So far I have been getting my prints done from Costco (~$7.50 for 16x20). These are framed without glass in ikea frames and put up using 3m picture hangers. Typical viewing distance 5+ feet. Moreover I can change pictures in < $10. This affords me the “flexibility” to try out new prints.
Recently I came across “metal prints”. They look similar to what I see on my screen than the prints (it seems to “emit” light and is brighter). Generally way better than what I have been getting so far. But metal prints are costly (~$55 for 16x20 at costco) which translates to careful handling. Costlier to replace.
1. Is there someplace cheaper for metal prints?
Are there cheaper mediums to get a similar “look”? Preferable not requiring proper lighting setup.
I love digital display. So far my efforts were centred around repurposing old LCD monitors connected to raspberry-pi. But these are small monitors (max 22”). Any source of cheaper larger displays?
If you are in the U.S. there are several printer that offer prints on "metallic" paper. The "metallic" part of it is actually in the laminated printing process on top of the photo printing paper. Most use Kodak Professional Endura Premier Metallic Paper.
I order prints from MPix Pro via my zenfolio account. A 16x20 print on metallic paper runs me about $16 plus shipping (flat $8.25 for up to 15 large prints shipped anywhere in the U.S.). The prices vary a little based on which tier zenfolio account one has. I'm not sure what their price would be if you ordered direct from MPix/Miller's. Nations offers the same size print on Kodak Endura Metallic Paper for $17 +shipping.
The prints have a brighter look that is much closer to what you see on a monitor than standard matte or glossy prints do. I recently had the image below printed using the metallic option and was very happy with the resulting print I received. If anything the print looks more vibrant than the file used to print it looks on my monitor. It almost looks like a transparency lit from behind.