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Mark McGilvray Photography
Things to consider when purchasing fine art prints
Size: there are practical limits. Not everyone has billboard size walls to hang art, nor should all images be printed large. Some images were captured using smaller sensors: 65MP and 80 MP Phase One backs. Some images are cropped and will be smaller; others are panoramas stitched from a sequence of frames and will be larger. The native resolution of the image is less important than the quality of the sensor. The Phase One IQ3 Trichromatic Back that I currently use captures 100 megapixel images. These print at about 30" x 40" @300dpi and may be printed larger or smaller. You can use the Wall View feature on the site with your computer, or the Augmented Reality Tool on your Smart phone or tablet to view images on your walls. Just click the AR icon and follow the instructions.
Light: what light will your print be viewed under? Diffuse sunlight is best. Direct sunlight will fade the print. Old incandescent bulbs and ‘warm’ LEDs will make the print appear reddish, some fluorescents greenish. Good quality Quartz Halogen or LEDs (5000-5500° Kelvin) work well. Note that appearance depends on both the color temperature and spectrum of light emitted as well as any ambient light sources present.
Media: there are myriad media types and finishes. Some reach flavor of the month status and vanish like Disco. I am not a warehouse and do not stock everything. I offer many sizes on different media. Each has its use and some images recommend themselves to a certain media: photo paper, fine art paper, canvas, and metal. I have tried and true favorites: satin and gloss photo paper, Hahnemuhle Ultra Smooth Fine Art Rag, satin canvas, and dye sublimation aluminum. I have added new media as well. Times change but these selections are timeless.
Presentation: how will your fine art print be presented, matte and frame, canvas wrap, metal print? I do my own printing on a 44" Canon Pro 4000. Prints over 44” least dimension are outsourced. The metal prints are a dye sublimation process requiring large expensive equipment - these prints are outsourced. I do not matte and frame prints or stretch canvas - these are shipped rolled. Metal prints are drop shipped as flats from California and subject to sales tax within CA. All sales within Nevada are subject to NV sales tax.
Photo Paper is printed on the inkjet and not a chemical photo process. Satin is the most often used type. I offer Satin, Gloss, and Metallic finish photo papers. I recommend the gloss sparingly, in smaller sizes, and for certain images that benefit from a glass-like finish. Satin is generally a better choice. Metallic is a high saturation ‘wet look’ gloss paper and is spectacular with the appropriate image. The smallest prints offered here are all on photo paper.
Fine Art Paper is an excellent choice for many prints. There are dozens of brands and hundreds of papers on the market. Currently I offer Hahnemuhle Ultra Smooth Rag . This is a matte finish paper with amazing resolution and superb color rendition.
Canvas can either be stretched on bars or framed like any other print. It is best suited to medium and large prints. Museum wraps where the canvas is stretched over a wooden frame are a very economical way to present a print, whether large or not. Museum wraps require a printed area over the nominal print size to wrap the frame. For example, a 30”x40” canvas print on 1.5” bars requires 1.5” for the bar, and 1” for the stretcher to staple. Thus a 30”x40” canvas print will be 35”x45”. If you short the person doing the stretching they will not thank you and likely cannot do it. This border can be either a mirrored edge of the image, or a solid color. Float frames are also an option. Consult a good framing shop.
Many shops produce canvas prints that are not coated. ALL my Canvas prints are coated because it protects the print and inhibits canvas fading due to environmental factors – sunlight being the worst offender. Otherwise the canvas will yellow. Currently I am using the Breathing Color Satin Timeless coating. It is superb.
Metal Prints are offered using a dye sublimation process on aluminum sheets with a high gloss finish. It is a dye transfer process similar to a contact print. Many hangers and mounting devices are available installed right from the vendor. This medium is an excellent way to obtain a print that does not require an expensive frame. Shipping cost does become an issue on larger print sizes. Call for more information.
Call Me Before Ordering. Not because I am bored sitting by the phone, but because it will save everyone trouble. I suggest media for a specific image and sizes that are appropriate for a variety of reasons. If you are ordering a large print it is strongly suggested, you order a small test print at the resolution of the print and on the same media. Highly enlarged images become ‘soft’ and lose detail. Very large prints on photo paper are difficult to handle and subject to ‘moon divots’, a crimp in the paper. They are easy to cause, small ones can be eliminated when the print is dry mounted, but larger strongly defined ones ruin a print – especially on glossy media. Fine art paper is just beautiful. Canvas presents as a painting. Print sizes are approximate, especially with canvas - it shrinks. I can often accommodate special orders.
Congratulations! You made it through my windy explanation of prints. You may be wondering why I don’t have flash names like Dragon Heart, IRS Audit, or some such nonsense, but prosaic ones like Antelope Canyon Q1234. I am out of genius artsy names – the well is dry. Think of it like the star catalogue astronomers use. The naming I use allows me to track and find the images presented here among Terabytes of digital images.
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