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Three-Pack: News, Gear, and How-To

July 31st, 2013 No Comments

We’ll close the week with one nibble each from three of our usual categories: interesting news, tutorials and how-tos, and gear and gadgets.  

News

If you’re an amateur you’re probably not a member of the AIPP.  Why not see how ‘the other half lives’?  Earlier today the AIPP reported on their just-finished Epson-Sponsored State Awards 2013 which ended after Victoria’s winners were announced.  A “total of 3383 prints [were] entered by 620 entrants” with only seven – one from each state – winning the overall ‘Professional Photographer of the Year” title.

Check out the winners on AIPP Epson Photographer of the Year Awards.  All the honoured photos, i.e. the best photographs of each category-winning photographer, are viewable but this may not be immediately evident.  Just click the state name in the top bar, e.g. here’s the page for NSW.  A mini-gallery of dozens of gorgeous photos, dimmed, will be displayed.  Hover/mouse-over on each to remove the dimming or click on a photo to view it in high-res.

Gear

You may have read about Socialmatic’s Polaroid-branded camera for the Instagram crowd.  It is so ‘Instagramy’ that the camera too is square!  The Polaroid name makes perfect sense because this camera will spit out printed photos.  Unlike those old Polaroids, this is a bona fide digital camera which will store your prints on a card, thus you get the best of both worlds.

Make it the best of three worlds: as a ‘connected’ camera, with WiFi and Bluetooth, you can instantly upload and share photographs too.

Several days back Photography Blog and and Digital Spy published details about this early 2014 release’s impressive features and specs and its price – and if the quality is any good, at that price this baby is gonna be a smash hit.

Tutorial

Earlier today Shutterbug published a highly-specific how-to by Clay Blackmore: Mastering the 3/4 Couples Pose.

Blackmore provides four tips that include a rather counter-intuitive launch-pad and a ‘couple shooting’ fundamental for the second step, ‘Lean In,’ though that is “never about pushing them together all at once,” he advises.  Other good advice includes shooting ‘classic’ before you get ‘creative’.

Check out the article for the rest of the tips in this brief how-to that is adorned with one or two couple photos whose subjects you may recognize.

The format of today’s post is mirrored on our sister site so if you like the topics but not the exact contents, head over to the other blog where something may strike your fancy.

 

Making the Right Choice: How to Pick the Best Canvas Printing Company

October 10th, 2011 No Comments

Turning your photos into canvas prints can be an expensive investment. The process is made more difficult by the number of canvas printing companies who claim they offer the best product in Australia.

To help you make the right choice – we’ve created this quick checklist. Even if you don’t choose to purchase from BrilliantPrints – make sure that the company you use meets all these criteria.

Top signs of quality canvas printing

At BrilliantPrints we believe these are some of the most important things to look out for when choosing a canvas printing supplier:

  • Hidden costs: If a canvas printing company wants to charge more for laminate, basic editing, or sending you proofs – you know that they are trying to take advantage of you. These things should be part of their normal customer service.
  • Lack of experience: Printing a photograph on canvas is not an easy process, as it requires sophisticated equipment and specialised knowledge. If possible – choose a company that focuses entirely on canvas printing. Too many additional products mean they aren’t serious about producing stunning canvas prints.
  • Guarantee: Buying over the internet can be a nerve-wracking experience. You don’t have the comfort of bricks and mortar, or a physical address if something goes wrong. If an internet-based canvas printing company does not offer an unconditional guarantee it is worth being wary. At a minimum, this kind of guarantee shows they stand behind their product.

The essential checklist for canvas-printing

Other things to look out for include:

Price:

A quick price-check of the leading canvas printing companies can be confusing. The price of standard sized prints can differ dramatically between websites. In deciding what price is appropriate, it is worth thinking about the following things:

  • What services are included as part of the price i.e. editing or proofing?
  • What kind of claims does the company make about the quality of their canvas prints? There is a real difference between the materials used by different companies.
  • How much do they charge for delivery?

Cheap canvas printing companies can be useful– but the product and prices they offer should not be compared against dedicated, high-quality canvas printing services.

Service:

Many large canvas printing companies like a major Australian retailer linked to Gerry Harvey or Big W offer canvas prints, however they are not always able to offer the same level of customer service. You need to be confident that they will offer advice, check for mistakes, and offer a refund if something goes wrong. To get an idea about the service levels of a canvas printing company its worth looking at the following:

  • Do they provide a physical phone number so you can talk to the people responsible for putting your photos on canvas?
  • How easily can they be contacted? Do they pick up their phones quickly?
  • Do you deal with the same person throughout the printing process? Or do you always need to explain yourself to someone new?
  • Do they continually try to convince you to spend more money?
  • Do they offer an unconditional quality guarantee? Do they require money before purchase?
  • How do they deal with mistakes? Do they provide solutions or excuses?
  • Do they keep you updated throughout the process?
  • How flexible are they with unusual canvas printing requests?

For peace of mind, you should always pick up the phone and call. You can feel much more confident if they are prepared to talk to you for long periods, to offer advice and suggestions even before you’ve purchased your canvas print.

Quality

The difference between a high quality canvas print and an inferior imitation is usually very easy to spot. However, without having the final product in front of you, you need to make sure you are asking the right questions:

  • Do they make their own stretcher bars? Most companies purchase these bars pre-cut. They are often of inferior quality. A company who uses custom-made stretcher bars can also be much more flexible in terms of the final size of your canvas prints.
  • Are they using the best canvas, inks and timber? If a company is using high quality materials they will usually be very keen to tell you. If their website or their customer service representative is curiously silent, you can usually tell that they are using inferior product.
  • Is their product ready to hang? Some canvas printing companies require you to insert your own hooks and string. A top quality printed canvas should be able to be placed directly on the wall after purchase.

A final word:

At BrilliantPrints we believe that printing on canvas is an art-form. We believe we offer the best quality product in Australia. However, we know that many of our competitors also offer great products. This checklist is an easy way to make an informed decision about getting your photograph printed on canvas.

Canvas Printing Glossary of terms

February 13th, 2011 No Comments

Note: If you find a term on our website that you don’t understand – please let us know and we will add it to our canvas printing glossary.

Black and White Printing: With the advent of digital technology any image can be printed as a black and white canvas print. Many commercial canvas printers offer black and white printing on coloured inkset machines. This results in a poor-quality, non-neutral print that can have a perceptible colour-cast under different lighting conditions. BrilliantPrints offers a dedicated machine using true black and white inks, for exceptional definition and true-neutral black and white printing.

Canvas: A very wide cross-selection of canvas is used by companies offering to put your photograph onto canvas. A poor quality canvas will often be thin, crumble easily when stretched, and originate from China. High quality canvas should be archival, heavy-weight and beautifully textured. At BrilliantPrints we use some of the world’s best US-sourced canvas as featured in fine art galleries and the top-art museums.

Border-Wrap: Border-wrapping involves a solid colour border (usually matching a colour tone from the main image) being printed around the edge of the wooden frame. The physical image remains on the front of your canvas print. Border-wrapping produces the most effective canvas prints when the subjects in the picture are close to the edge of the frame.

Colour Profile: A colour profile refers to the way in which a particular printer or computer monitor interprets the range of colours present in an image. Mismatched colour profiles can result in a consumer receiving a different result from the printing device than suggested by the output on the screen. Colour profiles can also refer to small files that can help you calibrate your computer to those of the canvas printer.

Colour Correction: Many images taken on digital devices can end up with a perceptible colour cast. This is a dominating colour tone or hue that was not represented in the original scene. Colour correction involves digital editing to remove the colour cast.

Diptych: A diptych is a single image or photograph divided into two distinct canvas pieces. The canvas panels on a triptych are almost always hung together. Each canvas print can be identically sized, or two different-sized panels can be used. When viewed together they seem to be a single canvas print.

Framing: A framed canvas print will be wrapped around a light-weight wooden frame. BrilliantPrints uses premium timbers that last and look significantly better. High quality frames (used for canvas printing or art-reproductions) are usually also profiled. Profiling (see definition) means that the minimum amount of canvas touches the frame – minimising the possibility of unsightly lines developing over time. We offer three frame sizes for your canvas print – 2cm, 3.2cm and 4cm (all at no additional charge)

Gallery-Wrap: Gallery-wrapping is perhaps the most popular way to show off a canvas print. When gallery-wrapping, the image on the front of the canvas is also wrapped around the edge of the timber frame. This produces a seamless, modern look that is a great way of showing off your new canvas art! When thinking about asking for a gallery-wrap for your next canvas print, you should remember that a small proportion of the outer image will be lost during the wrapping process. Where this is likely to be an issue, it it worth investigating border-wrapping options.

Giclee Printing: While the ultimate origins of the word giclee are somewhat hazy, it immediately derives from the French word “gicler” meaning to squirt. Literally, it refers to a particular process of printing, in which high quality digital images are printed on premium canvas using long-lasting inks. Giclee printing is generally perceived to result in the best quality canvas prints.

Lamination: An unlaminated canvas print is like a house without paint. Not only does it look worse, but your print won’t last anywhere near as long. The laminate is a liquid coating that is sprayed over the top of the printed canvas providing a fully sealed barrier that protects your print. Lamination offers a physical protective barrier, UV protection, fungal protection and anti-graffiti properties. A high quality laminate (like the one used by BrilliantPrints) will allow you to wipe your canvas print down with a damp cloth.

Light-fast: Most inks used in the canvas printing process have a particular light-fast guarantee. This rating specifies a time period in which there should be no perceptible fading of colours. A poor quality canvas print will use inks that have a limited light-fast rating. Over-time you will begin to notice a drop in quality. At BrilliantPrints we use inks that are light-fast for 75 years (colour) and 200 years (black and white)

Pigment Inks: A variety of inks are used by different companies printing on canvas. Genuine pigment inks are longer-lasting, produce better colour definition and higher quality images when printed on canvas.

Profiling: Profiled timber pieces are slightly curved – meaning that the canvas used for the print only touches the wood at a single point. While this is not immediately visible, it helps prevent unsightly lines appearing longer-term. Most canvas printers will not offer double-profiling as it is a time-consuming and labour intensive process.

Proof: A proof is a file that shows what an image will look like when printed as a canvas print. This allows you check that you are happy with borders, colour definition, cropping or any editing.

Ready-to-hang: A ready-to-hang canvas print can be placed straight on the wall. At a minimum it should have pre-installed eye-hooks and already be strung with high-quality twine.

Triptych: A triptych is a single image or photograph divided into three distinct canvas pieces. The canvas panels on a triptych are almost always hung together. Each canvas print can be identically sized, or three different-sized panels can be used. When viewed together they seem to be a single canvas print.

Un-framed: An unframed canvas print is simply printed on a piece of canvas. No framing is used. It might be suitable for situations where you would like to frame your print yourself, of if you would like to have an easily transportable “sample” canvas print. 

We have a brand new 64″ Epson 11800 canvas printer

January 9th, 2008 No Comments

Brilliant Prints recently welcomed the Epson 11800 as the newest addition to our rapidly growing family of canvas printers.

Epson 11800 canvas printer

The online magazine ‘Lets go Digital’ calls it “the most advanced digital large format printer on the market”.

Our new printer will allow us to offer an ever expanding range of options to our retail and professional clients.

What does it mean for our retail clients? 

  • We can now offer you an even larger selection of sizes when choosing your canvas print.
  • Our new printer will help make sure we continue offering canvas prints with great colour, clarity and durability.

What does it mean for professional photographers?

  • We can now produce canvas prints with dimensions of up to 1.6 metres x 12 metres
  • The new high density pigment inks allow an extremely wide color gamut.
  • The new screening technology and sophisticated print heads allow for even more accurate dot placement and superior colour clarity.
  • The Epson 11800 produces sepia toned prints with smooth tones and great colour reproduction.
  • The new inksets improve the colour accuracy of neutral and dark colours, offer smooth tonal ranges from dark to light (eliminating metamerism) and provide excellent short-term colour stability.

If you would like to discuss options for extra-large format canvas printing please contact us.

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