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11-01-2020, 08:22 PM   #1
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Acrylic vs. metal - specifically for a B&W photo

I've had little chance to do much photography, and my focus now is to process a few old images to maybe print something for my walls. I've seen a few videos and text comparisons of printing on acrylic vs metal and I'm going to continue to do some research on this. If I've missed any good threads here on the topic, please feel free to point them out.

However, one thing I haven't seen much is printing of images that are either converted to black and white or are essentially black and white to begin with. I have one from a snowy day where most of the limbs of a tree fell down to form a ring around it. It has been a difficult picture for me to process because of both the diffuse lighting and snowy conditions. That's one reason I'm not posting it here is I'm still not happy with my processing. But it is one that I want to print and I'm trying to figure out the best media for it.


For those who have printed on different media, does it look strange to hang them together in the same general space? Am I worrying too much about what I do with this photo and for my others where colour will be important, should I just pick the best media for each image depending on the content and what I want to emphasize?

Thanks in advance for any thoughts you can share.

11-01-2020, 09:05 PM - 1 Like   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by MSL Quote
should I just pick the best media for each image depending on the content and what I want to emphasize?
Yep. I have not done any acrylic yet but I have paper prints framed under glass, metal prints and canvas prints all in the same room. If I was doing a showing I would likely make sure all the media was the same but in your own house do what the image wants to be on.
11-01-2020, 11:59 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Yep. I have not done any acrylic yet but I have paper prints framed under glass, metal prints and canvas prints all in the same room. If I was doing a showing I would likely make sure all the media was the same but in your own house do what the image wants to be on.
Iíll second that. You can always consider a good special and decorative approach, but as long as itís your personal space, thereís no red line. I would rather consider limitations such as humidity or light / temperature causing degradation , so go for suitable print and frame combo. Iíve print on canvas without framing. The weather is very aggressive here , near the sore line but itís gonna last for decades.
11-02-2020, 01:12 AM   #4
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I have a couple of prints in my room - for black and white I've done baryta paper, for a sunset I chose Ilfochrome on metal as I like the glossy finish. I don't think it looks too weird... but it's all taste I guess.

11-02-2020, 02:43 AM   #5
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Indeed a matter of taste, but I wouldn't mix media on - say - one wall. I have some paper prints under glass at home and one acrylic, but that's in a totally different room with different light as well.
11-02-2020, 09:01 AM   #6
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It all depends on how creative the decorator is.
11-02-2020, 12:57 PM   #7
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I am curious. Does it mean that the sensitive emulsion is spread over a metal/ acryl surface. If it is so can you give more informations?

11-02-2020, 01:39 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Yep. I have not done any acrylic yet but I have paper prints framed under glass, metal prints and canvas prints all in the same room. If I was doing a showing I would likely make sure all the media was the same but in your own house do what the image wants to be on.
Good to know. I guess my concern is that I don't have that much wall space so they could easily be hung next to each other. What has been your impression of printing on canvas or metal?
11-02-2020, 03:13 PM - 2 Likes   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by MSL Quote
What has been your impression of printing on canvas or metal?
Metal requires a really good sharp photo. Of course none of us would take anything else . Metal reveals a lot of flaws so I don't use it unless I'm confident of the image. Canvas on the other hand works very nicely for images that are a little softer. So a cityscape would likely go on metal and an image like Horse Herd Mt Jefferson would work better on canvas. It looks muddy on metal because, well its a soft image. The texture in the canvas adds to the image rather detract from it as it might with a cityscape.
11-02-2020, 05:37 PM - 1 Like   #10
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I think that if you have a good knack for decorating it would be ok to mix media. I'm not sure I'd mix canvas among a group like that, but it is ultimately about how you lay your pictures out, size, etc. that makes it look good or bad.

I've not tested acrylic prints, yet. I have tried metal prints of various types, and I do find that for black and white, it is generally advantageous to print without the metal showing through (i.e. they print it white and then print the photo on top of that). A black and white with the metal shining through can disrupt the contrast of a black and white photo as the whites will only be as light as the metal is. I've had it work ok for a shot that was a night shot, but in general test shots, they don't look too great that way.

So then, once you choose to go with a metal print without the metal showing through, you end up with something that is probably going to be quite similar to an acrylic print, albeit the presentation (thickness, mount, etc.) will be a bit different.

I would strongly encourage test printing on small prints to see how it might look.
11-02-2020, 06:07 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
Metal requires a really good sharp photo. Of course none of us would take anything else
I'll happily admit to lots of not so sharp photos. Especially from my AF lenses as they are from the budget lines and some may need focus adjustment...
Thanks for the thoughts about metal.

---------- Post added 11-02-20 at 08:09 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by emalvick Quote
I think that if you have a good knack for decorating it would be ok to mix media. I'm not sure I'd mix canvas among a group like that, but it is ultimately about how you lay your pictures out, size, etc. that makes it look good or bad.
I think I had the same feel about canvas. Because the framing is so thick it didn't seem like it would mix well with thinner media. Your comments about metal and B&W are very helpful. This suggests that for my winter pic, metal is likely the wrong way to go.
11-04-2020, 06:41 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by MSL Quote
For those who have printed on different media, does it look strange to hang them together in the same general space? Am I worrying too much about what I do with this photo and for my others where colour will be important, should I just pick the best media for each image depending on the content and what I want to emphasize?
Hi!

Late to the show, but here goes:

I've printed on both media. Metal is by far the most dramatic. I especially like it for B&W with high contrast. It seems the metal brings out the details and tonal gradation well.

I think various materials can fit together, but I would not strive to place different materials too close together. I think these types of prints are more effective when a bit more isolated, to emphasize them.

for instance, my metal print is 4x2 feet, and hanging over my bed.
11-04-2020, 05:51 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by MSL Quote
I'll happily admit to lots of not so sharp photos. Especially from my AF lenses as they are from the budget lines and some may need focus adjustment...
Thanks for the thoughts about metal.

---------- Post added 11-02-20 at 08:09 PM ----------



I think I had the same feel about canvas. Because the framing is so thick it didn't seem like it would mix well with thinner media. Your comments about metal and B&W are very helpful. This suggests that for my winter pic, metal is likely the wrong way to go.
I would only argue it is the wrong way to go if you are counting on that metal shininess to show through, which I know some people do. I printed a black and white that was lighter overall, and just eliminated having the metal show through. It is still a beautiful print. Probably would have been nice in acrylic too.
11-04-2020, 06:16 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by bdery Quote
for instance, my metal print is 4x2 feet, and hanging over my bed.
Thanks for the insights. I think there's been at least one thread here of picture of pictures - i.e. people showing off their large prints. I should see if I can find it and if there isn't one, maybe folks can start one.

---------- Post added 11-04-20 at 08:28 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by emalvick Quote
I would only argue it is the wrong way to go if you are counting on that metal shininess to show through, which I know some people do. I printed a black and white that was lighter overall, and just eliminated having the metal show through. It is still a beautiful print. Probably would have been nice in acrylic too.
I'd be interesting in seeing this final print too
11-05-2020, 06:32 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by MSL Quote
Thanks for the insights. I think there's been at least one thread here of picture of pictures - i.e. people showing off their large prints. I should see if I can find it and if there isn't one, maybe folks can start one.
Here is a quick and dirty cell phot picture showing the result. Of course it doesn't do justice to the print, but still.

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