Are frame sizes usually visible glass size or the size of the glass plus the frame?

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by ted_smith, Jun 22, 2013.

  1. ted_smith

    ted_smith Member

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    Hi

    Please see this frame : http://www.lauraashley.com/bathroom-accessories/watercolour-shells-framed-print/invt/3552986

    Note the dimensions are W39cm H39cm D2cm (about 16" square).

    Is that likely to be the size of the visible glass area, or is it more usual to be the size of the glass area plus the frame itself? i.e. is the glass probably 14.5" square and whole thing 16" square? Or is the glass likely to be 16" and the frame itself more like 17.5"? What is the "general rule" when it comes to frames and how they are marketted?

    Ta

    Ted
     
  2. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

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    Well, this is framed work; a completed product, and they specify a depth of 2cm, so I would expect it to be overall outside dimensions. (But don't take my word for it!)

    When purchasing just a frame, the dimensions - 16 x 20, etc are inside the rabbet and represent the glass size and size of the mat mounting the artwork (the actual cut internal dimension normally has a little extra allowance).

    But I have to say this is an area where online vendors seem to find ways to be as ambiguous as possible!
     
  3. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    When I get fames on this side of the pond it is keyed to the actual size of the glass & mounting board, not the visible size.
     
  4. Clovis Blevins

    Clovis Blevins Member

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    Those are the "product dimensions" for which they also give a depth (the first hint that the dimensions given are not keyed to the glass size). You'll find this is the size of the outside of the frame, which is quite useful to know if you are a decorator (the intended market). The size of the glass will be smaller and this dimension is not disclosed. If you are buying an empty frame, the dimensions given are a nominal width and height with generally 1/8" extra room in each dimension (to allow for 1/16" space all around). But if you are buying a decor item, the dimensions given are generally the overall size.
     
  5. ted_smith

    ted_smith Member

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    OK...thanks all. Seems there is no set rule. The last frame I bought that was a 5" x 5" did in fact have a glass area of 5" x 5" and the frame was another 2" round it and it was advertised as 5" x 5" so I'll wait for these to arrive (they from a different place) and then I'll measure the glass itself before ordering the prints.
     
  6. fdi

    fdi Advertiser Advertiser

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    Not sure about standard sizing in the UK, however, in the US in general if someone is talking about a 16x20 frame it usually refers to the image size the frame will accommodate. However, 16x20 will not be the visible size or the frame size or even the mat opening size. If there is no mat then 16x20 size means that the glass and backing board would be 16x20. The inside of the frame is typically cut to 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch larger so there is no binding. The outside of the frame size can be anything from 1/8" to over 5 inches larger based on the width of the picture frame moulding. Also, the visible size will vary from 1/8 of an inch to 3/4 of an inch smaller based on how much the frame overlaps the glass. Visible size cant be the same size as image and glass size since the glass would fall through.

    If you are using a mat and the mat opening is for a 16x20 print the opening will usually be 1/2 inch smaller although my company makes most 1/4 inch small so more of the image is visible. Of course in the case final frame size is based on the mat borders and frame width.

    Sound confusing? It is, and as the owner of a frame supply company I wish it were less so.
     
  7. Michael A. Smith

    Michael A. Smith Subscriber

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    If when you make photographs you want every square millimeter of your print to count as an integral and necessary part of the picture, then you would never want the overmat to cover any part of the picture space.

    I put it this way: As a photographer I am responsible for every square millimeter of the picture space, the same way a composer is responsible for every note. And so I do not want to cover any part of the picture that I saw on the ground glass.

    And I do not recommend ever allowing the white photo paper to be visible around the photograph. The reflectance of the paper, since it matches the reflectance of the photograph and will be of the brightest reflectance, will distract the viewer''s eye from the photograph.

    So, when overmatting, either leave a border of mat board, which is of lesser reflectance than the photograph, and therefore not distracting at all, or have the overmat come exactly to the edge of the print.

    Because as photographers we do this ourselvexs, at our company Lodima Archival Materials (www.lodimaarchivalmaterials.com), we custom-cut all of the overmats that we sell.

    Michael A. Smith
     
  8. rthomas

    rthomas Member

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    Helping my mother-in-law with a framing project just the other day, she was dismayed to discover that the store-bought 5x7" frames all had openings of 4.5x6.5...

    I prefer to buy the "raw ingredients" - custom framing and matting materials - and put it all together myself, that way I can decide how big everything needs to be. Having said that, I stink at mat-cutting. :sad:
     
  9. fdi

    fdi Advertiser Advertiser

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    I agree with Michael, you do not want the overmat to cover too much of the photo. Most precut mats are cut to 1/2 inch smaller than image size. In other words a mat that allows an 8x10 photo to placed in an 11x14 inch frame will have an opening size of 7-1/2 x 9-1/2. That results in 1/4 inch of your image being covered on all sides. Our standard size mats are cut 1/4 inch smaller so they only overlap 1/8 inch unless than image size is greater than 18x24 then we still do 1/2". However, if you order custom from us you can specify any size you want. I would like to make our standard sizes smaller, however, we have many customers that do not have the kind of measuring and aligning skills that a photographer doing his own prints in a darkroom will have.

    I also agree with Michael about consideration of the photo paper border. However, showing the border does make it easier to show 100% of the image and many photographers like to use the border area for their signature. The importance of this will vary based on the image and the photo paper it is printed on. You also want to avoid using white mat that is brighter than the whitest point in the image for the same reason that Michael mentioned about the paper border.

    Cheers,
    Mark