Saturday, March 31, 2012

Easy Canvas Prints

Easy Canvas Prints Product Review

After I got married, I had incentive to write reviews of my vendors over at Wedding Wire. At the time, the free gift you'd get for reviewing at least five wedding vendors that you used was a code for a free 8x8" canvas print at Easy Canvas Prints. The smallest print at 8x8 starts at $40 and they have sizes that range all the way up to 30x40" for $175, as well as custom sizing. These prices do not include changing your photo to black & white, sepia color, or "retouching" which all add to the price in ridiculous amounts (you can do these things for free in online photo sharing sites like Photobucket or play with Windows Photo Gallery as well). Here is a chart for a guide to their "most popular sizes" and pricing, including how much they charge for the special features. At the moment they have a sale going on (which I suspect is akin to Michael's constant framing sales--so never pay full price and just wait a few weeks until another sale is on): 25% off and free shipping. The free shipping is actually something to really take advantage of, as I will explain later.

One of the good parts of Easy Canvas Prints is that they have whole galleries of millions of photos that you can choose from; you don't have to choose a photo of your own if all you're looking for is an artistic canvas to go on your wall. I thought that was really neat and it was fun flipping through all great photos they have on there. They also have an "Idea Gallery" that lets you see prints in room settings for inspiration.

There are a few options for your canvas. You can have the standard wrap thickness which is .75" or you can choose a thicker gallery which is 1.5" (which you would want if you just wanted to stand the print up on a table by itself, for example). The thicker wrap costs extra.

The next step is uploading a photo. You can either browse your computer for one or you can click a Facebook button which will take you to your Facebook photo albums. It [helpfully] automatically rates your photo quality from poor-fair-good, which "lets you know if the image you have loaded has the right resolution for a canvas print."

The choice for a Display Option is between a "Wall Hanger" or a "Canvas Stand," both of which are just like what you see on any regular picture frame (the stand costs extra). Then you choose a border between a mirror option, image wrap, or a border color with a color wheel to choose from. None of these add to the price.
  • When you choose "Image Wrap" it adjusts your photo on the canvas so that the top of the photo is now wrapped around the side of it--so if this is the option that you'd like, be sure to leave a .75" or 1.5" buffer around the image that you want to appear on the front of the canvas. I had a hard time adjusting for this. 
Lastly are the Optional Color Finishing and Retouching options, which cost extra. And you're done!

Overall the process is pretty user-friendly with the layout and the options. 

Now you might be wondering why I only gave it 2 stars if what I've said so far sounds relatively positive. 

A photo of the canvas print.
Basically I decided that the cost vs. quality didn't really measure up to my standards. I did get the print for free, but I still had to pay for shipping and that cost $17 which I thought was a ridiculous amount for an 8x8 print. The packaging was a bit overzealous, which could be considered a good thing to some people but I thought it was just a waste. They could have just sent it in a tough padded envelope and it would've fine, but I could just be thinking like a minimalist. However, I do know that whatever box you send it in and whatever amount of paper you send with it as padding, $17 for it was overkill.

And the quality isn't all that great. The colors are off and the lines aren't very clean either (not sure if you can tell this from the photo). They seem to have "bled" a bit when printing, like someone was printing on their own home computer like this reviewer said. And it wasn't my photo quality at fault because it was a professionally taken photo and the resolution was considered "good" by the website.

Quite frankly, if I had actually spent $40 (or even $30 on "sale") and then shipping on top of that (or even free shipping!), I would've been pissed and wanted my money back. As it was....I got it for free plus shipping, and it just wasn't really worth the effort for $17.

The reviewer I linked to above suggested Artistic Photo Canvas instead, and a commenter also suggested Canvas Press. Unless you've got a great coupon and don't plan for high quality, Easy Canvas Prints might be for you...or not.