Many homes have all-in-one printers capable of producing good quality photos, provided the right components are used. These include the photo paper, ink cartridges depending on your printer’s brand and for the prints you want to frame, there’s also the mounting technique and cost of that to consider too.
For those with access to a decent printer whether at work, a local store or the library, there’s the option to order prints online, in-store or take the easier route and sometimes more budget-friendly option to print at home, but which method is best for quality and price in the long-run?
To decide on the budget aspect of print and frame services, it helps to consider the true cost of each print, which can include ink, paper, backing board to mount the prints to and the frames to house them in.
The components of a good quality framed print
Inks work best when the right types are used, and that’s mostly brand specific as printers need to use genuine ink cartridges. It’s the only way to know the inks will last the time stated on the packaging. Non-genuine inks won’t give you the longevity stated by brands, which in some cases can guarantee the ink quality for a period of 25+years. Using cheaper alternatives of inks for prints you want to last is not a good idea as it’s the difference between your print lasting decades or just a year or two before being affected by fading or the likes.
The Paper Quality
The quality of the paper you use for printing your photographs will impact on how good the print is and how long it stays that way.
For some printers that require genuine ink cartridges and give you specific details of the quality you can expect and longevity of the ink quality, the guidelines are based on using either the brands genuine paper or paper of the same standards they use for testing.
Typically, for printing photographs or prints of photos you’ve taken for artwork, photo paper is recommended. To determine the paper quality, go with the weight as the higher the weight is, the less likely it is to wrinkle and crease, so it’s definitely not the same as your standard printer paper. Unlike inks requiring you use genuine ink for branded printers, the paper doesn’t need to be brand specific.
The weight of paper is shown on packaging as GSM, which stands for Grams per Square Meter. Quality photographic papers tend to be between 200 GSM and 300 GSM, after which it gets more like card rather than paper.
In addition to the weight of the paper, there are also various types such as gloss, matte, or bright white. Glossy papers tend to produce better photographs because the paper absorbs the ink resulting in sharper and clearer images.
Mounting your print
For photos you plan to display inside a frame for longevity purposes as well as a professional look to your rooms, such as those photos of sentimental value that you need to protect, it’s also an idea to consider the framing process before you print because if you print at home and intend to frame your photo yourself, you’ll need to consider how to mount the print prior to framing.
Mounting your prints involves attaching them to a firm backing board to ensure they stay flat when inside the frame and don’t wrinkle or curl, as paper tends to do because of temperature fluctuations.
Framing your prints
Once you have your print ready, it’s then a case of finding a suitable photo frame along with a mount board to protect the print from sticking to the frames glazing. Depending on where you shop, frame prices vary drastically as does the quality of the frames.
For frames and prints to last, the frame, glazing, all the framing components including mount boards, mounting technique and how the frame is sealed will affect how long the print stays protected in the frame.
How The Picture Gallery ensure your Framed Prints last
At The Picture Gallery, we use an Epson SureColor P9500 large format printer along with Genuine Epson UV inks and 290gsm Fuji pro pearl photographic paper and include dry-mounting prints to ensure they stay flat and are finished in quality frames by experienced framers.