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Fair price for framing?

John Holcomb , Aug 04, 1998; 08:13 p.m.

What is a fair price for matting & framing 5x7 prints? 8x10's? Assume the use of archival quality matting, and a basic black metal frame.


Zhaohui Zhang , Aug 04, 1998; 11:19 p.m.

For basic, small, regular sizes, your best bet might be those complete frames (8x10 usually for 5x7, with or without mat) at local camera store, art store, and department stores. Price varies from $3 to $30. I use American Frames for framing, but usually only when the size is 12x16 or larger. It costs almost $20 for black metal frame + plexi + mat + foamcore backing for a 12x16 from them . It is the flexibility rather than the price advantage that attracts me.

Andreas Carl , Aug 04, 1998; 11:31 p.m.

It's much cheaper to do it yourself and it's really easy. Check out Light Impressions catalog to get an idea of styles and prices (there are too many variables to even suggest a "fair price" but I yet have to see a what I'd consider fair price at any of our local framing stores).

J. Law , Aug 05, 1998; 12:22 a.m.

This isn't exactly what you asked, but I did some research on framing my 5x8's in an 11x14 frame (trust me, it looks a lot better than in a 8x10 frame...)

All prices are for a standard matte black aluminum thinedge frame, non-buffered, acid-free, 100% cotton rag, 4-ply matboard.

A professional chain framer (Frames and Framers) charges the following:

$34.83 for a 11x14 frame and mat job, + $15 for an overmat. $51.53 for a 16x20 frame and mat job, + $35 for an overmat.

These prices are considerably lower than the local mom-and-pop framer jobs, which are priced at a minimum of an average of $100 per photograph (8x10 size) framed.

Triangle Creative Center has Nielsen frames for about $10 per two-side for an 11x14 which is about $20 for a 11x14 frame; they do not sell glass. Matboard is in sheets of 32x40 for $10 per sheet. This can be cut to quarters of 16x20 which I trim myself.

Calumet (http://www.calumetphoto.com) has Nielsen 11x14 frames for $10. I found glass at a local store for $2 for a 11x14. I bought acid-free, 100% cotton rag 4-ply board from a local store for $3 per 16x20 sheet and $3 per 11x14 sheet of foamcoar. This makes my 11x14 frames come to about $20. I have access to a Dexter Mat Cutter with blades and a cutting table -- I saved about $25 on the Dexter, and I can make custom overmats myself now. I also bought a roll of cotton archival mounting tape -- i'm not sure what they call it, exactly. It's the stuff you put in water to make it sticky on the back, and it's a linen-esque cotton tape.

This price does not increase considerably for a 16x20, but does for a 20x24, as the matboard must be cut from the stock 32x40 and cannot be used in quarters.

I found this to be the cheapest and most efficient way to get exactly the results I wanted -- $20 for a completely archival, matted, framed photograph done to exactly my specifications, vs $50 for a professional job. Granted, you won't be able to find Calumet frames or glass in non-standard sizes (4x9? 8x

J. Law , Aug 05, 1998; 12:25 a.m.

Oh, and I forgot -- the average price of conservation (97% UV blocking) glass at local stores is priced about here: 11x14: $20
16x20: $40

Non-glare, multicoated (what they've called their "museum" glass -- which just means that it's not hazy non-glare, vs non-glare standard, which apparently has a funky haze) costs about here: 11x14: $40
16x20: $105
For what it's worth.... -

Don Baccus , Aug 05, 1998; 12:57 a.m.

All of which means that, sadly, the frame, glass, and matte are typically more expensive than the image.

This isn't only true about photographs. An aquaintence does huge woodblock prints, has galleries in Seattle and Portland - well regarded ones - hanging her frequently, and last summer had her own large show in a top gallery here in PDX. Her sister's a framer, who framed at cost of materials, and this woodblock artist STILL could barely eke out a profit after the gallery cut. For serious, good, work (not of collectable value - yet, at least, might be after she dies of old age in 50 years :)

Arief Novisto , Aug 05, 1998; 11:02 a.m.

I just ordered a 16*20 medium sized metal frame from American frame for my 8*12 photo. After mat, foam back, 1/8 plexi (all archival quality) it comes to $30. Hell, my custom printer charge me $21 for the enlargement alone, so it's probably true what Don said ( and I used cheap framer!). I also have used a custom framer for a 16*20 with 4in. mat and they charge me $110 for the job. I think the fair price depend on how much work are you willing to do yourself. As previous poster said, he can go as low as $20-ish for my $30 frame if you're willing to do some of the job. One advantage of American Frame is they can provide frame in incremental ( and unusual) size, of course there's limitation, search American frame in the Q&A here.

aldo de filippi , May 27, 1999; 05:07 p.m.

I recently came accross this framing supply company. Great selection, great service, and absolutely great prices for all framing needs:

presto framing supplies wwww.framingsupplies.com

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