I have a confession to make.
I am a professional photographer. I’ve lived in my current house for nearly fifteen years.
I don’t have a single photo that I’ve taken on my walls.
Because the thought of printing my own work seriously stresses me out!
I don’t have any of my own work hanging on my walls – which means that I don’t have anything at all hanging on my walls.
Sure, I could temporarily fill the gaps with some cliché Ikea photos (apparently “mass produced soulless wall art” translates to “björksta” in Swedish)
It would sure be a lot cheaper (Brooklyn Bridge Exactly Like All Other Photos of Brooklyn Bridge 46″x30″ for $49!, Random French Lavender Field You Haven’t Visited 55″ x 39″ for $69!, Ugly Lighthouse in Bad Light 55″x39″ for $69!).
But take a look at those print sizes – they’re big – really BIG!
Here’s how Ikea sells it:
Our collection of big art inspires and takes you away to different places.
OK, well yes, that is totally lame and uninspiring – but the point is – Ikea knows that really BIG prints look really GOOD!
But printing really big is actually really hard…well not really but it feels that way.
I take thousands and thousands of photos every year. How do I begin to choose which ones I like enough to hang on my walls?
Every month I capture images that I love, photos that I love even more than the ones I loved last month.
Next month I will probably capture a photo that I love more than anything I’ve ever photographed before.
Who am I to freeze time and pick something that’s wall-worthy today?
And high quality prints are expensive.
Sure, Ikea might be able to sell you a 55″x39″ print for $69 – but a professional giclée print, canvas gallery wrap or acrylic print is going to cost ten times that much.
At that price, you’re making a serious investment in your art – not just filling space – you better get it right!
What kind of image quality do you need to make a 55″x39″ print anyway?
At a standard print resolution of 300 ppi you’re looking at a 193 megapixel image. I don’t have a 193 MP camera.
Can I enlarge my mobile phone photos to 193 MP?
Just Print Your Favorite Photo Today!
After year’s of worrying about it – I finally decided to just pick two photos that I really like and get them printed – one for our living room, one for my office.
For our living room, I chose a really cool (pun intended) photo of me and my family exploring a cave up near our cottage on Georgian Bay in winter.
It was captured by a Canon 5D Mk II with a Canon 20mm lens a few years ago. It’s not technically perfect, but it’s pretty good.
I enlarged it and cropped to 48″x30″ at 300ppi and chose to have it printed on metallic paper with an acrylic mount.
For my office, I chose a photo of my wife in White Sands National Monument in New Mexico. This is one of my personal favorite photos I’ve ever captured – so it seemed fitting.
This photo was captured by a Nikon D800 with a Sigma ART 50mm lens.
I enlarged it and cropped to 60″x24″ at 300ppi and chose the same printing method as the first – metallic paper with an acrylic mount.
The only shop I could find that could print the gallery quality and size that I wanted on acrylic was Bumblejax (their customer service was great and everything is done in house in Seattle too – and pro photographers get a 50% discount on their first order).
How Did They Turn Out?
The print quality is amazing. Metallic paper mounted on acrylic looks just as good as you think it should with a bright vibrant photo.
However, somewhat ironically, the photo I had intended for the living room just didn’t quite go with the wall color in my living room.
It’s probably something only a photographer or an interior designer would notice (a cool blue in the ice on the print vs a warm blue on the walls). I probably should have realized that the blues clashed before I printed it, but lesson learned.
Since I have lots of virgin wall space (and don’t really feel like re-painting the living room as my wife suggested), I hung it in our dining room instead (gray walls go with everything).
Now I just have to decide what’s next!
What Do You Think?
Are you as anxious as me about printing your own photography?
What prints have you made that you absolutely loved?
Ever hung something on your wall that you hate?
Is Ikea really the solution to every home decor problem?
Leave a comment below and share your thoughts!