Exploring Fine Art Photography Print Media: A Comparative Guide

In the realm of fine art photography, the choice of print media plays a pivotal role in how the artwork is presented, perceived, and preserved. Different types of print media can enhance an image in different ways.. Taking a selective approach to print production can be a reflection on an artist’s unique perspective and skill.

Printing on high-quality print media supports my artistic vision, bringing out nuances in colour, tonality, texture, and detail. These visual elements are often what has inspired me to create a photograph in the first place. Carefully chosen print media ensures that the artwork reproduction is visually stunning and retains aesthetic appeal for years to come.

Art photography textural abstract agave botanical detail

The print mediums I offer have each been chosen for their ability to enhance the experience of these photos in print. In the following sections, we’ll explore three different options available for my open edition fine art prints:

Archival paper prints
Giclée canvas wraps
Mounted acrylic prints

This article will provide an overview of benefits and considerations for each of these print media options. Whether this information helps you choose one of my prints or make an acquisition from another artist, I hope these tips give you confidence in curating your own unique art collection.

Fine Art Prints vs. Regular Prints

When it comes to fine art prints, they stand apart from regular prints in several significant ways. These differences lie not only in the materials used but also in the level of craftsmanship, longevity, and artistic value they offer. Let’s explore these distinctions:

Materials: Fine art prints are created using archival-quality materials, yielding nuanced colours, tonality and contrasts that enhance an image. On the other hand, regular prints are produced on standard photo paper resulting in dull colours, harsh contrasts, and poor detail.

Longevity: Fine art prints are designed to be long-lasting, capable of retaining their vibrancy and integrity for generations. The use of archival inks, coupled with acid-free materials helps to minimize fading and deterioration. Regular prints, while visually pleasing initially, may not possess the same level of durability. These prints can undergo dramatic colour fading or degradation over time, regardless of how they are displayed or stored.

Still life, floral high-quality large fine art botanical photo art

Artistic Value: Fine art prints are more than just reproductions of an image; they are considered artistic works in their own right. Artists carefully select their preferred printing techniques and materials to enhance the visual impact and convey an artistic vision. On the other hand, regular prints, while serving a more functional purpose, may not carry the same artistic significance.

My fine art prints undergo a meticulous printing process, in collaboration with a trusted printing lab. This partnership ensures that the final print captures the intended aesthetic of my original photos. This combination of high-quality materials, masterful production, and artistic merit sets fine art prints apart from regular prints.

Exploring Different Fine Art Photography Print Media

Archival Paper Prints

Definition and Characteristics: Archival paper prints are produced on acid-free, museum-grade paper. High-quality inkjet printers and archival pigment inks ensure exceptional image quality and longevity. This style of fine art photography prints offers a classic and timeless aesthetic that can be further enhanced through your choice in framing.

Importance of Archival-Quality Paper: The choice of paper is crucial for the longevity and preservation of fine art prints. Acid-free paper prevents yellowing and degradation over time, ensuring that the print retains its original colours and quality.

Atmospheric emotional landscape fine art photography prints

When selecting archival paper for my fine art prints, I tested several styles and finishes. The standout choice for my work is Hahnemühle FineArt Baryta Satin paper, known for its smooth surface, excellent colour reproduction, and deep blacks. I have found this paper to be suitable for a wide range of subjects, from atmospheric landscapes to moody abstracts. Critically, this paper is made to withstand the test of time, ensuring longevity and preservation of the artwork so it can be enjoyed for years to come.

Giclée Canvas Wraps

Definition and Characteristics: Canvas wraps involve printing the image directly onto canvas fabric, which is then stretched and wrapped around a wooden frame. This creates a three-dimensional, gallery-ready artwork. Because of their beautifully wrapped edges, you can display Giclée canvas prints without the need for additional framing. This style tends to be lightweight, making it very useful for larger-sized prints. The texture of the canvas adds a unique tactile quality to the artwork, enhancing the visual appeal and giving it a handcrafted feel.

Autumnal forest path fine art photography canvas print

Suitability of Photos for Canvas Prints: Landscape, nature, and abstract images translate beautifully onto canvas. The textures of the print can enhance the organic and textural elements of a photograph. It is important to consider the resolution and level of detail in a photo, as finer details may not be as sharp on canvas as they would be on paper prints. For this reason, some of my older lower-resolution images may not be available on canvas.

Benefits and Considerations: Canvas wraps offer several benefits, including their ready-to-hang nature, durability, and the ability to display artwork without the need for framing. Canvas prints have a painterly look, adding depth and dimension to the photograph. They add a contemporary and artistic touch to any space, making them popular choices for modern home decor. It is important to consider the dimensions and display placement of canvas wraps. At larger sizes they require sufficient wall space to showcase their full impact.

Mounted Acrylic Prints

Definition and Characteristics: Mounted acrylic prints start by printing the image onto high-quality photographic paper. The paper is then face-mounted to a clear acrylic sheet. This process creates a sleek and modern artwork with vibrant colours, incredible depth, and a glossy finish. Acrylic prints offer a contemporary and luxurious aesthetic, suitable for displaying high-impact photographs.

Fine art reflection photography acrylic prints

Durability, Depth, and Vibrant Colours: Acrylic prints are known for their durability, and the acrylic sheet protects the image from UV damage. The printing and mounting method enhances the colours, contrast, and sharp details of a photograph.

Benefits and Considerations: Acrylic prints create a stunning visual impact in any room. The acrylic sheet adds depth and luminosity to an artwork, making the image appear particularly vibrant and captivating. Their durability and modern feel make acrylic prints a popular choice for both home and commercial interior decor. Careful cleaning of acrylic prints is strongly recommended, using a soft, dry cloth.

Additional Factors to Consider When Buying Art Prints

Print Size and Display Options

Along with considering your fine art photography print media options, it is important to be thoughtful about sizing and placement. The your ideal choice of print size and format depends on many factors. You will need to consider the intended display location, size of the wall, framing options, and your personal style preferences.

Low-tide surfer crossing a beach at Tofino, British Columbia art photo print

Consider the space where the print will be showcased and take measurements to determine the appropriate size. Make sure to consider matte and frame if needed, and include some negative space around the print to help enhance the visual impact of the artwork. For example, larger prints can make a bold statement when featured alone on a wall. Small prints can be grouped tightly to highlight interesting juxtapositions and similarities.


When purchasing fine art photography prints, there are several factors to consider. The use of specialized, archival materials ensures longevity and artistic value. The best art photo prints will be of a high-quality, contributing to the enhanced experience of the artwork.

It is important to consider print size and display options when selecting an image and preferred print media. This helps ensure that you acquire a print that fits your display preferences and requirements for its intended location.

Sunset and sunrise fine art photography prints

In summary, I hope this article has helped to clarify and define the advantages and considerations for each of these print media options. Archival paper prints, with their acid-free paper ensure excellent image quality and longevity of a piece. Canvas wraps provide a textured, painterly aesthetic that adds dimension to an artwork. Mounted acrylic prints offer a sleek and modern look with vibrant colours and incredible depth.

I encourage you to explore the full range of print media options available for my open edition prints. You can choose the perfect medium that resonates with the artistic intent of the images and complements your personal style.

Lessons learned, still life study

A single blue-purple Anemone coronaria flower in a textural triangular midcentury glass vase, against a dark backdrop and illuminated by a bright wedge of sunlight.⁠

I have been exploring some still life photography setup ideas this summer, and there are quite a few things I wish I’d done better in this image. The vase could be placed a little further back in the light, allowing more room for the flower’s shadow. I could have better controlled the light at the edges of the scene, especially to remove the distracting curve in the rear sweep of backdrop paper and create a sharper corner in the pointed edge of light as it falls to the far left in the frame.⁠

These flowers have now faded in my garden and any future attempts at a more refined version of this setup will have to wait until next year.⁠

I am glad I tried something new, and overall very happy with what I have learned from the results. In that same vein, I am embarking on an exciting photographic experience this fall, and hoping to fail spectacularly at least a few times – practice makes progress.⁠

Notes From a New Landscape

Big Souther Butte, Idaho
Big Southern Butte rises 2,300 feet from the Snake River Plain, Idaho

Last year’s marathon road-trip to California offered the welcome opportunity to experience some new atmospheric landscapes. The stark terrain of Idaho felt particularly surreal, after the rolling prairies of North Dakota and forested mountains of Montana. I have recently had a chance to sit down and edit my photos from Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve, Idaho
A small windblown juniper tree clings to a ridge of a lava flow,
at Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

The geology of the Snake River Plain in Idaho includes a fascinating array of volcanic features, and photography at Craters of the Moon was full of inspiring details.

The calderas and lava flows are the result of a periodically active volcanic rift zone. The last eruption took place around 2,000 years ago, making this a relatively ‘young’ place. Only well-adapted species can survive in the harsh conditions of the region, and it is home to several distinct ecosystems rich in plant and animal diversity.

Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve, Idaho
The boughs of a pine tree catch the last daylight
at Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

I found the tenacious, twisted trees to be especially striking in the soft light of dusk. Surrounded by dark scree and rubble, the bristling green growth seems almost improbable. Yet trees, shrubs, grasses and lichen are everywhere, scattered sparsely across piles of basalt. These hardy species use what little soil their roots can find in the rocky ground, and over time can establish diverse communities in unlikely places.

Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve, Idaho
A light dusting of snow across a lava field, at Craters of the Moon National Monument, Idaho

The colour palette and texture of the volcanic environment shifted throughout the day. Golden grasses and blue-green sagebrush in contrast against lava flows. Fast-moving clouds in pearlescent shades of blue and pink, disappearing over distant mountains.

I have released some of these Craters of the Moon photos as prints. Find more atmospheric landscapes and travel photography at prints.apkphotography.com!

Summer Landscape Reflections

Blue summer skies and fluffy white clouds mirrored in the water of Whirlpool Lake at Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba. The dazzling colours of summer are fleeting in Canada, and in this scene there are vivid blues and greens. The dark forest recedes along the horizon while a breeze skims the surface of the lake, softening the reflection of trees and sky.

“After everything that’s happened, how can the world still be so beautiful? Because it is.”

Margaret Atwood
Bright blue summer sky and fluffy clouds reflected in the water of Whirlpool Lake at Riding Mountain, National Park, Canada
Whirlpool Lake on a bright summer afternoon, in Riding Mountain National Park, Manitoba

This is Treaty 2 Territory, land of the Métis, Anishinabewaki ᐊᓂᔑᓈᐯᐗᑭ and Očeti Šakówiŋ (Sioux)⁠.⁠

I encountered this moment of wilderness reflection on a short summer hike last year. Exploring Riding Mountain National Park means many opportunities to view lovely small lakes like this, and I am always hoping to spot some wildlife on the opposite shore. The breeze (mostly) kept the mosquitos away, and nearby meadows were bursting with late summer wildflowers. As a photographer, a landscape reflection like this is impossible to resist. The scenery and elements allow for beautiful compositions and studies of balance, which I particularly enjoy capturing.

Abstract textural reflection of clouds and blue sky on the surface of Whirlpool Lake, rippled by wind

There is often a sense of serenity in photos of natural reflections. When I look at these images now, I am transported to a calm, breathtaking time and place. The texture of air moving across water reminds me of vintage glass windows and how their rippled texture smudges the colours in the sky. The mirror-like surface of the water makes the natural light even more magical. Whether viewed as abstract textural art or as a study in landscape reflection photography, Whirlpool Lake in Manitoba is a special spot that I hope to photograph again soon.

Vivid yellow Protea | Floral Photography

When I travel I am often closely observing the botanical elements of a place, as they often form an interesting and informative backdrop in the wider local scene. Floral photography fits in well with the idea of looking for local colour. From recent travels to California, these vivid yellow pincushion protea flowers stood in bright contrast to their dark green foliage. Spotted while on a waterfront walk in Monterey, with blustery spring showers and fast-moving clouds overhead, these fresh blooms were a welcome colourful reminder that spring is just around the corner.

Fine art floral photography image of pincushion-shaped protea flowers with bright yellow petals and stamens bloom against a backdrop of dark freen leaves.

Protea flowers symbolize hope and transformation, and these golden arching forms of the stamen catch the light beautifully on a dark, moody day. It seems that most of my flower photos lean toward textural compositions, full of deep contrast and vivid colour.

Prints available here, find my full portfolio of moody and magical floral photography here.

Monterey Storm | Weather Photography

I didn’t set out to find such a powerful weather photography subject, it was just another blustery, spring day on the California coast. With scattered rain showers and blank overcast skies accompanying my drive south from Santa Cruz to Monterey. With glimpses of the ocean and soft, rolling hills opening to loamy and verdant valleys, the scenery along Highway 1 can be beautiful in any weather.

After turning inland through fields of strawberries and artichokes then skimming across the Elkhorn Slough with its swath of inter-tidal wetlands, the highway bends back to meet the ocean as Monterey appears ahead. Approaching the stretch of sand dunes that mark the beginning of expansive, wild beaches just South of the Salinas River, I felt the brute force of a powerful wind blowing in across the Pacific ocean. Then I noticed the clouds.

Dark storm clouds and misty falling rain over the dark water of Monterey Bay, with the coastline mountains in the distance
Fast-moving, dark and dramatic clouds sweep across Monterey Bay, California

At first just a heavy smudge on the horizon, an undefined darker grey in a sky already laced with rain and mist. These clouds quickly became distinct above the white-capped Monterey Bay; fast-moving, dark and dramatic, their undersides carved into undulating ribbons of green and blue with a curtain of heavy rain following close behind. I had my camera with me that day, and immediately pulled off the highway to a small beach access and overlook.

The air felt charged with raw energy and a few other brave souls had stopped to take in the storm as it blew quickly onshore; I managed to capture only a handful of images before the heavy rains arrived.

I will never forget the exhilaration of watching the strange sky above, and the speed with which the entire system passed from sea to land was truly incredible. Glad to get whatever photos I could of this storm, I take them as proof that bad weather makes for excellent landscape photography, and the best camera is the one you have with you (though it doesn’t hurt to carry some of your better gear around from time to time). This surreal cloudscape scene is included in my collection of sky and cloud photo prints, featuring a variety of dramatic clouds and abstract skies.

Liquid Light | Abstract Art Photography

Years ago the tonal possibilities of black and white film taught me to watch for interesting abstractions of light and texture. As my style and technique has evolved, a strong love of abstract art photography has remained a creative constant in my personal work.

Abstract black and white art photography image of rippling light through shallow water
Liquid light, black & white

While on a walk through the coastal forest of Mendocino County in California, I came upon a quietly running clear stream. Sunlight filtered through the trees above, illuminating the rippling water as it passed over smooth, multicoloured stones. Ribbons of light shimmered across the shadowy stream-bed. I only shot two frames of this spot, close and abstracted in black and white to emphasize the tone and texture of the contrasting liquid and hard rocky surfaces. A fluid moment in time brought to life by the motion of water and light.

Find my currently available black and white abstract art photo prints here; please inquire for custom sizes and styles.