What are Giclée Canvas Prints from Photos Anyway?

Maui, Hawaii

As you shop for beautiful canvas prints from photos for your home or office, you may come across a term that you are not familiar with: giclée. If you have been wondering what this term means, you are in the right place! Read on for everything you’d ever want to know about this innovative process:

What is Giclée?

Let’s start with the correct pronunciation of this word: gee-clay. Giclée is a French term meaning “to spray” and is a printing process that involves reproducing digital prints using ink-jet printing. Because of advances in ink-jet technology, details in the image tend to look sharper and the ink will also last longer than regular prints. As for the relationship between giclée and canvas, think of it this way: giclée is the process and canvas is the medium.

What is the difference between Giclée and other canvas prints from photos?

To answer this question, let’s talk about basic canvas photographs. As its name implies, these are created when a customized image is first printed onto canvas and then stretched onto a frame. People tend to really like canvas prints to help decorate their walls—especially when they are of a wonderful event like a wedding or graduation, of family members or feature gorgeous Hawaiian scenery. These types of prints can actually look like original oil or acrylic paintings—only on stretched canvas.

Traditional print techniques and technologies like lithography use something called the CMYK-4 color combination. In fact, you might be familiar with this four-pack of tones if you have a color printer for your computer: the abbreviation stands for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. Giclée printers, on the other hand, use up to 12 individual colors, which not only offers a wider range of colors when creating photos to canvas prints, but also more richness and vibrancy in the artwork.

While giclée can be used for any type of artwork, it really shines when used to create wall art. When shopping for pieces to display in their homes, customers typically look for high quality prints that look incredible and will last for a long time—and giclée definitely can deliver all of this and more. For instance, any type of nature photograph that is printed on canvas with the giclée technique will look exceptionally sharp and will be an outstanding reproduction.

Canvas corner sample

Pros and Cons of Giclée /Canvas printing

There are many advantages to opting for giclée and/or canvas prints. For example, virtually any photo that is printed on canvas—whether it’s an adorable shot of your playful pup or a breathtaking sunset that I captured in our 50th state—will look as if the photo has figuratively come to life. It is also a creative way to showcase photos; rather than printing out pictures and displaying them in frames, canvas prints from photos can be created in a wide range of sizes and can be mounted in decorative floating frames. Also, the fine art matte canvas that is usually used with the giclée process is blended with polyester and cotton to make it stronger and last for years, and it often features a UV laminate designed to protect the canvas and help ensure it will not warp or peel.

Disadvantages of canvas prints are limited; for instance, over time they can absorb moisture. Because of this, it is best not to display giclée and/or regular canvas photographs in bathrooms or kitchens where there is a lot of steam from showering or cooking. Canvas, while durable, is a textile and not tear-proof; so, if your Hawaiian landscape is displayed close to where kids and pets run by, it may not last as long as if it were in a more serene bedroom.

Why Professional Photographers choose photos on canvas prints/giclée to display their work

Art collectors are not the only ones who love giclée canvas prints—professional photographers are also big fans of this medium and process. While we don’t get as many requests for canvas, it’s still a great option for decorating your home.

Giclée prints have an inherent archival quality to them, meaning that colors will remain vibrant and realistic looking for decades, if not longer. This archival material, combined with multiple colors and innovative giclée printing combine to create an incredibly realistic looking print, with plenty of depth that makes people feel like they could step right into the image.

Also, artists who use the giclée printing on canvas process appreciate the way their original photo or other work looks incredible each and every time it is reproduced—whether it’s the first or the one-thousandth print. As a bonus, this means that artists can sell unlimited prints of their scenic photographs or other pieces.

Professional artists also want to sell high quality pieces that are, as the saying goes, built to last. They don’t want their customers to return in a matter of weeks, upset that their once-lovely photograph has already faded. Thanks to the giclée process, artists can feel confident that they are selling their valued customers photos on canvas prints that will last a long time, and may even be handed down from generation to generation. Giclée prints are customizable in their size so a homeowner who wants to adorn a dining room wall with a giant print of glowing red lava flowing from a Hawaiian volcano can do just that. And, for customers who live out of state or wish to ship a print to a friend or relative across the country, photos on canvas prints can easily be packed up and shipped to any location.

Interested in Giclée Canvas Prints?! We do these by special request, so please contact us today.

Discover the image galleries

a lone boat reflects in the calm waters of the pacific ocean off the coast of the Hawaiian island of Molokai.  Fine art limited edition Hawaii photography

Mornings in Hawaii can be very special. I had found this beautiful boat as a subject the night before and returned at sunrise to find it so calm and serene to where the water is like a mirror. Endless beauty

Collector's Edition of 100

a bent coconut palm tree reaches out towards the ocean at Kahala beach on the island of Oahu.  Turquoise water color and warm sand add to this classic picture

While strolling along Kahala beach with my family, I found this scene very inviting. Something that just really defines the simple beauty of the beaches on the island of Oahu. The watercolor, the sand, the bent palm tree, the sky, all coming together for that little slice of paradise.

Collector's Edition of 50

lava ocean entry photography at sunrise on the Big Island of Hawaii in Volcanoes National Park

One of the most epic scenes that I've ever witnessed, lava entering the ocean with the pacific crashing against it in opposition is just truly amazing! You literally have fire and water opposing each other here so it's a battle of two forces

Collector's Edition of 50