Correctly Displaying Fine Art Photography

By Sam Zaydel

Though most quality prints are printed on Archival papers, such as Fuji Crystal Archive Papers or Kodak Endura Professional Papers, it is essential to consider a few important aspects to maximize the life of any print you are planning to display.

Things to Avoid

* Avoid placing your Fine Art Prints in direct exposure to sunlight.

* Avoid places with high levels of moisture or humidity.

* Close to a source of direct heat, like near a wall heater, or a furnace.

Consider the Sun

If you are going to frame the print, and are planning on hanging it on the wall, you should consider the placement first of all. We recommend placing your print on a wall which does not receive direct sunlight. What’s wrong with sunlight? Well, sunlight is a full spectrum light, which means it packs many different frequencies of light, including UV (ultra-violet). The problem with UV is its effect on photographic papers. UV causes fading, simply put, regardless of the quality of paper used to produce the print. This does not mean that all prints, regardless of the paper, or method used to produce them, fade at the same rate.

Archival papers are meant to last. Special chemicals are used to protect these papers from long-term effects of UV, moisture and other factors. However, even archival prints are not immortal. While Archival papers are meant to last, over time they will also show signs of age. The good news? They will likely outlive you.

Print Comparison

If you were to compare a print produced on a high-end inkjet printer using standard inks to a Fine Art Print produced in a Lab on Archival paper, initially they may appear of equal quality. But many inks are water based, and are not rated for archival usage. Such a print, if displayed properly, will perhaps last 3 to 5 years before any fading becomes visible. On the other hand, an archival print, also displayed properly, will last 50 or more years. Back to Top.

To Summarize

Place your prints into a quality frame, and hang it somewhere out of sun’s direct rays. There’s nothing wrong with light falling on the prints. After all, full spectrum light means your photos are going to shine. Indirect light is best, because it will not accelerate natural aging of your prints, and will provide soft even illumination. In today’s hi-tech world you may be able to purchase a frame with UV shielded glass, which is ideal, if your prints are going to receive quite a bit of direct sun light.

Try to hang you photos away from sources of heat and moisture, because both cause materials such as paper, and glues or tapes used to mount photos into mats to warp. The last thing you want to see is your print rippling in its frame.

Written by Professional Photographer, and an owner of a Photography Selling Service. To learn more about this, and many other general, as well as more specific photography related subjects, or to explore a Fine Art Photography gallery, please consider visiting Contemporary Fine Art Gallery.


  1. Sound advise, and applicable to other fine art including lithographs, etchings, watercolors, etc. Would like to see more about framing and the arrangement of art on the wall.


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