Framing Your Photos and Art 101 | Danielle Jackson Hampton Roads Family Photographer

Framing Your Photos and Art 101 | Danielle Jackson Hampton Roads Family Photographer

“The best things in life are the people you love, the places you go, and the memories you make along the way.” — Unknown Author

A goal of mine for all of my family and senior sessions is to have the family enjoy framed printed portraits in their home to enjoy each and every day. When my clients tell me how much they love their online proofing gallery, I can say with complete confidence they will absolutely love and treasure framed archival quality prints even more! After getting the professional prints in your hands, I am more than happy to assist my clients in getting their favorite images framed and on display.

For my clients who are prepared to take the framing task on themselves, I have some suggestions on how to reach that glorious final destination. My knowledge and experience as a professional family photographer can help you with the first part of framing your photos.

  • Frame your prints – don’t fill frames. Start with considering a photograph (or a small collection of photographs) that deeply touch your heart. These are the images that you know you would never tire of seeing each and every day.  I know that can be a daunting task when you are looking at a proofing gallery full of photos you love. That is why I offer a post-session consult to help you make these tough decisions, which is included in your session package.
  • Photograph with intent and a plan. If possible it’s best to consider where you will be displaying your photos before they are even taken. This can help with color palette planning, wardrobe selection and my mental awareness when creating the portraits with you.
  • Size matters! I like big prints and I can not lie!! Well there’s that, and I believe photos look best with a matte and frame, and not having the photo right up to the edge of a frame. Also,while a 5×7 may fit nicely matted and framed on top of a  desk, it would likely get swallowed up on a huge wall or open space. You also need to consider the size of the person in the photo; is it a full body, a headshot photograph or a large family portrait, and if the details are small or large. A tightly cropped photo can make for a fine smaller print, but a large scenic background will likely be better served as a larger print. A 4×6 of a family of five that shows everyone’s whole body might seem too small — like you are looking at miniature people who get lost in the big scene. 

The simplest option to frame your photos is to head on over to your local home décor or craft shop and buy a frame with a standard matte included. BOOM! You’re done. Framing this way also allows you to easily update your wall collection photos year after year if you can commit to the particular set of frames and reuse them each time.

I recommend taking your print with you to purchase to the frame in order to allow you to view it all together. I’ve been known to lay out a full wall gallery in the middle of the aisle at Michael’s. Some of the collection sets of frames there even have wall gallery layout options on the back of the frames. This can be super helpful when it comes time to creating the placement of a wall collection if you’re not sure where things should be placed.

Custom framing is best when you have a photograph you know you will want to keep forever. Family, senior portraits, newborn or wedding prints are photos you would want to preserve and cherish as a family heirloom to be enjoyed for generations. Are you not exactly sure what makes a photo frame worthy? You can read my suggestions on how to identify what photos should be printed here.  

I am more than happy to provide custom framing assistance for all my clients. And for my blog readers, I’ll even let you in on a little framing secret- I take everything I would like to custom frame to Hampton Roads Wholesalers, and I can take yours there for you too as an added service.

I’ve found myself at this frame shop so frequently over the past year, I decided to see what insight Jeff Abrahamson, a custom framer, photographer and artist that works at Hampton Roads Wholesalers could offer my readers on framing their photos and art.

Here are his suggestions:

To choose your MATTE:

  • In custom framing there they offer over fifty shades of white (both warm and cool) in their Crescent matte board selections. The white selected will take on the cast of what is predominantly the white tone of the art.
  • The colors of the matte should be the same as the colors of the tones of the art. For example, vivid matte with vivid colors and muted matte with muted colors in the art.
  • They recommend not choosing a matte with a color that draws your eye away from the subject of your picture. Such as selecting a purple matte for a painting or photo of someone in a purple shirt. This would likely have the viewers eye be drawn away from the subject.
  • The “rules” of matting a photo generally suggest a 2″ matte for an 8×10, a 2 1/2” for a 16×20 and a 3″ matte for an 18×24. With larger mattes, the frame is moved further away from the field of view and will create more room for your eyes to see the art. Some people like a larger amount of matte even with a smaller work of art for that very reason, despite what the general guidelines are.

To choose your FRAME:

  • Frame the work for the art, not the room that you are planning to hang it in. Doing so allows you to be able to relocate the piece.
  • The frame style should match with the style of the piece of art. Such as a rustic piece of art in a rustic frame, contemporary with contemporary , traditional with traditional, etc.
  • The style of the frame should visually complement the work of art. The frame is meant to help the viewer focus on the art and is a part of the entire visual pleasure of the viewer, but should never overpower the work of art itself. Think of a frame as a part of three vertical planes and how they each play a role in the presentation. The frame is meant to be a part of the entire work, but not what the viewers’ eyes should be drawn to first. (Likewise is true of the matte.)

A simple matte and frame tip to remember is:

  • Black and white stays black and white. Meaning if you are framing a black and white photo use a white matte with a black frame. Of course we know there are many variations of black and whites, but this can help at least get you started.

As with all art, in the end, the choices for matting and framing are subjective and something that only YOU need to love. There are no right or wrong answers, just personal preferences for what you find pleasing to look at.

Glass Selection:

Another wonderful aspect of custom framing is the option to choose the glass. There they offer regular, non-glare, uv, uv non-glare, and plexiglass with all these options as well.  Rare documents, or anything that will be kept in direct sunlight would be best served with the UV protection to preserve them. As non glare glass adds a softness to the art, they would not recommend it for art with text on it, but it would work well for a large family portrait. Plexiglass works well for art that will be hung in a child’s playroom or perhaps for something you would want to ship through the mail. 

Even if you’ve made it through all this and you have absolutely no desire or comfort with framing your photos you’re in luck because you’ve found the right family photographer to help you! I absolutely love seeing my work and your photos reach it’s intended destination on your walls. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments below and I’ll do what I can to assist you in getting those photos on display.

With Love,

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