3 Things to Know Before Ordering Huge Prints or Canvases

Have you ever ordered an image on canvas or giant print and realised that there are things you hadn’t thought of before ordering? Here are 3 things I’ve learned from personal experience:

{Larger than life} I got this lovely canvas of my daughter in 20×28. What I didn’t consider is that since it’s such a large canvas and a tight shot, it would print larger than life. When you hold it in front of your face and look at it, she’s over twice her actual size which just feels strange. It’s a bit alien. But leaning on the top of my dresser, far from eye level, it’s got a great impact. So remember that if you’re printing a tight shot where the subject takes up most of the frame, they could end up larger than life.

{Pixel peep} This is a time when it’s ok to pixel peep. Last week I had a 16×20 printed of one of my studio shots from back in the day. There was a huge white (erased) spot in the middle of the face. This was back when I used the Lightroom adjustment brush to clean up my white background and it appears that the auto mask function failed and the brush ran onto the face. At any rate, I realised that if I’d viewed the image at 100% and gave it a quick scan, I would have seen that before I printed it so large.

{Print a Preview} Before investing too much money in a large wall print or canvas that might have to be reprinted, run a copy to preview your colours and try the size out before committing it to an expensive piece like a wall acrylic or canvas. If I were going to print a 20×30 canvas, I would run a print in that size first. Yes, it’ll cost £20, but that’s a heck of a lot better than spending hundreds on a piece which might need to be reprinted. If you’re not trying to test out the colour, but rather just the size, you could even print with a cheapie consumer printer online for a few quid!

These are just a few things I wasted money learning – I hope they help you too!

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Elizabeth Halford

Elizabeth Halford


She blogs about photography and business with her unique plain English approach. Elizabeth has been-there-done-that with running a photography business that doesn’t profit a penny and loves teaching photographers how to get away from the starving artist model of running a creative business.
Elizabeth Halford
  • Andy Mills - It’t definitely worth casting an eye over the image at 100% before sending it off for printing. I have a canvas of my dog running on a beach and there’s a bit of bright yellow green something (I think it used to be part of a ball) right in front of her.

    It’s not big, but it’s something that distracts me and could have been cloned out easily.

  • Lauren - Hi Elizabeth thanks for this post it was really useful!! On the topic of testing colours, how far into setting up your business did you sort out colour management? Is there a way to calibrate my monitor for free?? Many thanks

  • Ivan - Great tips.
    Will keep them in mind when I want to print a huge one.
    Finally, pixel peeping is legal. 🙂

  • Sheri Beavers - Great info as always! I really appreciate all of your tips!
    You said in your post, “This was back when I used the Lightroom adjustment brush to clean up my white background”. I’m very interested to know how you clean up your white backgrounds now. I love white, but I’ve gotten away from it because I’m tired of having to do so much clean up work! (I use the Lightroom adjustment brush.) Thanks Elizabeth!

  • elizabethhalford - @Sheri: Hi! I’m using an amazing action from MCP’s ‘Bag of Tricks’ set called ‘Studio White Bright Spell’. It’s amazing! Here: http://bit.ly/9P1W4n

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