It becomes more and more obvious that most of our competitors do not actually use any varnish on their canvas prints. Some do offer varnishing but at an extra cost. This is actually quite shocking to me, knowing how important this part of the canvas photo printing process is. There is more information on the varnish in 'canvas printing process' section of our website. However, just a quick reminder why it is so important:
- varnish improves colour appearance, as it increases colour density, does a really nice job, especially on the darker colours,
- protects from UV - which stops canvas from yellowing and colours from fading,
- protect against humidity, allows for the canvas to be wiped with a damp cloth,
- it also prevents the canvas from scratching the ink off and chipping.
Remember that we use varnish on all our canvases - as we do care about the longevity of your canvas prints.
I have decided to write some more information on the subject of old photos restoration for printing on canvas. This is something that we do more and more and I feel it maybe of interesting for many people.
I love to work with old photos, there is something very special about them, either old negatives, slides or simply old photos. With the negatives it is like revealing hidden beauty, likewise slides - I have experienced very emotional moments once they have been scanned and presented to owners who didin't really remember what exactly was on them. Obviously scanner plays extremely important role in capturing the data. This is why we proudly use high tech Screen Cezanne Elite scanner which is doing just that - making sure that none of the details are lost. As photos do usually need quite a lot of work to be done before they can be printed on canvas it is important to have a good starting point. For a start we scan at 16bits - not very many scanners can do that. In simple terms 16 bit is allowing a lot more information - tonal range - to be captured. In 8 bit mode (most commonly used by domestic scanners) you can only capture half of the existing tonal information. This plays huge role when it comes to keeping the details sharp and also when the photo need to be magnified. This is almost always the case. Another important aspect is relosution. Canvas prints do allow to use lower resolution than when printing on paper. Yet once we increase, double, triple or even make the originals more than 10 times bigger resolution plays its role. Our scanner can scan up to 5300 dpi. This is true optical resolution. Scanning resolution has to be adjusted specifically to each job - there are no benefits to use too high resolution - quite contrary - the image will loose it's sharpness and lack detail. Surprisinlgy new domestic scanners are becoming better. There are differencies though which separate them from high end scanners. Apart from lack of 16bit capability there is also sensitivity in dark tones. This is where the difference is quite staggering. Home scanners will loose the differentiation even above 90% of black, simply showing anything between 90%-100% as 100% black. Now, if your photo has a lot of details above this 90% threshold - they will be simply lost. The key to a good looking canvas prints is a good contrast and full tonal range. This is why we have decided to offer all our customers free scanning service using our Screen Cezanne Elite scanner, with any order. Your originals will be returned to you together with your canvas prints. We can also send digital files of the scans. Please contact us if you require any more information on that.
Here is a quick list of most common problems with photo we receive. As many people actually take photo with the purpose of putting them on the canvas I think it may be useful read.
1. Blur - caused by the unsteady hand. Can we easily avoided - by using a tripod. If you haven't got a tripod think about something you can rest your camera against, like chair, wall or a table. Blur can be also reduced when the exposure time is decreased. Look for this option in your camera settings. Some people suggest to even hold your breath as you press the shutter button. Easy to try - and nothing to loose. Good practice s also to keep your camera in your both hands.
Similar problems may be caused by not focusing the camera on the subject. Make sure that you let your camera focus by pressing the button half way and waiting until it is ready before pressing it all the way down.
2. Under Exposure/Backlighting - the subject of the photo is too dark and is lacking the details. This happens a lot when photographed person is standing in front of the window, or when the sun is behind the person that you take photo of. The technical reason behind that is that the camera is measuring the amount of light in the scene and adjusts to the the brightest areas. There are no easy fixes for that, best is to avoid this if using an automatic camera. With some cameras you can change the exposure time and overexpose the photo which will help the subject.
3. Red eyes - although easily fixed, can be also avoided in many cases. It is caused by the flash light bounced off the eye retina. Try to avoid using flash - it is better to use natural sources of light if available. Always look for red eye reduction version of the flash in your camera. Ask the person that you photograph not to look directly into the camera.
4. Low resolution - with new cameras having more and more megapixels make sure to make the most of it. I personally always take photos with maximum quality settings my camera can give. Not only you will capture most details this way but also you can produce bigger canvas prints or other printouts later. Bigger files will take more space but I don't think this is an issue at this day and age when hard disk & camera memory cards grow at outstanding pace. Other reason for poor quality os also usage of digital zoom - this doesn't really do much more than cropping the photo for us, effectively magnifying existing pixels. Avoid using digital zoom at al costs. It is always better to get closer to your subject. Read our canvas resolution guide for more info.
5. Lack of focal point - avoid shooting a photo against busy background. When taking a photo think about what you'd like to see on you canvas prints - possibly make a test photo. Remember that to make a canvas prints with the image wrapped around the canvas frame we will need at least 2" of the photo extra around the subject. So plan your photo carefully. Sometimes we try to include too much in our photo, causing it be too clattered and less interesting. It may be better to take a few shots and combine them into a collage or a photo sequence.
6. Not reading your camera manual - this is the best initial source of information, which lists all of your camera options, which is neglected by many. New cameras have lots of extra features, manual settings which can greatly improve your photos. Good practice is also to take lots of them. Professional photographers take hundreds if not thousands of shots to choose a few that are exceptional.
Hope this helps,
Looking forward to receiving your great photos