I posted this image of a canvas print we had done of Lucy on Instagram last week, and everyone really seemed to love it, so I thought I’d share a little bit about how I had these made in case anyone wanted to do something similar for their own homes! It was easy, surprisingly cost effective, and we absolutely love the end result.
First, why we chose canvas photography prints: the ceilings in our apartment are very tall, which is amazing, but with artwork, you definitely need something that can fill the space and make a statement. Joe had long been wanting to find oil-on-canvas type pieces to furnish the apartment with. However, we were both interested in finding pieces that we knew we’d love forever and would be able to display in our home no matter where that might be — now, or in the future. So basically, after some half-hearted searching, we realized that original art plus future housing uncertainty and budget considerations meant it wasn’t the best time to buy anything.
I suggested we look at doing some simple canvases — perhaps of photographs — but Joe’s not really into photography (I know!) so it seemed like we were stalling out again. But then, I had an idea: what about photos of Lucy? Her face is hilariously expressive, and she’s well trained enough to hold certain positions and poses (if I do say so myself). Plus, I had a hunch that as obsessed with her as he was, portraits of the pup were something Joe could get behind. I was right!
So, I had my friend Yvonne shoot some pictures of Lucy when she was in town last.
In my head, from an art direction standpoint, I wanted a bunch of different facial expressions and profile shots, all on a white background, with the intention that her little face would be situated towards the bottom of these long, vertical canvases. I wanted the portraits to feel silly, whimsical, but still super clean and modern. Our den, where we planned on hanging them, is definitely a casual, modern room that’s a little bit funky, and where we spend a lot of time lounging (read: in pajamas and eating take out).
When Yvonne came over, we set up a big white sheet (and duct taped it to the wall). I had Lucy sit in front of it, then directed her with treats. We took SOOO many shots to get the few we ended up using. As good as she is, she was a little confused as to what was going on, so it took a while to get everything we needed (at one point, we resorted to playing YouTube videos of other dogs howling to get her attention). I ended up feeding her A LOT of treats, and she was stoked, though less so the next day when her tummy hurt (oops).
Yvonne sent me the pics, and I did some simple photo editing in Photoshop. I streamlined the background of each pic with a super subtle gradient, so that the background would be consistent among all the shots, regardless of the shadows in the original image. I did some basic lighting edits to suit the look I was going for, and then optimized them for printing.
Now, onto the part everybody probably cares about the most: where we ordered these from. I was browsing on art.com a while back and noticed they did custom printing jobs for all sorts of artwork — canvases, mounting and framing, acrylics, prints, etc. We took a look at the sizes they offered for canvases and were so excited to see that virtually every size you could want was offered. Their process for uploading was extremely simple. I made sure the photo matched their recommended specs, then uploaded each one, selected my canvas size, and that was pretty much it. They offer two wrapping options for the edges of the canvas: museum wrap (which means the sides of the canvas will be black — that’s what we did) and gallery wrap, which means your image will wrap around the edges of the canvas. We placed the order on a Friday evening around 6pm before we left for a dinner, and literally 6 days later, they arrived at our doorstep. I couldn’t believe how fast it was!
The quality is really good, and even though I uploaded images that were slightly below their “optimal” recommended resolution (though still above their recommended minimum), the images are clear and crisp and look really great. The canvases come ready with hanging hardware already attached, or you can always just put a nail into the wall and hang it on the canvas border itself if you’re lazy. I’ve noticed that art.com seems to have a 30% off promotion everyday (don’t necessarily let the “last day” thing deter you…every time I’ve been on the site, I’ve seen a promo code!), so that also helped bring down the cost of our canvases.
Overall, we’re so pleased with how they turned out, and we think they’re weird and hilarious and totally perfect for our little family room/den. They make me smile every time I see them — Yvonne did an amazing job capturing the essence of Lucy, and I’m glad we’ll have these for life! If you want to do a similar project with a pet or even cool pics from a vacation, I really can’t recommend art.com more for this. Let me know if you order any so I can see pictures of what you do!
Images in this post taken by Victoria McGinley; all portraits of Lucy taken by Yvonne Rock. Nope, this is not a sponsored post!