Printing – Big Prints

September 9, 2008 | 3 Comments |

Scale can have a dramatic impact on the way images are experienced.

We’ve been printing up a storm here! All the prints are made on an Epson 11880. The prints can be very large. Up to 64″. How big do I typically print? Generally under 30×40″. Would I like to print bigger? Yes! Why don’t I print bigger more often?

Here’s the problem. How do you handle them during production? How do you present them (framed or unframed)? How will they fit in the exhibition space? How do you store them? When you get really big, all of these practical considerations become really significant.

New possibilities bring new opportunities and challenges.

How big have you printed? What did you do to overcome these considerations? Comment here!

Check out my Printing downloads here.

Check out my DVD The Art of Proofing here.

Find out about my The Fine Digital Print Workshop Series here.


  • Interesting that you posted this, because I was just thinking about these issues. I recently did a 50×35 print, and it came out beautifully… but wow, large prints can be such a pain to deal with! My favorite print size is around 16×20, simply because it can be handled as an object. You can interact with it, one to one, without having a couple friends around spotting you.

  • Greg Barnett

    Hi JP,

    When I was teaching workflow to our MFA’s in photo, how big, and how to handle them (prints) was a constant topic of discussion. Can’t tell you how many times students went big for thesis shows and ended up with logistical nightmares… We had to put in special racks for drying and storage of prints up to 44” x 60”. They discovered that portfolio cases had to be custom made and long-term storage of the works was (is) a real challenge. And as I’m sure you know all too well, just getting something that size out of the printer without damage can be quite a acrobatic feat! 4’ x 8’ sheets of foamcore come in real handy.

    As for the biggest, I did a couple of 24”x40’ canvas prints with one student. They were basically roll length strips of multiple images that she then cut into actual strips to make 3D image sculptures.

    Greg

  • I liken handling a 30×45 print (or larger) to … handling plutonium. 🙂 I get just as nervous!

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