DC wedding photographer | Amber Wilkie Photography » Photography for awesome people.

Awesome stuff to buy | A tale of two canvases

All my wedding (and portrait) coverage comes with full-resolution files on DVD or jump drive (thinking about switching to jump drives soon).  So why would anyone want to buy a canvas from me when they could just go online and order from the discount guys?  Well, that’s why I’m writing this post.  Like any good frugal girl, I scooped up a Groupon recently for a Cafe Press canvas – $39 for a 16×20 – what a steal!  And when it came, I was happy… for about 30 seconds.  I’ll show you why.  The Cafe Press canvas is on the right, a canvas ordered from my professional lab is on the left:

comparing canvases from professional lab and cafe press

(For full disclosure: the photo on the right comes from Scenic Las Vegas Weddings – yes we got married in Vegas – and the one on the left is courtesy of Tara Welch.)  They both look pretty good, right?  But take a look at the original files for both of these.  First, from Tara:

You’ll note that the canvas looks almost identical to the image (except for the color cast, added later).  There are grays and blacks and whites, just as they show in the image.  And the file from my wedding:

Scroll back up and check it out.  The consumer lab blew the hell out of the contrast, turning my veil and dress into one big white blob.  Are there flowers in my bouquet?  Can’t tell.  Do I have beading on my dress?  Well, not important.  In fact, you can’t even see that I have a veil on at all!  Just to prove that my canvas was a faaaaaar cry from what I had ordered, there was a small print out of the image I sent them – looking just like this – in the same package as my canvas (wish I had saved it).

I took photos of the other details about these canvases and the truth is, they’re pretty close – I doubt anyone would spend the extra money on these bits (professional lab on the left, consumer lab on the right).  But you can tell that the binding is a bit tighter and the canvas texture is a little finer.

different details from cafe press and professional canvas

back of canvases from cafe press and professional lab

The fact of the matter is that there is a huge quality difference between what the consumer is able to purchase directly, online or otherwise, and the professional lab I order through.  Additionally, when you purchase canvases, prints and certainly fine art albums, I spend a lot of additional time editing the files – cloning out any skin imperfections you might object to and taking the extra time to get the file looking its best.  I can’t spend this much time on all the files – I’d have to charge a whole lot more!

I’m a really big fan of fine art canvases – I think they are a beautiful, modern way to display your wedding photos.  If you’re interested in ordering or have any questions, please just drop me a line and let me know!

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