Last year I was offered a free 16×20 canvas print by Canvas Champ if I wrote up a critique. The print I got was built nice but the quality of the printing was a little lacking. But, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and wrote a constructive review: UPDATE!!! Product Review: Canvas Champ Prints.
A few months later I had them print one of my images 16×24 for a client and a 16×24 of my father-in-law as a gift to my sister-in-law. They were both atrocious. I was not happy with it at all. So I updated the blog posting. Again, I was fully honest with the critique.
Alpenglow on Shuksan
Canvas Champ responded wanting to make it better by having the image reprinted. But what bothered me was the inconsistent construction method from one print to another and somewhat poor printing quality. The full critiques are here: UPDATE!!! Product Review: Canvas Champ Prints.
First, I’m picky with who prints my work. My clients demand high quality so I go with printers that have high standards. Bay Photo or White House Custom Colour are usually my printers of choice, but I do on occasion shop around.
Second, if someone wants my opinion on a product, I give them my experiences and do it honestly. You don’t really learn how to improve something if all you hear is “Wow,” “Nice,” or some other iteration.
Now onto the critique of my Canvas Champ print.
First, I wanted something with subtle tones. Second, it had to have a lot of detail. Third, it is one I wanted on my wall. For the task, I chose the above photo due to its hues from dark blue to light pink, it has nice detail in the mountain, and I just love this view.
- I noticed immediately that the backing was different from the other 3. The backing on this was, well, Nice!! A nice black paper backing to cover the folded canvas and create a sturdy frame.
- The colors were subtle and smooth at first glance and from a distance. But upon closer inspection, um, not so much.
- The shadow areas were a little heavy and some loss of detail.
- Highlights were nice, snappy, with details.
The one thing I wanted done well was done poorly: a print of the image.
But since this is a critique of the entire piece, I have to be more detailed and critical of the product.
The Finished Print
The Nitty Gritty:
It’s a nice, well-built frame that feels sturdy and strong. The folds on the canvas around the frame are clean and hidden well. The black paper trim is attached well, however, it overhangs the top and bottom of the frame by 1/4 of an inch. Minor, but it’s something you’ll need to trim before hanging it or giving it to a client.
Upon closer inspection, I can see vertical bands of pink in the sky equally spaced apart. The subtlety of the pinks into the blues is blotchy, not smooth. In fact, there are blotches of pink along the top of the frame where there should only be blue. It’s more noticeable on the left side of the image.
There is a slight loss of details in the shadow area where it printed a little dark.
To make sure it wasn’t the image, I opened it in Photoshop to check out the colors. No, the image is fine. The print could definitely be printed better. More quality control is needed. Had the techs compared the printed image to the one submitted, I’m certain they would have reprinted it.
The Flawed Print
Also on the print, you can see bands when you tilt it so that a light reflects off it. When it’s on the wall, it’s not as visible, but that’s only because of where I hung it.
If I were a client and I bought this print sight unseen, I’d be super pissed at the photographer for selling me a crappy print. This is not an acceptable quality for my work. It’s not something I could in good conscience sell to a client to hang at their home or office. It is definitely NOT a gallery quality print.
On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being best, I’ll give it a 4, maybe a 5. Had it been printed correctly, it would easily be an 8 or 9. For the average person just wanting to get a print of their vacation photo, it’s fine. But it is not for reselling to someone wanting high quality.
- Construction: 9
- Print Quality: 1
I showed my friend Carol the print and she agrees: it’s not a good print. I even quipped that I think Costco does better work. And I’ve had a half dozen prints made through them.
So, was it worth it to give Canvas Champ a second chance? Yeah, but I’m not buying anymore of their products. I’ve learned my lesson.
Thank you for stopping by to read and view my work. Feel free to comment, critique, or just ask questions.
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Paul “pablo” Conrad
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Paul Conrad is a talented and skilled award-winning photographer living in Bellingham north of Seattle, WA, in the Pacific Northwest. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines throughout the United States and in Europe. He is available for assignments anywhere in the Pacific Northwest. Although his specialty is photojournalism covering news, sports, and editorial portraits, he also is skilled in family portraiture, high school senior portraits, and weddings.
His clients include Getty Images, Wire Image, AirBnB, The Bellingham Herald, and many local business in Whatcom County. Previous clients are Associated Press, the New York Times, L.A. Times, Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, and many others.