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“Help, I Have No Idea Where To Begin” Buyers Guide.

Hopefully, this guide will provide a helping hand to understand what is the best option for you. Of course, we’re just an email, live chat or phone call away too if you need some additional help. Before we begin the buyer’s guide it’s helpful to see a bird's eye view of the various products in a table form. Once you’ve reviewed the table, go through the detailed guide to confirm your product choice. The guide will finish up with an FAQ.

[All products come ready to hang and float ¾” from the wall for a modern floating off the wall look (the 1” acrylic block and 1.25" birch block have the option to hang or stand alone.  All the products below are the mounted prints products.  If you just want paper prints for framing we have a few options including a few fine art papers]

Product

Thickness

Look

Max Size

Price

Hanging

Options 
(details in guide)

Acrylic

⅛” & ¼”

Vibrant

96x48”

$$$$

Wood/Wire Or Alum/Cleat

Paper, Hang Upgrade, Edge Finish,, TruLife (⅛”)

½”

Vibrant

40x30”

$$$$$

Alum/Cleat Only

Paper, Includes Edge Finish & Hang Upgrade

Acrylic Block

1”

Vibrant

20x15”

$$$$$

Optional

Paper, Hang or Standalone, Includes Edge Finish.

Bamboo

¾”

Matte or Glossy

40x30”

$$$$

Wood/Wire Only

Paper & Laminate

Aluminum

⅛”

Matte or Glossy

40x30”

$$$

Wood/Wire Or Alum/Cleat

Paper, Laminate, Hang Upgrade

Dibond

⅛”

Matte or Glossy

96x48”

$$

Wood/Wire Or Alum/Cleat

Paper, Laminate, Hang Upgrade

Birch

¾”

Matte or Glossy

40x30”

$$

Wood/Wire Only

Paper & Laminate

Birch Block

1.25”

Matte or Glossy

20x15”

$$

Hanging Optional

Paper & Laminate

Gatorfoam

¾”

Matte or Glossy

96x48”

$

Wire Hang Only

Paper & Laminate

 
Step 1: The Look - Vibrant or Softer, Matte?


What if I’m not sure what look I want?
There are three important things to consider when determining whether you want a vibrant/glossy or a matte look. The majority of our customers do opt for the vibrancy of our popular acrylic products, but consider the following when determining if it’s the right option for you:

  1. Type Of Photo. Photos with bold colors (including bold B&W’s) really lend themselves well to the vibrant/glossy look of the acrylic or any other product using our glossy laminate. Softer photos certainly look nice either way, but some prefer to pair it with the more matte look of our bamboo, aluminum, dibond, birch or gatorfoam product using the matte laminate.

Examples of photos that would look great with our acrylic product.

bjaxbuyerguide_acrylicphotos.jpg

Examples of photos that might be a better fit for a softer, matte look.  For these types of photos consider choosing a non-acrylic product with the matte laminate.

bjaxmatteexamplecollage.jpg

  1. Reflection. Most people aren’t too concerned with some reflection. There is reflection in the acrylic similar to what you’d see in traditional glass frames. Our premium TruLife acrylic product (available only in ⅛”) will reduce some of the reflection (25-30% by our estimates). We also have an anti-glare acrylic (also in the 1/8" thick acrylic) which reduces reflection closer to 40-50%.  Reflection can also be reduced by strategic placement and good overhead art lighting. If this is a big concern, you’ll want to choose any of our other products with a matte laminate.

  1. Price. If you’re on a tight budget, but still want a durable, gallery quality look we typically recommend our dibond product which offers both a soft, matte look (with the matte laminate) or a vibrant, glossy look with the gloss laminate.

 

I Want Vibrant & Glossy


If you want a vibrant, glossy look, then the most popular choice is our acrylic product.  If you're on a budget or just want a different look then go with any of our other products using the gloss laminate.

If a vibrant, glossy look is what you’re after, our very popular acrylic (otherwise known as plexiglass) product is a great choice, but not the only choice.  We'll discuss all the other options below, but for now we'd like to highlight what we're known for and that's the acrylic print.  We offer it as ⅛”, ¼”, ½” and 1” thick. This is our signature product. Acrylic face mounting is gaining popularity among those wanting a superior presentation with vibrancy that no other framing or mounting option can match. We print your photo on high quality photo paper (satin or metallic), then face mount your image to the acrylic (plexiglass) so that you're looking through the acrylic at your print. Acrylic is unique in that light refracts within the acrylic (instead of passing through as it does with glass). With the right lighting, your photo almost appears backlit. To keep the print rigid, protected and provide a place to install hidden floating and hanging hardware, we back it with dibond. The result is a stunning presentation which appears to float off the wall as you can see in the product photos below.

acryliccollage_buyguide.jpg

Shopping Around? Not all acrylic prints are made equally. Wherever you decide to buy your acrylic print (we hope you choose us!), be aware of the following ways companies produce them to offer them cheaper. You get what you pay for certainly applies in the printing industry. If you see pricing that is significantly lower between companies, chances are very good they are created differently so know what you’re paying for. There are a few big differences that you’ll often see not only in the way they are made, but in how fast they are produced and how well they are packaged in shipping.  Below are a few highlights, but you can see our full acrylic prints buy guide here.

  • Direct to Acrylic Print Vs Face Mount Method: Many companies print directly to the acrylic where the ink is infused into the acrylic rather than printing to high quality photo paper and face mounting. The direct print method is cheaper, but you’ll give up some vibrancy and color accuracy. It’s best suited for signage and graphics as well as outdoor applications.  The face mount method which is what we provide is better suited for fine art.

  • Backer & Hanging: Another big difference is in the way it’s backed and adhered to the wall. The best way to do this is with a dibond backer because it’s very light and very sturdy. It will keep the print protected, keep it from bowing over time and provide a place to hide the hardware for that modern, floating look. Another way to do this is with no backer which require the stand off bolts in each corner (distracting to the image, no floating look and time consuming hang process). Some companies will emulate the dibond backer with a sintra backer because it’s cheaper, but it simply won’t provide the same level of rigidity which is particularly important for larger pieces.  We have also seen companies sending out acrylic prints with no backer at all and adhering float/hang hardware directly to the print.  Not good.

  • Outsourcing: Acrylic face mounted prints aren't easy to produce flawlessly with consistency across color and craftsmanship.  That's why it's very difficult to control quality when it's outsourced.  Some companies will outsource the work and never see the end product.  That will never happen with our shop.  Not only are all of our materials sourced locally, but every single print and mounted product is hand-crafted and inspected thoroughly in our shop in Seattle. We control every aspect and are meticulous in the creation of our products.

Acrylic Product Options

 

acrylic_prints_closeupWEB.jpg

We offer several configuration options with our acrylic product and we certainly get quite a few questions on the differences of all the options and what is best for what you need as well as your budget.

  1. Size. I’ll start with the obvious first choice of size selection which can certainly be limited by the resolution and camera quality. I’ll get into this more in the ordering section. For now, it’s important to know the size restrictions of the acrylic product based on thickness.

  • ⅛” & ¼” thickness - Any size up to 96x48”. Max square 48x48.

  • ½” thickness - Any size up to 40x30”. Max square 30x30”.

  • 1” thickness - Limited to stocked sizes of 5x5, 7x7, 10x10, 15x15, 8x6, 12x9, 6x4, 9x6, 12x8, 15x10, 18x12, 12x4, 16x4 and 20x6. We can do custom sizes but require a minimum purchase of 5 or more with longer lead time.

  Any size down to the ¼” increment and up to 40x30” (30x30” square) can be ordered online. Larger sizes are not available for online orders since shipping begins to jump and really varies on how many prints you're ordering and where they're being shipped to. For larger sizes you can contact us or upload your image here

  1. Paper Type (Satin Vs Metallic).  We offer two high quality photo papers to choose from - a Mitsubishi Diamond Jet Satin which is a great choice for softer images and those where people are the focal point (ie family portraits). Our metallic paper is a very popular choice for bold photos with rich color and when paired with the acrylic, offers stunning depth and vibrancy. The metallic just gives it a little extra pop. If you’re unsure about which paper is best for your image please contact us.

  2. Acrylic Type (Regular vs TruLife vs Anti-Glare).  Our standard acrylic is by far the most popular choice and is of the highest quality for acrylic face mounting.  If it's in your budget, the premium TruLife acrylic (only available in ⅛”) offers a few advantages over our standard acrylic such as 25-30% glare reduction, increased UV protection (from 75% to 99%), scratch resistance, anti-static properties to minimize dust, and can be cleaned with any non-ammonia cleaner (regular acrylic requires special cleaner such as Brillianize).  If your biggest concern is glare, we'd recommend the anti-glare acrylic which reduces glare more than the Trulife while only slightly diminishing vibrancy.  For most of our customers, the standard acrylic will be the way to go.  Photographers and artists reselling their work and moving the prints around a lot really like the scratch resistance of the Trulife.  

  1. Acrylic Thickness (⅛”, ¼”, ½” and 1”).  While all thickness levels will look great, the thicker you go you’ll get a bit more depth and vibrancy. It isn’t dramatically different, but with the right lighting can be significant. The biggest difference will be the 3D effect on the side (with the diamond polished edge) since you’ll be able to see through the edge at the image (you can see really see this well in the 1” acrylic photo block image below (right). The image to the left provides a good comparison of the ⅛, , ¼ and ½ acrylic thickness stacked on top of each other.  For very large acrylics such as 50" and larger, we typically recommend the 1/8" acrylic.

  acrylic_thickness_option.jpg

  1. Edge Finish Option (Routed Vs Diamond Polished). The choice for this option really depends on the thickness you choose above. You can see in the photo at the end of this section that the diamond polished edge provides a clear, see through edge while the routed edge is more opaque.

  Max size for diamond polished edge is 45x30”.  We diamond polish the edge which is the absolute best method for a beautiful edge, but unfortunately, it does have its size limitations.  A non-polished edge still looks great it's just more opaque rather than see through.

  • ⅛” - Optional. The edge isn’t as prominent, so diamond polished edge won’t make as much of a difference. It’s about 50/50 on what our customers prefer at this thickness.

  • ¼” - Recommended. With the ¼” you’re getting a significant edge so now we start recommending the diamond polished edge. We’d estimate about 75% of our customers opt for the polished edge at this thickness.

  • ½” - Included. With the ½” we require the diamond polished edge.

  • 1” - Included. Required with the acrylic blocks as well.

acrylic_polish_nopolish.png

  1. Hang & Float Option.  Every acrylic print arrives ready to hang with the exception of the 1” acrylic blocks in which you have the option to hang since they will stand up on their own (nice for desktops and mantles). The default float and hanging system uses kiln dried doug fir wood and hanging wire. For most people, the wood/wire solution is the best option and included in the price. It’s the fastest way to hang your print (included drywall hook). No tools required! The aluminum/cleat float and hanging option provides a more elegant look, but requires more work to hang and adds a bit to the price. It’s most popular with those reselling their work (ie pro photographers) and those wanting a more secure hanging solution (ie corporate clients in high traffic areas). Once the print is up on the wall, you won’t see any of the hardware on the back.

Hang and float system is optional on the 1” acrylic blocks.

All ⅛” & ¼” sizes above 40x30” (and all ½” thick sizes) will not have the hanging wire option due to increased weight. For these pieces, we include a full subframe with french cleat by default for more secure hanging.

NEW! Acrylic Designer Series.  You won't find these anywhere else.  Instead of our dibond backer we use a 3/8" thick diamond polished colored acrylic (white or black) for a beautiful accent to your image.  You can see more about out Acrylic Designer Series product here.



I Know I Want Acrylic, But Still Not Sure What Is Best For Me


Ok so you’re certain you want the vibrant acrylic look and have looked at the different options, but still not sure what is the best configuration for you. No problem! We know there is a lot to choose from so it’s best to end the acrylic portion of our buyers guide with some popular configurations based on budget, customer type and display location.  Of course, you're welcome to contact us too so we can steer you through this process.

Budget Friendlier: you still want the great vibrancy of the acrylic, but want to save some money? Go with the ⅛” acrylic, no polish and satin paper.

Gallery Quality: a typical configuration for display in a gallery would be the ¼” acrylic with diamond polished edge as well as the ⅛” premium TruLife acrylic since that is scratch resistant (great if being handled quite a bit).

I Want The Absolute Best: if you have the budget for it and want the best of the best then consider all the upgrades. That means 1/4" or  ½” acrylic (up to 40x30), polished edge, metallic paper and aluminum/cleat hanging.

Hang or Standalone? All of our products come ready to hang out of the box by default (optional with 1” acrylic photo blocks). If you’re looking for a great product for a desk, shelf or mantle that will stand on its own, than those 1” acrylic photo blocks are perfect.

Corporate/Public Spaces: if you’re hanging your prints in high traffic areas we highly recommend going with an aluminum/cleat hanging option for a more secure hang. We can also provide a security solution for public spaces so your prints can't be stolen.

Pro Photographers & Resellers: the best option here really depends on your client and their budget. If your print will be moved around quite a bit (from show to show for example), you might consider the TruLife since it’s scratch resistant.  



Don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance! We’re available via phone (1-877-518-5187), email and live chat (button in lower right if available).  Also please have a look at our acrylic photo prints product page.

 

I Prefer A Softer, More Matte Look


All of our products outside of the acrylic will have a softer, more matte look to them if you choose the matte laminate.
Here are the biggest reasons people choose a softer matte look.

  1. They have a softer photo (see some samples at the beginning of this report).

  2. The want a cheaper option and focus on the dibond product (best budget friendly option).

  3. They don’t want to see any reflections.

Your photo will have the same look across all softer, matte products (bamboo, raw aluminum, dibond, birch and gatorfoam) since the photo is mounted and laminated to the front of the substrate and has no acrylic face. The only difference is in the appearance on the side.

 

Softer, Matte Product Options


Paper Type Option (all products): Metallic or Satin. Metallic paper is a popular upgrade because it provides a bit more depth and pop to the image without changing true color.  It works best with bold images. We typically recommend the satin paper with softer images and those where people are featured such as family portraits, etc.

Hang Option (aluminum & dibond only): Wood/Wire or Aluminum/Cleat. By default, all the art comes ready to hang with kiln dried doug fir float blocks (with exception of gatorfoam which uses foam floats) and wire. For most people, the wood/wire solution is the best option and included in the price. It’s the fastest way to hang your print (included drywall hook). No tools required! The aluminum/cleat float and hanging option provides a more elegant look, but requires more work to hang and adds a bit to the price. It’s most popular with those reselling their work (ie pro photographers) and those wanting a more secure hanging solution (ie corporate clients in high traffic areas).

Bamboo, birch and gatorfoam don’t have the aluminum/cleat option. Only wire hanging.

Dibond and Aluminum do have the aluminum/cleat hang option. For Dibond sizes over 40x30” we prefer to use a cleat system.

[The more elegant aluminum/cleat hanging is on left, the easier to hang wood/wire on right]











 

Softer, Matte Mounting Materials

IMPORTANT:  Rememberhat for all the options below you now have the options of both a matte look and a glossy, vibrant look depending on the laminate you choose.  If you want a softer, matte look then you'll need to choose the matte laminate while ordering.
 _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Bamboo

Each ¾” thick bamboo piece is hand-sanded and stained to perfection. The print is mounted to the bamboo and protected with a laminate (matte or glossy). Includes 3/4" floater blocks and hanging hardware. No tools needed to hang!
____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

bjaxbuyguide_bamboo.jpg

⇨ Max size is 40” on the longest side. Custom sizes now available in ¼” increments.

⇨ You can see more details about our bamboo product here.

  The product options available are the paper type and laminate type. If you’re ready to configure an order for our bamboo product you can do so here.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Aluminum
Your photo print is mounted to a sheet of 1/8" raw aluminum for a sleek, contemporary look. The print is protected with a laminate (matte or glossy).  Comes ready to hang and floats ¾” from the wall.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

⇨ Max size is 36” on the longest side. Custom sizes available in ¼” increments.

⇨ You can see more details about our aluminum product here.

The product options available with the aluminum is paper type, laminate (matte or glossy) and hang/float type. If you’re ready to create an order with our aluminum product you can do so here.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Dibond
Dibond is our budget friendly alternative to raw aluminum and a nice upgrade over gatorfoam. It consists of a hard black plastic core with two thin sheets of aluminum on the outside. It’s rigid and light-weight making it a great option for very large pieces. The print is mounted to the dibond and protected with a laminate (matte or glossy).
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Closeup of Dibond Print
⇨ 
Max size is 96” on longest side, 48” on shortest side. Max 48x48” square. Custom sizes available in ¼” increments.

⇨ You can see more details about our dibond product here.

  The product options available with the dibond is paper type, laminate (matte or glossy) and hang/float type. If you’re ready to create an order with our dibond product you can do so here.



_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

White Birch - 3/4" Panels For The Wall, 1.25" For A Stand Up Display
The white birch is our newest product and offers a more budget friendly print on wood product than our bamboo product. Each 3/4" and 1.25" piece is gently sanded for a nice finished look. The print is mounted to the birch panel and protected with a laminate (matte or glossy). As always, it comes ready to float (3/4") and hang out of the box!  .. Or stand on it's own if you choose the birch block!
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



⇨ Max size for the 3/4" panels is 40x30" and for the 1.25" blocks it's 20x15" .  Any custom size available in ¼” increments.

⇨ You can see more details about the 3/4" birch panels here.
⇨ You can see more details about the 1.25" birch blocks here.
  

  The product options available with birch is paper type & laminate (matte or glossy).  You do have the option to add hanging hardware to the birch blocks.

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Gatorfoam
Gatorfoam is the most budget friendly option. Your print is mounted to lightweight but rigid 3/4" gatorfoam. The corners can be fragile so this product not recommended if handled often or for resale. Consider dibond instead. The print is mounted to the gatorfoam and protected with a laminate (matte or glossy).  Includes 3/4" floater blocks and hanging hardware. No tools needed to hang!
_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

gatorproduct.jpg

⇨ Max size is 96” on longest side, 48” on shortest side. Max 48x48” square. Custom sizes available in ¼” increments.

⇨ You can see more details about our gatorfoam product here.

The product options available with gatorfoam are paper and laminate type. If you’re ready to create an order with our gatorfoam product you can do so here.

Great, you’re ready to order your art! We’ve been building and perfecting our online order system over several years to make this process as easy as possible across any device. Once you upload your photo, our system will auto determine that max print size based on the pixels of the photo in addition to determining of a standard size or custom size is the best fit to avoid cropping.

⇨  Online ordering available with JPG and TIFF files under 100MB. If you have a PDF file or a file over 100MB, please send to us via FTP and we will handle the order offline.

⇨ Online orders only available for 40x30” and smaller print sizes (30x30 square).  For larger prints send to us via FTP so we can review print quality and determine freight shipping price.

Online orders only available if shipping within US or Canada. For all other orders please contact us.

Across the top of order configuration area, you’ll see the tab for each product across the top. If you’re not already on the product tab you want, be sure to move to that tab.  In the Acrylic tab you'll see a dropdown menu breaking out into 3 products - Acrylic (1/8, 1/4, 1/2), Acrylic Blocks (1") and the Acrylic Designer Series.  In the Birch tab you'll see a dropdown menu for the 3/4" birch panels for the wall and the 1.25" birch stand up display blocks.




Yes, you can order just a paper print with no mounting! Just choose the “Print & Fine Art Prints” tab on the far right to configure.  We offer the following papers..

Fine Art Giclee Prints

  • + lexjet hot press rag paper (matte, smoother)

Photographic Prints

  • + lexjet sunset metallic (more glossy, vibrant)
  • + hahnemuhle photo silk baryta (premium satin)
  • + mitsubishi diamondjet satin

 

When you come to the online order page, you begin the process by uploading your photo (pink button). You may also upload several photos at once by dragging and dropping them anywhere on the page.  Once the photo uploads it will show up in the preview window and all the size options will display. The “Your Photos” section will display all your uploaded files and you can select your files from here and delete them if you’d like.

bjax_online_upload.png

  The “Your Photos” section is permanent storage if you are signed in to your account. If you're not logged in to your account, your uploads may only show for as little as one week and won't be available across devices and browsers.  We highly recommend creating an account in order to save photos, order history, etc.

For those customers who have created an account, we'll now store your photos permanently (for active customers only).  If you have never ordered from us or haven't ordered in over two years it's possible your uploads will be removed.  As mentioned above you can see your uploads in the Your Photos section in the configuration page.  For easier photo management in a larger screen, you can also manage your photos in the My Photos section in your customer dashboard.  Below is a screenshot of the My Photos area with a tab for your uploads and a tab for any photos you save from our online gallery.  From this My Photos page, you can delete, download or send your image back to the configuration page.  




After you upload your photo, the max print size information will display and all the size options will appear as shown in the example below.

bjax_config_size.png

In this example, our system has determined that the photo has enough resolution for a print that is 50.5x33.5”, but for an online order the max is 40x26.5.

From there, it also determines the best aspect ratio for a print with no cropping. Standard aspect ratios (the ratio of width to height) are 3:2 (most digital cameras), 4:3 and square. If your photo falls outside of one of these common size ratios (for example a panoramic), our system will auto select a custom size for you. In this example you see the image is perfectly 3:2 and auto selects one of those stocked, standard sizes.

The custom size option is not only for photos with unique dimensions (pano for example), but also for ordering any size in ¼” increments. Simply use the arrow buttons or you can highlight and replace the print size manually.  

 Keep the "keep the aspect ratio" checkbox checked if you want a custom size with no cropping.  If you fill in a dimension on one side, the other side will auto calculate.  

Standard, stocked sizes are a bit cheaper per sq inch and get out a couple days faster than a custom size.

There may be times when you want to crop a portion of your photo and that is really easy to do in our system as well.

bjax_config_crop.png

In the example below, I have used the same image as above, but chose a square size. Obviously, this isn’t a square photo, so cropping will be needed to make it square. You can see that the crop window is highlighted with a dashed edge and a brighter window. The outer, darker area is the area that will be cropped.

Shrink or enlarge the crop window by selecting any of the small squares on the edge and moving in or out.

Move entire crop window by selecting any portion of the crop window and moving.

Hit the pink crop button when you’re satisfied with your crop placement!  It's ok if you forget to hit crop.. our system will automatically crop to where the window was last placed before adding to cart.  Be sure to review the thumbnail of the image in your cart to make sure the crops are correct.

Once you’ve determined the size you want and done any cropping, you’re ready to move on to the product options and add to your shopping cart.

bjax_config_options.png

In this example, I chose to use the product options area for our acrylic product (, ¼, ½) since it has the most options to choose from. For other products, you’ll see fewer options.

We try to make this process as easy as possible for you by describing each option. Just click on the  bjax_config_?.png  to show the description of each option. The options available are within a drop-down menu and you can see the options as well as the additional upgrade price next to each option. So for example, the Paper Option is showing Satin (+0) since that is included in the price. If you select that menu, you’ll see a metallic paper option for a bit more.

If you change the print size, all the options pricing and total will update automatically.

Want to just see how your print looks behind acrylic at small scale? Choose the Proof option! It excludes the dibond backer and hanging hardware.

Once you’ve selected all your options, simply hit Add To Cart to bring up your cart preview window as shown below.

bjax-cart-preview

From here, you have three options.  Add More Art to go back to the configuration area to add another product, Edit Cart to remove products or add quantity to an existing product OR I'm Ready to Checkout to head to our final checkout page.

 It's not possible to edit the configuration of a specific product after it's been added to the cart.  If you need to make a change (for example change the satin paper to metallic paper), you would need to delete the product, reconfigure it and add it to cart again.

Once you're satisfied with your cart just hit I'm Ready To Checkout and you'll be taken to our super simple checkout page!

 Yes, you can put in a separate shipping address to drop ship your order!

 Sorry, orders shipping outside Canada & USA are not available online.  Please contact us for international orders.

 Rush production option available to get your order out in 24-48 hours!

 Expedited shipping options available too!  


Don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance! We’re available via phone (1-877-518-5187), email and live chat (button in lower right if available).