I hate canvas photo prints,  and you should, too.

Loath is a better word.

Now, before you get defensive because you love your canvases and your Pinterest wall is filled with cute canvas ideas, let me explain my top three reasons I refuse to sell them:

1. Canvas photo prints are a trend

Trends come and go in every industry, especially in the area of home decor.  In photography, the current trend is canvas. Ranking right up there with shoulder pads, butterfly hair clips, and high-heeled tennis shoes, canvases too shall pass. When it does, you will have spent a good sum of money (Benjamins, not bucks) on something you no longer like, and your precious family memories will be taken down and stuck in storage, or worse, thrown away.

Invest in classic, timeless frames, and your artwork will never be out of style.

2. Canvas prints are not made to last

Do you know how photo canvases are made?  The same way a paper photos are printed – with inkjet printers. Let’s skip the fact that if you drop or hit your canvas the ink easily scrapes off or the frame or form is damaged, and go straight into the natural, guaranteed damage.

I grew up with an artist for a parent.  My mother received her BFA in fine art when I was 4.  I spent my childhood watching her stretch, prime, and gesso canvas to prepare it for  paint.   We traipsed to different museums, checking out works of art from 10 to 100 years old. From an early age, I learned that there was a special way to care for artwork, and museums employed highly educated conservators and standards to do so. The cleaning lady doesn’t wipe them down with the same rag she used cleaned the door knobs.

Learn more about archiving and conservation at the Amon Carter Museum’s Interactive blog.

Humidity, temperature, and light (especially bright sunlight with UV rays) quickly fade and age all artwork, but canvas takes more effort to preserve.   Moisture and temperature will cause the most damage, and changes in both will cause the ink to crack and peel off the fabric. There is NO preservation done to photographic canvases in your home.

When the time comes to update your family photo and you stick that canvas into the attic or storage unit, not only will the unregulated humidity and temps wreak havoc, but bugs and pests will love your canvas, too – as a snack!

I get that you don’t care about your family photographs as much as The Louvre cares about the Mona Lisa, but they are still special to you and you want them to last.

Which brings me to the last reason I hate canvas portraits:

3. Costco sells canvas prints

Now, I love a good Costco bulk buy on paper towels and coffee as much as the next mom, but as you can now buy a canvas at Costco or Walmart for $50, the value of a canvas portrait is shot.  FYI: Costco uses the same canvas printing method as a photographer’s professional lab.  The materials are of a lesser quality, but the same method is used.

Family photographs are an investment in your memories.
Invest for the long-term.

As a photographer, I value the lasting qualities of printed photographs and believe your investment should last generations.  I refuse to sell cheap products I don’t stand behind, and I can’t guarantee canvas photographs.  I especially refuse to sell cheap products for more than they are worth.


All of my photographs are printed and framed with the same archival standards used in museums, including 100% acid-free materials and UV glass to protect them from fading and deterioration.  Each photograph is given white-glove (literally!) care to ensure no acids or contaminants ever touch your photograph.

With a variety of framing options to choose from, your family portraits will always be the trend setter.

much love,

About the Author Alex Shelley Photography

Alex Shelley a birth and lifestyle portrait photographer in Dallas-Fort Worth. She loves coffee, long walks through Target, and kids who use sarcasm fluently.

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