What Is The best Way To Print My Art and Photography?

woman standing in front of large vertical photo

by Ashley Garner
Studio Assistant, Tribeca Printworks

How should I print my photos and artwork? You’ve come to the point in your artistic career where you’re ready to take it to the next level and start printing your work. Perhaps it is exporting those photos off your camera for the first time or you’re finally reproducing your original paintings or illustrations. Now the next step is deciding what is the best way to print your art. There are countless surfaces and substrates that you can print your work on ranging from traditional art and photographic papers to aluminum, wood, or acrylic and a variety of printing processes to choose from including c-print, giclée, uv, dye-sublimation, and more. You can view the fine art and photographic papers we offer and the printing processes we utilize.

Deciding what material is best for you can be determined by what type of space you plan on hanging your final piece and the nature of the work. Is this fine art photography going into a gallery or museum with controlled track lighting? Are you displaying reproductions of your artwork at an art fair where other people may be handling the pieces? Are you redecorating your home where there is no natural light or an overabundance of it? Is this for a collector or for a friend? These factors can play a major role in what is the best printing process for you.

At gallery exhibitions and art fairs you will most often see photographic works printed on fine art paper and framed traditionally with a mat or a treatment allowing for the artist’s signature. However, in recent years it has become more common to see photography printed on aluminum or face-mounted to acrylic as technology has made these printing processes archival and often more durable than fine art paper prints. These treatments allow for a frameless, “floating” effect and come in a range of matte and glossy finishes. Acrylic face mounts have also become increasingly popular in public spaces like hotel lobbies and corporate offices. 

For reproductions of oil and acrylic paintings, it is common to see work printed onto canvas giclée and stretched to mimic the organic, woven-texture the work was originally created on. Reproductions of watercolor paintings and illustrations originally on paper can be seamlessly reproduced on papers that mimic and align with the originals. If you are looking to sell editioned prints of your artwork at  galleries, art fairs, and online, I recommend printing your reproductions  on matte textured fine art papers such as Hahnemühle German Etching or Epson Cold Press Bright. The natural textures of these papers bring artwork to life on a surface similar to the original, give your collectors the option to decide how they want to frame, and in general have a more high-end feel than canvas giclée or other experimental printing processes.  

Are you creating your artwork digitally? If so, there are a few directions you can go. You can emulate physical, original artwork by printing onto smooth or textured matte fine art papers or canvas. If you prefer a harder, glossier appearance, then experimenting with various finishes on acrylic and aluminum can be interesting as well. 

Looking to redecorate your home? As mentioned before you’ll first want to determine what kind of lighting you have in your home and examine the space you are looking to fill. Is it next to a window where you get a lot of direct sunlight, or is it a dark hallway or bedroom where you only have overhead lighting? These factors will be important to consider so you don’t end up bringing home a new huge framed photo and realize you can never see it from the sun reflecting off of the plexiglass! 

For rooms with a lot of natural sunlight printing on a matte surface such as stretched canvases or matte HD Aluminum panels  will prevent that harsh light reflection. Really want that framed piece in your sunny living room? No problem! There are many non-glare and anti-reflective acrylic (plexiglass) and glass options. If you’re decorating a long, dark hallway or room that has little to no natural light then frame away! You know your lighting better than us and a framed print is always a beautiful, traditional choice. If you are looking to hang artwork in rooms with high humidity such as your bathroom or kitchen consider printing on hard, durable surfaces such as Acrylic Face Mounts where the image is either printed directly onto the acrylic or a print adhered directly to the acrylic  or onto aluminum.   

At Tribeca Printworks we offer a number of the treatments mentioned including FineArt Paper, Canvas Giclée, HD Aluminum and Acrylic Face Mount. You can read more about the online ordering process and materials. If you are in the New York area you are welcome to stop by the studio to see examples as well. For any further questions please send us an email or give us a call today! 

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