customer matt size

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by Solarize, Aug 30, 2006.

  1. Solarize

    Solarize Member

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    I've just printed some portraits for a customer (6 X 7's of their baby) and part of the deal is that I matt them. Logically I should probably go with a standard size matt so they don't need to be custom framed, something I can do, but I can't help thinking that an irregular matt size might look better.

    Is it unethical or particularly unusual to go with an irregular size, essentially forcing custom framing? (consider likelihood of me being the one to do it).


    I wouldn't use irregular sizing just to force the extra cost of framing it specially. An artistic, not business decision will be the deciding factor, but I am just not too sure what size to go with.

    Is it wrong to use an irregular size matt?

    What size would people here matt a 5X7 to? 11X14 seems perhaps the best with 8X10 looking a little small. Maybe I'm being too fussy.

    In any instance I would like to standardize on a size as I want to get a fair bit of glass cut and it'll be expensive for me to keep going back for different sizes.

    Thanks for any opinions
     
  2. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    use what size fits the image, don't force it into something , just because.

    you can standardize a size; i.e. 14x18 for anything 8x10 and less.
    or 16x20 for everthingk, that that does not require custom cutting glass.

    you need to show your work off in the best light, and that includes regular or irregular matt dimensions.
     
  3. Jim Jones

    Jim Jones Subscriber

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    Using standared mat sizes has many advantages, not only for the one job, but for future jobs. I can keep my cost (and more important, price to the buyer) down on photographs by buying mat board, glass, and frames in quantity in one size and style. However, these photos are for sale at arts & crafts shows. It is different when doing custom work. The mat and frame are the interface between the image and its environment. The image, and the way it is presented, should fit well with wherever the customer chooses to display them. Consult with the customer. Present the various options and costs. Let them make the final decision.
     
  4. User Removed

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    Personally, I use irregular mat sizes for all images for several reason.

    The first reason is I feel that for my 8x10 prints, 14x17 looks the best. 11x14 is to small and 16x20 is to big.

    Second, I use odd sized mat's so the buyer HAS to have the print custom framed! If the person gets a standard sized matted print, they can very easy go to Walmart and pick up some crummy gold plastic frame to put your beautiful print it, which in result is degrading to your work.

    If the buyer is forced to have the print customed framed, the framer will take into consideration how the frame will match the artwork and custom frames are usually more high quality.

    So anyways, I suggest only doing odd mat sizes.

    Ryan McIntosh
    www.RyanMcIntosh.net
     
  5. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    With me, matting falls into that indefinable area of "What Works - and What Doesn't." It is as much an aesthetic decision as anything else. Definitely, the print size, the frame and mat size - and color - all have an effect in the presentation ... but I, so far, haven't found anything like a "formula"... that even comes close to "What Works".

    You are working with a client - someone who may - probably does - perceive images differently, so the only advice I could give is to work with them.
     
  6. boyooso

    boyooso Member

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    I Agree completely, talk with your customer.
     
  7. mark

    mark Member

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    This has to be the most arrogant thing I have ever read.
     
  8. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    I don't print standard sizes, but I do try to keep the mats standard size (not always, but best effort). I've bought prints from people before that were mounted in such a way that they needed odd sized frames and it really is a pain. I'd like to make my customer's purchase as easy as possible. Making someone buy such an odd sized frame/glass if they want to frame it themselves doesn't make it very easy.

    Just my 2 cents.
     
  9. Solarize

    Solarize Member

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    Interesting points from all. In the end i went with 12X11, I liked the look and it was economical considering the overall size of the board that I buy.

    I see your point Ryan, but I figure if someone is willing to spend what it takes to get me to their house and take photographs of their children, and is willing to spend on the cost of the prints, they are unlikely to put the work in a cheap frame or be too peturbed by the cost of custom framing. By the same token, I'm sort of using that as further justification to the fact I very much liked the result of a 12X11 matt.

    I think I might specify the overall matt size I would prefer or tend to use (along with the print size) and give the customer the option of requesting a smaller matt should they prefer.
     
  10. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    Sounds like a reasonable compromise. Just out of curiosity, what size matt borders are you going to have, is the print going to be centered?
     
  11. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Why is it arrogant to want something 'special' that suits an individual photo better? Just curious. Does that mean that it is also arrogant to want to make pictures that are different from others' or from the sunset pictures in John Hedgecoe 'how-to' books?
     
  12. mark

    mark Member

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    A-the print does not belong to him when he sells it.
    B-The person who bought the print KNOWS how they want to display it
    C-He assumes he KNOWS better than they, how they should present THEIR print.

    It is the print that means something not the frame job.

    Smacks of extreme arrogance to me. We were not talking about the content of the photograph. The image should carry it not the frame job. If someone notices the frame then the image has failed. It should have the same impact in a walmart frame as it does in a "professional" frame job. Of course this is how I feel, and you may think the frame is an integral part of the overall impact of the image.
     
  13. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    I can understand both the pros and cons of "enforcing" a custom mat.

    Essentially, it has the same logic behind it as those who retain ownership of wedding negatives - that way you can ensure that the prints are properly prepared.

    I would note, however, that:

    1) some of the Walmart frames aren't bad at all; and
    2) if the mat is sufficiently large (as compared to the print), the frame, no matter how tacky, isn't likely to be able to overwhelm the quality of the print.

    With respect to the first observation, I would suggest recommending a number of frames, all of which are sufficiently neutral as to emphasize the print.

    Some people will insist in putting the print, and mat, into an inappropriate frame, but most of those who appreciate the print, will make an appropriate choice. The few exceptions, will probably be showing the prints mostly to others with similar tastes, so no harm will be done there :wink: .

    By the way, one niggling complaint.

    I think you mean to say customer "mat" size.

    Not "matt" size.

    Matt
     
  14. Donald Miller

    Donald Miller Member

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    I agree completely.
     
  15. Shane Knight

    Shane Knight Member

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    It comes down to good communication between you and the buyer. Let them decide wether they will go for your preference size which constitutes extra cost vs. savings with a standard mat and frame. If you are honest with them, they will be honest with you regarding what they are wanting to spend. The most important customer is the repeat customer, and it doesn't help if you stick them with an expensive product when they would have appreciated more of same enjoyment for less money.

    Just being honest, you can tell within the first 30 seconds of the conversation which direction they are comfortable with.

    When questions like this arise, I tell sellers to "walk in their customer's shoes" and then decide.

    Cheers,
    Shane Knight
    www.shaneknight.com
     
  16. Solarize

    Solarize Member

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    I went with the print centred, 2.5 inch border right around. IU was going to go with a size where I could weight the bootom more heavily, but liked to result I got. Each to their own I guess.

    Matt, I mean 'mat' :smile:
     
  17. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Quotation: Humphrey Davy, English Chemist 1778 - 1829

    "The art galleries of Paris contain the finest collection of frames I ever saw"


    Steve.
     
  18. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    Depends who the "noticer" is. Fresh from a session of cutting your own mats and framing. the matting and framing - and the effect it has on the presentation - may well be the focus of attention.

    Generally, though, I agree. All that WILL have an effect on the presentation, and very possibly, if there is an intrusion into the conscious perception, it will be an indicator of an adverse effect.

    Ideally, the image will overpower ALL else, including the walls, the rest of the gallery ... the atmosphere ... then, it WORKS!!!
     
  19. User Removed

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    Mark,

    Calling me arrogant was completely not needed and rude.

    I've have been selling fine art prints for over 5 years now, selling several hundreds of prints over this period of time, and never ONCE have I had someone complain about mat size.

    In regards to your comments, of course the image should stand on its own, however the matting and framing should compliment that image as well as make it look good in the environment in which it's displayed.

    One's framing choices at Walmart or a local art store are usually very limited, and people often spend a long time searching for frames to not only match the artwork, but also to match their house!

    By having your artwork custom framed, the customer has thousands of framing possibilities and can choice a frame to compliment the artwork, along with something that would work well in their house (or gallery, ect). If the buyer is unsure of how to properly frame something, the professional framer will be better at selecting a frame that works with the piece.

    Finally, custom frames ARE higher quality than ready-made frames. The glass in ready-made frames is usually the cheapest glass possible, where with custom framing you can purchase museum glass or antiglare glass. Second, when a print is custom framed, they use archival materials as backing materials which will protect the photograph. Many ready-made frames have things such as Styrofoam, acid cardboard, and pressed masonite board as backing to the picture. All of these are dangerous to the life of the photograph as they contain acids, glues, and chemicals which will deteriorate the photograph over time.

    Many years ago I purchased an old Adams print that had been framed with a masonite backing for about 30 years. The whole back of the mount had been yellowed and was starting to work its way to the front of the mount! Another case happened when I purchased a Cole Weston print which had been framed with cardboard on the back since the 1960's. The back of the mat had discolored and was causing spotting on the front of the mount to show!

    So anyways, go ahead and use cheep frames for all your photographs. Maybe you just don't care about your photographs as much as some of us other photographers do.

    Regards,

    Ryan McIntosh
    www.RyanMcIntosh.net
     
  20. mark

    mark Member

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    Maybe you should give your client and others credit for maybe, possibly, knowing a thing or two about frames and proper framing proceedures. I happen to be a very accomplished framer. Happily frame my stuff and other folk's stuff. Your assumption that I needed to be educated about frames and proper framing proceedures says alot. DO you make this naive assumption about your clients as well? I stand by my original post.
     
  21. kjsphoto

    kjsphoto Subscriber

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    Give it a rest.

    Geez, you are not the only one with an opinion. Ryan makes perfect sense. I personally used to FRAME also and I do not offer my prints in standard sizes as I want my clients to go to a print shop and have a nice frame on the image and not a cheap Wal-Mart or Costco $5 frame on the artwork to cheapen the work that is presented.

    Also by offering odd size mats you help support the small frames shops instead of the large corporation that are putting mom and pop shops out of business.

    I think Ryan’s point is completely valid and not arrogant in any matter.

    Man oh man is it the time of the month again or what?
     
  22. User Removed

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    Kevin,

    You make a great point that I forgot to mention. The fact that I would rather support the small guy or gal that has the family owned business, rather then some huge corporation which puts the small guy out of business.

    Ryan McIntosh
     
  23. donbga

    donbga Member

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    Think of framing and matting as profit centers, do what makes your work look best.
     
  24. Solarize

    Solarize Member

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    Thanks again, some interesting points have been raised here.