This week, I’m changing it up a bit from my usual review of five products, to review just one product. I recently purchased a photo print on canvas and wanted to share the experience with everyone. I know at various times people have asked about the photos on canvas, and previously I didn’t have any experience with them, just wanted one myself. Obviously, I purchased this from the Costco partner here in the UK, but I really believe that the quality will be the same with the partner in the US. Or, you could always order from the people here because they do ship internationally. Anyway, on to the actual information and review.
A while back, Dave and I decided that we wanted to fill an empty wall in our flat with some art and figured that one of our own pictures printed on canvas was the perfect thing. What I like about this is that you can take a favorite photo and get it on a canvas in a style and size to fit your space, instead of trying to find art that fits all of the necessary parameters and is created by someone else. And, honestly, probably way more pricey. We had taken a picture a number of years ago in Oslo, Norway that we really love and have always wanted to make into a larger print, so we didn’t even have a hard time figuring out what photo we would use.
The partner here in the UK is a company called CatchinColour. Through them you can get one of your photos, or choose one of theirs from their online gallery, to get printed onto a canvas, acrylic, or an artbox print all at a minimum of a 25% discount for Costco members. Their prints are done with a 12 color UV pigment print process and are fade resistant. They also have a lifetime quality guarantee on your prints, as well as free UK delivery on all orders. And the delivery is really quick, we ordered our print on a Sunday afternoon and had it by Friday. And to get such a quality print, that quickly, really amazed and impressed me.
I really like that you can get a variety of styles of presentations. They do canvas prints, perspex/acrylic prints, and solid artbox prints. I could try to sum up their definitions of these three styles, but I am pretty positive that it’s better for everyone if I just copy what they have on their website so you get the full details, including some photos that show what the different styles actually look like:
- Canvas Prints – We print using our technologically advanced 12 colour UV ink process onto the finest 100% Cotton artists canvas, which is sourced from some of the biggest international art suppliers. Our Museum Quality Artists Stretcher Bars are made of the finest quality European kiln dried knotless pine, which has the advantage of being extremely hard wearing and not susceptible to warping like cheap Chinese woods are prone to do. Each bar features a rounded back edge which is designed to ensure that the canvas is always kept a full ½” (13mm) above the stretcher bar to ensure that there can be no ghost impressions on the canvas. These stretcher bars also incorporate ‘wedges’ which are placed in each corner and allow the canvas to be stretched extremely tightly over the frame. It also allows the canvas to be restretched over time, which can be of particular importance for the larger sizes we offer. We stock 1½” (38mm) and ¾” (19mm) bars to use on all our stretched canvas prints.
- Perspex/Acrylic Prints – Our Perspex/Acrylic prints are visually stunning and of the highest quality. Unlike other suppliers who use a low quality direct printing method onto the acrylic panel, we produce a lavish 12 colour print onto specially produced photographic vinyl and then skilfully bond the image to the reverse of a 10mm super glossy cast clear acrylic panel with flame polished edges. With a choice of fixings (Chrome, brass, black etc) depending on your decor you can ensure a perfect match is achieved. Available in either translucent or opaque image options.
- Solid Artbox – This new innovative product combines the best aspects of a stretched canvas print with the durability of a conventional block print. Our fabulous artboxes feature our superior 12 colour prints mounted onto a three dimensional block with the picture continuing around the edges. With a laminated wipe-clean and highly durable surface, it also features edges and corners which are sharp and crisp giving a seamless, stunning effect to any image. We offer two depths, 1″ (25mm) or 1½”(38mm).
So, back to that lifetime quality guarantee, print process, and what you can expect when ordering from CatchinColour. The lifetime guarantee covers: the inks on the canvas print will not fade, the canvas will not sag or need restretching, and the frame will stay strong. You will also receive a hanging kit for your canvas print to make it easy to hang and keep it flush against the wall. Alternatively, you can just use two hooks or nails/screws to hang it because the canvas frame is very rigid and strong and can definitely take that. Also, as I mentioned, you get free delivery to all of the UK including areas that aren’t typically free to deliver to: Northern Ireland, Scottish Islands and even the Channel Islands.
Now here’s a blurb from their site about the print process that they use: The printing process we utilise is a technologically advanced 12 Colour HP Vivera pigment based system. This has a guaranteed colour fastness (according to HP data) of 200 years. The 12 colour process results in a truly amazing colour reproduction and fabulous neutral and true black and white prints.
For all of their prints, they recommend using an image from a digital camera that is at least 2 megapixels. Of course, you can use a scan of a physical photo and in that case they recommend a quality of 600 dpi. We were lucky because our old digital camera exceeded their suggested 2 megapixels. After you have selected your photo and assured that it at least meets, hopefully exceeds, their quality recommendations, then you just have to upload it to their website. They only accept uploads that are JPGs, however, I do believe you can use another format if you have to but it is more complicated (and you’ll need to see their website for instructions). Uploading your chosen JPG file is pretty easy and works like a ton of other websites, but because of the size of the photos it can take some time depending on the speed of your Internet connection.
After you upload your photo you have several options to perfect the raw photo, you can crop it, rotate it, or use various filters or special effects. There’s a bevy of cropping options for different rations or proportions: square, 1:2 (tall portrait), 1:3 (skyscraper), 1:4 (skyscraper), 2:1 (wide landscape), 2:3 (portrait), 3:1 (panoramic), 3:2 (landscape), 3:4 (portrait, 4:1 (panoramic), 4:3 (landscape), 4:5 (portrait), 5:4 (landscape), 5:6 (portrait), 5:7 (portrait), 6:5 (landscape), 7:5 (landscape). You can also rotate your photo if it isn’t correct after the upload. And then there’s all of the special effects that you can use to create your perfect look for your photo, but beware some of these come with a specific higher price but the website very clearly lists the price increases for the effects. Here’s the list of the special effects options you have: black and white, sepia tone, soft focus, colour splash, pop art single, pop art, multi, pop art glass web, opie, painting, colour pencil, black and white pencil, and moggridge. All of these effects are at least somewhat explained on the website, so you can at least use Google if you (like me) have no idea what the ‘Moggridge’ style of illustration means.
After you get the cropping and special effects all picked out, you next choose the frame, media, and size. I like how they display the size selections because you can get an idea of the relative size as compared to a person. And there are lots of options here too because you can have it in the three styles, as well as on satin or gloss photographic paper, watercolor paper, or as a rolled canvas print. And then of course, you can choose your edge too if you select a canvas print or a solid artbox: gallery wrap, mirror wrap, white edge, or black edge. If you choose the perspex/acrylic prints you can choose the level of transparency: opaque/white or translucent. Also with the perspex option you have your choice of wall mount styles: chrome, black, satin, or brass fixings. So many options! As you choose or change options they keep the price updated and you can even see a full breakdown of the price and all of the options you have chosen. [For a full list of the prices, take a look at the CatchinColour Prices and Sizes PDF that I have available for download.] Or, you can keep editing it to change the cropping or add an effect or whatever, so that you can tweak your picture to get the print that you really want. After you have it perfectly matching your expectations, just click the button and buy it and then you’ll have your new print in just a few days.
When we bought our print we decided to get it on canvas with a gallery edge in a size of 1016.00 x 762.00 mm or 40 x 30 inches for £73.46 (US: $117.108). I thought the price was really reasonable for something of this size and quality. With the quality of our digital photo, this was the biggest print that we could get without getting totally dodgy quality. When we received the print it was wrapped very carefully so that it wouldn’t get damaged in transit; and it didn’t. The quality of the frame and the canvas is really impressive and so sturdy. But the print of the photo is amazing to me! I don’t know if it is just the fact of seeing your own art work that large or what, but I just love it. It’s got rich colors and the whites and blacks are very crisp. Everyone who has seen it loves it and thinks it is something we bought in a gallery. So, that’s really cool.
So, if you’ve been on the fence about whether to turn one of your favorite photographs into a canvas print, I hope I’ve given you a bit of an idea about what to expect from the prints you can purchase through Costco. I couldn’t be happier with the canvas print that we purchased. In fact, I’m thinking of ordering some additional prints for a series of London photos from Regent’s Park to perk up another bare wall in our flat.