Acrylic vs Metal Prints (A Photographers Review)

A little while back we sent Keith (aka Captain Photo) a complimentary sample of our acrylic face mount product since he hadn’t seen this kind of presentation before.  He was under no obligation to provide a review and certainly not to review it positively.  We simply just wanted his feedback on how the acrylic compared vs metal prints.

We’re very confident in the quality of our products, but you never know how someone might feel about it.  Fortunately, Keith was very impressed saying “Once you go Bumblejax, you never go back!”  Ha, now that’s a great slogan 🙂  In the video below he compared our acrylic print product to his previous standard of excellence – the metal print.  It’s nice to know Keith now has a new standard of excellence!

You can get all the details on our acrylic face mounting process here.

Our take on dye sublimation metal prints

Metal prints as many know have become very popular and in many cases have replaced canvas prints as kind of the de facto standard way to display and sell photography as wall art.  The most obvious advantage of metal prints is vibrant color at a fairly affordable price.  While we don’t currently offer dye sublimated metal prints, it’s something we’re looking to offer soon since many of our customers have asked us to carry them.    We now offer metal prints!  We spent several months perfecting our color profile resulting in terrific color particularly with black and white prints which are difficult to profile.  Many labs use a standard out of the box color profile which lead to a bit of a color cast in black and white metal prints and generally inaccurate color.  See more about our metal prints here.

Our reluctance to offer metal prints over the years lies mostly in color accuracy, but a portion of that we know is related to how good the print lab color profiling is.  This is why you might be really happy with the metal print from one lab and not the other even if they’re using the same metal (typically Chromaluxe), the same printer and same image.  It pays to shop around and get samples if possible.  As mentioned above we’ve worked hard to get the color profile perfect and only use the best material and inks.  We’re thrilled to be able to offer our version of the metal print with color accuracy we’re very happy with.

As a general rule, any dye sublimation process (including the popular metal prints) will not achieve the same accuracy or permanence of color that an acrylic face mounted print would achieve.  That’s true of all products where the photo is printed to paper using pigment inkjet ink.

Another concern is the longevity of metal prints particularly when hung in direct sunlight for long periods of time.  We have seen photographers come to us with horror stories about their prints (sold to clients) fading in months.  If you are buying metal prints PLEASE DO NOT GO CHEAP.  Everyone is offering metal prints now including companies that used to be in the canvas game. Some of these are being produced in China & India using cheaper and inferior metal and inks.  Make sure whatever lab you use is using Chromaluxe metal and premium quality inks.

We’ve said it many times before in our buy guides and other areas on our site.  Read real reviews, go with reputable print labs that specialize in this stuff in the USA.  Talk to someone on the phone.  Are they knowledgeable?  What if something goes wrong?  Will they replace it?  If you are selling your work as metal prints this is critical since it’s your reputation on the line.

So, to conclude the metal prints are a great option if you’re looking for great vibrancy with good color at a more affordable price.  They also work better in places where there is lots of moisture (including outside).  If they’re in your budget the acrylic prints do offer a sizable upgrade in terms of color accuracy, vibrancy, and longevity.  They are the gold standard in photo presentation.  If you have any questions about what option is best for you please give us a shout!

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