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Prints, mattes, and frames

Created date

July 14th, 2014
prints, mattes, frames
prints, mattes, frames

Photos look best framed and matted. And they make great gifts for your loved ones.

When prints are commercially made, you will generally be limited to two choices of photo paper: glossy or luster. Glossy paper shows colors more vividly; photos also appear to look sharper. Luster paper is more flattering to landscapes and portraits of people.  

You can order prints from local retailers or the Internet. Order standard print sizes, 4”x6”, 8”x10”, 11”x14”—you’ll be able to choose stock frames and mattes at reasonable prices. Custom frames and mattes can be very expensive, but your options are greater and custom framing and matting is usually more attractive. Get some advice from a local frame shop. They are experts and will help you make the right choices. 

Experiment to see what works

Try different color and size frames and mattes to see what looks best with your photo. Some Internet sites allow you to upload your photos and experiment with frames and mattes.

The matte color should either match the most dominant color in the photo or the most important color. You might want to consider double matting, too. Mattes provide a benefit in addition to making a photo look more attractive. Over time, the ink of an un-matted print will stick to the glass or acrylic inside the frame. A matte separates the print from the glazing and prevents this from happening. However, depending on temperature and moisture changes, a medium- or small-sized, un-matted photo will probably be fine for a few years.  

The same consideration of color and size also applies to the selection of frames. Additionally, the frame should not be as wide as the matte. I like a simple, unadorned frame that will not compete with the photo. A black frame with a white matte is usually best for black and white prints. Generally, you can’t go wrong with this choice for any photo.  

When scanning photos, you should remove the print from the matte and frame. If there is no matte and the print is stuck to the glass, do not try to remove it. Detach the frame and scan the picture through the glass. Be sure the glass is clean.