How do you matte a picture?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by GerryDavid, Mar 31, 2004.

  1. GerryDavid

    GerryDavid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    This may sound like a very basic question, but I was wondering how you matte a picture to get it ready to be framed or to sell just as a matted print.

    I asume you start off with printing the photograph you want to matte. Another assumption is that it can be on any paper, preferably one meant for photographs.

    And to go from there, I dont have a clue. :0). Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    Check out Mark C's framing article in the "How To" forum.
     
  3. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    The part that sucks is most people want to buy those ready-made Wal-Mart frames, so they are expecting mattes to fit them when they buy just a print and matte. If you sell matted 8x10 and 8x12 prints, people expect both to fit in an 11x14 frame. This makes the sides of the matted a different width than the tops and bottoms, which I think looks really cheasy. Only an 8x11 print will have equal spacing (1.5").

    What to do? I don't know. I'm considering that myself right now, as I'm going to be offering prints on-line. I'll either send a matte in a size I think it should be and a link to AmericanFrame for them to get the frame itself, or I'll just not send a matte. The only reason I would be sending the matte is so that my signature would be displayed when it's hung.

    Hmmm. Since I would be having more than a 1.5" spacing anyway (probably 2"), then the mattes would be 12x14 or 12x16. If I sent those, then the buyer could cut them to fit an 11x14 frame if they really wanted to use it. Maybe that's the best of both worlds. You can encourage them to get it framed right, but you aren't forcing them to do something if they really don't want to. Thanks for bringing this up.
     
  4. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    Oh, and there are specific thick papers meant for photographic mattes. I would use those, not anything else. If you go to a framing store, you can buy it in big sheets and cut it down yourself. Buying a matte cutter pays for itself fairly quickly if you do it on your own. It's not as hard as it looks, either. The matte cutting kits make it fairly easy. Just get a quality one.
     
  5. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    We'd be lost without our matt cutter right now, while preparing for this arts show. I have about a dozen framed images for display at the booth; everything else is a reproduction (inkjet, pigmented inks) that is "matted and bagged".

    Don't forget to use acid free (read: archival) matts if you cut your own and expect to keep them for years. Also advisable for offering when selling; it adds value to your print.

    Mark: I've debated signing the matts. It makes me laugh to think someone would toss an archival matt in the trash because they didn't want to see my signature, so I've held off signing my "matted & bagged" stuff. If you want to ensure your signature goes with your work, I suppose one has to sign the print. I've yet to sign an actual print. The signature shows on the framed pieces.
     
  6. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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    :shock: People do that?
    If so, it serves them right if they want to waste their own money.
    Personally, I think a signature adds to the presentation.
     
  7. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Yep, happened to one of my instructors who watched a buyer walk away, open the bag and toss the (signed) matt. Kept the image AND the foamcore. :scratch: Insulting, eh? Makes me wonder about signing stuff people can get into, like a matted/bagged piece.

    I totally agree with you about presentation, and believe the signature finishes the piece.
     
  8. GerryDavid

    GerryDavid No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Hmm, so my understanding on how to matte an image till I read this post was:

    1. Print the photo on photo quality paper *acid free*.
    2. Buy a matte and center the picture on it. If the printed picture is 8X10", the matte should be 10X12"? Where the matte should be an actual frame size, and hte picture should be 2 inches less on all sides. Or 1.5 inches or what ever you like.
    3. To attach the picture to the matte you use some sort of adhesive *double sided tape im assuming* and stick it to the matte.

    Then reading this post, theres a foam core to be used? Or would that be part of the packaging? Whereas the matte back is on one side, foam core against the print, and carboard on the other side?

    I havent read the article first recommended on this thread yet, but I will.

    and about the signature, some people sign the back of the print? Or would you sign the back of the matte since the prints back woudlnt be visible otherwise? Or you can sign the front of the matte? What about signign the actual photo? So if they change the matte, the signature remains with it?
     
  9. markc

    markc TPF Noob!

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  10. soulfly

    soulfly TPF Noob!

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    personally, I prefer matting to be done in "Museum weight", you know, the extra large area at the bottom, smaller, but same on top and sides? I love the look of those, and the signature done nice and tight on the lower edge of the matte is really classy looking to me.
     
  11. ksmattfish

    ksmattfish Now 100% DC - not as cool as I once was, but still

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    When I mat my photos I arrange it so that the widest side is at the bottom, the top is less than the bottom, but slightly wider than the sides, and the sides are equal.

    I have several cameras that shoot square images, and a few that shoot panos (like a 2 to 5 ratio). These are always the toughest when trying to decide how I'm going to mat/frame them in standard sized rectangular frames.
     
  12. terri

    terri Administrator Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It's called (strangely enough) :wink: bottom weighting the matte, and especially for square format is extremely effective.
     

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