Okay, this isn't really technology, but this forum is always so helpful, I figured I'd ask anyway. We want to get several of our most recent travel photos printed and framed. I'm thinking of 11x14 plus matting and framing, or perhaps as big as 11x24. I can purchase the entire thing on Shutterfly. But I'm wondering if it is less expensive (even with Shutterfly's 50% off codes, framed prints are expensive) to just purchase the prints and have them custom framed? I'm not sure I could frame them myself because of the odd size, but obviously that would be the least expensive option. I'm curious as to what other people have done, and what has worked best for you. Thanks!
My cousin did those frameless tile pictures from her family trip to Hawaii and they looked fabulous. I know others that have done them also from different photos, they look great, especially in a collage format on the wall.
My husband does a lot of photography, and I do my share as well. His camera is better (some professionals use his model) and he takes "scenes", where as I tend to be more one that wants to "document" trips/occasions. He for now, uses a slide camera, so if he wants things printed and framed we tend to do custom frame/mat because he has less flexibility. For me, I do quite well working with the frames, and maps readily available at places like Michaels. Unless they are having a sale, I use their 40-50% off coupons. In this day of digital cameras, you are able to edit, crop and print just about any size. I typically will look at what is available in the stores before having things printed. 11 x 14 is a rather common frame size, you should be able to find something already made. I do typically have Shutterfly or a local camera store (National Camera in MN) print my photos. For me, Walgreens is often more expensive and I get a nicer print from National Camera or Shutterfly. I have in the past, spray painted mats or tried various methods to change the color. I also got a really nice look when I covered some frames with fabric. A spray adhesive is best for that.
Moderate priced option is 8x10 prints and ready-made frames with pre-cut mats for the 8x10 print. Of course, the print size is contingent on the size of your rooms/walls. Custom framing/matting, especially for prints bigger than 8x19, can be expensive and if well done look expensive.
For prints, I use www.mpix.com . They produce beautiful prints and I especially love their metallic paper. They aren't the cheapest option, but boy do those colors pop on the metallic paper. It's not over the top, just a beautiful subtle touch. As for custom frames, I use Michaels when they do their double percentage off sales or www.framebridge.com . Framebridge gives you the option to upload your photo to their site where they'll make the print and frame it or they'll send you a mailer for you to ship your print to them (free shipping). Very straightforward pricing. More often than not, I buy ready-made frames from Target or Michaels when I can. Now if I could only get into the habit of framing the street art I pick up while on vacation more quickly. I should build it into my trip budget, haha!
Anything 8x10 or smaller I just print at home after doing my own photo editing. Otherwise I upload it to one of the photo printing sites. For frames and mats I go to Michaels and use their coupons for either a standard size frame or a custom frame and a custom mat in a suitable colour.
If you have a Costco in your area they usually produce quality results for prints which can be taken to Michael’s for framing. Actually, I really like the look of the canvas prints from Costco that don’t even need a frame. I have two beautiful canvas prints from my last trip (garden/mountains at Stresa, hydrangeas /Tuscan home at Pienza) that turned out lovely from Costco.
Jean suggests a good option. If you are not a Cosco member, the canvas prints are widely available and can be quite attractive. Shutterfly, Walgreens, many others.
I've become a serious hobby photographer but had rarely printed any of my images, except 4 x 6 photos from events and parties to share with family and friends. Until last year. I needed to contribute a few printed, framed images from a photo walk to the gallery exhibit for the group. I had the images printed at Costco - one was something like 14" x 17" and the rest either 11" x 14" or 8" x "10 - and was pleased with the print quality. I found a good range of ready-made mats and frames at Michael's - they were even on sale - and was pleased with the look of the framed prints. (I stuck with plain black frames and the ready-made mats were pretty simple but hat was fine.) Since then I've done the Costco print and Michael's ready-made frame thing for other photographs. They look fine.
I'll second the canvas print comments. Recently Costco sent me a letter regretfully announcing that they were closing the photo center at the warehouse I usually used to pick up my prints. To ease the blow, the letter included a $50.00 (!!) credit code. I ordered a 2' x 3' print on canvas of an abstract image I'd created using my smartphone and a $3 long exposure app. My out of pocket cost, with the $50 credit, was about ten bucks. The canvas print is a quality product, stretched on a sturdy frame, and looks great on the wall. I chose the version that doesn't need to have a frame around it. Now I just have to stop myself from spending all my money on canvas prints . . .