A while ago I asked about framing without using glass and got some useful information. But I recently heard about Hahnemühle Varnish , which they describe as a "protective varnish for canvas inkjet prints."

Now, I don't print on canvas (don't like the look for my work) and I don't print inkjet. I use bayphoto.cam (via smugmug) and I'm quite happy with their work. I have them print to Kodak Endura paper, using the metallic version 75% of the time.

I've contacted Hahnemühle to ask about this varnish on photos, not canvas inkjets, but they said it was developed for canvas inkjets and was only tested on canvas inkjets. Are there any other products which would perform a similar function for non-canvas prints?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you ask bay photo? They should know a thing or two about the paper and process they are using. \$\endgroup\$
    – Nir
    Commented Jun 12, 2012 at 19:20

2 Answers 2


In the 'old' days, a kind of wax polish was used to 'deepen' the blacks and also to protect a little the emulsion of photographic prints. As it doesn't contains water it would not dissolve the ink of modern inkjet prints and would perhaps work on those Kodak prints too.

On those 'classic' baryta photographic prints, I use the "Vernis Céronis pour tableaux MAT" made by Lefranc&Bourgeois from Le Mans, France. This is a kind of bees wax based mixture as made for oil paintings; carefully apply with a soft cloth or a fine brush, and gently rub till it start to somewhat shine slightly (satiné). This wax is water repellent.

All tough, I never tried it on inkjet...

Good luck!

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Note that Endura is a standard colour negative (RA-4 process) paper, so the classic photo products should work the same way. Avoiding water is the big thing, not because it will make things run or smear, but because it swells the emulsion, making the colours go wonky (everything lightens, and the relationship between the colour components shifts, usually towards cyan in my experience). The one advantage of a wax over a varnish is that it is conservationally sound; it can be reversed if needed (or cleaned). \$\endgroup\$
    – user2719
    Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 17:33

Photographs are the witnesses of the memorable moments of our lives. They refresh our memories. All of us want our photos to remain intact for a longer span of time. There are several methods which are frequently used to protect our photographs from things such as exposure to direct sunlight and water.

Varnishes can be used, but with modern inkjet prints they also become outdated.

Today we mostly want canvas photo prints. For these it is better to seal your canvas than to use varnishes.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm looking for ways to protect photos NOT printed on canvas. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 11:30
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ "We mostly want canvas photo prints"? Citation needed! \$\endgroup\$
    – mattdm
    Commented Feb 6, 2013 at 12:22

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.