To frame, or not to frame...

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Brian Mosley, Jan 29, 2010.

  1. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    I keep seeing images on the web being posted with frames...

    Obviously, a nicely presented image can really make a difference, but I can't decide whether it's worth the effort and real-estate to put a frame on my images for web.

    What do you think?

    Here's the original...

    and here's a framed version...

    Does a frame add, or detract from the viewing experience?


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  2. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    Brian, Sir

    I liked the framed one

    How do you do it - can it be done in Lightroom?
  3. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Hi Bill,

    I'm afraid I don't use Lightroom... but Adobe software is generally so rich in features (being kind here!) that I'm sure it will be possible. Hopefully someone more experienced will advise?

    Thanks for the vote on no.2 - I also wonder whether a frame can save a poor image?

    What effect does a frame have on the casual viewer? does it make them stop for a moment, and think... this looks rubbish - but it's framed so perhaps I need to look closer for a work of art?

    Another thought... perhaps I could post a framed image... with a link to the larger, unframed image for those who want to zoom in a level? So you'd click on the framed image to see the unframed image more closely?



  4. Roni G

    Roni G Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 5, 2010
    Never thought about adding a frame to my photos. Looking at your post, I think he frame adds a lot. You chose ש כןמק frame which make a nice contrast to the photo.
  5. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    I hate to admit it but sometimes a frame does subconsciously effect me. I like yours with the frame but is it really the frame or is it because now on my computer's screen the image no longer is quite so large (within the confines of this discussion board) and I have more white space around it? Some white space can give a big lift to an image.

    That said, there are some here who have posted images that have the appearance of being raised above the plane of the computer screen and personally I don't care for that effect and find their photographs too small for me to fully appreciate - which annoys me because I really want to see them more closely.

    Thus far, if my memory banks are not too full to function, I find Iansky's version of "a frame" to be the best for looking at online: because the black line/frame delineates the image from its surroundings and has yet it still has the tiniest bit of white "mat" next to the photo...allowing that bit of white space/mat to work its wiles and yet I still am able to view his photograph in its nice large enough splendor. Anyhow that's my view.

    I'd love to know Brian is it your Lightzone that does your frames? And I guess I should PM Ian to ask him about his.

    P.S. If you were going to use your frames I think for certain photos it might be preferable to have the link to the larger one, although in this case I think it works just fine without it.
  6. deckitout

    deckitout Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2010
    Essex UK

    I think a frame adds impact to an image, IMO it improves the presentation, although obviously cannot make a poor image look good.


  7. BBW

    BBW Super Moderator Emeritus

    One thing is for sure, a bad frame in real life or cyber life can take something away from a good shot... Certainly, it doesn't make a really great photograph bad, but if it's a pretty good shot with a bad frame...:dash2:

    I agree that a good frame does make a work look more finished but I also hate to allow it to influence me and try to look beyond it.
  8. Brian Mosley

    Brian Mosley Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Thanks BB, Phil

    I use a vector graphics program called Xara Xtreme - very simple, and very very fast...

    Here's another example, same frame - using an eye-dropper to select a colour from the image to complement in the frame border.

    Click on the image to zoom in.

    Thanks for looking, and commenting... I like Ian's frame most with his square compositions - as you say BB, it sets off the image without detracting from the detail.


  9. rst

    rst Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 25, 2010
    Well, a frame can do multiple things. Speaking for presentation here in the forum, by putting a bit of space around the image you isolate it from the rest which in my opinion makes it easier to keep my eyes on the image. All the stuff around it can be pretty distractive. Then I think a frame gives you the control of the background color around your image, sometimes this light blue just does not do well. Also sometimes a darker background gives color images more pop. For web presentation I think it is sufficient to just add the matte and not mimic the look of a frame around it.

  10. Chow Monkey

    Chow Monkey Mu-43 Regular

    I think it's a matter of personal taste.. To my taste this frame is too big but others can like it. Personally I only add a small 20 px border to my pics in either black or white..
  11. rst

    rst Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 25, 2010
    As far as I know you can not do this in Lightroom, at least not with the functionality provided with Lightroom. However, I solved this with a post-processing action in Lightroom which you can choose in the export module. I wrote a few shell scripts which will add e.g. a matte around the exported images using the program ImageMagick (which is free software and available for Windows and Mac and other Unixes.)

    The mattes for the images in my albums are done that way. When I export images to send to an online printer I also add borders to make the image fit exactly the pixel-size needed by the printer etc. But also mattes and frames as those shown by Brian can be done with ImageMagick. All you have to be aware of, this is not a program with a graphical user interface.

  12. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    Real Name:
    I like the frame on this one, but not the color of the border. This to me, is what makes framing in general difficult, for both digital images or puting a print into a frame.

  13. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    Agree - do not like the colour all all - (IMHO) spoils one of your really good images
  14. Streetshooter

    Streetshooter Administrator Emeritus

    Dec 15, 2009
    Phila, Pa USA
    This discussion is about eye travel.
    The purpose of a matt is to give space to the image so that it can be read without outside interference. The purpose of a frame is to controll the outer borders of a matt and depending on color, confining the space or letting the space expand.

    In the above example with the black frame, the eye is drawn to the frame.
    It pulls away from the image. The matt effectively allows breathing space around the image.
    The screen itself is the frame. Framing an image on a screen is redundant.
    What matters only, is the image. I use a white matt only because I can't control how the viewer is seeing the image. Thus, the matt controls the environment for me.

    In a gallery, much is the same. A matted unframed image floats on the wall. A framed image controls the space around the matt.

    Do you want your viewer to look at your frame or your image?
    That's the question.
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  15. BillN

    BillN Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jan 19, 2010
    SW France
    Brian "You've been framed"
  16. nTo

    nTo Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 28, 2009
    as for me, i guess framing can give significant impact to boost the pictures 'interestingness'....sorry if it is not a real word anyway...

    i do notice there are several kind of framings being done in this forum, but the one i really like is when you used a drop-shadow behind the picture and combines it with a wide white matt....

    i was wondering also, how to make those framings anyway? i mean, did you guys process it before posting in flickr etc or there is a feature in this forum to add framings of pictures being posted?

    Thanx so much!
  17. Alan Wolf

    Alan Wolf Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 20, 2010
    Berkeley, CA
    I think that considering the monitor bezel as the image frame is not correct, because (at least for me) most photos, if they are not outside the borders of my browser window (so I need to scroll to see the whole thing), have a LOT of other visual clutter around them. All of it is inside the monitor bezel, and so the image becomes more of a collage of whatever's on the forum design, plus the image. This visual clutter is worse on some forums than others.

    Overall, I think frames help a lot, and the idea of including a link to a higher res. version seems like it covers all bases. The first forum where this really struck me was the getdpi forum. Overall, I like having the medium grey back ground (which they use) since it's going to work well with both light and dark images, but everytime anyone displays with a frame (and typically a white border) their images pop much more to me. That separation really seems to help, and I think Brian's sample was a good illustration of this, even with the white surround here. (I really like the eggplant color mat, but it seems to be somewhat controversial... That's a lovely image, it has made me think about places I've lived with real winters. In any case, to me, it is nicely complimented by the darker warmer color.)

    There's a way to do them in Photoshop, and an action can be created that will automate the process, but it was taking me places in Photoshop that I've never been before, so instead I drew some in Illustrator and can open them in PS and paste a picture on top of the frame, then flatten and save.

    I still haven't figured out how to get a larger display in the forum though. This one is limited to 1000 pixels in the long direction, which I thought was the trick...

    Attached Files:

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  18. DHart

    DHart Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Jan 7, 2010
    Scottsdale, Arizona
    Real Name:
    I like the use of frames with mats to isolate the images from the visual cacophony found on most computer screens these days. It also gives an image a more professional appearance, though it certainly won't rescue a poor image. Lately I've been experimenting with a very simple style that isn't uncommon on photo sites. The frame size I show here can be a bit too big on small laptop screens (like my little 13" MacBook), but I like the size on larger desktop computer displays. I made this frame in Photoshop and just drop images into the window.

    This is an image of one of the structures we have on our 5-acre property (I use the property for my professional portrait studio grounds).

  19. sebastel

    sebastel Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 18, 2010
    not your business
    i'd like to recommend to be extremely careful with black frames (including line frames). they too easily remind of an obituary.

    generally, i prefer frameless presentation in the web.
    for "real" paper prints, a well selected passepartout (colour, size) may be a good idea.
    but that's just my personal preference.
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