How to Know Where to Buy Canvas

This article is all about helping you, the consumer, figure out this semi-new world of canvas printing. Being a photographer, I have been around the canvas world for a while, and I have experience printing MANY canvases from MANY different companies. I understand how to go about getting one printed, where you should and should not go, where you can find the best product at the best price, etc. Having this knowledge, and knowing that it is a vast marketplace where others can easily get ripped off or get an inferior product, I wanted to share my knowledge with you. My only purpose in this is to save others some of the bad experiences I have had and help them get great canvases at great prices.


  1. Image titled Know Where to Buy Canvas Step 1
    Know how to get your photo on a canvas. Getting your own photo on a canvas, whether it's a photo you took with your cell phone or one you took with a $10,000 camera, is a very simple process. And it's the same for everyone. It is always a matter of getting one's image to the right people, who then take that image and print it on a canvas. Here are 3 VERY simple steps to getting YOUR photo printed on a canvas:
    1. Transfer your image from your camera to your computer.
      • This in itself may seem daunting, but it's really very simple. It's a matter of using the cords that came with your cell phone, your point-and-shoot camera, or your SLR camera and connecting one end to your camera and the other end to your computer. Usually the computer end will go into a USB port, which every computer will have. When your computer recognizes there is a device attached to it, typically it will open an image program (such as iPhoto) and ask if you want to download the images. If not, you should be able to open up your "My Computer" and find the attached device and get to the images that way. Once you have found the image you want, save it under a name you'll recognize (other than the number that was probably assigned to it); you'll probably want to save it as a JPG, since all of the canvas printers will accept this format. You are well on your way now!
    2. Find the right canvas printer for you (I'll provide help below on this), and ask how you should get them that image.
      • Once you have your image saved as a JPG, you are almost there. Now you just need to get your image into the hands of the canvas printers. Most of them have a very simple process for uploading your image, and most of the time it is a simple upload on their site. If you follow their links for uploading an image, they will lead you to the right place. With many canvas printers you also have the option of e-mailing in your photo as an attachment if that is easier for you. The better canvas printers will offer this option, and if you don't see it advertised, just ask if you can do this. They will usually then ask you to specify your options (see below).
    3. Submit your photo, choose your options, and pay! (Your canvas should be on the way shortly)...
      • When you're on the upload screen, just browse until you find the image you have saved and then click "Upload." Then they will usually have you select a size you want for your canvas, the style (white sides, black sides, image continued on sides, etc.), and the size of stretcher bars (typically .75" or 1.5"). The "stretcher bars" just refers to the wood that the canvas is mounted on, and how thick you want the wooden sides underneath the canvas to be. Once you have selected your options (and I highly recommend 1.5" stretcher bars and your photo continued on the sides of the canvas), you enter your payment information (which is very safe to do online as long as the site URL starts with https://) and click submit. Your canvas should be printed soon and on its way to you within a few days!
  2. Image titled Know Where to Buy Canvas Step 2
    Know how to make sense of a 'thousand' options. There are literally a thousand places (more, actually) you can get your image printed on a canvas, between local photo shops, online stores, big box stores, specialty canvas shops, etc. Of all these options, how should you choose where to get your canvas printed? And does it even matter?
    • It absolutely does matter where you get your canvas printed.
    • There is a HUGE difference in quality between the best canvas printers and the worst.
    • To get a high quality canvas, you do not have to pay more for it.
      • That third statement is shocking, and this is part of what makes the printing of canvases interesting, exciting, and confusing. There is a large amount of profit built into each individual canvas that is printed, because printers have to build in to each canvas sale all the costs associated with making canvases. They have to consider ink, wear and tear on machines, material costs, time spent, etc. These many factors make the pricing of canvases all over the map. But the best canvas printers have hit their sweet spot and can offer the highest quality canvases (because of their expertise and experience printing them) for extremely affordable prices.
  3. Image titled Know Where to Buy Canvas Step 3
    Know how to find the canvas printers hitting the 'sweet spot'. The sweet spot is quality and price.

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Categories: Buying Wisely | Shopping