When it comes to showing off your photography, there are many mediums available. For my wife's birthday recently, I gave her a canvas print of a portrait that she took a few months ago. Ever since, I've been curious to see what some of my own pictures would look like printed on canvas. So when someone from Easy Canvas Prints offered me a deal on a canvas print for my own work, I leaped at the opportunity.
The entire process couldn't be easier. Simply select a picture from your computer or from your Facebook album, move it around the virtual canvas until you're happy with the crop (if any), and complete the checkout.
Options include canvas size (unlimited choices) and thickness (0.75" or 1.5"), and the method used to fill in the sides of the canvas (wrap, mirror, solid colour). The traditional method is to wrap the picture around the sides. The result looks very clean, but it can eat up a part of your picture from the front surface and mess up the aspect ratio if you don't plan for it. Using the mirror method results in a similar effect, except that instead of the picture continuing around the edge of the wrap, a mirrored version of the edge of the picture is printed onto the sides. This can work very well for some pictures, but not so well for others. The third wrap option, a solid colour, is a good alternative if your picture doesn't lend itself to the first 2 options. You'll lose the "wrap" aspect of a canvas wrap, but your print will still be on a real canvas. This is also a good choice if you intend to frame your canvas, since a traditional frame won't be hiding anything on the sides of the canvas wrap.
There are also some simple image processing options available, like a black & white or sepia conversion. According to Easy Canvas Prints, when selecting the B&W option, dedicated B&W inks are used in the printing process instead of the standard dyes. So B&W results should be especially striking. For best results, it might be best to do the B&W conversion yourself in post processing, and then select the B&W option for canvas printing. Otherwise, the conversion done by Easy Canvas Prints may not be what you had in mind.
The checkout process is mostly straightforward, but there's a noticeable lack of payment options. You can pay by credit card... and that's all. I looked everywhere for a PayPal or Google Checkout option, but could not find one. When I asked about this, I was informed there were no plans to add other payment options in the near future. However, I was also informed that they sell some products on eBay, and those can be purchased using PayPal.
Customer service was quick and helpful. I asked a couple of questions using their customer support form on the site, and I got replies within 24 hours with all the information I needed to make an informed purchasing decision. I was very impressed with their courtesy and the thorough answers I was provided with.
The product arrived in a solid, oversized cardboard box. The entire canvas was wrapped in plastic. There were 2 straps taped to the inside of the box which are meant to hold the canvas in place in the center of the box during transit. However, these 2 straps didn't do their job for the whole trip and the canvas got loose at some point between Texas and Vermont. As a result, the canvas was banged around a bit in transit and there's a very slight abrasion mark on one of the corners. It's barely noticeable, but it's there. I informed Easy Canvas Prints of this issue, and was told they'd review their packaging methods to ensure that this won't happen anymore. Once again, I applaud their fantastic and responsive customer service.
The product itself is a joy to behold. I selected a large 16.2mp image with lots of detail and contrast and a semi-sepia look to it. The picture is one of my favourites from this past summer, an seeing it in print is like a whole new experience. The detail is retained very well on the canvas, and the colour looks great. The surface has a relatively low gloss because of its texture, so dynamic range is reduced a little from printing on normal photo paper or viewing on a computer screen, but this is an inherent quality of canvas and not a flaw.
I chose a solid colour for the sides rather than have the image wrap around. The composition of the picture just worked better this way. For the sides, I chose a colour which would blend well with the rest of the picture. The alignment of the picture and the sides on the wooden frame is absolutely perfect, so I'm really happy with my decision.
The assembly itself is top quality. The printing is very resilient, and can probably handle surface cleaning if necessary. The wooden frame comes ready to hang, as-is, with a hanging bracket attached at the top. Easy Canvas Prints also offers a simple easel mounting option (a swing-out arm on the back) which is convenient for smaller canvases. Or, you could choose to have it custom-mounted in a floating frame, like I plan to. However that last option is something you'll have to do yourself locally.
I've gotten some very enthusiastic feedback from people I've shown the canvas to, both from photographers and non-photographers. One thing I've noticed is that honest feedback is much more elaborate when someone is viewing a physical picture rather than just a digital image on a screen. The viewer takes more time to examine the canvas and find qualities he/she likes. This type of feedback encourages me to have more of my work printed.
If you're looking for a unique and original gift idea this holiday season, a canvas wrap from Easy Canvas Prints might be just the ticket. The service is fantastic, the product looks great and the price is right. One thing to keep in mind is that there may be a lead time involved before your order is printed, especially with the holiday season fast upon us. You'll want to plan ahead to ensure you'll receive your canvas in time for Christmas.
For more information about Easy Canvas Prints, you can check out their Facebook page. That's a great place to learn about any of their current deals.