I am using this page to describe my process of arriving at a finished photographic print.
First, though, it is important to understand that my work is all about making a fine art print. This means a conventional print on paper. I have not yet seen a photo printed on canvas that I would call fine art. Canvas prints are fine for mass produced photos or prints of fine art that are intended for commercial spaces such as furnished apartments or hotels and convention centers. A well done, high quality fine art photo print has to show off the art in a way that, in most every case, cannot be achieved on canvas. Traditional photographic prints have good color or tone depth and gradient from light to dark. Colors are not over saturated unless that is the intent of the artist.
Aluminum is another surface that is very difficult to achieve reliable results. I have seen a night sky or star scape image on aluminum that turn out great. The glossy surface worked out well for the presentation, in this case. I have gone through the process only once and was disappointed. I am sure if I stuck with it I could achieve what I want but I don't see a reason since I am getting what I want on paper.
I tend to use flat matte surfaces and my favorite paper is Hahnemühle's William Turner (http://www.hahnemuehle.com/en/digital-fineart/digital-fineart-collection/matt-fineart/p/Product/show/9/9.html). When an image calls for a surface that has some shine I prefer the Epson Exhibition Fibre (http://www.epson.com/cgi-bin/Store/ProductMediaSpec.jsp?infoType=Overview&oid=-14902&category=Paper+%26+Media)) which is a low luster, satin finish that has great color depth. It is striking to see a print on this surface next to less ordinary paper.
Ink is also critical to consider. I print my own work so I can maintain as much control as possible. I use the Epson 3880 which uses the K3 inks that are archival. They will last over 100 years. Not as good as oil paints, but that is a long time. What I am looking into, now is piezo inks, carbon based so should last indefinitely if the paper holds out. (http://www.piezography.com/PiezoPress/)
I speak of these things because, since the print is the ultimate goal, it is important to be thinking about this before actually capturing an image. I have, at times, with my iPhone, shot images just for the screen, but when I pull out the big gun, I am usually going for paper.
Next blog will look at the capture.