Looking at pictures on smartphones? Mildly enjoyable. Holding an actual photo print in your hands? More satisfying. How about a canvas that’s a couple of feet tall? That’s how to really enjoy your best shots.
Printing those works of art is also the specialty of CanvasPop. Some other photo printing services like Snapfish and Nations Photo Labs also can print large, but CanvasPop only produces the big stuff. It’s not cheap, and it doesn’t offer instant gratification, but the results are excellent.
How Much Does CanvasPop Cost?
CanvasPop canvases are wrapped around frames (the company no longer offers cheaper loose canvas prints), and you don’t need to print just one image; you can also create a photo collage. Pricing for a single-photo canvas starts at $71 for an 8-by-10 frame-wrapped print—that’s pretty pricey compared with a simple paper 8-by-10 from the likes of Snapfish, which runs a mere $2.99. But the CanvasPop 8-by-10 isn’t on paper. Instead, it’s on archival quality canvas, and is mounted on a wood frame. For comparison, Nations Photo Lab) offers canvas 8-by-10s for $58, and Snapfish offers them for $44.99.
At the top end of CanvasPop’s pricing spectrum is the framed 36-by-54-inch or 72-by-40-inch framed canvas print, which will run you $551. You can choose white, black, or espresso wood frame options. You can also pick black, white, or photo wrapping.
This is where CanvasPop offers something you won’t find at the budget photo processors. Snapfish’s largest canvas is 20 by 30 inches and Nations tops out at 30 by 40 inches. CanvasPop’s most popular option is 12 by 16 inches with a 3/4-inch-deep mount, at $85. The same treatment from Printique costs $104.
CanvasPop no longer offers photo printed gifts like pillows or magnets, or even holiday cards. Instead it focuses squarely on canvases, as its name suggests. The company does offer Pet Portraits, with the animal’s name overlaid in script.
Ordering Your Canvas Online
You don’t need to sign up for an account to get going, but I recommend doing so to make it easier to keep track of your orders. If you’re going to be dropping close to $200, you’ll certainly want to have an account for tracking purposes. Stick around on the CanvasPop website for just a little while, and you’ll be greeted by a support assistant in a chat box on the bottom-right corner of the page.
Your first choice is whether you want a single photo printed on canvas, a collage, or a framed picture. Next, you can upload your photo from your computer, or get it from Facebook or Instagram. I’d like to see CanvasPop add Flickr as a choice, since I’m more likely to have my higher-resolution images there.
You can upload JPG, PNG, or TIFF file formats (just one file at a time). If you chose Photo Print, your next option is whether you want canvas or a framed paper print. For our test photo, we stuck with canvas, because, you know: CanvasPop. The interface suggests a size (12-by-8 for our test image), but you can choose a custom size as well.
At first, I was concerned that the site doesn’t indicate if the photo upload has sufficient resolution for your large print, but when I tried uploading a very small file, it did tell me that the image wasn’t large enough.
The site also informed me that all orders include the PicturePerfect service, meaning its designers adjust contrast and fix red eyes and such. A digital proof option lets you see what these adjustments look like. Finally, you have to select an edge treatment—you can have the photo wrap around the edge, for example.
Advanced Options range from filters (black and white is free, but most cost $25 extra) to Design Makeover ($49.95) in which a technician restores a damaged photo, applies a digital facelift, or adds or removes people or changes the background. Rush shipping adds $39 to the order, chopping 2 days off wait time.
I’m surprised that the site offers no cropping tools, since the canvas aspect ratio may not match that of your original. Some photo printing services, such as Nations Photo Labs, make sure you know how the image will be cropped to fit the print size. When I mentioned this to the online support assistant, Julie, she replied that I could leave instructions on the order page for how to crop it. Of course, you’re free to crop the photo using photo editing software.
I opted for the 16-by-24-inch canvas with 0.75-inch deep frame and a black border. Total cost: $113. After I went through the steps above, the site displayed my order number, and all that remained was to anxiously haunt the mail room.
The Proof Is on the Canvas
Two weeks and three days after placing our order, the canvas arrived. It was protectively shipped in a large box, with bubble wrap tightly taped around the canvas inside. The frame included a wire for hanging, and even a wall bracket, saving me a trip to the hardware store.
I was a little worried about the image I’d selected of a small bird on a branch near the ground at dawn (a female American Redstart, or Setophaga ruticilla, for the ornithologists out there), thinking it might be overly muted in color.
Fortunately, the canvas that arrived is vivid and pleasing to behold.
Clearly, the color and lighting correction used by CanvasPop gets the best result from the source image. One minor disappointment is that the black frame sides don’t line up exactly with the frame corners, but for most that’s probably not a major drawback, and it gives the flavor of a painted canvas.
Finally, there’s CanvasPop’s pledge: “…either you love it or we’ll make it right—guaranteed. We’ll either reprint it for you for free or give you all your money back.” That includes cracks, fades, warps or creases. When you’re paying this much for a single print, a guarantee like this is a big deal.
Given that the most common way to view photos is now on a smartphone screen, it’s a delightful change to revel in a large-scale version of a photo. CanvasPop makes large printed wall art available to more than just professionals, who pay hundreds of dollars for printing and mounting at smaller sizes. Printing quality and packaging are up to snuff, though you’ll have to wait a couple weeks if you don’t pay for expedited shipping. Either way, the result is something you’ll be proud to hang on your living room wall.
- No cropping tool
- Long delivery time
The Bottom Line
Turn your digital photos into living room art with this high quality, affordable service that prints your photos on canvas and can even frame them for you.
|Lowest Price for 4-by-6 Print||N/A|
|Largest Print||38 by 76|