As a professional photographer specializing in digital photography, I do my best work with my camera and my computer. However to take things to the next level, a photographers work has to move past just digital and become a physical print to be featured in galleries, purchased by fans and customers, as well as stand the test of time.
There are many ways to do this, the most common way being standard paper prints, as well as the very popular canvas prints. However today I’m going to talk about a slightly different, but entirely cool way of printing our your photos and arts, metal prints!
What is a Metal Print?
As the name implies, a metal print is a photography, picture, or other type of image that is printed directly onto a piece of metal (usually aluminum).
Is it just like spray paint on metal? No! Not at all. Just coating metal with paint is obviously not a great way to go about things, since it will just peal off eventually.
What metal prints use is a special kind of magic called Dye Sublimation Printing.
In this process ink is actually diffused into the metal itself, binding it in a way that lasts for a very long time.
Where Can I Get a Metal Print?
There are many vendors for metal prints, but only one (that I know of) that is the professional quality that I would trust with my livelihood.
The majority of metal print companies are aimed towards the home decor market, and usually provide brushed aluminum prints at small to medium sizes.
That might be fine for most people, but for me I need both high quality (HD level prints), on matte aluminum with an extra epoxy coating for both sheen and protection. So far I’ve only found one provider to do that, and it’s Pictorem.
Pictorem – #1 Provider of Professional Grade Metal Prints
Pictorem is a full service printing company that caters to both consumers and professionals. If it gets printed, chances are Pictorem does the job. They’ve been voted as the having the best canvas prints, metal prints, wall murals, and paper prints. Like I said, they are full service.
They have *huge* sizes to choose from, sizes that will dwarf the competition, including a canvas print that is up to 100″ by 50″!
Furthermore, they offer Chromaluxe HD, which is an amazing high class technology that provides HD quality images on metal prints. They partner with Chromaluxe, which is an independent company that does not sell directly to consumers. Only a few lucky companies are Chromaluxe partners.
Based in Montreal and with offices in New York they ship all over the US and Canada, as well as internationally.
I don’t know how much more praise I need to give, go check out for yourself!
Of course my personal favorite is Pictorem, but I will give some honorable mentions to some other players out there…
CanvasChamp – Honorable Mention
CanvasChamp, as its name implies, is a provider of canvas prints, mainly. However they have a large focus on gifts and decor, including metal prints, pillows, mugs, and different novelties.
If your purpose in getting metal prints is to spruce up your interior design, CanvasChamp might be the way to go. It’s also great if you are looking to get family photos printed as gifts or keepsakes, either metal prints or otherwise.
In terms of the quality, they are standard brushed aluminum prints and their sizes go up to 27×39, which is perfectly fine for most applications. They also offer panoramic dimensions (wider than landscape) that go up to 16×36.
If this sounds like a good for you, give them a visit!
Printique – Honorable Mention #2
Printique is a well known brand and professional printing service. They have brick-and-mortar locations in NYC, and recently merged with Adorama, the well known Camera equipment company.
They offer a wide range of printing services, and were recently voted as the best printing service for paper prints by Digital Photography Review.
They offer HD Metal prints, with sizes are up 40×60.
While this is a better choice than CanvasChamp if you are professional, its probably a little on the pricier side if you are a amateur or home decor enthusiast. Even if you are a professional, Pictorem has better prices.
Nonetheless, they are a solid brand and a solid company who will be around for a long while to come. Check them out!
Hope you’ve found this a little bit enlightening and a big bit helpful in your quest to get the best metal prints.
One final tip that applies to all the above: Wait for deals! Almost all printing companies run specials from time to time and around the major holidays. These deals can be pretty dramatic too (like 40%+ off), so if your needs arent very time sensitive, it pays to hold out for some discounts!