May 25, 2014 by Dadinator
The folk over at Canvas Printers Online contacted me recently and asked me to do a review of their service. I jumped at the chance because I’ve been wanting to print off a big wall-hangy type photo of our kids for some time, and here they were offering me a freebie in exchange for a review. There was a minor saga in organising to get a camera good enough to capture an image for this kind of printing, I borrowed my mother’s nikon d3100 to do the job, and then I had to wait for an appropriate moment to capture my two cherubs being sweet.
So you know what happened…. They both got sick and had chronic snotty noses. Our girl managed to get a bruise on her face by banging herself against a table. The kid’s wouldn’t sit still… etc. etc. etc. It took a few weeks to line up a photo we thought worth committing to the wall. Never work with kids or animals folks.
I tried to set our kid’s up nicely on the couch sitting side by side smiling at me with adoring eyes. They blinked, they moved they fell over on each other. Here’s a catalogue of my photographic failures:
We ended up doing something different, because in amongst all this crap I caught this:
Somehow it captures our kid’s at this moment in time, so we used it.
And now for the review:
Canvas Prints gives you a chance to order photo quality custom-made canvas prints via their online store. They have a huge library of images to choose from (they claim 20 million, but I didn’t count), as well as a service to upload your own images to print to canvas. You then place your order and BOOM! you get your print. Here’s how the experience was:
Their website is slick and easy to navigate. It gives you a lot of options, but you get a preview of your photo before you proceed to purchase. There’s lots of tweaking you can do online too, resizing, cropping, moving and adjusting the picture and filters (Sepia, black and white and lots of abstract arty things which I wasn’t interested in because I just wanted a photo). I did have a go at the site on my phone (Android phone using Chrome) and it was pretty ordinary with its mobile interface, but for something like this you’d be crazy to try to do all the image manipulation on your phone anyway.
The site claims 5-10 business days deliver, and this is what I received. I ordered my photo on the 12th of May and it arrived on the 20th, 8 days (6 business days) later. I also received an email telling me when my order had shipped, which was a good feature.
Now, as you can tell from my photos above, I am NOT a photographer. Nonetheless I’ll say a little bit about the quality of the print and the frame. The frame is timber, which is great because I recently received a canvas print as a present in a cardboard frame and it’s falling apart 4 months later. The construction was light weight and ready to be hung. As for the print well have a look:
It looks great, colours are vibrant, the image is clear and it the texture is both smooth and authentically canvassy looking. It’s on our wall now, next to a wedding photo (which was the last canvas print we had done years ago now). It certainly met with our expectations.
I didn’t use their support team for my transaction, but a quick look over their website shows they are always willing to help out and make recommendations about image files to fix them up for printing. I intentionally used a good camera to take an image for a 40x50cm print, my 5 mega pixel phone camera simply would not have cut the mustard. Remember, only high quality images can make larger prints. They state pretty clearly:
If your digital file is at least 150 dpi, it will look good on canvas. If you’re not sure about the resolution of the photo and don’t know how to check, you’re welcome to email the image to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, along with the canvas size you’re looking to order. We’ll analyse the image and get back to you with a recommendation. If the image isn’t of good enough quality we won’t let you waste your money and time.
So keep that in mind.
I was able to trial the service for free, but a quick google comparison between http://www.canvasprintersonline.com.au/ and some of the other shops out there shows pretty quickly that online is the way to go for this kind of photo printing. It works out to 1/2 to 2/3 cheaper compared to some of the well-known stores that offer this service. They also offer a flat rate for delivery, no matter how big your order is, so keep that in mind!
I’d happily recommend Canvas Printers Online, just don’t try to do your ordering over your phone, find a computer to sit down at so you can do it properly. Also remember, it can be hard to visualise the final product when staring at a computer screen, so measure up your wall space and make sure you know what you’re getting. If you keep that in mind you’ll be able to get good value and good quality. Especially useful if you live a bit of a distance from places that do photo development (like I do!).