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Thread: Laminate or not to Laminate

  1. #1

    Default Laminate or not to Laminate

    Hi guys...

    I saw some prints here are being laminated... is there a good reason for it? apart from protecting the prints from the finger prints or water spillage?

    I have tested both in the same "condition" and they seems to be the same... so what is your thought on this?

    I have heard some claim that the laminate protect the print hence make the prints last longer...

    BTW, the print in question is those chemical print from the lab.

    Regards,

    Hart

  2. #2

    Default Re: Laminate or not to Laminate

    Most prints are somewhat water-resistant (please correct me if I'm wrong).

    If kept in an album, I don't think the lamination protects the photo much (the album protects and shields the photo from contact). However if you handle that particular print often, lamination definitely protects it and it will probably 'last longer'.
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  3. #3
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Laminate or not to Laminate

    Hi Hart,

    the lab print print surface will be become sticky once get wet, and if any dust stick to it when it is wet, for sure the dust will be there permanently.

    traditionally, when print framed with glass need to be have matting, else the print surface will stick to glass after some time, and it is not possible to remove it, if the glass broke, there goes the print. However, custom glass framing with matting is very expensive, most people will just buy any ready made frame without matting, which allow the glass surface have contact with the print.

    so another way is to frame the photo print without glass, which the print need to be laminated.

    basically there are two type of laminating, cold and hot laminating.

    the cold lamination is just a sticky film apply on to the print. I no longer offer prints with cold lamination.

    the hot laminating I'm referring to are not the laminating pocket which using laminating for document or certificate, which you can see it at any photocopy shops.
    I'm referring to the vacuum press lamination, these are specially for photographic print, which has the best results and of course, the most pricier. All my framed portrait are vacuum press laminated.

    in USA, most portrait photographers will offer prints with chemical spray coat as lamination. which done by the labs.

    currently at local professional labs, such chemical spray coating service only done on flush mount albums, not on loss prints, I hope they can offer such service to the loss prints in near future, and I will include this type of lamination to all my unframed prints.

    Hope this answer your question.

    Regards,

    Benjamin
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  4. #4
    Senior Member fatigue's Avatar
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    Default Re: Laminate or not to Laminate

    Laminate also protect the prints against "dirts" from insects.
    It will be easier and safer to clean prints with laminates

    With good laminates/matting, we could actually eliminate the glass on frames (correct me if I'm wrong)..
    Last edited by fatigue; 31st December 2010 at 11:59 AM.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Laminate or not to Laminate

    Thanks Ben for your detail explanation.

    I was more looking for longevity point of view which doesn't seems to be off a concern if I laminate or not as my test shows.

    It is more protection towards mishandling and texture on the prints for lamination from what I gather.

    I always tells my clients to custom frame the prints gotten from me and go for fine art print for best possible longevity with archival framing. It is expensive, but it is a memory we are talking about... It worth more than just the print.

    Regards,

    Hart

  6. #6
    Moderator catchlights's Avatar
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    Default Re: Laminate or not to Laminate

    the print itself able to last for many years, laminating is protecting the surface from dust and finger prints.

    yes, agree with you, the frame itself is part of the presentation of the portrait, it should compliments the portrait, not to cheapen it.
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  7. #7
    Moderator Clown's Avatar
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    Default

    If it's lab prints you're talking about, then laminating will protect it from physical handling damage but that's about it.
    Almost all lab prints are not really archival beyond 30 years due to material used.
    There's currently an active discussion in another forum regarding longevity comparisons between lab prints (lightjet) and the current inkjet technology.
    So far the consensus is that inkjet has overtaken lab prints' longevity in all areas except super gloss prints, but they're rapidly catching up.

    Another side to consider is what catchlight mentioned about types of laminate. There are different types and grades of laminate - hot/cold, roll/liquid. You need to know the intended effect you're looking for. Hot lamination is good for gloss but may cause color shifts. Cold lam is convenient but if done improperly, will leave a smoky finishing which compromise the dmax of the print, making it less contrasty and thus 'weaker'.
    Liquid lam produces wonderful final results but it's HELL to apply with high failure rate.

    Lastly, you can forget about those 3M photo archival sprays as wilhelm research has proven them to cause more damage to the print instead of protecting them.
    sigh.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Laminate or not to Laminate

    Thanks James.

    I thought the best lab print might last 15-20 years and that's about it? I wouldnt go as far in recommend 30 years.

    I agree with you about the inkjet tech is getting heaps better on matt or those cotton rag paper which is why I ask my client to go for that option whenever they are serious about longevity and of course those clients who understand the important of artwork preservation. It's getting more and more but still not enuf to say it is day to day request.

    Regards,

    Hart
    Last edited by Agetan; 3rd January 2011 at 01:09 PM.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Laminate or not to Laminate

    I agree entirely with Benjamin's explainations, there's a couple of addons though.

    With the best glass / matte systems you can get UV blocking glass which greatly slows down light fading of the print when in direct sunlight or bright light conditions. Sadly the UV blocking glass is very expensive, often 3-10 times the cost of regular matte glasses.

    Lamination does seem to offer some slow down in the photochemical ageing process as with hot lamination the print is essentially air tight which will stop some pigment breakdowns due to oxydisation of the surface of print. Depending on the lamination material light fading may be slowed down somewhat.
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  10. #10
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    Default Re: Laminate or not to Laminate

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian View Post
    I agree entirely with Benjamin's explainations, there's a couple of addons though.

    With the best glass / matte systems you can get UV blocking glass which greatly slows down light fading of the print when in direct sunlight or bright light conditions. Sadly the UV blocking glass is very expensive, often 3-10 times the cost of regular matte glasses.

    Lamination does seem to offer some slow down in the photochemical ageing process as with hot lamination the print is essentially air tight which will stop some pigment breakdowns due to oxydisation of the surface of print. Depending on the lamination material light fading may be slowed down somewhat.
    hi ian! hows ur recovery?

  11. #11

    Default Re: Laminate or not to Laminate

    hi guys, i've been using cold lamination for the past 3 months, i think its one the practical way to protect our images. However, recently i am looking for some new alternatives like hot lam or liquid lam. What would u guys recommend personally ?

    Recently i went to some other studios, and they do print out their albums in a very high glossy surface, almost like an acrylic or glass type of finishing, in every pages of the album. Have u guys heard about that ?

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