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Making a Fine Art Photography Print

Making a Fine Art Photography Print (2 Part Video)
View on YouTube to see full HD

I'm a big advocate of printing photos. I urge my students to do it whenever I can. And that's because my sense of pride and satisfaction is at its peak when I create a fine art photography print to hang on the wall. There's something about it that feels so much better than just sharing it digitally.

I mean, come on, how good can it feel sharing a photo on Instagram? You spend hours and hours getting to a location, setting up a shot, and processing the image only to have it displayed on a 2.5-inch wide screen that viewers will swipe past in under 3 seconds. You get a few likes, and that feels good, but then the picture just disappears into "the cloud" forever. Digital sharing is "here today, gone tomorrow."

But printing...that's different. When you get a print made, you're making a bold statement. You're saying "I'm so proud of this picture that I'm willing to spend money to get others to see it. I want it around for years, maybe decades. I want it on display in such a way that people can't just swipe past it." When you get a print made, you're investing in your work. You're saying that it's worth the effort and expense. And that does wonders for your self-esteem.

Fine Art Photography Wall Art

Think I'm overstating it? Get a big ol' print made and get it framed up real nice. Then tell me it feels about the same as posting them on Facebook. The tangibility of a print creates a sense of fulfillment that 1's and 0's just can't. For me, it's about the same as emailing a friend vs sitting down with them face-to-face. Sure, both are the exchange of ideas, but I'm betting you have many more memorable face-to-face interactions than memorable emails.

So that's why I decided recently to make a new fine art photography print. And the image I chose was one I took in Joshua Tree National Park on black and white film. I actually took this picture during an on-location video I made awhile back (check that out here). I love the vibe of this photo and it's something I've wanted hanging on my wall for awhile now because Joshua Tree is a very special place to me. I'm utterly in love with the desert and I've had some of my most incredible experiences in this part of the country. Also, what can I say, I just like the photo!

Whenever I set out to make wall art from one of my photos, I envision the finished piece as my very first step. I picture the framing style, the type of paper, the size - I get it all worked out in my head until it looks perfect. Things will get tweaked here and there as I go through the steps of it, but for the most part, I know the vibe I want and how to get it.

For this piece, I wanted a rough, old-timey vibe with a lot of texture and depth. I'd never used watercolor paper in a framed photo before, but I knew from previous samples that watercolor paper would provide the texture I was after. The only problem I have with watercolor paper is that it's for inkjet style prints and, generally, I hate inkjet prints. They are far inferior in overall look to Lightjet prints, which is what I typically get. But I really wanted that texture, so inkjet it would be.

So what's the difference between inkjet and Lightjet? Inkjet is ink on paper, like what you do at home. Lightjet is photosensitive paper (like in the darkroom) that's put through a machine that exposes your digital image to it with light (like in the darkroom) and then puts the paper through developer and chemicals and such, just like traditional darkroom prints. The end result is a true photographic print baked into the paper itself with a superior look.

I wasn't looking forward to inkjet printing on this piece, but luckily, watercolor paper absorbs ink differently than typical gloss paper, which results in better prints than I'm used to seeing from inkjet. And the technicians at Pro Photo Connection in Irvine (www.prophotoirvine.com) did a superb job on the print as always.

To add some more texture to this piece, I created a deckled edge on the paper, which is where the paper looks torn rather than clean-cut. The process for this is simple and is described completely in part 2 of the video series linked at the top of this post.

Then, to get my depth, I opted for a float-mount in a shadow box. This lifts the print away from the backer board and creates lovely shadows in the frame. The framing was done by my framer of choice: Salamon Art in Fountain Valley, CA (www.salamonart.com). They always do a perfect job.

When getting prints this big, it's a good idea to get a proof first. As you'll see in the video, a proof is an 8x10 snippet of the full print that you can use to verify the look before giving the go-ahead on the full-size piece. This is a great way to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises in the full-size print.

The finished fine art piece came out great. I got the vibe, the texture, and the depth I was after. It's a really cool style overall and I plan to do many more in this fashion.

If you're interested in purchasing this fine art photography print from Joshua Tree National Park or if you'd like to get a similar piece made, please drop me a line here.

Fine Art Photography Wall Art

Fine Art Photography Wall Art

Fine Art Photography Wall Art

Fine Art Photography Wall Art

Fine Art Photography Wall Art

Featured Fine Art Pieces: “Monet Skies” & “Neptune Dreams”

Laguna Beach Fine Art Landscape Photography

Image Title: "Monet Skies" - click image above for a larger view
Image Size: 24" x 36"
Total Size: 35" x 47"
Edition: 1 of 100
Price: $750

This 3-foot wide print of a "Monet-like" sky reflected in wet sand at Crystal Cove State Park, CA is framed with a light pecan, rustic style frame that I personally hand-made using top-quality moulding. The image is further accented with a seamless off-white linen liner with a 25-degree bevel that helps to showcase the rich colors in the image. The metallic paper used in all of my fine art prints coupled with the UV-protective gloss coating really accents the wet sand in the shot.

 

Laguna Beach Fine Art Landscape Photography

Image Title: "Neptune Dreams" - click image above for a larger view
Image Size: 16" x 24"
Total Size: 24" x 32"
Edition: 1 of 100
Price: $450

Taken in Crystal Cove State Park on New Year's Day 2010, this image of seagrass-covered rocks under a fiery sunset showcases nearly the entire rainbow of nature's colors. I hand-made this frame using a pecan-colored frame with rich, warm tones to help bring out the reds and yellows of the sunset. The cream-toned liner with its 30-degree bevel draws the attention in to the artwork and works to enhance the colors of the image, making them "pop" off the metallic-based paper.

As with all limited edition fine art prints, this piece is printed with LightJet technology on Kodak Professional Endura Metallic Paper, making them the finest quality prints available. Click here for more info about my fine art prints.

Both pieces are available for sale and both will be on display in Artist Eye Gallery in Laguna Beach, CA starting June 29th. Information about Artist Eye Gallery can be found here.

If you'd like more information about purchasing a limited edition fine art print like this or any other image in the catalog, email Nick at info [at] nickcarverphotography.com.


Featured Fine Art Piece: Tide Pool & Clearing Storm

Laguna Beach Fine Art Landscape Photography

Image Title: Tide Pool and Clearing Storm
Image Size: 10"x15"
Total Size: 17"x22"
Edition: 5 of 100
Price: $350 SOLD
Framing: This unique piece is framed with a dark brown burl frame hand-made by Nick Carver himself using top-quality moulding. The image is further accented with a seamless black linen liner with a 30-degree bevel that helps to showcase the rich colors in the image.

This framed piece was made-to-order according the requests of the client. I worked with her via email to figure out a piece that would fit her budget, style and home decor. The image itself was taken in Laguna Beach during a stormy sunset and features a warm color palette of rich golds and browns. The frame moulding was selected based on its color and texture to help accent the textures of the rock formation in the foreground of the image. The deep walnut hue of the frame was chosen so as to compliment the warm tones of the image without being distracting or too "matchy."

As with all limited edition fine art prints, this piece is printed with LightJet technology on Kodak Professional Endura Metallic Paper, making them the finest quality prints available. Click here for more info on fine art prints.

If you'd like more information about purchasing a limited edition fine art print like this or any other image in the catalog, email Nick at info [at] nickcarverphotography.com.