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.