is giving me ANXIETY how long this is taking!) and although we’ve since moved into the new house, a lot of our stuff has yet to follow us.

 

The Problem…

One of the last rooms to be dismantled and packed away was the living room, and so we decided to attack that area this past weekend. Now I’ll say – wall art is VERY important to me. I can honestly say that I look at the portraits and photographs on my walls every single day. There’s a small framed photo of my father that sits on my stairs (yes, ON the stairs – not on the wall – a story for another day) and I look at it every single time I go up and down the stairs. My dad passed away a little over two years ago, so especially in this instance, the photography in my home means the world to me.

 

My Favorite Canvas…

With that said, I have a full time job, a thriving professional photography business, and two active little boys. While I absolutely gaze upon my wall art every day, I can’t say that I stand inches away from each piece and inspect it with a magnifying glass and a fine tooth comb.

However, I was given exactly that opportunity this past weekend, as we decided to work on the living room, and started by taking all the art off the walls to be carefully packed away. The smaller pieces were all fine – though dusty – but it was my FAVORITE piece that stopped me in my tracks.

It’s Story…

There is a story behind this piece – as there is with most anything you choose to put on display in your home. For me, this image is EVERYTHING. I was a brand new photographer and had just created a studio in my dining room. I was completely self-taught, learning as I went along, and I had this idea to take a photo of my two little guys in a bucket. With no shirts on. What? Why? No idea – but that was the vision and so I went with it. So I bought this giant bucket and I lugged it inside. I somehow convinced both boys to get in (I don’t remember but I’m sure bribes were involved) and I’m happy to say that not a tear was shed.

I. Love. This. Image.

And so I printed it as large as I could (30×40) at a fairly reputable printing company (who I will not name, out of respect) and spent a decent amount of money (over $200). I loved it when it came, and loved it more when I hung it. And there it sat on the wall, untouched but often admired, for the past two years. Keep in mind it has never once been moved. It is not by a source of heat, and is otherwise in an extremely safe spot on the wall.

 

It was Falling Apart…

Imagine my dismay when, moving next to the canvas to take it down, I discovered that my much loved, supposedly high quality, professional canvas was falling apart. Apparently it wasn’t even a true canvas – but an image printed on cardboard and glued to a Styrofoam back. When I had this printed I had justified the cost by telling myself that we would ALWAYS have this canvas. It would be on my wall when my boys were grown and brining their own children to our home. And now after only two years, it was basically disintegrating just from the weight of itself!

 

The Solution…

Now – where did I go wrong in this process? How did this happen? I’ll tell you exactly how this happened – someone with no experience buying a canvas, bought a canvas. 2017 Melissa looked up “professional” canvas printing companies, picked one relatively blindly, and trusted that because it was “expensive” it would be high quality. Well, clearly we all know that wasn’t the case. There are tons of low end companies that tell you that you’re getting a quality product and you end up with anything but. And there are tons of high end companies that charge high prices and promise quality, but deliver canvases that fall apart after two years.

Why am I telling you this story? I know, it’s a long one. If you hang out with me long enough, you’ll see I have basically only one mode of storytelling – LONG.

 

Professional Knowledge and Experience…

The point here is that I have a gift to give to you – professional knowledge and experience. Over the past few years, I’ve had the privilege of sampling from numerous professional printing labs, and I can honestly say that the ones I have decided to work with are nothing less than the best of the best. These companies deliver high quality, museum grade products that won’t just withstand the next two years – but the next 20 years, and beyond. And I don’t have brand prejudice – I don’t order from only one lab simply because they are “my” lab. I have tested out numerous products from numerous labs, and have decided which company crafts each item the best.

There’s one company I order client prints though – because they are the BEST at printing. There’s another company I order canvases through – because they have the BEST professional quality canvas I have seen anywhere. And it’s the same for books, albums, even photo lockets – I choose to work with the company that makes the best product, plain and simple.

 

Professional Printing…

These labs aren’t open to the public for a specific reason – the general public wouldn’t have the knowledge needed to optimize each image for printing, adjusting exposure, contrast and white balance as needed to align with each lab’s printing profile, along with ensuring file sizes are a high enough resolution for quality printing and the correct colorspace was being utilized.

Does that all sound like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo? I bet it does. And that’s okay.

Because like I said, my gift to you is my knowledge and expertise.

After your session, you can absolutely self-print if you would like. You can take your files and print at a local printer or an online source. And maybe, if you are tossing a few 4×6 prints into a birthday card for Aunt Sue in North Carolina, that’s good enough.

But you’re worth more than “good enough” aren’t you?

 

Products that Last…

If you are planning on displaying your images – printing them large, or small, and putting them on your wall where you can view them day after day, for year after year – let me help you. Let me use my knowledge and expertise to have your images printed FOR you. Let me treat you to the full experience. Let me pick the very best lab for the product you have decided upon. Let me take those digital images and create the most amazing, beautiful and exceptional quality art that you’ve ever hung on your walls.

After all, it’s part of my job.

I know EXACTLY which lab can handle a 30×40 canvas replacement for this falling-apart piece of cardboard and Styrofoam – and I know that THIS time my money will be well-spent, on a piece of art that will last well into the future, when my little ones and THEIR little ones can enjoy it as well.

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