To Enjoy Your Favorite Photos, You Can’t Beat a High-Quality Print

A framed illustration showing the phases of a solar eclipse. The sequence of partial to total eclipse is displayed above a landscape featuring mountain peaks at dusk. The frame is flanked by two wall-mounted oil lamps with glass chimneys.

Since photographing the total solar eclipse on April 8, I have been dreaming of getting a high-quality print. It was one of my favorite photographic experiences ever, and a memory I want to cherish for many years to come.

I’ve had great experiences with WhiteWall over the years, as has friend of PetaPixel Blair Bunting, so the award-winning German printing company was instantly my first choice. I emailed them, got the ball rolling, and I cannot be happier with the final result.

Disclosure: WhiteWall provided me with my print, which would cost about $260, free of charge. PetaPixel offered no guarantee of coverage and WhiteWall had no editorial input.

There is simply nothing like having your favorite photographs printed. While you can have a good experience looking at images on a computer, or yes, even a smartphone, these pale in comparison to a physical print you can hang on your wall.

However, printing has its downsides. Whether you print photos yourself at home or use a lab service like WhiteWall, there are monetary and time costs. Getting the perfect print can be a finicky, challenging process. I can’t tell you how many prints I’ve tossed in the trash at home because it didn’t look how I wanted it to. While soft proofing goes a long way and should be part of any printing workflow, whether you print at home or use a company, previewing a print on a backlit display will never look precisely right. All that said, it is well worth dealing with the difficulties.

A series of images captures the stages of a solar eclipse. The sequence, arranged diagonally across a twilight sky, showcases the moon gradually covering and then uncovering the sun. Below, snow-capped mountains and a forested landscape can be seen.
The digital file that WhiteWall printed. During my consultation with WhiteWall, it was immediately evident that they appreciate how much I care about this photo. For lack of a better term, they “got” what I wanted to achieve with it, and provided me thoughtful and helpful advice and options.

In the case of my eclipse photo, these challenges were ratcheted up to 11. The image is quite dark by design and has very slight tonal shifts from dark blue to orange, creating banding issues that make most photo printers (and most likely whatever screen you’re reading this article on) cry out in horror. For these reasons and more, I met with WhiteWall experts to discuss my photo, what I wanted to achieve, and how I envisioned it being displayed.

While admittedly, my relationship with WhiteWall provides a high degree of access to the company, this privilege is available to all. Anyone can set up a free 30-minute digital appointment with WhiteWall to discuss their needs and run through different print options with WhiteWall’s visual configurator. If someone isn’t sure of the best choice for printing a specific photo or has questions about WhiteWall’s diverse offerings, I cannot recommend contacting the company enough. There is no substitute for good customer service and expert advice. Even as an experienced printer who owns multiple photo printers and has used a wide range of media, speaking directly with WhiteWall gave me a confidence I could never have achieved alone.

Plus, in this case, WhiteWall offers printing products I cannot do with my equipment. After working with WhiteWall, I settled on a gallery-standard photo print under acrylic glass. It is a professional-grade photo print that is sealed using silicone below acrylic glass (two, four, or six millimeters thick). The print itself is on Fuji Crystal DP II paper, although there is also an Iflord B/W paper for monochrome images. This is set on a sturdy, ready-to-hang aluminum back.

A framed photograph on a wall displays the phases of a solar eclipse above a mountain range at sunset. Two wall-mounted candle holders with blue candles and glass covers are positioned symmetrically on either side of the frame.
It is practically impossible to get a photo of the print that doesn’t have some glare or reflection. However, it is much less distracting in person.

We wanted a “floating” look without any border or matte. While WhiteWall has many frame options, including some beautiful thick wooden ones, I wanted something subtle that almost fades into the background. To that end, I went for the Aluminum ArtBox in black. A slight shadow gap between the acrylic glass and the thin aluminum frame, which is just two millimeters thick, provides a three-dimensional look when viewed from an angle.

As for the print itself, it arrived quickly from Germany, safe and sound, and exceptionally well-packaged as always. After some straightforward measurements, putting a few screws in the wall, it was up and looking better than I could have hoped.

A framed photograph shows the progression of a solar eclipse over a mountainous landscape during sunset. The sequence depicts the transition from a partial eclipse to a total eclipse and back to a partial, set against a gradient sky from dark blue to bright orange.

While it is always hard to photograph a print, especially one as glossy as this one, it looks fantastic in person. I couldn’t stop looking at it, and it instantly transported me back to the moment of the eclipse. What more could I possibly ask for?

That’s one of the great strengths of a print — it keeps what you care most about front and center. While I have captured many photos I like over the past 15 years, many of them sit on a hard drive, only to be viewed occasionally when I organize catalogs or am nostalgic enough to start flipping through the proverbial file cabinets. For the photos I have printed, I get to enjoy them time and again. And no, I don’t just sit and stare at my photos repeatedly, but even a glance fills me with warmth. I love photography, and there is no better way to relive some of my favorite moments than through prints.

Disclosure: WhiteWall provided me with my print, which would cost about $260, free of charge. PetaPixel offered no guarantee of coverage and WhiteWall had no editorial input. Further, although my consultation with WhiteWall was with people I have previously worked with on prior projects, all prospective customers can access free personalized consultation services.