How To: Mounting Photo in Frame?


TPF Noob!
May 4, 2006
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Silver Spring, MD
Now I am not talking about the physical mounting of the pictures once you have a frame. I am talking about designing the pics themselves for printing and designing the frame to surround them so that the art looks the most professional.

This is definitely a overall newbie question: are there any rules I should follow in framing artwork?

I know how to “frame” my shot for a decent online presentation, but after ordering some picture and trying to frame them the way they appear online…I realize I am doing something wrong.

Here is an example of the end product courteously


Even if I have a black frameÂ…it still looks a bit off. I feel like the Photoshop border may be a bit much when framed with an additional mat, but the only two option I see to help are:
1) Get rid of the frame's matÂ…but the overall presentation looks bad
2) Get rid of the pictures borderÂ…do I sign and title on the mat itself (my handwriting is not presentable, but I guess I can find someone's who is).

Thanks guys!
Everyone is going to like something different, but I can share what I do. With my film prints, I used to double matte with a thin black border, a larger white one, and then a black frame. Now that I print digitally, I put the black border on the print and just use a white matte, which saves a lot of money. I sign the matte in the lower right with my unreadable signature. Even if yours is nasty, don't have anyone else sign it. You can see what I mean here:

Is the blue the frame or another matte? With the various layers of thick color, my eye gets more caught up in that pattern and it's harder to notice the actual image. The blue is too thick compared to the rest of the image. I'm guess that it's a small print. Wood frames can be nice, but I think they work better on larger prints where they have less risk of dominating everything.

Here are a few ideas:




The last one is how I would do it, but that's just my personal style. I used to use colored mattes and frames based on what was in the image, but now I just use white matte and thin black metal frame for everything, including the color prints. It works really well when several are hanging together.
I am leaning toward the last one as well. This will be a 10x13" print do it is not a small guy. It is a charcoal colored wooden frame that seems to be blue on my screen as well.

I am will you on everything you wrote. Maybe I should look at thinner frames. Or find out if this "preview" from americanframes is to scale.

My follow up question is how much mat should I use for a 10x13" pic? If it were 8/10 or smaller I can see using the designs above...but would it be too much for such a large pic?
If that's a 10" image, then the frame you picked is over 3" wide. That's pretty beefy, but possible. Did you tell it a 10x13 print or 10x13 frame?

Matte size is a personal preference. On my 8x10 and 8x12 I use a 2.5" matte, and on 12x15 and 12x18 I use 3.5". For 10x13, maybe try 3". Some people like more, but to me it can make the print look small. The whole thing can be big, but man, it's nice! I did the twins at 12x15 in a 19x22 frame, and hanging on the wall it's worlds apart from seeing it on the screen or even as an 8x10 print.
Here's what I came up with. I used a 3" matte on the top and sides and a 3.5" on the bottom. (I forgot I bottom weighted the twins also.) It works really nice by giving you a little extra space for the title and your signature. You could try 4" there too. I think this is so much more balanced than using pre-cut frames, which looked squashed either top to bottom or side to side.


And as a bonus, they have sale going on now with free mattes! I'm going to have to place an order too.
Another tip: If you are framing traditional prints and want to have a small black border around the image, use a black core matte like the one above. When it's cut, the black shows on the angled part and frames the image in a thin black border. This can help keep light areas from bleeding into the matte. Here I only used it because plain "white" mattes are usually a little too yellow for me. Polar White is a little cooler.
Okay, I keep rambling, but I can image what that's going to look like, and it's going to be really nice. Another benefit to using the white matte and black metal frame is that it's "accepted" (and often mandatory) if you ever want to put your work in a group show. Once you are done, this will look like a museum quality piece.
Thanks...this really helps me out a lot...

I am going to order a few frames from them in this way. I just have to re-order some prints from mpix now to accomodate. :D

And I agree with the polar white vs White issue. Why can't people just make white well... white? :D
If you order from MPix, they will probably be true 10x13 with no bleed over or extra edge. If you want to do the same thing I like to, you'll need to have something like a 1/4" black border on the print, and then you need the matte opening 1/8" smaller all around so that the print doesn't fall through. For a 10x13, you'll need a 9.75"x12.75 opening. This way you'll have 1/8" of black showing all around (plus the black from the black core), and 1/8" of overlap. If you want to go with only the black from the black core matte, print the image out to 10x13 with no border, but you'll still need the same smaller opening. Even if you print yourself, you still need the opening smaller than the print area (or border area) as the print can shift.
One step ahead of you on that one Mark ;)

I am just waiting to get home because my full sized pics are on my computer at home. I want to see what sizes make the most sense for the pics I have. I do not want to order 10x13 frames if the raw pictures don't crop right.

Since I am getting custom frames anyways...might as well get the right size for the pics :D

You have been a great help...thank you so much!
RoRoCo said:
Since I am getting custom frames anyways...might as well get the right size for the pics :D
Cool. That's why I love doing it this way rather than trying to force a crop based on the frames available. It annoys the $#% out of me that everything out there is for 8x10 and not also 8x12.

You have been a great help...thank you so much!
No prob. Let us know when you get them and maybe post a pic of them on the wall. I'd love to see how they turned out.
Got the frames and everything is mounted... I signed it myself...I need better penmenship and a better signature, but I forced myself to do everything myself.

I am extremely happy with the frames... Here are some pics of the set up.



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