The Digital Photo Guy

Displaying Prints

by on Nov.18, 2012, under Monday Morning Tips

Canvas Gallery Wraps

I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to understand the full capabilities of the Epson Stylus Pro 7800. At first, most of my effort was focused on getting the right colors. It wasn’t too difficult but required attention to details to get it just so. Next, I tried various media including Epson Ultra Premium Luster, Epson Enhanced Matte and Epson Premium Canvas Matte.

Of all the media, Epson Premium Canvas Matte has turned out to be my favorite. The surface is a medium, woven texture that adds a “paintery” appearance. In fact, many people have mistaken the prints for paintings. Epson OEM K3 inks adhere like skin and the details are incredible.

Now that I’m able to produce high quality prints that I’m proud to label “fine art,” the next step is to display them without the expense or permanence of an expensive frame but still exudes class and value. For this, I went with gallery wraps.

In the top row of photos above, you can see how the canvas prints have been stretched over a wooden frame. A gallery wrap can be hung “as is” without any further effort. You’ll notice how the image “wraps” around the sides. On an image like the Bodie mine head, I copied a 2″ strip along the sides so the framer would have room to work. On the Cibola Sunset, it didn’t matter if part of the image wrapped around. The cool thing about gallery wraps is that they can be further framed in a deep frame or shadow box.

Depending on the image, I can price my gallery wraps at $295 to $395 which is still within the comfort range for fine art photography.

More Inexpensive Display Ideas

I still like to print smaller prints on luster paper. Luster has a very fine surface texture and gives the image a deep, rich appearance. In the past, I’ve always matted my luster and glossy prints but they’re difficult to display without actually hanging them. And, when hung without frames, they always seem incomplete.

I met two fine, young men in Wickenburg who work at their grandfather’s cabinet shop. They take on jobs that are too small for the shop. I asked them to produce the display stands seen in the bottom three  pictures above.

These stands garnered so much attention at a recent show that I’m including them with each matted print. They can either be permanent display stands or temporary until the buyer decides what sort of frame they want. The rich wood grains, worm holes and knots create their own art.

With an included display stand, I can now price matted prints at $195 for a complete work of art, ready to display with no further effort. I still sell unmatted prints on Epson Premium Luster for $95 but most people prefer the matted prints.

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4 Comments for this entry

  • Andy Kliss

    Hi Lee-

    Welcome back! I enjoyed your newest post on your experience with different papers, canvas and gallery wraps. Still on for a burrowing owl shoot out by Salton? Let me know. When’s the best season for them? Stuffed and baked or deep fried?


    • Lee

      Hi Andy,
      Sorry it took a while to reply. I was out last week and, when I got back, discovered MSIE had gone wonky. I’m now working with FireFox while I try to figure out IE.

      Glad you liked the post about different papers and canvas. When I first started printing seriously, I was overwhelmed by my paper choices. For the longest time, I stuck with Epson Premium Glossy because it was the easiest. However, once I started trying other papers, I quickly discovered that canvas and luster are my favorites. Best of all, I can print on luster with Epson MK (matte black) rather than taking time to switch to PK (photo black.) I’m not sure it works as well going the other direction, an experiment that I’ll have to try in the future.

      I was near Salton Sea over Thanksgiving so I drove by my favorite burrowing owl haunts. I saw 3 and got within 10 ft of a brave female defending her burrow. It took me an hour of slowly moving a few inches at a time but managed to get some good close ups with my 70-200 + 1.4TC. I’ll post them as soon as I get the photos downloaded. I’m way behind in my processing.

      We’re absolutely on for BOs! There’s really no “best season” since they’re not migratory but, there is a “best season” for us humans. I’d say late-February to mid-April is best. April is when we’ll have the best chances of seeing fledglings. Let me know when you’re interested.

      • Andy Kliss

        Sorry about me getting back to you in such tardy fashion.

        I FINALLY got a surgery date (Worker’s Comp was jacking me around) for shoulder surgery a couple of weeks ago. It will be on Monday the 17th. As with such short notice, I’ve been super busy tying up loose ends before I turn into The One Armed Man. Chores, errands, honeydews; all those things I could think of to accomplish before I become incapacitated for a while.

        I was thinking of going out to photograph the owls right after Christmas, but now it will have to be postponed until after getting my arm out of a sling and the surgeon deems it strong enough to lug around and set up camera equipment.

        I was out at Bombay Beach this past Saturday photographing the sights and practiced some light painting with a Meetup group I belong to. While moving around with and setting up a tripod with a bum shoulder in mind, I began to realize that it indeed takes some muscle to set up and break down a camera and tripod combo, especially when outfitted with some larger glass.

        My guess is that I won’t be ready to photograph again until sometime in March. BTW: The Anza Borrego area received over a 1/2 inch of rain on the desert floor this past week. Hopefully, that will portend a colorful wildflower season if the trend persists. From photos I’ve seen of your general area, you should have many happy hunting grounds wildflower-wise in the Phoenix/Tucson areas this spring!

        As for your photo paper likes, I too enjoy printing on luster paper. Epson makes a very bright and durable one. I’ve also been playing around with some silver inkjet photo paper from a couple of different paper houses.

        I’ve read that one can get some wonderful black and white prints with the medium. One caveat though: most articles on printing with it state that not all b&w photos print well on it. This seems to be my experience also. What I find amazing is the difference in print rendering of the various brands of this type of paper I’ve tried. One has an over-the-top “silvery” look to it, while another has a pinkish undertone when printed on. In general, Moab’s version worked pretty well for me, but then again, one needs to find the right b&w files to use. A dicey (and potentially expensive) medium to output pleasant photos, but with the right files and a paper that suits your eye, they can be quite lovely.

        I’ll let you know when the time approaches that both me and the surgeon feel confident I can heft a camera rig. In the meantime, have a Blessed and Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.


        • Lee

          Hi Andy,
          Good to hear from you. Glad you got the surgery scheduled. I’m sure all will go well and you’ll be back behind the VF in no time. The BOs aren’t going anywhere soon so take your time healing.


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