Framing Photographic Prints

Your pictures can be transformed into a stunning piece of wall art by the wise use of matting and framing materials. After all, you have taken the trouble to choose your subject, decide on the best composition and pressed the shutter on your camera. Now, you need to show these photos in their best light. Frames and matting do exactly that. These highlight the photo and increase its visual impact and appeal. Of course, these also provide the additional benefit of protecting your photograph from dust and grime, as well as from discoloration or brittleness.

After you have printed the photograph and prepared it for framing, you need to make a series of choices to get the right combination of matting material and frame. Here are three simple steps to ensure that you do:

Step 1: Choose the frame

There are a variety of choices you need to make when choosing the right picture frame for your photo. These include:

  • The molding design. Generally, photographs work best with simple frames, rather than ornate ones. This can involve flat or smoothly rounded edges that do not detract from the picture being framed. The purpose is for the moldings or edges to draw attention to the photo rather than overpower it. The molding should be of enough width to properly delineate the picture from the wall and the rest of the photos that may also be displayed on the same wall. The more popular widths include 1 inch to 1.5 inches.
  • The frame material. You can usually choose between metal or wood frames. Traditional images such as portraits, landscapes or nature shots are perfectly complemented by wood frames while contemporary images and black-and-whites can benefit from the sharp edges and bright metal of metallic frames.
  • The shape and size of the frame. Frames come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You can choose from oval picture frames, round picture frames or rectangular picture frames. Other not-so-usual shapes include octagonal, cathedral, hexagonal or heart-shaped frames. Photographs are usually framed using rectangular frames. However, there are some who want to break the monotony by choosing a different shape.
  • The color of the frame. If you are unsure about how the color of the frame will work well with the colors in the photograph, go with neutral colors such as silver, white, or black. If you would like a colored frame, chose one that coordinates with the colors in the photograph. This may take some experimentation on your part. The good news is that The Victorian Company provides you with up to three color samples for free.

Step 2: Choose the matting

Matting is actually optional but it can work to provide additional space between the frame and the photograph. Matting also draws the viewer into the picture, inviting one to take a closer look. Other choices include:

  • The number of matting boards. You can choose one, two or at most, three matting layers. Remember that with every addition of a layer, the size of the frame will also be bigger to accommodate the increase in the overall area. Also, the rabbet should be wide enough to fit all the layers, as well as the glass and the backing. If you are going with a single layer, use a neutral color such as white or cream. Other colors that can work can include light blue, gray or light green. For double or triple layers, the inner layer should complement or match the dominant color in the photograph and then the outside layer should be a neutral color. Ideally, these layers should be complimentary colors so that the colors are not visually jarring.
  • The border size. If the border is too narrow, it cancels out the effect of your efforts to add matting. If the border is too thick, it can overshadow the picture. As a general rule, the width of the matt should be some 15 to 20% of the shortest side of the photograph. There are also those who prefer to add some width to the bottom to give the image a “weighted” look.

Step 3: Choose the glazing

Since photographs are more vulnerable to moisture, dust and grime, including glass is necessary. You can choose from glass (which is heavier but less scratch prone) or acrylic (which is lighter and less vulnerable to cracking and breaking).

28th Feb 2015 Eric Morgan

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