So you decided you want to invest in art on your walls...
Congrats!! Buying art is a very personal and very exciting process. Since you're here, I'm assuming you already decided to invest in photography, specifically. Maybe you're a client interested in purchasing prints from a session, or you're interested in a landscape print but aren't sure where to start. I've compiled some basic things to consider if you're on the fence or feeling overwhelmed by options.
Quality Over Speed
The number one reason to purchase a print through me versus printing something at your local drugstore/pharmacy is the QUALITY. Of course you can print something at your local drugstore and pick it up an hour later... but you're sacrificing quality for speed. The photos I printed on the cheap to decorate my college dorm rooms are already warped, discolored, and visibly aged. Thankfully there is a better option.
When you place an order through your personal client gallery or the landscape print shop, it's fulfilled by one of several professional print labs around the country. These labs use professional-grade archival paper for increased color gamut, excellent skin tones, sharpness and brilliant image quality. These are the highest quality archival prints that have a longevity of 100 years in typical display conditions and 200 years in dark storage.
This is the kind of quality that means your great-grandkids will be looking at crisp, clear photos of your wedding instead of a yellowed disintegrating mess that everyone is too afraid to handle. Quality takes time. You're paying for quality art, not for speed. And with delivery right to your front door, it's incredibly convenient.
A note on drugstore prints: there's no shame in having drugstore prints hanging on your walls. I have a mix of professional and drugstore prints in my own house. There is a time and a place for them (especially if you're on a limited budget). But if you're ready to take the next step and upgrade your space, keep reading.
Where do I start?
There are two ways to approach it:
1) Start with the image. Browse the gallery first, until you find an image (or multiple images) that you love. Then audit your space, take some measurements, and find the right spot for the image(s) you connect with.
2) Start with the space you want to fill. Audit your space before you do anything else. Take some measurements. Decide between something framed, metal, canvas, etc. and start in the store first. Then, when you know what product you need, browse the images for the right one.
Type of print? Framed? Metal or canvas!?
There are many different products available to you. For most cases, regular prints are the way to go. However, there are some special cases that warrant fine art prints in my opinion (wedding gallery wall, anyone?). Fine art papers are acid-free, pH neutral, and made from pure cellulose. They’re inkjet printed with archival pigment inks that significantly enhance the visual brilliance of both your color and black & white images. These inks also have a substantial longevity that keeps your images beautiful for generations. Fine art prints are the luxury option for your most cherished wall art.
You might want to order just the paper prints if you already have a frame you love, or if you are on a tighter budget and prefer to search for a cheaper frame elsewhere. If you go the framed route, you're getting more of that high quality craftsmanship and the extra convenience of not needing to hunt down a frame and mat that fits the photograph and your space. There are plenty of options for frame colors and materials, all dependent on your unique style and preference.
Other material options like metal are automatically frameless. Metal prints are a very beautiful and modern way to display photographs. They are printed directly onto high quality aluminum for a clean and lasting finish, while showing off vibrant colors for an impressive display. The metal prints offered in my shop are lightweight and mounted on a foam block, so the art is actually standing an inch off of the wall (see photo below). It creates a more dynamic piece of art, in my opinion.
Canvas prints are a contemporary way to showcase your images, with or without a frame. All canvases are printed on Premium Fine Art Canvas with Semi-Gloss Laminate (AKA, they look really good). These canvases measure 1½" in depth, are hand-made and come ready to hang with sawtooth hangers.
A unique option is the standout: A contemporary wall display option with clean, paneled edges and pre-made holes for easy hanging. Sleek and slightly textured, it is a beautiful and lightweight option for showcasing large prints. The sleek standouts are 3/4" in depth and made from lightweight foam. The back panels contain pre-drilled holes making them easy to hang on simple nails or screws.
Okay, you decided what size and product you want. But you also need to select a finish! Here are the different options (see photo below for a side-by-side comparison of their shine!):
Glossy: All the shine! Exactly as the name implies, this finish is high gloss with lots of reflection.
Lustre: A cross between glossy and matte. This is the option I most highly recommend if you're not sure which finish to get, or you don't have a strong preference. There is some shine, but it's not totally glassy and smooth. 100% gorgeous, can't go wrong.
Matte: NO shine at all. Matte finish has a flattening effect on images, and I only recommend selecting this finish for specific cases. It's a good option if you're looking to fill a particularly sunny spot in your home that might generate an annoying glint or reflection with something glossy.
Ultimately, choosing art to hang on your wall is a very personal decision but it's not a permanent decision! The beauty of art is that you can take it down and swap it for something else if it's not working for you anymore. So don't overthink it! Invest in art that lights something up inside of you, that you would be happy to look at every day.
Have more questions? Don't hesitate to send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or a DM on Instagram (@stephlamarphoto). You can even send me a photograph of your space and I'll make a print recommendation. Thanks for supporting my small business!