Update on my experience using CanvasWorld

When I wrote this post about my experience ordering from CanvasWorld, I promised I’d post a follow-up whether or not the problems with my canvas print got resolved and how things went.  At the time of that post, I’d just contacted Canvas World and they’d told me to send pics of the problems, which I did, on October 9th.  The problems were an odd bumpy and wavy area at the bottom right corner and the entire top right half was wavy – it was a poor mounting.

On October 12th I received an email reply from them, notifying me that they’d  forwarded my email with the pics ‘to their design them, and they’d notify me of the next course of action’.  There wasn’t any form of apology or even apologetic innuendo, so  I figured, *sigh*…alright, we’ll see what happens.  They didn’t seem to be in a big hurry or thrilled that there was a problem needing to be addressed.

The turnaround time for my initial order had been super fast – I ordered on a Sunday and my print arrived on Friday – so when I didn’t hear from them after a few days I figured at best I’d have to pack up the print & ship it back, which would’ve been a bit of a pain because it’s 30×40, but I had held onto all of the packing materials and the box so it would’ve been do-able.

As the intervening time went by, I noticed that the canvas waviness at the top right half was gradually settling down and eventually it improved by about 70%.  I assume the frame was settling, evening out the canvas.  But although it was no longer ‘horrible’ it still wasn’t acceptable, and although the canvas waviness at the bottom right had almost completely resolved with the (presumed) frame settling, there were still several hard lumps right behind the canvas – so I concluded this was a poor mounting job as well as a poorly made frame.  Not very confidence-inspiring….

I came home from work on Friday the 19th and with shock and awe, saw a CanvasWorld box at my front door!  They’d sent me an email on the 18th notifying me of a shipment but being tied up with work I hadn’t seen it, and even if I had I wouldn’t have expected the print to arrive the next day!

I’ve been very tied up with work so this weekend was my first opportunity to devote enough attention to opening up the box, and to tell you the truth, to prepare myself for potential disappointment and possibly having to deal with further problems.  Last night I took the new print out of the box and was extremely happy to see that it is perfect!  I saw the back first as I was removing it from the box and could immediately tell that the mounting was done differently than the first one was – this one is nice and tight, with plenty of staples, evenly spaced, etc.  It felt more solid immediately.  I took it out of the plastic wrapping and hung it right away and I am very pleased with it – it’s beautiful and the frame and mounting seem professionally done, whereas the first one looked and felt like it would if I’d have done it myself.

I’d give them 4.75 stars, because the end result is a very beautiful print, mounted professionally.  I’ll order from them again, and will recommend them.  All things considered, while the customer service wasn’t perfect because I’d prefer better communication and it wouldn’t have hurt for them to acknowledge with some hint of apology, all is well in the end!  (Not that I needed an apology, especially since I didn’t have to go to the trouble of sending the first print back so it didn’t really inconvenience me, but I guess it surprised me because most companies throw in some kind of acknowledgement because they recognize it really is disappointing to receive a poor product.)

I’m very happy with the replacement, so thumbs-up for CanvasWorld!  For anyone out there considering ordering canvas prints, give them a try.  I usually go through SmugMug for large prints because they’re one of the few who allow you to order without “adjustments” made to photos, and I do not want adjustments done.  Canvas prints through SmugMug are expensive and are way out of my price range for frame mounted…and when I emailed a simple question to them I got a snarky response.   All of CanvasWorld prints come mounted on frames, and you get more choices for frame size, types/color of borders, etc.   Their website is well organized and ordering is super easy and fast.  Delivery is fast, they’re affordable, and you can order without adjustments made to your photos.  It’s kind of perfect….

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My First Foray Into Canvas Prints

I’ve been lax in updating this blog with new photos for a while, but I promise, I will come back to it and start uploading soon!

This post is about my first endeavor into having a photo printed on canvas rather than paper.  I was a bit nervous, especially because I needed something large – which translates into $$$.  I decided to use CanvasWorld rather than my reliable SmugMug not only because it was more affordable, but because the Howard Stern compound area at Sirius/XM has a lot of CanvasWorld prints hanging in the hallways, and the staff raves about them.  (Do the staff rave because CanvasWorld is a sponsor of the show, or because they provide great products and service?)

Awesomely, I placed the order on Sunday and the canvas print arrived the following Friday.  Cool!  That kind of turnaround was a big plus.  Unfortunately, the results were less than stellar.

I wasn’t super frustrated as in, I-hate-this-and-want-to-throw-it-through-the-window, but it is disappointing when you spend months deciding on the photo you want to use, go through the prep work and then finally grit your teeth and place the order, and then everything isn’t perfect when you receive it.

First, I should have ordered with black edges rather than wrapped edges.  I actually spent a lot of time doing my best to “make sure” it would look best wrapped.  I now know that loss of even small areas can make a difference, but it’s hard to know what all to look for until you make this kind of mistake.  I think I’ll know better in the future, whichever company I go with for my next canvas print.

This is the photo I chose:

Original photo

This is how it looks on the wall. It’s 30×40, and is intended to be the focal point of the wall.  You may not notice what’s different between the original and the canvas on the wall, other than the photo in general has less interest…there’s something a bit strange about it, and it’s less pleasant to look at.  The difference is due to the change in composition because of the wrap.  It’s unbalanced.  (The colors aren’t washed out like they appear in the photos below, I have crappy indoor lighting and didn’t have the time to adjust levels just for this purpose.)

canvas hanging on the wall

Here’s a close-up how the canvas looks with the wrap.  The small amount lost to the wrap, especially with the top plant, affects the focal points of the photo.  The photo is about the three major plants, but with the wrap the photo is about two plants with kinda part of a third.  The composition is directly effected by the wrap.

on the wall

Okay, so choosing the wrapped edges was my fault.  And the quality of the colors and the print are terrific – kinda beautiful.


The biggest, and the unacceptable problem is there is sagging in the framing done on the canvas.  I hung it on Saturday and right out of the plastic wrapping I noticed that at the bottom right edge the canvas hadn’t been pulled tight – it was wavy.  (This is the only lighting I could get to adequately show the problem in a photo, but it’s obvious viewing it in real life.)

bottom right - wavy

That evening I noticed that the entire right half at the top was wavy – the entire thing obviously was not framed well.

Canvas top right half wavy

I called CanvasWorld yesterday and told them about the problems and that I took some pictures, and they told me to send them the pics and they’d decide on how they would rectify the problem.

Wish me luck.  This isn’t the type of expense I can afford more than rarely, and it’ll drive me crazy looking at it if it’s not fixed.

I’ll post an update if/when the issue gets resolved.

[Here’s the update describing how the issue was resolved.]

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AMNH, Butterfly Exhibit

The American Museum of Natural History has a Butterfly Conservatory, which is basically a very large climate-controlled greenhouse full of plants and lights to maintain a habitable environment for the butterflies – with a temperature of around 90 degrees and lots of humidity.  The butterflies are beautiful, and some are quite large and will eat from oranges the staff will give kids to hold for a cool experience.  Yeah, the adults get pretty excited about that too, but for some reason the staff isn’t interested in helping the adults in that way.  (Isn’t that age-ism?)   I intend to add to this gallery sometime soon because I have more photos, it just takes a while to make my way through the nearly 800 photos I took on this trip.

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AMNH, Dinosaur Exhibit

Here are some photos from my visit to the American Museum of Natural History in New York.  As I was leaving the dinosaur exhibit, I learned that I’d entered at the end and exited through the entry.  That made for a different perspective for me, because rather than sort of ‘starting small’ and building to a crescendo as large exhibit halls tend to be organized, I was hit with lots of amazingness from the first display I viewed.  I was pretty tired after making my way through the exhibit, and the end for me (which is the beginning for most people) was unelaborate, beautifully lit, quiet and peaceful.  It was perfect.

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(Individual photos can be seen in my Flickr account, and some descriptions are included there.)

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2011 Calendar

This is my latest calendar.  I didn’t do one for 2010, mostly because of problems with my arm.  I started learning Photoshop Elements for this calendar (version 8…now I already want version 9!).  Although I still have a lot to learn there is plenty of great advice from experienced users online and Adobe provides decent Help resources, so I was pretty happy to learn how to easily do some things I’d been yearning for.

I ultimately had to just accept that this one was going to be late, and I finished the work and placed the order last weekend.  I don’t have the calendars back from the printer yet but they should arrive next week, hopefully without the ‘damage’ printers can do to digital images.  I cringe at the auto “color correction” most of them force on you, so I went with a printer who supposedly will print according to the settings I indicated.  Wish me luck….

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2009 Calendar

This was my third calendar, and  I was still using Paint Shop Pro (I had Photoshop Elements 2, but assumed it would be as big of a pain with as few resources online as PSP so I never even delved into it – you don’t have to tell me how dumb that was).  Something about the calendar that year just didn’t…fit right.  When I look at the photos as a whole I see there is a sort of flow missing (which is hopefully only discernible to me since each photo has meaning for me).

Anyway, I think the problem was time limitations.  My heart wasn’t in it while I was working on it, and I think it’s because I didn’t start on it early enough.  I usually take at least a couple of months to select the photos I want to use, then 2-4 more weeks to get the post-processing done, and I think I did this entire calendar in 2-3 weeks.

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2008 Calendar

This is my second calendar.  I was still using Paint Shop Pro, having learned…a little more, I guess, I can’t really remember.  But I do remember the process feeling a bit more rewarding and being a bit less tortuous!

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2007 Calendar

This is the first calendar I created…I worked on it in 2006 using Paint Shop Pro.  Not only has affordable photo editing software come a long way in 4 years, but to be honest I would start falling asleep every time I tried going through PSP tutorials so I gave up and winged it…I had little idea of what I was doing.  There wasn’t much advanced and expert user help readily available online for PSP, and even now, while you can immediately find dozens of online blogs and tutorials for Photoshop, PSP remains under-represented.

Anyway, I spent enormous amounts of time accomplishing relatively little, but you have to start somewhere.  And it was fun!  I’d been using primarily 35mm film cameras up until a year or less prior to this, so to work on a project like this was pretty interesting for me.  Some of these are from scans of older prints with flash blowout, etc.

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Winter light

Daemon in the winter light.

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I’ll hypnotize you and you WILL meet my demands!

Batman (my cat, the feline superhero, not Bruce Wayne’s alter-ego) in his first Halloween card.  His eyes are huge and owl-like, and they’re yellow like this in bright sunlight; green in dimmer or indoor lighting.

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