Even in today’s digital-centric world, printing has remained an incredibly important part of the photography process. Photography is meant to celebrate a special moment in time, and photo printing helps us to share that moment with the world. It’s worth reminding ourselves just how powerful a photo can be, especially while we celebrate World Photo Day.
Developing negatives has always been an exciting part of the process for any photographer, and for a long time it was the only way to share your captured images. It was the only way to tell your story. Henry Fox Talbot pioneered the process of chemically developing film negatives, patenting the process of ‘calotype’ in 1841. This calotype process made photography more practical than paintings and illustrations, with the new ability to make any number of prints from a single negative image. Suddenly, photography was accessible to the everyday person.
However while our options used to be limited to basic prints and enlargements, photographers now have all kinds of unique print surfaces at their fingertips. Thanks to digital technology, we can tell the story of each photo not just with the developed print, but through editing and the print surface itself. After all, a bright, vivid image won’t be conveyed the same way as a dark moody image on the same surface. You’ve chosen a moment in time that you want to celebrate, now you just have to find the perfect surface to share it. Here is a look at some of our favourite print surfaces.
Aluminum Metal Panels
These high-gloss aluminum metal panels have become a popular choice for photographers in recent years. We’ve had many professional photographers tell us these eye-catching prints have been popular with their clients as well. The coated aluminum sheets are infused with dyes that can make any image, especially detailed and rich landscape photos, come alive with vibrant colour.
The London Drugs Photolab has expanded the availability of metal printing technology from just one location to now several Photolab locations, which have the special presses necessary to create the aluminum prints on-site. The lightweight and durable surface makes these prints ideal for hanging on the walls of your home or gallery. They’re also an especially good choice for high traffic areas, thanks to their resistance to fading.
Local photographers Stacy William Head and Larry Hilderman have both printed their landscape images on aluminum metal panels. Stacy finds that the aluminum surface gives his rich, long exposures a very surreal feeling compared to paper or canvas. Larry appreciates the depth it gives his landscape images. You can read more about both Stacy and Larry’s experiences with aluminum metal panels on their respective blog posts here and here.
Canvas Gallery Wraps
Turning your most precious moments into a true work of art is easy with canvas gallery wraps. Using specially pigmented inks with archival qualities, the image is printed on a fine art canvas. The canvas is then stretched around the sides of a 1.75” wooden frame and secured on the back. This style gives the image added depth and dimension. Since the image is printed right to the very edge of the canvas (otherwise known as “full-bleed”), the print can be hung on a wall without an art frame. If you do want the look of a border, our LDExperts in the Photolab recommend a black or white frame, or a floating black frame.
Our LDExperts recommend keeping the canvas dry and avoiding water or liquid cleaning solutions. This will help to preserve the image’s colour and contrast, allowing it to last for many years without noticeable fading.
A new offering is the metallic canvas, which features a pearlescent finish and vibrant colour reproduction. If you’re looking for a unique surface texture, this is an excellent choice.
The texture of bamboo prints really is unparalleled. Made of 90% bamboo fibres and 10% cotton, this ultra-matte, finely crafted white paper offers a unique look and feel to your image. The surface offers maximum aging resistance and an extremely large colour gamut. As an added bonus, bamboo prints are also environmentally-friendly, as bamboo is considered to be a highly renewable resource.
Local photographer Matt Ferguson was impressed after printing on bamboo for the first time. The “texture and physical feel to the print” made it stand out, and he felt as though he “could actually touch the trees and feel the coolness of the fog” featured in his image. If you’re curious to hear more about his experience you can, check out this blog post.
Hopefully World Photo Day will inspire you to experiment with your photofinishing options and try something new. Consider the image you have (portrait or landscape), the colours (vivid or dark), and the purpose (home décor or gallery display) and use those elements to help you decide which surface will best tell the story of your image. If you need a little extra help deciding which surface is the right choice, just speak with one of our LDExperts in the Photolab department in-store!
We’re teaming up with Canadian photographer Brandon Born to give away two of his prints featuring incredible Canadian landscapes.
As an Alberta-based photographer, Brandon loves adventuring in the great outdoors, capturing the natural beauty of Canada, from the Northern Lights to the famously picturesque backdrops of Banff National Park.
“I chose these images for the giveaway prints because I wanted to share the simpler scenes that we see in Canada. Both day and night we are blessed with beautiful light and colour. It’s not a necessity to travel to Banff or Algonquin to see a spectacular scene. Simply stepping out into your backyard or driving out of the city a little ways will take you to a marvelous location. You will be astonished by all that Canada has to share, from the mountains, to the coastlines, to everything in between.
I have been fortunate enough to have travelled all around North America and many other parts of the world, but something has always brought me back to Canada. The colours, the smells, the people: Canada has something that nowhere else does. It’s this ‘something’ that I want to share with the world and motivates me to keep on capturing the beauty that surrounds us.
Whether it’s the mountains in Banff, or the auroras that light up the night sky, I want to use my camera to show the world what makes Canada such an incredible country. I first printed with the London Drugs Photolab 3 years ago and was extremely impressed with how accurately their aluminum metal panels showcased my images. It was a great way to share my work with those around me.
I love printing on metal because of the crisp and vivid colours it portrays. The London Drugs Photolab’s high gloss metal panels are perfect for sharing the vivid colours that Canadian landscapes are so famous for and I’m very excited to be able to share these landscapes with all of you!”
If the walls of your home are looking a bit bare, fine art photo prints, such as aluminum metal panels, are a creative way to spruce up your space. The durable, high-gloss and fade-resistant surface brings images to life, making them a statement piece in any room.
Brandon will be drawing two giveaway winners on his Instagram account at noon MST on June 29th, 2017. Each winner will receive one of Brandon’s prints on our aluminum metal panels. The first draw winner will receive a 24×16 aluminum metal print of “In Awe”, a self-portrait image of the northern lights in Northern Alberta, and the second draw winner will receive an 18×12 aluminum metal print of “In a Field”, an image of one of the spectacular Albertan sunsets that captivate onlookers throughout the summer.
Want to win one of these amazing prints to hang on your walls at home? If you’re a Canadian resident, enter for a chance to win by heading over to Brandon Born’s Instagram and:
For landscape photographers seeking out new and dynamic ways to showcase their images, aluminum metal panels offer a unique perspective. The striking, high-gloss quality of these prints and their resistance to fading set them apart from any other type of print surface, making them an attractive choice for photographers. The coated aluminum sheets are infused with dyes that can make any image, especially detailed and rich landscape photos, come alive with vibrant colour.
As the popularity of aluminum panels has grown in recent years, the London Drugs Photolab has expanded the availability of its metal printing technology from just one location to now several Photolab locations with the special presses necessary to create the prints on-site.
Photographer, Stacy William Head recently opted to print one of his favourite photos of Moraine Lake on aluminum for the first time with London Drugs. Below he shares his first impressions and why he plans to print on aluminum in the future.
I’m a landscape photographer based in the Canadian Rocky Mountains of Alberta, Canada in a small area known as Crowsnest Pass. My work usually incorporates long exposure techniques to create images that convey a sense of depth along with the passage of time. I enjoy exploring and photographing the area I live in as well as the National Parks that are close such as Banff, Jasper and Waterton.
About this shot – “Moraine Mist”:
This is probably one of my favorite shots I have taken. The optimum conditions lasted for less than five minutes and was taken with long exposure of 159 seconds to give it that surreal feel. I have wanted to get the clouds like this for a while at this location. Even though it’s a very popular destination – probably the most photographed location in Canada – it’s still a great feeling to capture your own moment to call your own and hopefully convey to others the feeling of this experience.
I really love the fact that the aluminum prints from London Drugs are both lightweight and very durable. Aluminum allows me to display my photos in vibrant color with a gorgeous contemporary aesthetic that will last for a lifetime. My photos are sometimes rich in colour and I like to try and create surreal feel in them through long exposure – the glossy aluminum really adds to this effect much more than paper or canvas prints can.
To learn more about London Drugs’ selection of print textures and finishes, click here.
Choosing the right surface to display your photos on is just as important as capturing the right moment on your camera. More and more photographers are opting to print on aluminum panels due to their durability, resistance to fading, and their glass-like luminous quality. The London Drugs Photolab has been printing photos on aluminum metal panels since 2014, and has recently added larger sizes to the range of printing options.
Photographer, Larry Hilderman has printed several of his photos on aluminum at London Drugs, and offers some insight about why he uses the medium to showcase and sell his photography.
I have worked in the photographic industry for 35 years on the technical side. Starting with friends and family, and then growing through word of mouth, I have been fortunate to sell images to clients across Canada. As a landscape photographer, I have had great success using aluminum panels to showcase my work. The smooth glossy surface of the panel shows great detail of the photograph. Colour gamut is not diminished with good saturation, the image has “pop” that has been very well received.
Aluminum panels have a sharper look to them as opposed to paper or canvas prints, they have “depth” that is not normally seen on other media. This enhances the colour and contrast without looking artificial. This is best suited to subjects with more saturated colours – but I have had black & white images printed on aluminum that also looked beautiful. It must be the apparent contrast that enhances the image.
As a bonus, the image is extremely durable and resistant to moisture which allows it to be displayed in high traffic areas and places with high humidity. I have had many requests for these panels and hope to sell more in the future!
See more of Larry’s work at: http://larryhilderman.myportfolio.com/
For your consideration: the metal print (sometimes known as the aluminum print). A coated aluminum sheet infused with dyes that can make virtually any image come alive with vibrant colour. As durable as, well, metal, with little or no fading, these prints look great on any wall, under any kind of lighting. Also, as I’ve pointed in a previous blog or two, these prints have a glass-like luminous quality to them that is unlike any other type of print. It’s almost like if you were to somehow combine a stained glass window with the crisp detail of a full-resolution photo print. Its unique look pretty much guarantees that it will absolutely own any wall it’s hung on—especially at larger sizes.
Despite the fact that many people still aren’t aware of it, metal printing technology has been around for a few years now. It’s been available at the Photolab since around 2014, but only one location had the special type of press necessary to create the prints on-site. However, each of the gifting production labs now has one on-site—meaning that seven Photolab locations in total now have these presses available to serve you!
As you can imagine, six new presses will greatly reduce turnaround time, as six more locations are now producing them on-site as opposed to having to special order them from another location.
Even better news: along with new presses, larger sizes will soon be available as well. Metal prints are currently available from 6×6” – 16×20”; however, the Photolab will be adding sizes all the way up to 30×40”. I’ve seen how brilliant, how crisp and detailed, how ultimately real these prints look at smaller sizes, and I can only imagine what they’d look like so much larger with no loss in colour or clarity. This technology has the potential do for photo prints what LED has done for televisions.
If you’re reading this and still have no idea what I’m talking about—for goodness sake, drop by your local Photolab and ask to see a sample. If you’re looking for a premium way to showcase your finest photography, you’ll want to see for yourself what this technology has to offer.
I’ve written extensively about metal prints in past Photoblog posts. Still, it wouldn’t be a proper celebration of Photo Month without at a brief recap of this amazing yet little-known printing method. Here, then, in the proud tradition of BuzzFeed, I present a ‘listicle’ of the top four reasons to choose a metal print:
No description, however, can properly do a metal print justice—which is why I recommend dropping by your nearest London Drugs Photolab to see a sample for yourself.
Because that’s what will happen in 2015 to all those great photos you’ve taken during the holidays if you leave them on your hard drive or sock them away in the cloud. Sure, you’ll share them on your InstaTwitFace account, where they will accumulate Likes and warm & fuzzy comments, but within a few days your followers’ collective short-lived attention span will flitter elsewhere and your wonderful holiday photos will fade away into obscurity.
You could actually, you know, do something with them. Like turn them into actual physical keepsakes. The kind that people are able to see in perpetuity. And every time they cast their eyes on it they will remember that specific moment or event. After all, isn’t that why we photograph these moments in the first place? Not so that they can remain a bunch of digital information packets that we archive indefinitely in cyberspace.
The specific kind of physical product you should create is entirely up to you. You can go for something traditional and classic, or choose a piece with a funkier, more modern edge, or maybe warm & fuzzy is more your thing. And yes, you can even opt for something purposefully tacky if the photo calls for it.
If you’re not familiar with the Photolab’s photo printing products, I’ve reviewed a few of the more popular ones below.
The holidays are the time of the year when typically the whole family gets together. The whole gang of friends, too. At the workplace, the annual holiday party is the one of the few times where everyone is gathered in one place—and the marketing department actually gets dressed up! All of which are reasons why this tends to be the best time of year for taking photos, and why holiday photos often make the best ones to put on display. The Photolab offers a great selection of enlargements and art prints to suit any photo, occasion, or décor.
Enlargements— To begin with, there’s always the simple, tried and true photo enlargements. The Photolab can print sizes from 7 x 7” all the way up to 44 x 66” — the latter being the ideal size if a co-worker is photographed in a Christmas sweater so hideous it simply begs to be on display in the lunchroom all year.
A simple enlargement is a great option for a desk photo, or if you’ve already got a frame you really like. Hey, some people are frame fans. I get it.
Gallery wrap— If you managed to capture some amazing shots of the kids, or your winter vacation to the ski resort yielded some breathtaking scenic panoramas, a gallery wrap can provide a stunning reproduction of either.
Using specially pigmented inks, the image is stretched on a fine art canvas, which requires no frame (although you can still add one for aesthetic purposes if you wish.) The canvas wrap adds tremendous depth and dimension to the image, giving it the presence of a gallery piece. This post provides more detail about gallery wraps.
Metal Prints— If you really want to make a bold statement, a metal print is a state-of-the-art way to display a photo. This method infuses dyes onto specially coated aluminum sheets, providing vibrant colour reproduction and incredibly crisp detail. These shimmering, glass-like prints are an eye-catching way to bring life to an accent wall. I’ve written more extensively about metal prints in a previous post.
The Photolab offers quite a variety of art prints, which I encourage you to explore. You’re bound to find the ideal option to suit both your photo and your home or office.
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