What image to print on 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 knowing how to identify and where to find the best photos for canvas prints is essential.
First, to have the most beautiful canvas prints complementing your space’s decor, you need to find the perfect images for them. Not all beautiful photos make for great canvas 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 image's subject to be clear and to draw viewers' attention in an exciting 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.
To create a captivating art piece, it's essential for the main elements of the photo to be sharply defined and focused. This ensures that viewers immediately notice and appreciate them without any confusion. By prioritizing clarity and precision, you can guarantee that your chosen elements stand out, making a lasting impression and evoking admiration.
While you can opt for black and white or washed tones, vibrant hues make 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 colours and an attractive 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 are 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 ensure you have the right gear and skills to produce the kind of images we define as canvas-worthy in high definition. If you don’t, this is not the best solution.
Hiring a photographer 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, this might not be the wisest choice depending on how, where, and why you’re creating a canvas print. Websites offering free photo downloads are often tricky; the images come with a murky free usage license and aren’t adequately policed. So you can face legal trouble for copyright infringement, image misuse, and other issues, mainly if you’re selling the final print to a client.
Another option is to grab professional stock photographs 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 9 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 used in a framed canvas print for yourself or 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 intend to run a print-on-demand or serial reproduction business, you will need an Extended license to the photos, but it will cost you more than a standard license.
How do we know what to look for in a photograph to print on a canvas, let’s ask what kind of photos we should go for. The best way to do that is to visit the latest photography trends. Here are 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.
Photography is heavily inspired by classic art pieces like iconic paintings and sculptures, vintage creative forms like textured-like collages, and ancient patterns and motives like arabesque and mandalas.
Nature photography is now about the human POV and the disproportional aspect of nature and humans. Landscapes convey a sense of quietness and isolation, where humans appear diminished or blended into the wild.
The pastel palette lately focuses on 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 space themes are trending this year. Dystopian wastelands, intergalactic landscapes, and astronomy-like sceneries are exciting options to explore. These trends would look fantastic on multi-panel and split canvas prints.
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: to determine what size and resolution of an 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.
For more details on how to pick the right canvas size, read our guide on How to Choose the Right Wall Art For Your Space
When it comes to image quality: 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 discussed in the previous section, the desired resolution will depend on the size of your canvas. As a general notion, the highest resolution you use, the better. But here’s a little trick to keep 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, nor 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.
Regarding 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 to every inch of the material. The higher the DPI, the more detailed and sharp the print.
The DPI can vary with different results depending on the photo's size, composition, and focus subject.
As a general rule, you should select your images to 200-300 dpi. 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 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.
Another option is a solid color wrap, 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.
You can also go for Mirror wrapping, also known as mirror image wrapping or mirror edge wrapping. It is used in printing photo canvas prints. When you order a canvas print, the image is typically printed on a flat canvas material, which is then stretched and wrapped around a wooden frame. Mirror wrapping refers to a specific way of wrapping the image around the frame.
In mirror wrapping, the outer edges of the image are mirrored or reflected to create a continuous, seamless appearance on the sides of the canvas. The idea is to take a portion of the image from the edge and replicate it, mirroring it along the side of the canvas. This technique helps to ensure that no essential parts of the image are lost or cut off when the canvas is wrapped around the frame.
The mirrored edges create the illusion that the image continues around the sides of the canvas, giving it a more three-dimensional and professional look. It also provides a visually appealing border to the front-facing image on the canvas.
Mirror wrapping is popular for canvas prints, especially when the image contains important details or elements near the edges. It helps to maintain the integrity of the original image while enhancing the overall presentation of the canvas print.
So all you’ve to do is choose the style that suits your home’s concept better.
By keeping these tips in mind, you can make the process of selecting the best photos for your canvas prints much easier. Moreover, you'll be able to utilize them effectively to achieve perfect results for your wall decor.
To bring the most inspiring photography to your walls and create stunning wall art, look no further than The Canvas Prints. With a wide range of styles and sizes, we offer the perfect solution for showcasing your favourite photos on canvas.
We allow you to put your personal touch on your wall art by offering various wrapping options. Whether you prefer the modern and clean look of a gallery wrap, the elegant simplicity of a solid color wrap, or the seamless and professional appearance of mirror wrapping, we have the style to suit your home decor.