A while back, I had a client ask me how to care for their fine art print. There is not one single answer to this question. There are several things to consider. Let me share with you some of the things to consider. When you are handling a fine art photograph, remember that residues like natural skin oils will collect on the surface of the print which can be prevented by using white cotton gloves.
- Never scratch the surface of the image with your finger. Scratching a print with your finger to rid itself of some residue or dust, can easily scratch the surface permanently. To prevent this, again I would use white gloves. This might be a little too much for some but I would suggest that you at least think about it.
- If you can, don’t place your fine art print in direct sunlight. Most, if not all, vendors provide archival inks that are guaranteed to last a very long time. But even with their guarantee, the prints are subject to changes such as fading or changes in appearance. You will also protect your print better if you keep the print away from areas with high smoke content or rooms that are very dusty.
- Avoid extreme fluctuations in temperature. A lot of fluctuations in a room can possibly result in such things as moisture on the print surface, buckling of the print or possibly discoloration of the print.
- Cleaning for Canvas fine art photographs. For canvas, I would suggest that you use a feather duster or blower.
- Cleaning for Fine Art Paper Prints. This is basically the same except and cleaning the glass or plexiglass cover. Always use glass cleaner that is ammonia free on plexiglass. If you use a glass cleaner with ammonia on plexiglass, it will become cloudy and definitely impact the appearance of the print.
- Framing Choices for canvas fine art prints. You may want to just have the print gallery wrapped and ready for hanging. This means that the surface extends around the edges of the Stretcher Bars. Using this method and nothing more is very acceptable to a majority of people but you can go one step further by adding a frame around the stretched canvas print.
- Framing for fine art paper prints. You need to consider using an archival mat (acid-free) and acrylic or plexiglass. This is called “conservation” framing and is intended to increase the life of the fine art print. As you collect larger sizes of prints, you will notice the substitution of plexiglass for glass. The reason for this is the weight of the finished framed print. The rule of thumb is that if the piece weighs more than 40 pounds, you will definitely want to use plexiglass. This is to prevent the heavier pieces from falling off the wall or breaking during shipping.