What is the Difference Between Acrylic vs Metal Prints?


Acrylic vs Metal Prints

Having owned photography galleries for the last 12 years I have had many customers come in to the gallery and ask what I print my images on and what is the best quality to print with. These days you can virtually print images on anything from t-shirts, coffee mugs, paper prints and much more but my two favorite mediums to print on are acrylic and metal prints.

Are Metal or Acrylic Prints Archival?

Metal- They are not archival and will only last 40-50 years

Acrylic-They are museum quality and archival for over 100+ years

Are Metal or Acrylic Prints Reflective?

Metal- They do show reflections with the standard glossy finish the only way to have them printed to show less reflection is to print them with the satin finish option.


  • STANDARD ACRYLIC- They will show reflections
  • TRUE LIFE ACRYLIC-They are the same print quality as the standard acrylic except they VIRTUALLY ELIMINATE ALL REFLECTIONS allowing the image to come to life without reflections.

How Do You Hang Metal or Acrylic Prints?

Metal- Depending on the size of metal you purchase they come ready to hang with a Metal Exhibit Mount or Float Mount backings.

Acrylic-They come ready to hang with a Metal Exhibit Mount for all sizes.

How Big Can You Print On Metal or Acrylic?

Metal- The biggest Metal you can print in 1 piece is 48"x96" but you can go bigger by splitting it into multiple pieces. The biggest 2x3 ratio size you can print a Metal is 48"x72".

Acrylic- The biggest Acrylic you can print in 1 piece is 60"x120" but you can go bigger by splitting it into multiple pieces. The biggest 2x3 ratio size you can print an Acrylic is 60"x90".

60"x96" Standard Acrylic ready to ship out from my professional printing lab

What Print Style Costs More?

Being that my Acrylics are my Limited-Edition pieces and the best quality for printing they are more expensive than metal.


30x45 Open Edition Metal - $1400.00

30x45 Limited Edition Standard Acrylic - $2400.00

30x45 Limited Edition True Life Acrylic - $3000.00

Acrylics Prints -

Printing on Acrylic is hands down my favorite medium to print on. Limited Edition Acrylics are the highest quality photographic prints available. Unparalleled in its longevity (archival for over 100+ years), sharpness of details, and superior display. They are optically mounted to 1/8" Acrylic Plexy Glass and comes ready to hang with aluminum inset frame. These are Limited Editions prints with only 100 Edition Prints ever made.

Metal Prints -

My second favorite print option is metal although they are not as archival as an acrylic they still make for an amazing piece on your wall. Metal Prints represent a new art medium for preserving photos by infusing dyes directly into specially coated aluminum sheets. Your images will take on a magical luminescence. Colors are vibrant and the luminescence is breathtaking. Detail and resolution are beautiful.

So What Print Medium to Choose?

As you can see acrylic and metal are both amazing mediums to print on. You can’t go wrong either way but if I were going to choose one over the other it would definitely be Acrylic. If you're looking to save a little money and still have a beautiful piece, then go with Metal but if you're the serious art collector and want hands down the best quality, True Life Acrylic would be the best option.

Regardless of which print medium you like best, if you are looking for beautiful and limited-edition photo piece, browse my wide selection of nature photography prints that I have for sale. I have been shooting beautiful places for over 19 years and I am sure to have the perfect art piece for you. Additionally, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me and I would be happy to help!

"Winters Grip"- Fine Art Limited Edition of 100 by Nick Selway

"Criss Cross"- Fine Art Limited Edition of 100 by Nick Selway

"Sunset Drain"- Fine Art Limited Edition of 100 by Nick Selway