And we all need to feel better these days, right? Mpix, a long-time sponsor of this blog, had to close its print lab when the state of Kansas issued a stay-at-home order.  They are still taking orders, however, for your prints, photo gifts, and home decor. And as soon as they are able to reopen, your orders will be produced and delivered as soon as possible.

Each time I hear about another business closing, even temporarily, or a friend who’s lost a job, or a child without internet access who is struggling to participate in online school, my heart races a little. I feel stress and worry for other families all over the world who are facing sickness and financial loss, and I worry that a similar level of stress will hit my family. That constant stress can’t be good for us.

That’s why stories like this make me so happy. Need a little warming in your heart? Read what happened to Mpix after announcing that their lab closed temporarily: 

I suspect we are all making careful financial decisions right now. In addition to saving what we can, my family is also choosing people and organizations to help. We’ve donated to musicians who offer live Facebook concerts, we’ve given to a food bank, and we’ve ordered take-out and bought gift cards at local restaurants and shops that we want to help.

I’m adding another thing to that list. I’ll be ordering prints at Mpix within the next week.

Mpix is exactly the kind of business I want to support. They are in America’s heartland. They provide high-quality prints at prices that work for amateur and hobbyist photographers with speedy turnaround. And their customer service is friendly and responsive.

If you’d like to do the same, let me tell you about the most recent review product that Mpix sent me. It’s a giclee print.

What’s a Giclee Print?

Giclee is a French word pronounced zhee-clay. It means sprinkle or splatter and refers to the way ink-jet printers create these prints. Giclee prints have the reputation of being for fine art photos. Why? They are all about the details. Mpix uses seven dye-based inks for vibrant colors and enhanced clarity. This image is a photo of my giclee, not the original image:

I showed this print to a group of photographers via Zoom last week, and one of them mentioned that the photo looked three-dimensional. Over Zoom – with its less than perfect video quality! The colors are more saturated and crisp than they appear in these photos and that yellow blossom looks like it is popping out of the print. (I don’t like editing photos of prints to avoid any appearance of manipulating them.)

Giclee prints are special because the entire printing process is different: Mpix has new state-of-the-art machines that print at a higher resolution, which results in crisper detail and enhanced image clarity. They use seven dye-based inks to provide a wider color gamut. And the Fine Art, Deep Matte, and High Gloss papers are only available in the giclee print line at Mpix.

I ordered a 12×18 giclee on Fine Art Photographic paper, which is described as “a thick matte paper with a subtle watercolor texture.” It does have a subtle texture that none of my other matte prints have, but it’s not a texture that you can see. The overall effect is one of deep richness and dimensionality.

I added double-weight matboard to my order to expedite framing. You can see it in the image below.

The total cost for this product with the matboard was under $35. That’s a great deal and I wouldn’t have any problem printing it for clients and marking it up to cover my time.

What should you print on giclee at Mpix? For the larger sizes, I would print my very best images. And given that the smallest giclee, at 4×5.3, is only $.44, I’d print photos to send to friends and family and they’d be stunning additions to any scrapbook.

Giclees elevate the tone of an image. I’d use them for landscapes, botanicals, macros – anything whose beauty comes from the details. I’d use it for portraits too. Especially close-ups that emphasize a child’s perfect skin texture.

As I document our social distancing and time at home, I’ll be looking for a special photo that is perfect for my next giclee print order at Mpix. And I’ll be happy to wait until they reopen for the order to be shipped to me!