Heavy Metal: Photo Prints that Pop!

Why would anyone have a photograph printed on metal? Is it just the novelty? Maybe a passing fad? Actually, metal is an excellent medium for photographic prints because it greatly enhances image vibrancy, sharpness, and depth. Plus, it’s durability can’t be beat. Neither novelty nor fad, metal prints are here to stay—and you really ought to try one on for size.

Metal Print

Some of the most vibrant works I’ve seen in our shop are the product of customers changing their mind from printing on paper to printing on metal. Printing on metal can produce an image with undesirably high saturation or contrast. We don’t let that happen; we adjust the file accordingly before printing it. Nothing looks artificial, just really rich, colorful, and alive. Truly, metal printing can make the difference between a photograph that’s pretty and a photograph that really pops:

In our shop, we print only on glossy metal, not matte, because we’ve found that the matte metal doesn’t create a significantly different look from paper, perhaps just a bit sharper. Images printed on glossy metal are wonderfully sharp but also more vibrant and take on an almost three-dimensional appearance. This is true whether you’re looking at an approaching car shot in fisheye, at a wide-angle landscape image, or at a simple portrait. Anything pops on this metal.

Metal prints have a somewhat higher price tag, but the cost is by no means excessive. For example, we offer a 5×5 single-image option for $15. One thing to consider when weighing cost is that metal prints aren’t framed in the traditional sense. So, you may end up spending less when all is said and done, because you won’t have to pay for matting and framing.

Metal prints at Lawrence Camera

This isn’t to say that metal frames can’t be framed, but the way we “frame” them is different. Instead of the metal image being set inside a frame, it’s put on float blocks and sublimated on a separate metal piece that’s been cut to a larger size. The effect is that the image appears to be floating, and the background metal visually frames it. Background metal can be galvanized steel, frosted acrylic, patina aluminum, or stainless steel. By far the most popular in the store is patina aluminum, which has a somewhat industrial feel with a beautiful blend of copper, rust, and turquoise tones. We also have nearly 40 different themes and patterns that can be created on the background metal—anything from water to lace to camouflage.

By the way, we actually go smaller than 5×5 metal prints with our “itty bitty art.” These are wallet-size metal prints, which come with a little wooden easel and look pretty nifty on a desk.

If you haven’t tried printing your photographs on metal, it’s worth a test drive. Start with something small if you’re not sure. Maybe try an image that already has gleam in it, as with the metal in the car photograph above. Choose something with colors you’d like to see brought to life. I can almost guarantee you’ll be wowed. And, of course, remember to stop by our store and register to win an 11×14 metal print every month!


One thought on “Heavy Metal: Photo Prints that Pop!

  1. […] an example from a recent customer. After reading about Itty Bitty Prints in our recent blog about metal prints, she sent in a favorite old print she has of her daughter. The image was something she’d had on […]

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