I have a ridiculous amount of photos of my pets. It’s gotten worse since purchasing a dSLR camera. There isn’t a moment I haven’t convinced myself isn’t the perfect Kodak moment. Unfortunately, I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to do with all these images. Sure, I share them in the Pawesome Flickr pool and include them in posts here on the site, but what about when I want to enjoy my digital snapshots in the analog world?
I recently got a chance to test out a few printing services for a New York Times story on the very subject. While testing, I found that each provided a great tool for those looking for creative ways to display snaps of their pets. After the jump, a look at a few of my favorite photo printing services for pets!
If you’re looking to blow up an image as a basic print you have two options – the inexpensive Shutterfly and the slightly more expensive Wizard Prints. The former offers 11-by-14, 16-by-20 and 20-by-30 inch prints that start at 8 bucks. Images are inked onto Fuji Crystal Archive professional-grade paper using a silver halide development process. Unlike inkjet prints done at home, in which colors sit atop your photo paper, this process uses red, green and red lasers to expose the material and then chemically process it to ensure images don’t fade over time. Shutterfly’s print quality is great, but they’ll ink your image all the way to the edge unless you send them a photo with a border. This can be an issue if you don’t want to lose any of your image when you frame.
Wizard Prints can blow up your photos to virtually any size you want, as long as your image is high res enough. They offer a slew of materials to print on, including a low tack adhesive mural fabric if you think your dog’s mug warrants a floor to ceiling treatment. In the above, I opted for a standard glossy photo print of Lulu (photographed by Aubrey Edwards). Wizard Prints puts image to paper using a printer that has as many as eight archival ink colors in place, and includes a nice white border to ease with framing. My 30-by-40 inch print was $69. It’s not cheap, but it’s not bad either. I think the bigger sticker price shock will be when I get this behemoth framed!
Custom framing can get mighty expensive, which is why using a canvas printing service can be so appealing. Both Wizard Prints and Canvas Pop offer services that transfer your images onto stretched canvas.
This gives images a slick art gallery look, plus it’s a great option for images with any kind of motion (the fibers in the canvas work with the movement so the fact that your cat can’t stand still looks more painterly than photography faux pas).
Canvas Pop is especially good with working with low resolution images taken from say, a cell phone. They have a dedicated staff that works on your image in a post production like setting, upping colors and fixing flaws (Wizard Prints offers a similar service, but it’s not as intuitive as Canvas Pop’s site). Both companies can only do so much, so remember, your canvas will only look as good as the photography you send them. Pricing for a canvas is a bit more than a standard print. The turkeys in flight photograph taken by the super talented Tawnee Lynne Cowan was blown up to 24-by-36 inches, which cost $179. The photo of Pookie climbing a tree in our backyard is 24-by-32 inches and cost $124.
If you have a lot of pet photos you want to arrange in a cohesive, yet haphazard model, Collage Wall will walk you through the steps to curate a mounted mish mash of images out of your own photos. While Collage Wall was developed with digital images in mind, I took the opportunity to scan old family snapshots from the 1950s and 60s and enlarge them with the service. The collage I made features photos of my mother’s side of the family, with three photos of the family wiener dog my grandfather loved so much (or at least looks like he adores in one of the photos).
Now for one of the unexpected surprises — vinyl decals. While I’ve owned decals from vinyl art company Blik in the past, I’ve outgrown the concept of squeegeeing decals on my walls. When I decided to try out, Wallhogs, a service that turns digital photos into vinyl decals, I wanted to figure out a way to use the material in a creative manner. I don’t know if I’ve successfully done that, but I like it either way.
After uploading a photo of my cat Dim Sum laying on the couch, I asked Wallhogs to print everything but the background of the image. This created a cut out of just my calico and the couch. Once the 36-inch long vinyl decal ($41) arrived at the house I wrapped it around the bottom of our fridge door, which updated our drab Kenmore. It was so realistic, despite its gynormous size, that Pookie freaked out when she walked into the kitchen and saw it. It took her a few minutes to gain the courage to walk over and smell it. Ah Pookie. Always pretending she’s so tough.
Well, I hope this gave you some inspiration to create some unique projects using your own pet photos. If you’ve figured out a pawesome way to display your pet photos, please share in the comments below!
For more in depth reviews of each service, check out my posts on Unplggd.