HOWTO: Making an amazing Canvas print with reads

Posted on September 20, 2008, under general, photography.

I recently moved into my own apartment in Dublin, and after a lot of painting and hard work, it needed decorating. If you like taking photos, it’s a great opportunity to put in the extra effort and take some shots that are worthy of enlargement and putting up on a wall. Over the last few weeks I’ve gotten 6 prints done up on canvas, and am getting a feel for what makes amazing prints and what doesn’t.

Reads on Nassau Street in Dublin have a great canvas printing service. but there are some caveats to doing it right and avoiding some extra charges.

Step 1: Take a great photo

Photos with lots of colour and brightness seem to work best, avoid too much detail, landscapes and large-aperture portraits work great. For my largest print, I went out on a mission, and took this photo in the Phoenix park;

Remember if you want to wrap the photo around the canvas you need to make sure that there’s nothing important in the 4.5 cm around the edges.

Step 2: process the photo for canvas

Printing on canvas takes thick ink, to get something amazing looking the photo needs to be bright, and vibrant. I use Lightroom, so I increased the vibrance by about 25% and upped the exposure and brightness by around 15% – it will look a bit glarey on a monitor, but it will come out right on canvas. The same can be done in the gimp, iPhoto, or photoshop.

Lightroom also has an option to “sharpen for matte” when exporting, so I chose that, and exported at 100% quality.

Step 3: burn the files to disc

Reads have a “disc handling” fee of 5 or 10 euro, which essentially covers their costs of getting the files off of the disc and doing things with them. Most customers need to have their files cropped, rotated, sorted and that kind of thing. However if you put a little effort in, you can avoid the charge entirely. First, make sure that your images are exactly the right dimensions for the size you want (keep the resolution as high as possible, but match the aspect ratio of your target size). Next, name the images in an obvious way – if you want a 30×40 canvas print, with the image wrapped around the edges, name the file “40×30-canvas-colour-wrapped-something.jpg” – this means it takes about 5 seconds to give them the files (on a USB fob will do btw) and they won’t waste any time doing anything.

The prints are ready within 24 hours, well all of mine were.

Admire the result!

15 Replies to "HOWTO: Making an amazing Canvas print with reads"


Justin  on September 20, 2008

wow! that looks great.

How much was that one? And what kind of resolution would you start with?


colmmacc  on September 20, 2008

Reads do the 30×40 inches – which is huge, for 120 euro, which is very cheap as these things go. I started with 12MP images from my Canon 5D, but some of them are done from crops and are around 8MP, that’s still well over 72DPI :-)


Rich  on September 20, 2008

Their prices are about 20% of what we were quoted for the same service here. Do they take orders online? Do they ship?


colmmacc  on September 20, 2008

Hey Rich, they do take orders, by e-mail;, and they deliver nationwide in Ireland, but no further :(

Since it sounds like I’m becoming a PR person for reads, I should say – I’m not connected to them in any way, I just think they rock :-)


Paddy  on September 21, 2008

I have to agree. I have never gone for the canvas prints but I do use em for A0 and A1 printing and they are great value. Very helpful too.


mick02  on September 22, 2008

A friend of mine has started up a canvas printing business. He’s pretty cheap too. You can email me if you want his details mickotoole[-at-]

Great prints by the way, they look amazing.


bobb  on September 22, 2008


Um, silly question ?

Do they include the mounting frame, or do you have to sort that out yourself ?

- bobb


colmmacc  on September 22, 2008

It’s not a silly question! I should have said, sorry. Yes, they include the frame, and wrap the canvas onto it and pin it, they also wrap it in bubblewrap before you take it away.


Sander van Zoest  on September 25, 2008

Nice! I have never done a canvas print, but I have been thinking about it. I have had good luck with mpix, but never used their canvas service. If I do that, I will let you know the results. Thanks for the guide.


calliope8muse  on December 23, 2008

Great stuff! This is a wicked piece of advice, I have been hunting high & low to find some good advice both for canvas printing and editing.

I hope they do a student discount as well ;-)


Phil  on December 24, 2008

Brilliant. Any chance of viewing the difference before and after lightbox manipulation? Even a low res version?

By the way, i use these but have never ordered a canvas print…


Phil  on December 24, 2008

Correction Lightroom!


Photo on Canvas  on April 7, 2009

Step 1 would definitely be the hardest for me. I couldn’t take a great photo if I wanted to.


Bridget  on June 12, 2009

I never thought of going to Reads. I got canvases done online by Great service and it saved me a trip to town. It took a week so if I’m in a hurry the next time I’ll give Reads a try.


DIY – make your own canvas photos – The Blogs at HowStuffWorks  on January 7, 2010

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