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Photography Question 
Elizabeth Swain
 

Mats, frames and glass....oh my...


I'm trying to figure out how to present my images and have realized that the options are mind boggling. My images are of varied sizes, so pre-cut mats won't work. I am on the fence as to whether I should cut my own mats (ugh) or send them to be cut out (where ???). How hard is it to cut and where or what kind of board is best?
We then get into the whole frame issue for odd-size prints. I realize keeping prints to a standard size or limiting them to just a few would be best, but being the rebel that I am makes it sometimes difficult :) Any ideas as to resources would be appreciated. Thank you,
Liz


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11/15/2011 7:43:01 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Liz,
I like doing my own framing. I feel it completes my image. I wrote an article - www.siskinphoto.com/magazine/zpdf/framing.pdf - about framing that may help you. If you're only going to do a few pieces, go to a framing shop. If you're going to be doing a lot of it, and doing it regularly, learn to do it yourself.
Thanks,


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11/18/2011 5:22:38 PM

 
Linda Buchanan   Elizabeth, I do my own matting. I got a mat cutter a couple years ago. It is the Logan Intermediate and I LOVE it. Mat board is about $7 or so for a big sheet, which can be cut down to mat several prints depending on size. What I like is I can order my print in a size that allows me to avoid cropping and then cut a mat for a standard size frame. I often order 8 x 12 prints and cut the mat for an 11 x 14 frame. Mat board and frames are half price at Hobby Lobby in our state almost all the time. It takes a little practice, you will probably burn through a couple sheets of mat board while you learn, but it is worth it.


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11/19/2011 6:21:09 PM

 
Elizabeth Swain   Thank you to you both. I plan on looking into both your ideas. They are great options. Wish me luck, liz


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11/19/2011 7:43:43 PM

 
Thom Schoeller
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/4/2006
  Hi Elizabeth,

I've been there myself and yes, your are so correct about the many options. Every option has it's risk however, and I do believe Linda made an excellent point about do it yourself matting. Just keep in mind the overall investment you are about to extend and proceed with caution.

I would be searching (like I did) online for the lowest cost bulk suppliers. Also check out vendors like frameusa.com for high quality at wholesale rates to the professionals. John didn't mention how much the framing supplies cost, and I can tell you the frame building procedure is an art in itself. Definitely stay focused on your photography IMO, and seek out the lowest cost alternative.
~Best


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11/25/2011 6:55:02 PM

 
Elizabeth Swain   I can't help but agree . I'm having a hard enough time deciding if I'm going to learn the whole "printing it myself " thing. My husband got me an Epsom 2880 as a gift a while ago and I have yet to print anything, as the first few were a disaster. All the profiles ect. Are very intimidating. This was why I asked another question back on the Q/A page about best way to present larger images at small venues for sale. I was thinking gallery wrap, canvas or maybe just under glass without a frame. Most of my work is macro, but not nesseccarily flowers. Kind of abstract . The what's, where's and whys for showing work is foremost on my mind right now and I appreciate your comments. Thanks, liz


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11/26/2011 6:50:13 AM

 
Jill Odice
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/1/2005
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Jill's Gallery
  I agree with Linda, I pretty much get my images printed in 8x12 and mat them in 11x14 mats. Logan also sells mat board or will custom cut mats for you in any size you want if you don't feel like doing it yourself. MCS sells frames fairly inexpensively if you buy them in quantity. If you have several friends who also want frames cheaply to split the order with and get yourself a Tax resale # you can set up a wholesale acct with them and also with Logan. That way you do not have to pay tax and can buy them about 1/2 price.


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11/29/2011 3:29:06 AM

 
Kathryn Wesserling
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/21/2005
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Kathryn's Gallery
  I'm starting to go the 8 x 12 route myself - seeing my images cropped to an 8 x 10 is like squishing a tall lanky model down to a chubby 5'2" "me".

I have a cutter and Rheumatoid Arthritis - the latter making it a tad difficult to control where I stop the cuts for the inside opening. (Difficult, but not impossible.) You definitely need to find the frames first and then cut the mats to that size. I used 2 separate Michael's coupons (one for the cutter with the beveled edge, and the second for the straight edge for cutting the outside of the mat.) There are times when I had the art store cut the large size mat down to common smaller sizes, which made the sheets easier to carry home and to work on the insides right away without doing the outside cuts.)

Several photo-friends have all their printing done at MPix, who also does mat/framing if you want to pay extra. Sadly, they don't do print and mat only.


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11/29/2011 3:52:29 AM

 
Dawn Miller
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/9/2011
dawnmillerphotopoetry.com
  Hi Liz, I too like to frame my own. I print, usually with an eye to the Golden Rectangle shape,but not always, and I have been known to cut my own mats. I agree with getting your own mat cutter (spend the money for a good one, it's an investment in quality) and with burning some mat paper to learn it. It makes the process so much more satisfying, but the photo has to deserve the effort. I save my bucks and time for the ones I believe in the most.


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11/29/2011 8:09:58 AM

 
Elizabeth Swain   Wow, so many great comments. I will most likely go the route of cutting my own etc , but have to get past the "intimidating" Epsom 2880 printer first. I had asked about gallery wrap and canvas wraps. Are they the same and would they sell well because they would be most people's taste for their home vs frames that might not be. Just wondering. Thanks again, liz


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11/29/2011 8:31:10 AM

 
Thom Schoeller
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/4/2006
  Hi Elizabeth. The gallery wrap and canvas wrap are one in the same. I sell primarily from my Fine Art America website, we offer the gallery wraps, loose prints and matted/framed. I mostly find customers tend to gravitate to matted/framed for smaller images and they LOVE the canvas wraps for the huge prints, 30x24 etc..


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11/29/2011 2:53:24 PM

 
David B. Spooner
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/21/2007
  Hello Elizabeth...one more option...ebay for mats, mat board etc...I found a very good pre-cut mat vendor for my 5 x 7 outdoor images on ebay...best of luck!!


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12/2/2011 7:17:06 AM

 
Nicholas Semo
BetterPhoto Member Since: 6/27/2008
  I guess I'm one of those guys that likes to do it all. From taking the photo, to printing it out, cutting my own matts, and finally making my own frames from raw lumber and a router table. Being retired I have lots of time on my hands...LOL


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12/4/2011 4:28:07 PM

 
Kathryn Wesserling
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/21/2005
Contact Kathryn
Kathryn's Gallery
  A local woman won the bid for two of my prints. I had decided to stay with the true size (ratio) of 8 x 12 (instead of 8 x 10).

It took trips to 3 different Michael's to find mats with that size cutout. One employee told me that they don't carry 8x12's at all because "Nobody buys that size." I told her that maybe they would if their store actually carried them!

I shouldn't have to crop away that bit of pixels (thereby, changing the whole 'look' of my image) to fit an old size that doesn't fit the new digital cameras. Buying in bulk doesn't work in my budget. Cutting my own is getting more difficult with physical limitations. So, I'm stuck with frustration. Oh, well!!!!! lolll


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12/5/2011 1:00:24 AM

 
John H. Siskin
BetterPhoto Member
John-Siskin.com
John's Photo Courses:
4-Week Short Course: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting
  Hi Kathy,
The 35mm film frame has the same aspect ratio 2:3, so this is not a digital problem. I tend to prefer 6X9 or 7X10 inch prints because they fit into 11X14 frames with a larger border. I like the white space. I donít mink cutting mats, but I am not crazy about cutting glass. Good luck!
John Siskin


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12/5/2011 10:23:48 AM

 
Thom Schoeller
BetterPhoto Member Since: 12/4/2006
  @ Kathy "maybee they would if the store actually carried them" Right on! We have a Michaels about 1/2 hr from my home and have been through that as well.

I do believe you can purchase(that size) in bulk online at Redi Matts .com.


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12/5/2011 2:39:37 PM

 
Kathryn Wesserling
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/21/2005
Contact Kathryn
Kathryn's Gallery
  The older I get, the more important consistency is to me! Geeze, camera companies - pick one freakin' ratio and stick to it! lollllllllllll

Bulk would be good if I actually sold photos and had money. It would definitely save time.

Thanks for all the feedback to Elizabeth's questions and consequently to mine.


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12/5/2011 4:07:04 PM

 
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