theprintspace Review

David Clapp puts theprintspace to the test.

| theprintspace in Printed Products
Review by David Clapp.

After high recommendation that theprintspace are a leading force in the printing and commercial printing world, I was delighted to have the opportunity to review their services with some of my own pictures. The printed world has always remained a bit if a cull-de-sac for me, as I mainly work in the world of magazines and digital media. Yet, there is nothing quite like seeing your work hanging on a gallery wall.

theprintspace offer an automated service to get your images to your door when you need them, but just how good is the overall service and above all the quality of their images? My first step was to overview the website and the facilities it offers. The automated uploading process is always a slight worry because I am somewhat naive when it comes to paper types, mounts and frames too. It was excellent to find out there is someone on hand with great experience at the other end to help make these decisions with you. I made a few phone calls to an exceptionally helpful assistant who made positive recommendations that related to the image style and the size of the images I required. Then it was a simple case of resizing some images, in this case a bluebells panorama, a black and white mountain shot from Canada and finally a dawn shoot of the Quiriang in Scotland.
theprintspace Review: theprintspace

The uploading process is extremely simple and straight forward. A detailed and helpful palette guides you through the upload, where paper type, mounts, frames and other additions can be added on. The pricing structure is clear and the whole process is modifiable at any stage, should you change your mind.

Once the order had been sent, it was just three days before a knock at the door and some large packages were being signed for. Two large boxes with plastic straps were opened, not before I sliced my thumb open using some scissors (who would have thought it). Nice to see 'fragile' tape all over the boxes. They were very professionally packaged and proved a real task to get into, exactly what you need when transporting glass.
theprintspace Review: Packaging

Now the inside:
theprintspace Review: The inside of the packaging

Here are contents of the first box, the panorama and the black and white. The boxes slide out one from the other in two halves. There is supporting polystyrene sides that are slid down the insides of the box which stops the prints from moving in transit. Notice the bubble wrap and the blue edges, these are extremely well wrapped.
theprintspace Review: theprintspace

theprintspace Review:

Again I do like the attention to detail, these fragile corners are highly protected using tough plastic protection to avoid knocks.
theprintspace Review: Fragile corners are highly protected

The panorama is sandwiched in protective plastic board and then wrapped in stretchy plastic to ensure it doesn't get scratched.
theprintspace Review: The panorama is sandwiched in protective plastic board

As you can see it was a gloss finish, which is reflecting the light from the conservatory roof unfortunately, but none the less you can get some idea of the size. The Canon G11 that I used to shoot this image has oversaturated the colours, so please dismiss this rendition as it isn't that saturated.
theprintspace Review:

Now for the framed print... again brilliant packaging.
theprintspace Review: The final print

Image Quality of my Prints
I do like seeing my work in prints, but it is a rare thing. This experience has made me realise I would like to see more of them -

Framed Print - a beautiful rendition of one of my favourite images from this year. The colours are warm and inviting without excessive saturation. It looks exactly as it does on my profiled monitor (and profiled Mac book Pro) so it is not only great to see the printer profiling is accurate at theprintspace, but also that my own somewhat lesser monitor profiler is not inaccurate either. The quality of the frame is super smooth, well finished, without a fleck of dust on the inside of the glass. If I had my choice again I would have chosen a lighter frame as the black is a little overpowering, but none the less its now the centre piece over my open fireplace. I am extremely happy.

Panorama - Again, wonderful colour rendition, super sharp edges and perfect finish. I now regret I didn't order it on thicker board as it's too flexible. I also forgot to include wall hangers in the order so now I can’t work out how to hang it. I also wish I had ordered it in matt finish as I am not so sure about gloss, especially on something so large. Whatever the outcome, again it's a top quality image which looks stunning.

Black and White - Beautiful mounting on black MDF board, a matt finish (with hangers this time). This black and white has preserved the subtle blue toning I gave to the blacks and given it a superb inky black darkroom render. Bright, punchy and tonally very accurate.

Costs and thoughts About Framing
theprintspace Review: printspace bill
If you are getting togther a batch of images for an exhibition, or you are buying a print with the intention of framing it later, ask yourself, can you really be bothered with the hassle? I have bought frames and never got round to doing the prints (I know, I know) and vice versa. Life can be complicated and sometimes a service like this is exactly what is needed.

If you sell work from a website or other gallery outlets, getting one company to handle the entire job as competently and as quickly as theprintspace, saves you masses of time whilst you get on with other more complicated things. The framed print I ordered costs £160, that's not cheap, but think about it, you are getting a service - a beautiful print, mounting, framed and delivered straight to your client. All I actually had to do was sit in front of a computer for five minutes, make a phone call and then three days later there it was.

Then again, framing and mounting can be a very personal thing, even make or break for sales. The alternative is to get all the prints made in one place and use a local service for a more personalised approach, one that you can become completely involved in. The options that theprintspace offer are extensive and backed up by their intuitive website, so they choice is yours.

Further Thoughts...
I am extremely happy with the results theprintspace offer. As I am currently making my own website into a stock library with prints that can be purchased immediately online, their service is one of a number of companies I would consider for future work. As my own working life gets more complex so I need to rely on key players to get the job done and I will certainly be considering this company for future work.

Visit theprintspace website for more information on Photo prints.
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