How to: frame photography – an introduction

As framers, we get asked a lot about the best way to frame photography.  It’s a funny one, people lump it into one, but there are so many different types of papers and styles.

In my opinion, Photography is still not taken as seriously as it should be in terms of conservation or as an art form in its own right.  I get very hot under the collar when people think of photography as throw away.

It can sometimes be seen as having no value just because it can be re-printed (but of course so can art in the form of a Giclee print!).  It is often said that because of digital cameras, there is no artistic skill involved, but it’s just a tool, a medium like any other art form.

People are generally more creative these days in terms of the way their treasured family, friends, pets and life events are photographed.  Whether it’s in a studio or out on location.  A photo shoot is a treasured memory for all involved.  If you’ve spent a lot of money and invested time in getting these done, then due consideration should be taken to framing these images.

Some Photographers offer great and professional framing options.  But shop around for advice and ideas first.  Sometimes, the choices and the advice can be limited.  Photographers are not picture framers (unless they are of course, then that is entirely different!).  Some Photographer’s work with other picture framers which is a great idea and can work really well.  But be careful of high handling costs!  This is certainly not true for all, but just take a little time to make sure you are absolutely happy.

Of course, not every photo will warrant the highest level of framing.  Still, it’s good to armed with the knowledge before you make a decision.

If you just want to get a “throw away” (and I use the term loosely) family snap framed, then of course, you are probably not necessarily going to spend the money getting it done.  There are plenty of stores that can cater to the cheaper or readymade side for this purpose.

Sometimes, though, if you want something better quality but again, you are not worried about the conservation, you could ask your local framer to make a “made to measure ready frame”.  (I cover this in a previous blog).

To me, if you are going to display anything on your walls, then it should look the best it possibly can and therefore is worth taking it to a framer for advice and suggestions.  Take the time to run through the options, digest them, and then make an informed decision.

In this blog, I will aim to cover the relevant considerations bit by bit, from your regular school/university photo type framing, up to the professional & fine art type framing.

As an amateur photographer myself, I fully understand what a mine field this can be.  These days there are so many factors to consider when framing photographs.  With so many people being able to print off their work from home printers and more access to affordable equipment for amateur  photographers, is no wonder it all gets a bit hazy.  Then there is the question of conservation for old and new photos and what about low level general protection?

I will aim to deal with each part separately, hopefully answering common questions at all stages.  I have broken it down as follows:

  1. A word about photographic papers and inks in relation to framing.  A guide on how to take care of your photographs before they come in for framing.
  2. Common problems and how to rectify them including dry mounting and other techniques.
  3. General framing materials to use and conservation considerations.
  4. How to attach a photograph correctly to a mount and why we use a mount or slip when framing photography.
  5. Considerations when mounting multiple photographs.
  6. Creative and contemporary ideas.
  7. Framing large and / or panoramic photographs.

The above should help you whether you are a professional photographer, camera club member, student or just want to get something nicely framed for your home.

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