What is the best material to print images?

If you follow this blog, you probably know that I work together with Saal Digital occasionally. In spring this year I reviewed their photo album and software. The printing quality was impressive and the software was easy to use. Today I’ll review on of their other products: wall decors. However, once you have decided to print your images for wall decoration, what material are you going to use for it? Read this blog to find out what the best material is for printing images!

Foam board

A foam board print.

You probably have seen that the prices of prints vary from 30 euros up to hundreds of euros. Of course some of these reasons are the budgeting model of the company and the quality of the prints and products used. But there is another variable that influences the pricing, and this one might crucial to how your prints look: the materials used to press pictures on.

Besides paper, there are four type of prints which are discussed below:

  • Aluminium
  • Acrylic glass
  • Canvas
  • Foam board

Aluminium is best used for printing images with cool colour tones. The prints are in high resolution and sharpness (depending on the image quality), and is rich in colours. Because of the cool colour of aluminium and the structure of the material, this is great for industrial looks and rough images. The colour of aluminium is not visible, but some companies offer to keep the grey tones in the aluminium colour for artistic purposes. Usually this is on of the more expensive methods, but to some people this is the best quality print.

Sunset in Rotterdam

A good picture to press on aluminium.

Probably the current most popular way to print images, is by pressing it on acrylic glass (or plexiglass). This delivers a professional look, and is great for all sorts of pictures. One of the reasons why this material is popular has to do with the living colours and sharpness. Another reason is that the light is reflected within the acrylic glass, making this method of printing very dynamic! Be careful with cleaning this material though! A dry cloth should work, don’t use any products containing alcohol to clean the glass.

Acrylic glass

A print on acrylic glass. Super vivid colours!

A cheaper method is canvas. The sharpness of images is a little less using this method. Because of the ribbed structure, the pictures printed on canvas have a classic look, like paintings have. Personally, I think that quality images deserve the close attention of spectators and should be printed on acrylic glass or aluminium. That is why I would not use canvas in my living room or hallway, however it is great for family prints in the bedroom.

Foam board is the final method of printing discussed on this blog. This is one of the less expensive methods of printing pictures. The structure is a bit more subtle than canvas, which makes it possible to have enhanced sharpness over canvas. Just like canvas, foam board is a pretty lightweight product. The compressed foam looks very modern and works good in timeless and modern designed rooms. Foam board is a great material for quality photos for a low price.

Foam board

Even when viewed from up close (30 CM) the quality of foam board looks great!

So which material should I chose?

The choice of material is depends on your budget and the style you would like to achieve. If you have money to spend and look for museum quality, go for an acrylic print. If you would like to have depth in a photo go for aluminium. The latter one has my preference for landscape or architectural photos over portrait pictures. If you want a cheap solution and still have good quality, take a look at hard pressed foam board. This is material works for any type of photographs. However, if you want a warmer material and want your pictures to look like a painting, go for canvas (great for artistic portraits).

Have you ever printed any pictures? Let me know in the comments!

Kind regards,

Tieme

In spring this year Saal Digital gave me the chance to review their photo album. I have worked with them ever since (they use my pictures to demo their products on several exhibitions and conferences).

Just like the photo album, the quality of the print work is fantastic. No pixels visible (if your photo is the proper resolution) and the material is very clean and sturdy. I currently have three prints: a 60 cm by 40 cm acrylic print, a foam board print of the same size, and a stunning 140 cm by 100 cm foam board print! What I like about the foam board is you can feel the structure of the ink when gliding your hand over the board. This gives the images a good three dimensional look. The professional museum quality of their acrylic prints is amazing too!

The quality is like you can expect from the Germans: top notch! They deliver to most countries in Western and Mid Europe. Make sure to keep your eyes open for promotion codes (and there are a lot of those) for great discounts.

Another good thing of Saal Digital, is that they listen to the feedback they receive from the many photographers they work with. I opted that the software to create prints could use more fonts for photo albums and that the resizing of images could be more intuitive and they changed that!

It is fantastic to have a company that is specialised in pressing and printing artworks, and listens to the ones who make the arts. For me they are a trusted partner when it comes to printing my work!


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