How to Prepare Your Photos for Canvas Printing is an independent review guide covering business and educational products and software. This website contains affiliate links and we may be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking these links.

canvas printing

We are a big fan of Canvas printing here at Vault50. We have used many of the big canvas print on demand services in recent weeks to bring you our opinion on which are the best.

The end results are now hanging in our homes and offices throughout the world, (we are a remote-based team based in several different locations).

However, while we took an in-depth look at what each service provides, we haven’t really talked about how you prepare images for printing.

So let’s take a look…

1. Choose an image worth printing

canvas printing

This may seem obvious, but there is a big difference between how an image looks on your iPhone screen and how it will appear blown up on a large canvas to place on the wall.

Therefore, not every image is suitable for a large print.

We have covered what makes an image worth printing here. In summary, you should pay attention to the framing, does it feel balanced? If a subject is in the shot, are the limbs chopped in awkward places? Are the eyes open or closed?

These days we generally take several photographs of a given moment, ensure that you choose the best one when intending to enlarge on canvas.

2. Check the Resolution

The standard image setting in new smartphones should provide you with an image that has an adequate resolution for canvas printing.

For example, the iPhone 6 to X all have 12-megapixel cameras. 12 million pixels is more than enough for photographic enlargement.

The important issue is to ensure that your camera phone is at the default setting and not at a reduced image resolution to save storage space.

As the resolution goes down, your image distortion will increase. This is a problem for older phones and cameras.

If in doubt, save the image and take a look at it on your computer screen rather than your phone screen.

If it looks blurred immediately or even after a small zoom into the image, the resolution is too low for canvas printing.

3. Be aware of the dimensions

canvas printing

If you are planning on having a square canvas printed (12×12 inches for example), the image you send to the printers needs to be cropped into a square too.

The method you use to resize and crop will depend on the software and service you use.

Some canvas printing services will provide the means to adjust the image online, others will require that you upload a finished image pre-cropped.

The good news is even a simple paint program installed on your laptop will allow you to crop an image into a square aspect ratio. There are also online options available.

Programs like Adobe Photoshop will give you greater control with resizing guides and rulers and pixel-perfect accuracy.

4. Convert the image to the correct File Format

canvas printing (4

This is another step that may be determined by the canvas printing service you use as they vary in the file types that they recommend.

With high-end digital cameras, you will have access to RAW files and should download and use an image in that format.

It basically means the highest resolution with no form of compression.

It is possible to access RAW files on the iPhone, however, it is not standard-setting and takes a little technical know-how, (head here for more on that).

That being said, not all printers will accept RAW files.

TIFF files are a good alternative as they utilize a lossless compression system and professional printing services will accept them.

The standard image format that most consumer-based print-on-demand services will accept is JPEG.

Unfortunately, this utilizes quite a high compression system. However, it is the most common image format used today and it is very easy to convert any format to JPEG.

5. Choose a canvas printing service

canvas printing

With your image prepped it is time to choose a printer.

We have recently covered some of the best canvas printing services available online. After having various types of canvas printed, our favorite services include:

  • CanvasHQ – we rated this highly based on the level of customization it provides
  • Great Big Canvas – This service has over 700,000 prints to choose from (plus the ability to print your own images). For sheer selection alone, it is worth checking out.
  • Canvas Champ – We awarded this the best value canvas printing service. There is always some kind of deal on and they also price match.
  • Canvas Vows – We really liked Canvas Vows because of their focus on prints with words and text. It is a great way to create to customize your canvas prints with something meaningful beyond just the image.

Essentially, there are many services available each of which has its pros and cons. However, the printing quality remains very high throughout.

6. Request a Proof

ordering on canvas vows

The final step after ordering your canvas print is to request an image proof before it is printed and sent to your address.

The good news is, most services offer this option within the ordering section. If not, ensure that you email and request a proof anyway.

Having the option to view a proof of the image helps put your mind at ease on what you will receive. It will also provide you with an opportunity to make changes if the image doesn’t make the grade.

It is much better to catch any issues before it has gone through the printing process and arrived at your door.

About V50

The editorial team here at is made up of a number of writers based all over the world. Our interests and experience cover the full range of what we talk about here. Clare Turner is one of our key contributers writing about the home. David Lachance is our resident e-commerce and business guru, if it's anything to do with that, he's your man. Kevin Simpson takes care of the website layout and publishing and also heads up our education section, with in-depth reviews and articles on courses and training. Find out more about all of us here.

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