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Exhibition Framing and matting

Louis McCullagh - Belfast , Apr 11, 2006; 06:02 p.m.

Is there anywhere or anything I can look at to get ideas on framing and matting.

Up to now I have put single mats with a few inches all round images from 8x10 up to 20 x 16" in Neilsen black metal frames.

What size of frame/colour to use with images (actual frame width). Different mat layouts for square/portrait/landscape/panoramics, other than the simple. Alternatives to ordinary frames.

First up I have agreed a permanent display of 3 frames (images changed regularly) in a sports club which will have very high footfall of my target audience for social photography. I can also put up a small plaque explaining who I am and contact details. I would welcome ideas on how to best present/make use of this opportunity.

Second I have an exhibition of documentary photos in a prestige private library gallery and I was considering doing 20 x16 frames as above plus a few large 20 x 30 prints. How to mount or frame the big prints. Ideas welcome.

Third I will be doing the same for a selection of my images which you can see here on pnet. These would be for sale. Should I change presentation for this different market?

I don't want to seem indecisive but I'm sure those of you who have been down this route before can give some pointers. What else other than the images should I have ready to ensure that the exhibitions make the most impact and that I have opportunities to stay in contact with those who view the images.

A guest book/leaflet? Bookmarks from one of my images for the library?

Thank you for reading this far with so many questions. Louis


don mckeith , Apr 11, 2006; 07:29 p.m.

I'm not sure if this will be a help in the sizes you want, but I just framed up some 5x7 prints from paper negs,for a show I'm gonna weazel my way into. I hinged the prints on 8x10 for 5x7 steel gray black line mats--centered in an 11x14 thin line black metal frame--with black backing paper I like the "frame inside a frame look" and ortho prints on a neutral FB cream base luster paper look pretty good with the steel gray mat and the size of the frames gives them a better presence

--but you're going to be doing some much larger prints,----you could try one 8x10 in different mats in a 16 x20 and see how it looks.

ann clancy , Apr 11, 2006; 10:58 p.m.

rich ullsmith , Apr 12, 2006; 01:05 a.m.

I am going to assume you are doing black and white prints. If you want to make your photos more attractive for sale, they present better if the frame and mat are complementary to the wall and surroundings. Black frames seem to work better with earthy tones, and brushed silver for colder tones. I am fortunate to have a space to present twenty or so prints, and it took awhile for this to become apparent to me.

I dry mount everything I present. I just think a cut edge is sharper, better defined than having the edge formed by a mat. Just my opinion.

More border always seems to be better than not enough. When you say "a few inches," do you mean two, or three? Two, IMO, is generally not enough for presentation. Additionally, I think it looks great to slightly "bottom weight" the mat, maybe a quarter inch. It's subtle enough to not really notice, but now I look at prints matted square in the center, and they do not look right to me.

Paul Hoyt , Apr 12, 2006; 01:56 a.m.


For me: 8X10 prints are matted on 14X17 matt boards, 11X14 on 16X20 matt boards & 16X20 on 22X28 matt boards. I buy my matt boards from Light Impressions and dry mount my prints. I start with center right and left and have about 6 inches more at the bottom compared to the top. When I have a single print on a board, I cut an over mount with a 1/4 inch reveal on the right, left and top and a 1/2 reveal on the bottom for my signature. I have been printing a lot of multiple negative to create a panorama. I do not try to match/mate the prints edge to edge but place them about 3/8 inch apart and cut an over mount where there is no reveal; border of the over mount just covers the print edges. The effect is like looking through a window with two or three panes of glass. If you use black frames, the black in your print must be complimented by the frame, you do not want the black frame to be darker than the blacks of your print. It can make your print look weak.


don mckeith , Apr 12, 2006; 01:11 p.m.


I like that Pano idea----I might try that, But I'll have to get a custom mat made,-I don't have a cutter.

I'm struggling with 5X7--I find it much more difficult to make them look good(interesting) than larger prints.I'd like to move up to at least 16x20 frame size,so maybe the pano thing will work---or maybe three different perspectives of the same subject?--I'll have to do a little experimenting.

Thanks for the idea.

Louis McCullagh - Belfast , Apr 12, 2006; 05:19 p.m.


Those are all a great help.

Thank you for taking the time to answer, it is much appreciated. louis

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