If you print, do you frame?

Discussion in 'Printing' started by BlackOakMo, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. BlackOakMo

    BlackOakMo Mu-43 Regular

    38
    Jul 10, 2012
    Oxford Mississippi
    Finally, at long last, I am starting to print some photos. It has taken me a while to work through color calibration, soft proofing with color profiles, cropping images to match print sizes, etc, etc. It feels good to be completing the loop and getting pictures for display but now I am finding the whole framing issue just as befuddling. I can find nice frames with white mats for smaller picture sizes (8x8 and 11x14inch) but nothing for larger prints (so far looking for 12x12 and 16x20 but with aspirations to go larger still). I’d love to hear how you approach this. Some of my ideas so far have been to seek out a source for precut mats with a stiff stock backer and just put those up (without a frame). Does anyone use those poster frames with an acrylic cover (seems like you need matting to keep the picture off the glass).

    Is custom framing the only other option? I could see this for special cases and even selecting special colored matting to complement the image but, frankly, that’s more than I could handle for now (because of limited artistic skills and financial means).

    I just printed and framed a high key image of a white iris against a black shadow that looks outstanding in a black frame and a double white mat (a cheap $20 combo for an 11x14 portrait). I can see where this combo (black frame and white mat) might not always work but for this picture its outstanding. Any advice on where to find something reasonable for a 16x20 of a similar print?
     
  2. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I frame all of my larger prints. I prefer timber frames to metal ones, so often scour second-hand/op shops for old frames. It's often important to use special tape or glue to ensure that the print doesn't sage and warp inside the frame.
     
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  3. BlackOakMo

    BlackOakMo Mu-43 Regular

    38
    Jul 10, 2012
    Oxford Mississippi
    Ha Ha, timber frames? I have a buddy who builds timber frames. that's a little larger than I had in mind:smile:. But seriously, I am finding this whole business of getting the crop you want (to match print size) then the mat to match the picture and the frame a little too much. Am I looking at this wrong. I gather you find a frame you like and then have someone cut you a mat so everything fits?
     
  4. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I get a frame and then match the print to the frame. Usually I only use a single matt, as double matts are hideously expensive (at least in Oz). Sometimes I just print a surround, black lines and the like, and forego the matt entirely. It just depends on the type of shot and frame.
     
  5. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Many labs (White House Custom Color, Bay Photo, Millers, etc.) will mount, edge and spray a large print. This is not a bad option you plan on displaying the print in an area where the mount board will not get damaged. I have done a few pieces at 16x20 and 16x24 in this arrangement and it is a nice affordable option to framing (if you like the look).. When mounted on thick board and edged well, the pieces look quite nice, and are easy to hang as they do not weight much. The spray coating is supposed to provide some UV protection, but I do not believe that it is a substitute for UV glass. Something to consider.

    --Ken
     
  6. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I did a framing course quite some years ago with the intent of doing more framing for myself. The place that ran the course was a framing shop and once you'd completed their course, you could come at any time and use their equipment and buy the raw materials off them. The problem was, the prices ended up being exorbitant. The frame I made for one 16" x 20" print during the course cost $90 and that was using some of their cheaper frame styles and double matting. The print cost me about $5 (printing it myself).

    After that, I've just keep an eye out at markets and wherever for cheap frames and use those instead. You can sometimes find quite good timber frames with matting etc for $10-$20 which are actually fine for the landscapes that I prefer to print and frame. Our place is sort of rustic, country style, and modern frames, modern anything for that matter, just look out of place in the house.
     
  7. robbie36

    robbie36 Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2010
    Bangkok
    rob collins
    I think that if you are going to frame, the frame is pretty much as important as the photo. I just think to an extent people will judge by the weakest link in the framed photo - by that I mean even an absolutely great photo in a crappy frame will look crappy. So I always custom frame (admittedly it is no more expensive than buying a prebuilt frame here in Thailand). Also my GF runs an art gallery, so she does a great job of framing. If you dont want to frame, I think printing on dibond frameless looks really great.
     
  8. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    I believe that there is a difference between an acceptable/suitable frame and a crappy frame. In my view, all those aluminium frames are crappy and suitable only for framing a certificate or the like (I have plenty of those). An acceptable/suitable frame on the otherhand can encompass a wide variety of frames, from rustic (made out of old fence palings) to elegant (teak inlaid with ivory), and not all need to be expensive or handcrafted. It's more a case of the frame complementing the photo, not dominating it, and leading the eye into the photo.
     
  9. cmpatti

    cmpatti Mu-43 Veteran

    263
    May 8, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    Buy a mat cutter. It's easy (at least here in the US) to find decent, inexpensive, pre-made frames. Being able to cut your own mats gives lots of flexibility and allows you to use those pre-made frames more easily. I spent about $150 on a good Logan mat cutter 15 years ago, and even though I don't use it much, it's paid for itself many times over.


    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43 mobile app
     
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  10. mattia

    mattia Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 3, 2012
    The Netherlands
    My large panorama presentation system of choice is dibond frameless, or behind acrylic for some subjects. I like printing nature and landscape shots and find frames distract me more often than not.
     
  11. letsgofishing

    letsgofishing Mu-43 Veteran

    352
    Nov 21, 2012
    South Africa
    Mike Kaplan
    I have all my prints custom framed. Recently, 2 60x60cm prints with moderately wide black frames and white matts cost be around $40 ea (in South Africa).
    For my really large seascapes - 120-150cm wide, I have printed on canvas and stretched on a wood frame.
     
  12. janneman

    janneman Mu-43 Veteran

    414
    Dec 6, 2012
    Netherlands
    Jan (John) Kusters
    The end goal for my pictures is 12x16 inch (30x40cm) print for wall display. When displayed, they are framed. The frames and mats have been custom made. I use 16x20 frames and have pretty much standard mats to fill in between frame and picture (with some exceptions for pictures I cropped to different shapes). When not on the wall, my pictures are simply kept in boxes.
    With this system, I do not need to get new frames and mats all the time, it was pretty much a one time deep investment to get 10 frames and be done with it. It pays to plan ahead and stick to some size rules when preparing pictures for printing. I make sure all my prints have a white border (and a very thin black border) before I send them of for printing.

    web-O-6565_13-Aug-2013.
     
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  13. BlackOakMo

    BlackOakMo Mu-43 Regular

    38
    Jul 10, 2012
    Oxford Mississippi
    Thanks for all your thoughtful responses and insight. I know this is not as sexy as new super fast lenses or shiny new bodies but seeing (and sharing) pictures has already given me a pretty good return on joy for the buck. And frankly, until my skills get better I really can't justify better toys.


    Thanks for the advice Oz. In an effort to get printing I opted for a lab that only prints predefined sizes. There is a lab at the university that will print to any size but they very pricey and do not have profiles for their printers (apparently the photographers only take the pictures, the production crew takes care of all the PP and printing and they do it by eye since they are so familiar with their equipment) but I like the idea of recycling old frames and will start looking around for some. You also mentioned that you took a framing course. Did they say anything about mounting pictures directly against the glass or, what seems even worse, acrylic?

    I love your wall of pictures and I like your approach. It sure keeps things simple and if you are in the business of selling images it makes a lot of sense. If I could find something similar but in a greater variety of sizes I'd be set. Since this is more of a hobby I think over time I would feel a need to freshen things up a bit though.

    I have not heard of this before. I'll have to Google it and see what this is. I guess you answered one question: its ok to put pictures against acrylic "glass"

    I was worried this might be the answer (smile). My wife claims cutting mats is really just an excuse to cuss. Do good tools make all the difference?

    .

    + 1. could not agree more. Its also why I feel so much angst over this. So far, piano black, solid wood frames ($20 or so) with a white mat has been a good start. I think I am the type that would always opt for a more simple frame but can see branching out to more complementary colored mats in the future. Inertia is a powerful force.

    .
    Thanks Ken. I wonder if COSTCO will do this. I tried costco because of all the positive comments I have read on this site. Have you used them before? They list a price for poster board but it was not clear that this meant they mounted it too. this seems like a great option for hanging prints in my office.

    That's an incredible price. If we had that here I be out fishing, taking pictures or maybe even hanging frames instead of posting:rolleyes: Maybe I need to price some of the local frame shops before being so glib. Thanks for the motivation.

    Thanks again for all your comments, this site make photography fun!
     
  14. OzRay

    OzRay Mu-43 Legend

    Jan 29, 2010
    South Gippsland, Australia
    Ray, not Oz
    On the course, we just used glass. We had the option of anti-reflection glass or normal glass. The prints were vacuum glued onto acid free backing board, so when installed underneath the matting (single or double), the print surface was well away from the glass.
     
  15. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror!

    948
    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    Clint
    I use photo ledges throughout our house, so I can easily swap out photos, and keep things fresh.

    http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20126065/
    http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/20126065/#/50152595

    I use mpix to print out all my stuff, fast processing, and moderately priced for a nice product. I opt for the single/double matte (depending on the size of the print), as well as the lustre coating.

    I've also used their framing service as well (for presents)...nice stuff, especially the non-glare matted stuff.

    EM182561-20140408-M.
    Sorry for the cheesy easter photo, but in the background, you can see some of the prints.
    EM102916-20140420-M.
     
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  16. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    Ken
    Costco does print, but the quality depends in part on who is printing. I have used them for large test prints, and for the most part they are not bad, but important work usually gets shipped to a custom lab. I have not tried their mounting services, but I would encourage you to give it a go. If you meet a good printer, then a friendship could prove useful.

    Good luck,

    --Ken
     
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  17. BlackOakMo

    BlackOakMo Mu-43 Regular

    38
    Jul 10, 2012
    Oxford Mississippi
    Ken, no doubt you are right but so far I have revived the best color accuracy from costco. I was very disappointed in the university printing (this is the SEC after all so image is very important) they were very helpful though and the director even met with me. the biggest problem is finding time b/ 8 and 5 to get back over there.

    Sent from my SCH-I500 using Mu-43 mobile app
     
  18. bluzcity

    bluzcity Mu-43 Veteran

    361
    Jul 17, 2012
    Memphis, TN
    Brent
    I've gone to stand-outs. I just had 9 24 x 16's printed. They are lightweight, easy to hang, and look fabulous to me. I use Mpix and Meridian.
     
  19. gryphon1911

    gryphon1911 Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 13, 2014
    Central Ohio, USA
    Andrew
    I don't frame with wood/matte/glass for personal stuff. If I'm printing larger sizes, I go metal print/canvas/acrylic.

    For clients, I do whatever they want when the odd request for prints does come in with full processing on the prints.
     
  20. Mijo

    Mijo Mu-43 Veteran

    220
    Jan 23, 2012
    San Francisco, CA
    I took a matting and framing class last year and instructor stressed printing in standard sizes and avoiding custom sizes whenever possible, in order to keep costs down. Even if you need to cut the window matte yourself, most vendors will have mattes precut for standard size prints. I've had to have a couple mats custom cut to fit some frames that weren't standard size and that can get expensive, particularly when the print is larger than 20x24.

    I've found a local vendor that sells standard size precut mattes and window mattes for fairly cheap and now I just look for cheap frames that will fit those precut mattes. Even though it's a lot less expensive to buy and cut the mattes yourself, I just don't like doing it and prefer to spend a couple of extra dollars to buy the precut mattes and window mattes. Since I only print from film (and I do the printing myself) all of my prints are standard size anyway.