There are always articles floating about about print quality, our friend, and talented photographer, Dave Simchock recently shared this post on his site.
Remember, here at French Broad Imaging, we provide the highest quality products with not only printing, but with custom framing as well.
Have you ever purchased, or thought about purchasing, a print from a photographer?
Did you know that not all photography prints are alike?
Not only does the quality of the actual prints vary from one lab or printer to the next, but if you are buying “ready-to-hang” framed matted print behind glass, then there are a few other things that you should be aware of before making your purchase.
FINE ART PRINTS: When buying prints, always make sure that the photographer is providing archival-quality prints that will stand the test of time. Such prints require special paper and inks which, of course, cost more than the economy versions. The last thing you want to do is buy a print that you believe to be a good deal, only to find that it fades in a matter of months after purchase. Archival prints are typically rated at 100+ years. So, always ask the artist if their prints are “archival”. If they are not, or the artist doesn’t know, or stumbles with with question, then beware.
DSP Fine Art PhotographyCANVAS PRINTS & UV COATINGS: Canvas gallery wraps are now very popular with fine art photographers and their buyers. And, like fine art (paper) prints, there is a wide range of quality in papers, inks, and printing processes. Many high-end photo printers can print on both paper and canvas, and would use the same archival-quality inks for both mediums. Be sure to ask about this when buying. Another very important question to ask the artist is whether their canvas prints have been sprayed / coated with a UV-protectant veneer. Some artists skip this step, as it takes more time and costs more money to prepare. As a buyer, I recommend that you inquire about this, and if the artist is not coating their canvas prints, then pass. Yes, their prices may be cheaper as a result, but the longevity of your investment may be in question.
MATTING & BACKING: This is another area where some artists cut corners in order to save on costs. Higher-end materials are “acid-free”, which help to preserve the integrity of the print. If you are buying a matted print that you will frame yourself, be sure to ask the artist if they are using acid-free materials in their mounting and matting. If not, then beware that you may be getting an inferior product that can deteriorate much quicker than it should.
UV GLASS: It is always worth investing a few more bucks into a higher-quality glass for framed prints. Usually, the glass that comes with ready-made frames is very fragile, and not UV-protective. So, if you buy a matted print from an artist (acid-free materials, of course), and you want to put it into a ready-made frame that comes with glass, it is always best to pop out the glass that comes with the frame and buy a piece of glass that is UV-protective. If you are using a standard size such as 11″ x 14″ or 16″ x 20″, then the local framing or art shop should have these readily available, and they won’t need to be cut to size. If the artist is selling their work framed and under glass, then be sure to ask them if the glass is UV-protective. As a side note, not only is the UV glass better for preserving your art, but it is also much stronger and does not break nearly as easy as the cheaper glass.
CONCLUSION: Basically, when you are buying photo art, like anything else you want to be an informed consumer. If you go to a lot of art shows, there is often a good reason why some fine art photographers are more expensive than others, and that reason goes beyond their professional reputation. It is often a reflection of the quality of the materials that they use in presenting their work, and not just the quality of the images themselves. There is, indeed, a difference between investing in a piece of artwork, and buying a poster.
The moral of the story is… Always ask questions when making an art purchase. It’s just not worth saving a few dollars only to find that the great deal you picked up at the local art show is only going to survive a year or two, or less, on your living room or office wall.
To see more from our talented friend, Dave Simchock, please visit his site!