Fine Art Products for Photographers
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By Christie Stockstill
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I just got a sample in the mail and I'm in LOVE!  

I have been checking out Finao as a lab for producing fine art products for myself and my clients. I ordered test prints and loved the German Etching Paper from Hahnemuehle.  It's not the only option for papers, but if you're looking for fine art, it's a great one. 

I did make an album with Finao, which was awesome, but I forgot to photograph it, so I'll have to blog about that another time.

Cut to today, when I opened the box containing my sample Marilyn Portfolio Box.   It in a flip-top box securely packaged inside a bigger box and was wrapped in tissue paper that I got to tear off like a present. (Just kidding, I didn't tear it off. I gently lossened the tape and removed the paper in one piece. I'm iike that.) 

The portfolio box comes in a number of colors/materials. I chose Shady - a gray, slate color, and I chose a black ribbon and box lining. It's gorgeous!

The box is constructed like an envelope, so you lift a flap to access your prints.  It's always exciting to see my work printed, so I was excited, if not a little bit nervous. My work, if you haven't seen it, is often heavily textured, and I many times I use brushes and a million other tools to create a more painterly look. I'm not always certain this will translate well in print form.  In spite of myself, I ordered 16 prints! It was only a small gamble though, as I'd already done a few test prints and knew the quality would be high.  I went with 10 x 10" gicleé prints with a 13 x 13" archival, white mat.  I LOVE them!

I will also add, while I'm raving about Finao, that each time I've sent a contact form, someone has gotten back to me almost immediately.  If I email that person back with follow up questions, he or she responds quickly and courteously.  The only other product I've created with them so far is an album.  It was a giant wedding album, so it wasn't inexpensive, and it was the biggest one I'd made.  I received an email assuring me that, since it was my first album of that kind, they would be double checking everything before it went to print, to make sure it would look awesome and that I hadn't screwed anything up! Then I got an email telling me it looked awesome and would be printed very soon! 

If you've used mPixPro or ProDPI, you are familiar with uploading your images to the site via ROES.  Finao does not use ROES, so I had to learn a new method, but it wasn't that difficult to figure out, and they have tutorials if you need help, (and did I mention the extra quick and helpful support team?)

I'm looking forward to offering the portfolios to my clients. They come in two different depths for holding fewer or more prints, and there are several mat/print sizes from which to choose.  [If I have one little realization (a teeny thing that is not the end of the world, but I wish I'd thought of it before) it's that 13 x 13" prints require a custom framing job.  That's not a big deal, but if, at some point, I (or a client) wanted to frame the images in the portfolio box, it could get a little pricey.] I don't think most folks who order the portfolio box, though, intend to frame all of the images in it.

So, that's it -- my two cents on Finao and the Marilyn Portfolio Box!  It's gorgeous, and now I have a beautiful and professional way to store lots of my favorite images!

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