I found the image I must have.....now what!?
There you are...scanning your favorite digital fine art site, let’s call it Dulce Vida Images (wink!), and you see it! That one image that stops you in your tracks. The one that grabbed your attention in a millisecond and now it won’t let you go. It’s perfect for that certain area of your home or office or maybe it's the perfect gift for that special someone in your life.
That’s when you realize choosing what you like is easy; knowing where to go from there.....well that’s where you might need a little guidance. You feel that subtle wave of trepidation creeping in and you ask yourself “now what do I do!?”.
Take a deep breath because you know what? It doesn’t have to be complicated. All you have to do is make a few small decisions in the beginning. That’s it!
That’s why we created this 5 step guide to help walk you through the process of what comes next after you’ve found your favorite digital fine art image.
Step 1: Consider Your Budget
The size of your budget isn’t necessarily important, but knowing your budget is. Every subsequent decision hinges on this starting point. Just because you might be limited to a smaller budget, doesn’t mean you can’t have the photo you want. There are plenty of ways to make it a reality. The size of the image and what you want the image printed on (paper, canvas, metal or acrylic), both play a factor in meeting your budget. We’ll expand on the these in this guide, but for now knowing your budget is the first place to start.
Step 2: Consider Your Space
You’ve chosen your image and set your budget, now it’s important to decide where the image will reside in your home or office so you can decide on the size of image you’ll need.
If you want the image to be an accent in the space or part of a collage on the wall, then an 8x10 or 11x14 might serve you best.
For an image to be the focal point of the room, you’ll need to consider something larger like 16x20 or 20x30. As you’ve probably guessed, the larger the image the more expensive it will be. So here again, it’s important to start with your budget in mind.
Step 3: Consider a Printing Surface or Material
These days there are so many different materials photographs can be printed on: traditional photo paper, canvas, metal, acrylic. The options are nearly endless and each brings it’s own flare.
Traditional photo paper is the nostalgic member of the group and requires a frame in order to be displayed. It is also the most cost effective of print surfaces. Smaller budgets may lend themselves to a photo paper print more successfully.
Canvas brings a bit more formal feel to the finished product and may or may not require framing. A photograph printed on canvas and mounted to art board will require a frame and/or matte (if you so choose). It brings the formal feel of canvas accented by the frame and/or matte of your choosing.
Canvas gallery wrap does not require framing because the image is printed on canvas, wraps over and around a wooden frame and is secured in place. Sprayed with a UV coating protectant, it is ready to hang as soon as it arrives.
Not surprisingly, metal and acrylic prints are the newest members of the group and lend themselves to a more modern, sleek feel. These options are ready to hang as well and do not require framing and matte.
Canvas, metal and acrylic prints are the more expensive of the options, but not always excessively so. Pricing will ultimately depend on the size of the image you choose.
Step 4: To Matte and Frame or Not to Matte and Frame? That is the Question.
The next area to consider is framing and matting. As mentioned in Step 3, not all images require framing based on the material on which they are printed. If you’re a traditionalist and your space lends itself to that framed image “feel”, then you’ll want to consider this within your budget as well.
You can spend a little or a lot on a frame. That’s up to you and your budget. Standard sizes such as 8x10, 11x14, 16x20 and 20x30 lend themselves to “off the shelf” size frames and will be less expensive overall than custom framing.
Adding matte to a framed image will bring additional focus to the image and will enlarge the overall size. Typically matte widths are 2” or 3” so this is important to consider when selecting your photograph’s size for the space you’ve chosen as it will enlarge it a bit. (Note: With a standard sized image as mentioned above, this size increase from the matte will still keep you within an “off the shelf” sized frame range, if needed to meet your budget.)
At this point in the process, you only need to decide if you will frame and matte the photograph once you receive it. You don’t have to know frame and matte color now. Just whether you’ll use them or not. The fun starts once you receive your photograph and can take it with you to the framing merchant of your choice to see what catches your eye.
Step 5: Consider All the Above and Go with Your Gut!
Everything has formal rules. “Hang the photograph X number of inches from Y.” If you choose to follow them great! If you find them overwhelming and restrictive, that’s fine as well!
Remember - the art you choose and how you display it is an expression of you. Your space is an expression of you. So rules be damned! If you like it, then embrace it!
One final thought...
Any photographer selling their art online that’s worth their salt should be more than willing to help you through this process and answer any and all of your questions. We’ve had many customers with these same concerns. Frankly, that’s what prompted us to create this guide. It is a lot to consider especially if it’s not something you do on a regular basis.
Dulce Vida Images prides ourselves on friendly customer service from the moment you select your image to the point when it arrives at your door. That’s the type of customer service we prefer and that’s what we deliver to OUR customers. So when you find the image your space has been missing, don’t hesitate to contact us for help and we’ll walk you through the process.