Print your photos as leading museums and galleries do
We interviewed Jan-Ole Schmidt, the product manager at WhiteWall to get his do's and don'ts for printing museum quality pieces.
What should a fine art photographer keep in mind when it comes to printing his/her work for a gallery show?
JS: The first thing photographers should consider is what they would like to convey with their pictures, and what kind of printing, mounting and framing will underscore that message. At WhiteWall, there are over 1,000 product variations to choose from. Acrylic photo prints make colors pop and provide amazing depth. That means a Photo Print Under Acrylic Glass is really great for colorful underwater shots, nighttime photography, or even landscapes. The metallic gleam of the Direct Print on Brushed Aluminum, on the other hand, is particularly powerful for mechanical or industrial images.
Direct Print on Brushed Aluminium
Before photographers decide on what kind of print they want, they have to have a vague idea of how big they want it to be. As far as size and format go, they need to consider how pieces will be distributed throughout the exhibition space and also how close their work will be to other pictures. Often, a frame is a great idea, because it directs viewers’ attention to the image itself. An opulent frame that emphasizes the mood of the photograph can do wonders for larger works, giving them a fascinating presence. Smaller pictures framed and mounted with mat board appear very sophisticated. Additionally, before placing an order, it is definitely important to view the pictures on a calibrated monitor so that there are no surprises with the end results. We offer ICC profiles for the file previews. These can be downloaded for free on WhiteWall.com. The goal is to produce a color accurate print of the digital files. This is something fine art photographers can really appreciate!
What is the most popular photo finishing used by your fine art clients and why?
JS: Our bestseller is our premium product: the Photo Print Under Acrylic. It makes all kinds of photographs look particularly sophisticated. This mounting option enhances the luminosity of the colors, even with black and white photographs. The image itself is the decisive factor in selecting the printing options. For black & white photographs, the LightJet Print on Ilford B/W is a popular choice, because it produces enormous contrasts. The Hahnemühle Fine Art Prints are a great tip for portraits, because the paper’s texture really brings out the artistic nature of the photographs.
LightJet Print on Ilford B/W
You recently printed, mounted, and framed some amazing lunar images taken by NASA—how did you help them decide which finishing to use to print the images taken by LROC (lunar reconnaissance orbiter camera)? What were some of the big challenges?
JS: NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera takes impressively high-resolution pictures of the moon that are fascinating to scientists and photographers alike. Since the photos are incredibly detailed, the first order of business was to make the moon’s textures all visible and also to bring out the various gray values of the black & white images. To determine which photo paper was best for the job, various proofs were created. It quickly became clear that the LightJet Print on Ilford B/W Paper was perfect for these moon photos. By mounting them under acrylic glass, the depths and details are also emphasized. Our team helped with the final fine-tuning of the image files and offered tips for the production, in order to get the most out of these works.
What does conservation grade mean? Why does it matter?
JS: When it comes to art, conservation grade means that the photographs are protected from external influences so that they last as long as possible. Nobody wants a picture that fades after a short time or blisters or breaks with temperature changes. We place a lot of value on making sure our customers can enjoy their photos for a long time. We’ve adapted our production processes for this. For example, we use silicone that never completely hardens to mount our Photo Print Under Acrylic Glass. This means it can contract or expand according to changes in the temperature, making it a lot more stable than mounting photos using conventional adhesives. The acrylic glass also provides additional natural UV protection.
Photo Under Acrylic Glass
What are the latest frame trends for gallery shows in the U.S and in Europe?
JS: Currently, the trend is classic mounting under acrylic glass combined with a modern frame. Wood Floater Frames and the aluminum ArtBox are very popular. For Documentary Photography and Street Photography, the Direct Print on Aluminum is a popular choice. The matte surface gives the images real immediacy. This kind of mounting is also suitable for exhibitions with prominent spotlights, because it cuts glare.
What sets WhiteWall apart?
JS: WhiteWall is an international, online photo lab from Germany trusted by photo pros and hobbyists. We became known as the exclusive producer of works for the LUMAS photo art galleries. Our customers get the same gallery-quality results for their own homes and can order their pictures in exact custom sizes. Every product is finished by hand, quality controlled, packaged, and shipped worldwide within 10 business days.