What image to print in my canvas? That is the question every homeowner or decorator will eventually ask themselves when tasked with decorating the walls of their living spaces. The right images can make or break your wall art designs, so it’s important to know just how to identify and where to go to find the best photos for canvas prints.
From image resolution all the way to canvas frame and to what kind of photos to choose, here’s all you need to know to create the most inspiring canvas prints using photographs to really light up your home.
First things first, for you to have the most beautiful framed canvas prints complementing your space’s decor, you need to find the perfect images for them. Not all beautiful photos make for great canvas prints art, so you should definitely give this some thought. So, what are the parameters to find print-worthy images for your canvas art? Very simple:
Overpopulated or vaguely defined photos are not interesting enough to hang on your walls. For a canvas print, you want the subject of the image to be clear and to draw the attention of viewers in an interesting and appealing way. One strong subject in an otherwise tranquil background is ideal, but you can play with this idea to find the balance that suits your vision.
Following the same thinking of having an eye-catching art piece, the main element(s) of the photo should be sleekly defined and focused, to make sure viewers see it first, see it clearly, and love it.
While you can opt for black and white or washed tones, vibrant hues make for great, eye-catching wall decor pieces.
Ideal photos for canvas have a concept that stands out when printed in medium to large format. This includes an intelligent use of colors and overall an interesting compositional design whose details are highlighted and not lost with print size.
Let’s talk now about where to source pictures for your pieces, as there’s several options, but one is clearly more convenient than the others.
Be it because you want to personalise your rooms with family or self-portraits or you simply love to hang your own creative work on your walls, using your own images is a valid option. However, you must make sure you have the right gear and skills to produce the kind of images we just defined as canvas-worthy in high definition. If you don’t, this is not the best solution.
This of course will result in personalised photos that are unique to you and have the professional quality needed for the work. But it can be costly, and the turnover times can be extensive.
Here’s an alternative many will be attracted to, because it’s hard to say no to free stuff. However, depending on how, where and why you’re creating a canvas print this might not be the wisest choice. Websites offering free photo downloads are often tricky, the images come with a murky free usage license and they aren’t properly policed. So you can end up facing legal trouble for copyright infringement, image misuses and other issues, particularly if you’re selling the final print to a client.
Another option is to grab professional stock photographs that are ready to be downloaded, licensed and used in a canvas print. Stock photography is particularly useful for this purpose, as it covers endless subjects, ensures legal safety and is commonly very affordable.
Stock Photo Secrets Shop is one ideal stock photo agency to buy images for canvas prints, with a nurtured collection of over 5 million high-quality photos ready to download from just £1 and as little as a few pennies each.
Quick Note: Stock photography works for canvas prints as much for your personal use as for commercial purposes. But you must pay attention to the licensing terms. If the photo you license will be to use in a framed canvas print for yourself, or in just one wall art piece for one particular customer, a Standard Royalty-Free license (which these sites offer by default) will do. But if you’re intending to run a print-on-demand or serial reproduction business, you will need an Extended license to the photos you want to use, and you can normally get them, but at a higher price.
How we know what to look for in a photograph to print on a canvas, let’s ask what kind of photos should we go for. Best way to do that is to revise the latest photography trends. Here’s some of the most prominent themes:
The new norm in photography is to abandon the impossible picture-perfect look and embrace honest portraits of the life around us. Be it photos of people, food, natural elements, places, etc., prefer raw, unconventional and realistic beauty.
This year photography is heavily inspired in classic art pieces like iconic paintings and sculptures, vintage creative forms like textured-like collages, and ancient patterns and motives like arabesque, mandalas and similar.
Nature photography is now about the human POV and the disproportional aspect of nature and humans. Landscapes conveying a sense of quietness and isolation, where humans appear diminished or blended into the wild.
The pastel palette is lately focused in vibrant pinks, yellows and light blues, influenced by hues seen in candy and baked goods.
Vibrant colors tend to the bright neon tones, used in bold visual effects
A theme not so easy to adapt to wall art, but this year space themes are very popular. Dystopian wastelands, intergalactic landscapes and astronomy-like sceneries are interesting options to explore.
These are trends that would work great in wall art canvas projects. For more info on current visual concepts, you can read this full report on Photography Trends by Stock Photo Secrets.
While a canvas print only becomes a reality once you choose an image to use on it, the actual process begins with the canvas size. There’s a very simple reason for this: in order to determine what size and resolution of image to use, you first need to know how large you will need the print to be: a 1200 x 760 image won’t look the same on a 20" x 30" canvas than on a 24" x 36" one, for example. So once you know how much space you want to cover on your wall, you’re on track.
When it comes to image quality, your common sense is right: the highest quality is the best. Photos on canvas look amazing when they are sharp and nitid. For that, you need high-resolution photos with a high pixel count. This is what will grant there’s enough sharpness in details in the final print.
As we in the previous section, the desired resolution will depend on the size of your framed canvas. As a general notion, the highest resolution you use, the better. But here’s a little trick to store in your mind: look at your canvas size, and add two zeros at the end of each dimension number to get a good image resolution. For example, if you’ll use a 24” x 36” frame, a good resolution would be of 2400 x 3600 px.
Now, a canvas doesn’t have any pixels and neither does the printer. So the digital resolution of the image is one thing, and the final resolution of the custom canvas once the image is on it is another.
When it comes to printing and print size, you work with a parameter known as DPI --Dots per Inch--, which refers to the number of dots in different colours the printer will add in every inch of the material. The higher the DPI, the more detailed and sharp the print will be.
Depending on the size, composition and focus subject of the photo chosen, the DPI can vary with different results.
As a general rule, you should select your images to 200-300dpi. Do note that the roughness of the canvas (and thus the inability to show too much detail) and the size of the frame can modify the optimal DPI settings.
Once your canvas is printed, all it’s left is framing. And here you have to make your last choice to give your new wall decor piece the very last touch of your taste and style.
Gallery-wrapped canvas style is when the printed image is tightly stretched and wrapped around the edges of the frame, making the design visible not only from the front, but also from the sides. It creates a floating effect that looks modern and clean.
The other option is solid color or mirror wrapping, where the canvas is still tightly stretched and secured on the back, but the printed photo covers only the frontal surface of the frame, with the edges being blank. It makes for a very elegant and classic finish.
So all you’ve to do is choose the style that suits your home’s concept better.
Keeping these tips in mind it will be so much easier to ensure you not only choose the best photos for canvas prints, but also that you use them in the best way to get that perfect wall decor results.
So, who’s ready to hang beautiful, trendy and sharply looking photographs on your walls?