3 things you need to know before printing on metal

3 things you need to know before printing on metal

Printing on Metal:  All Metal Prints are not Created Equal

I have been printing on Metal for a long time, three or four years at the least.  Over the course of time, I have printed with many companies.  Some are the best in the industry, and some are the rock bottom worst.  Either way, I am always out there finding new places to print to see if their print quality is up to my standard.  Let’s face it; sometimes I just want to print something to go in my office where quality is not that important and other times I need gallery quality, resell prints.

During this Facebook Live Event, I discussed three things you need to know if you are printing on metal:

 

  1. The Sticker Shock:  The price tag of printing on metal can be shocking.  Horribly shocking!  However, consider this.  Metal Prints look great all by themselves.  They do not need frames or matting or anything really.  They stand off the wall quite a bit, and their presence is presence enough.  Before you gawk at the sticker, realize that you do not need to add anything else to make them gorgeous.  A regular 24 x 36 print with a frame and matte would cost the same (if not more) than an aluminum print.
  2. Test Print First:  Before you print your entire galleries worth of prints, be sure to test the company you will use.  Instead of taking my word, or someone else’s for that matter, find three companies you want to print on metal with.  Order the same print from all of them at 8x10.  Look at the small prints, compare their quality, hanging method, and durability and then decide.
  3. All Metal Prints are not created Equal:  I have printed with several companies, my favorites are listed below, but the worst of the worst has got to be InkDoodle.  I printed with them because they were running a promotion, three metal prints for $10 or something, it was cheap, I don’t remember exactly how much.  So I tested them out with six prints.  It took two months to receive them, and the final result was horrible.  Very thin metal, horrible ink to print application (it looked like a pointillist painting), and the corners were so sharp I nearly cut my finger when I opened the package.On the flip side of the spectrum, my favorite place to print with is Metal Mouth Prints.  The quality is superb, the presentation is incredible, and the attention to detail Ben Gasser (the head printer of Metal Mouth) puts into every print is just on point.  They are clearly at the high end of the spectrum, but reasonably so.

30% off orders over $100 @ Metal Mouth

This was not planned at all, but Ben Gasser of Metal Mouth Prints saw the live event and wanted to offer anyone on f64 Academy a 30% off coupon for the entire month of August on all orders over $100.  Awesome deal.

Use the Code:
BlakeRudisVideo

30% Off orders over $100

Blake Rudis
Creator of f.64 Academy
Blake is a husband, father, and avid photographer whose passion for Photography led him to create f.64 Academy and f.6 Elite. He is dedicated to bringing the finest Photoshop and Photography education on the web!
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16 Comments

  1. I’ve been using BayPhoto in CA for metal prints for two years now and I’ve been delighted with their quality in every way.

    Reply
    • I’ve had good results with Image Wizards, and Blazing Editions

      Reply
      • I have also had amazing results from Blazing Editions. When I was first thinking about printing on metal, I went to all the booths at PhotoPlus Expo, examined the displays, and spoke to them.

        Josef Blazar (the elder) was cordial, and it was apparent that his decades of work in printing were brought to bear on this new technology. His prints were the most ambitious and the highest quality. They are pricey, but the work is worth it.

        He created a 18×24 metal print for me so rich and detailed that my cousin, who has displayed work from his Nikon full frame film and digital cameras in museums and galleries, just looked at me and said, “THAT came from a 16mp file?!”

        Reply
  2. I have also found BayPhoto to be an excellent lab for metal prints.

    Reply
  3. Thanks for the excellent overview of metal prints. Can you give us a similar for Acrylic prints?

    Reply
  4. I tried MPix for two prints and while the quality was excellent, I prefer the prints to be directly on the metal surface. MPix only offered printing on a white painted surface. The prints I have made at Bay Photo are very good, the finish is very professional and delivery is fast. The price is reasonable and leaves me room for profit. Metal prints represent a small percentage of my art show gallery but that will change as I print more of my images on metal, as they are a crowd favorite.

    I will definitely try out other sources as suggested.

    Reply
  5. I will definitely check them out this month. I need to get a few tests anyway. This is great. I’ve had good results from Bay Photo in the past. I don’t use mPix for metal, but their paper and metallic paper prints are usually good and they’re fast. Black River in Springfield is also good with metal and they have a couple of finishes. I like the satin.

    Reply
  6. Do you know of any place that uses a gold metal? There are times when the gold surface is preferred to an aluminum surface to print on.

    Reply
  7. Thanks Blake for the awesome review. Have you used Whitewall? How would you compare Mental Mouth to Whitewall? They are my favorite but it takes a bit to get here as well as shipping is $$. I no longer care for BP and haven’t used MP much.

    Reply
    • Thanks, Diane. I have not used Whitewall. I’ll look into them.

      Reply
  8. Has anyone tried Black River Imaging for metal prints?

    Reply
  9. I have had good luck with Meridian Pro’s metal prints also. They also use dye sublimation.

    Reply
  10. Hi Blake,
    Thanks for the review. I looked at the Metal Mouth website and noticed they have many options such at Gator Board width, FMK add-on and more. I’m wondering what the exact “add-ons” were used in making that image.

    Reply
    • No problem! That one had the FMK with the Gator Board backing.

      Reply
  11. Thank you for this very informative review.
    What is the size of that Metal Mouth print you were showing?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • No problem! Glad you found it helpful.

      I believe that was a 12 x 18.

      Reply

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