Custom Canvas Print Ideas

BY: Patrick Doolin |Aug 5, 2016

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If a picture says a thousand words, then a canvas print virtually shouts them. Blown up and saturated with color, a photograph goes from something you relate to on a personal level to something that everyone in the room experiences. It becomes art.

Our walls seem to have fallen into a rut, however. Just a quick look at the examples posted by canvas printers online, and you’ll see the same kinds of pictures on display. It’s almost as if somewhere along the line, we all agreed that the only acceptable images to prop on our walls and desks are of people posing at weddings or sitting for family portraits.

But photos that capture the messy, action-packed, imperfect everyday are just as worthy of hanging in your home. And with a little ingenuity, you can turn those candid shots into real show stoppers. Here are just a few canvas print ideas to get you started.

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Celebrate Spontaneity on a Bold Single Canvas

A dash of mess can convey lots of life. A bit of blur heightens spontaneity and motion, and imperfectly framed action gives the impression that there’s too much life for the camera to capture. Add fun, whimsical energy to your walls with pictures like:

  • A brunch selfie: messy plates, empty mimosa glasses, and all.
  • A quirky sighting from your last road trip: that roadside dinosaur farm, retro orange VW bug, or unusual road sign capture the carefree memories from your trip.
  • A pet snoozing: that much cuteness never gets old.

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Tell a Story With Triptychs

This approach takes a single photo and breaks it into three sections (usually horizontally). Like comic panels, the breaks change static images into a little story. Consider these micro-narratives:

  • A dog chasing a tennis ball: a dog on the left panel, an empty middle panel, and a ball bouncing on the last panel can give the chase a sense of movement
  • Getting ready to zipline: you or a friend buckled into the harness on the left panel, a stretch of cable across the middle, and the ground below playing off the horizon on the right panel can hint at the thrill before the leap
  • Kid’s soccer game: your child dribbling the ball on the left panel, defenders approaching in the center, and the goal waiting on the last shows the mettle needed to compete

Pro-Tip: people tend to scan photos the same way they read—from left to right. To create a scene that feels natural, try orienting the action so that it progresses in the same way.

Triptychs can also lend weight and drama to a quiet photo. Watch a black-and-white landscape photo transform into a statement piece:

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Put Yourself in the Scene With a Panorama

The panorama style gives your photo a broad horizontal presentation, making it almost feel like it was plucked off a film reel.

  • Dinner party: take a picture of your friends or family sitting at a long restaurant table, then hang it above your dining room table
  • The big game: bring the electric atmosphere of a stadium into your home—or at least your man cave or sports shrine
  • Fortress of solitude: photograph your favorite place to find solitude, whether an exotic beach or your local park, and infuse a room with zen

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Bring It All Together With a Collage

If you just can’t decide, a collage can be an artistic kitchen sink approach to creating stunning canvas prints. Like the triptych, it adds storytelling possibilities, but gives you a little leeway to experiment with more abstract ideas.

  • Document a big vacation: while ticking off major landmarks lends structure to a trip, favorite memories are often smaller: a special dinner out, a stroll down cobblestones, stopping for ice cream or taking a boat ride. Compile these moments into a collage along with a snapshot of your crew by the Eiffel Tower to make a unique memento.
  • Watch your kid grow up: imagine a collage of photos documenting a child’s milestones, from first steps to walking during graduation. If you want to go full circle, you could even include pictures of your children’s children.
  • Turn the mundane into the extraordinary—consider how taking up-close pictures of nature (even in your own yard), noting interesting things along your daily path, or documenting a project coming together can make seemingly ordinary images add up to profound, singular statement.