Review of EasyCanvasPrints.com
Date: December 11th, 2011
A few weeks ago, I was approached by the folks over at EasyCanvasPrints.com. They offered me a free canvas print of my choice in return for a review of their services. So as a poor graduate student and as someone interested in seeing my work in print, I gladly accepted. So below describes my experiences (good and bad) with EasyCanvasPrints.com.
Starting at the beginning, I found their site was very easy to navigate. A single click from their homepage and I was ready to start creating my product. First choice to make is the physical dimensions of the canvas print, including depth. EasyCanvasPrints.com offers two different depth sizes, the standard 3/4" or you can choose 1-1/2" for a bit extra. This was not the first canvas print that I have ever had made, so to keep with the sizes of my other prints, I chose the 1-1/2".
Unfortunately the decision about the dimensions of length and width were a bit more difficult to make. Most of my images are mosaics or have been cropped during the processing stage - so none of the dimensions that I could choose from would fit. When I uploaded a photo anyway, there was a nice was to crop the image through the website. So if I was set on a particular size, I could select which part of the image to print right when ordering.
Thankfully, there is another way to handle this situation. EasyCanvasPrints.com allows you to select a custom size (to the nearest inch). So as long as you know the dimensions of the digital image (in inches), which is easy to find using a program such as Photoshop or GIMP, you can have your image printed in full size without having to crop more than 1 inch along the vertical and horizontal dimensions.
After I finally selected the size of my future canvas wrap, I tried to upload it when I ran into my first problem. There is a file size limit of 25MB for the upload. This limit is more than high enough for any JPEG image from a consumer camera. However, as I stated before, most of my images are mosaics and the image I tried to upload was 68MB. I have a very slow internet connection and as such, it took me over an hour to upload this file only to be informed that it was over a limit. It would have been nice to have this information next to the upload button (as their other restrictions are).
Once I resized my image to get it under 25MB and uploaded that image there was a nice bar which appeared on the screen which let me know that the resolution of the image was good enough to print on the size of canvas that I selected. So I hit the Order button and I waited for the package to arrive.
As soon as the order was processed, I received an automated email with the expected delivery date of Dec 5. I was very surprised when the mailman woke me up at noon on the 3rd with the package. But I figured it was a good enough reason to wake up :-)
The first thing I noticed was a big "Fragile" sticker on the front of the box - which was in good shape - a few slightly ruffled corners, but after opening up the package, I noticed that the corners did not matter. The canvas wrap was covered in a plastic wrap which was secured in the middle of the box by tape with a large piece of cardboard above and below it to protect it from the inside of the box that it was shipped in.
Now was the moment of truth though - how did the image look? Was it what I was expecting? Well to start off, let me say that images involving the night sky or stars, nebulae, galaxies, really any type of astrophotography are very difficult to print. Unlike daytime images, the color and the transitions between the colors are very subtle. The image that I had print was no exception. It started near the bottom with oranges and pinks, the transitioned into a light blue, then a dark blue, and finally to near black. There were only a handful of stars thrown in there with a high contrast bolide (meteor) and a bright "special effects" star. And despite the challenge of printing this image - the final result came out great! Hanging up on a wall you can clearly see a smooth array of colors with stars dotted throughout the size.
Note: You can view the digital version of this image by clicking here.
The only other problem (beside the file size) that I had came after I received the image. They attached a hook on the back of the canvas wrap which would allow you to hang it on the wall. However, the hook was placed on the wrong size. In their defense though, the image that I had printed was a vertical image and the simulation on their website clearly shows the image hanging horizontally. So if you want a vertical (portrait) image printed you have to select a custom size otherwise the hanging hook will be placed in the wrong spot.
The last item I want to add to this review comes from after I had the image. By placing an order with them, you are automatically subscribed to their email list (which is easy to unsubscribe if you wish). But already within the past 2 weeks I have received 3 emails with the following limited time offers: 60% off Canvas Prints, 3 Canvas Prints for $49.99 (an 8"x8", 8"x10", and a 11"x14"), and a 18"x24" for $34.99 (which is ~56% off). So if you get their emails you can find some great deals on their already fair prices!
Pros: Amazing color quality, excellent packing, very quick to ship, easy to navigate website, helpful final cropping tool to uploaded images, great deals if you subscribe to their email list
Cons: A hidden file size limit restrictions, portrait (vertical) images all require you to select a custom canvas size