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From camera to canvas: a guide to choosing the best photos for printing

By Amy Wright | Nov 30, 2023

You love the idea of art as a statement piece, but you’re unsure what kind of art you want to display. While there’s an almost infinite number of options to choose from, canvas prints are a great place to start..

Custom canvas prints make the perfect home decoration and can work well in any room. It’s not as difficult as you might think to create high-quality canvases, either. It all starts with choosing the best photos for printing. Here are some useful tips & tricks to consider when searching for that perfect shot.

Choosing the best photos

The first step to designing your new canvas print is selecting a photo. Choosing photos for your customized artwork can be overwhelming, especially when you have several you love and want to display.

It’s not always about getting those picture-perfect shots. The lightning doesn’t need to be perfect, and everything doesn’t need to be exactly in place. Sometimes, the best shots are the more natural and candid ones! A goofy family selfie, your dog playing, or even a night out with friends can make the most memorable wall art. By choosing images that warm your heart; you’re not just decorating your walls, you’re surrounding yourself with the joy of life’s little moments.

Next time you're scrolling through your camera roll, make sure to favorite the photos that make you laugh or bring back great memories. Sure, high quality professional photos are great too, but the real authentic memories you capture? Those are the real winners for memorable canvas prints.

These tips will help you pick out the best photo (or photos) to showcase on your walls:

Consider canvas size, shape, and orientation

Start by determining the size and shape of the canvas on which you want to print your picture. Do you like the idea of a large, 30 x 40-inch canvas to display over your mantel, or do you want something smaller, like an 8 x 10-inch canvas to prop up on a shelf?

Consider the canvas’s shape, too. If you’re printing a portrait, for example, you’ll do best to choose a vertical, rectangular canvas. A landscape photo, on the other hand, would work better with a horizontal rectangular canvas.

Decide on frames, edges, and wrapping

Next, think about the edges of your canvas. Are you going to display it in a frame? Do you want the image to wrap around the edges, or would you prefer the edges to be a solid color like black or white? There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, but the style you prefer will influence the image you choose.

Factor in existing decor

Don’t forget to consider your existing decor and the other styles of photos you have displayed throughout your home.

For example, say you have lots of posed, professional photos in a particular room, one casual. In that case, one candid photo might seem a bit out of place.

Choose a photo you want to see every day

Last but certainly not least, be sure to choose a photo for your canvas print that you genuinely want to see every day. Choose photos that evoke happy memories!

Can’t pick just one? Make a collage!

If you’re lucky enough to have multiple pictures you love and want to print on a canvas, don’t limit yourself. Combine them to create a fun photo collage instead!

Collage prints on a white wall

Ensuring high-quality prints

For the best-looking canvas prints, you need to make sure you’re working with a high-quality image. You want to see every beautiful detail of your new print!

Here are some key terms and guidelines to keep in mind when picking a picture to print:


Pixels are also known as picture elements. They serve as the building blocks of any image. Each pixel contributes a small dot of color, and when multiple pixels are combined, they come together to create the photo you see in front of you.

The number of pixels in an image determines its resolution. The higher the number of pixels, the higher the resolution and the greater the image’s detail.

Dots per inch

Dots per Inch, or DPI, is another metric that tells you about an image’s quality. It tells you the number of pixels (or dots) that fit into a one-inch space. A higher DPI number means a higher number of pixels per inch.

When an image has a higher DPI and higher resolution, it will be sharper, more precise, and more well-defined.

Recommended resolutions

The ideal resolution for your canvas print’s image depends on the canvas size.

If you’re printing on a smaller canvas, such as an 8x10 or 12x16, you would want -- at a minimum -- a resolution of 1800x2400 pixels and 150 DPI.

On the other hand, if you are working with a larger canvas -- at least 24x36 -- experts recommend a resolution 3600x5400 pixels and 150 DPI.

Where to find Image resolution info

You can find a photo’s resolution in a few different ways, including the following:

• On a computer: Right-click on an image file Select "Properties" or "Get Info" Look for a "Details" or "Summary" tab for the image’s resolution and DPI • On a mobile device: Tap on the "Info" or "Details" button The resolution will appear alongside the other image information • On a web browser: Right-click on the image Select "Open image in a new tab" or "View image." Look for a “Properties” or “Details” tab to view the image’s resolution

Person looking at photos on phone

The art of color balance

In addition to factoring in an image’s resolution and overall quality when creating personalized art, it’s also essential to consider the color balance.

Color balance involves adjusting the various colors in a photo to create a more cohesive, eye-catching image. Here are ways to achieve color balance in your canvas prints:

Adjust highlights and midtones

The highlights are the brightest parts of an image, and the midtones fall in between the highlights and the shadows (the darkest parts of the image).

Adjusting the highlights and midtones can minimize or exaggerate contrast in an image (depending on your decorating ideas and personal preferences).

Increase saturation

Increasing the saturation allows you to brighten up a picture’s tones, which in turn can adjust the mood of the shot and make it more vibrant.

Choose a distinct filter

If you need more wall art ideas that help you create a better color balance in a photo, consider adjusting the colors by picking a filter that will make it a bit more distinctive. For example, you might prefer a sepia-toned photo or a black-and-white filter over your photo.

Canvas print on side table of couple

From digital to physical – The transformation

It can take a bit of work to choose the right photo for your canvas prints. When you see how these prints -- regardless of their shape, size, or color palette -- can transform your home, though, you’ll agree that all the work was worthwhile.

Incorporating printed photos into your home decor is an incredible way to preserve memories from your favorite events and of your loved ones. Customized artwork also provides an attractive focal point for your home and will get all your guests talking.

We make it easy for you to keep up with the latest wall art trends and create personalized canvas prints, metal artwork, framed prints, and other unique wall art for your home. Just follow these steps:

Step 1: Choose and upload your image

Use the tips shared earlier in this guide for design inspiration as you pick an image to print on a canvas. For many people, this is the most challenging step, but once you complete it, you’ll be able to get the ball rolling.

Step 2: Pick a canvas size and shape

Next, based on the image you’ve chosen, you’ll pick a canvas size, shape, and orientation. Canvaspop allows you to choose from preset canvas sizes and shapes, or you can customize your canvas to fit a particular image.

Step 3: Add a filter

If you want your canvas print to align with the latest interior decor trends, consider adding a filter. Canvaspop offers numerous filters for you to choose from, including black and white, sepia, comic book, color sketch, and pop art.

Step 4: Make adjustments

In addition to adding decorative elements like filters, Canvaspop’s photo team will be able to make all edits and adjustments for you. For example, if you want to remove blemishes or take something distracting out of the background, our experts can handle those tasks for you.

Step 5: Place your order

From here, you’ll be ready to place your order.

Don’t forget that Canvaspop always offers free digital proofs, so you can make sure your images align with your interior design preferences before we print the canvas and deliver it to your door.

We also offer a 100 percent love-it guarantee on every print so that you can order with confidence!

Get creating

There’s nothing like a high-quality canvas print to help you create personalized living spaces in your home. The key to a high-quality print, though, is choosing the right photo to display on the canvas.

If you follow the guidelines shared above, especially those regarding pixels and dots per inch, you’ll have a much easier time selecting the perfect images for any space in your house.

Once you’ve selected your favorite photos, you’ll be ready to start exploring the printing options on our website. From custom canvases to eye-catching metal prints, we have something for everyone.

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