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How to Choose Between Canvas and Framed Prints

How to Choose Between Canvas and Framed Prints

An extremely common question that we receive is how canvas prints compare to traditional framed prints, and what are the differences, advantages, and disadvantages of each.

In this article, we will take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both canvas prints and traditional framed photography so you can select the best option for your photograph and the space you are looking to fill.


canvas or framed prints

Canvas Prints vs Framed Prints

If you are looking for a short answer, it all comes down to personal preference. That being said, you should take into consideration the final location of where the canvas print or framed print will be hung, your budget, and the room’s specific interior design style.

Being a company that specializes in canvas prints (among other items), we have learned the best techniques in the industry. However, we are more than just canvas printing experts. We are lovers of photography and fine art. We truly appreciate the joy that comes from hanging a custom piece of wall art in your space or home decor.

How are Framed Prints Made?

One of the most traditional ways of displaying a photograph is by printing the image on paper. Printing the image onto paper has a certain aesthetic value that is unique and widely accepted in the photography industry.

Unlike gallery-quality canvas prints, framed prints can be either a DIY project or done by a professional. Although you can do a great job of framing your prints at home, outsourcing to a professional will result in a higher quality final product by working with you on figuring out things like what is the best type of frame to use, the color of the frame, the frame style, the type of paper to print on, and other factors.

Framed prints are typically seen in smaller frames and not as pieces that take up the entire wall. Though that isn’t to say that there aren’t large framed prints available. Printing onto paper can have various textures and finishes. The most popular papers used for fine art photography printing include cotton-based matted paper and high gloss photo paper. 

These two types of paper achieve two very different goals. The high gloss paper tends to have a  reflective, glossy appearance. Hence the name. This paper stock is outstanding for portraits or other images that are full of bright, vibrant colors. On the other hand, matte paper is less reflective with little texture but gives the impression of a more “artistic” print. It’s common to use the matte paper stock for art prints or black and white photos.

Additionally, a variety of thicknesses are used for papers resulting in a different amount of ink absorption. Glossy prints create an image that truly pops off of the paper, while matted and framed prints create a wonderful dramatic finish.

After the photo is printed, the company will build the frame and install the mounting hardware. It is important that the company uses low-glare glass to enclose the frame. This helps minimize glare and reflections from light.

Advantages of Framed Prints

  • The frame adds elegance to the print
  • Very high level of detail
  • Fiber-based papers are great for black and white prints
  • The frame protects and preserves paper photographs
  • It makes a statement on the walls
  • Makes thoughtful gifts stand out more
  • Inexpensive options
  • Wide variety of sizing and frame options
  • Leave less trace on the wall
  • Adds an extra dimension to the photograph
  • Leads the eye toward a focal point

Disadvantages of Framed Prints

  • Lighting may cause glare and reflections
  • Large sizes may be heavy and require additional mounting points
  • Frame colors and styles must match the style of the interior decorating
  • More fragile than canvas prints
  • Easily smudged and collects dust
  • Likely to break if dropped
  • Must be carefully packed for shipping and moving
  • Glass does not provide the photograph with UV protection

How Are Canvas Prints Made?

Canvas prints are an option that resolves many of the issues of traditional prints. Up until recently, canvas prints had a connotation that they were printed at a lower quality. However, thanks to state-of-the-art printing technology, canvas prints are now full of detail and vivid colors. This allows companies and individuals to create wall art from their photographs that typically would not have been available to them

After your order has been received, the image is automatically sent to an inkjet printer. This printer creates a unique process within the fast-drying water-resistant ink that causes the ink to dry immediately. This traps in the ink, resulting in a canvas print that is full of color. 

After the canvas has been printed, the support frame is made by hand. Using pine boards, our custom in-house frame shop crafts each frame to perfectly fit the canvas. The canvas is then stretched over the support frame. By using advanced automated stretching canvases are precisely stretched reducing the risk of stretch fractures. This minimizes the opportunity for the canvas to become loose over a few years and also reduces errors that are often made by DIY hand stretching. 

Consistent quality canvas prints are created utilizing this process. These canvas prints have the look and feel of a canvas print that would be found in a fine art gallery, but are available at budget-friendly prices

Advantages of Canvas Prints

  • Eliminates the chance for glares and reflections
  • Support Frames do not intrude on the image
  • Large sizes available at lower costs
  • Much lighter when compared to traditional framed prints
  • More economical than framed prints
  • Creates an effect that makes a photograph look like a painting
  • Fits well into any style of interior decorating 
  • Can be installed into a wood floating frame that does not intrude upon the image
  • Pre-installed with hanging kit
  • Larger range of styles compared to framed prints.

Disadvantages of Canvas Prints

  • Texture can be distracting if the high-quality cotton canvas is not used
  • The photograph can not be switched out like in a traditional frame
  • Can not be created as a DIY project
  • The higher startup costs for the proper printing technology
  • The frame may warp in humid environments

Other Types of Canvas Prints

Canvas prints have even more options that allow more creativity than just a single framed photo. You can create your own dynamic canvas wall displays, custom collages, and even triptychs

Wall displays are a great option to showcase multiple photos across various canvas sizes, all as one cohesive final product. You can use up to 9 photos and cover a very large amount of wall space in a truly unique fashion. 

Allowing up to 16 photos, canvas collages are a great way to display multiple pictures in a smaller footprint. Canvas collages are elegant, affordable, and much more customizable than a single traditional print. 

A triptych uses 3 large individual canvases to display one image. This style is well suited to show off scenic and landscape photos as well as environmental portraits! 

Because of the absence of frames, wall displays and triptychs allows for many more creative ways to show off your favorite photos. 

Choosing the Right Print for You

Deciding between a framed print or a canvas print truly comes down to a personal decision.

It is important to factor in your tastes, preferences, and needs. Additionally, it is crucial to research where you will be ordering from to ensure that you will be receiving a print of the highest quality.

While both print types are the perfect addition to any home or office, canvas prints offer a much more affordable price, more customization, and a wider range of sizes.

Undoubtedly, traditional framed prints provide a wonderful and classic look. Although the settings are more limited for traditional framed prints when the right setting is found, framed prints truly stick out, creating a great accent to any setting. 

The great thing about each style of print is that you can always buy another of a different style down the line. With many options to choose from you should never feel limited to a certain style of printing. In the end, what matters most are the memories you cherish.