Mounting Photos

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by thefizz, Feb 10, 2006.

  1. thefizz

    thefizz Member

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    I was just wondering what size borders Apugers like their mounts to be.

    I usually like 2 inches of a border for 10x8 prints. I am starting to print up to 20x16 and think that 4 or 5 inches would suit.

    How much of a border do you like.?
    Do you make the bottom part bigger than the other 3 sides? (I have seen this but not sure if I like it)
    Is there a print size to border size ratio that you follow?

    Peter
     
  2. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    I use standard size mounts - 11x14 and 16x20. Print size is not standard - it is whatever the image requires. I start with standard size printing paper (8x10 and 11x14, and also 7x10 made by cutting 11x14 sheets in half and then trimming an inch off for use as test strips), but then mask down using my easel to frame the image to my satisfaction. Prints made on 8x10 or 7x10 paper usually go on 11x14 mounts, while prints made on 11x14 paper go on 16x20 mounts.

    My standard is to center the image on the mount horizontally. I offset the image vertically just a bit - literally, I measure to determine exact vertical center placement, and then shift up a quarter of an inch or so. There's no exact formula - I know it's right when I see it.

    Unfortunately, this means that I can't use standard pre-cut mats, and instead have to cut my own.
     
  3. canyoupicturethat

    canyoupicturethat Member

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    Gotta love pre-cuts

    I wish I could say I did more of my own printing, especially Ilfochrome and other prints from slides, but I don't. And because I don't, I tend to be very standard with my mattes. I usually use 16x20 mattes with an 11x14 opening. If I am going full frame, I'll do so with black borders on the image, a look I really like.
    The mattes are usually centered, and always pre-cut. If I can't find them standard and decide to go with a special border, which is unusual, I would even go to the lengths of having them pre-cut by light impressions since I so despise cutting mattes and am not good at it.
    So, fairly standard borders with a centered print.
     
  4. thefizz

    thefizz Member

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    Thanks for the replies.

    I just want to add to my questions above: What colour mounts do you mostly like to use with B&W prints.
     
  5. rbarker

    rbarker Member

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    I'm lazy, too, and use standard pre-cuts - 11x14 for 8x10 prints and 16x20 for 11x14 prints. Most of the time I use "museum white" mattes, but occasionally use the black mattes.
     
  6. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    I use the pre-cuts as well because I can't afford a cutter and even if I could, I don't have enough space to handle whole sheets. I like the Museum Black and the Bright White, but keep hearing 'You should use white instead!' when I use the black... Oh, yeah, I get the 11x14 size for 8x10 prints and the 16x20 size for 11x14 prints.

    - Randy
     
  7. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    it is considered common practice to have your window vertically off-center in the mat. How much is a matter of taste. The european/american standard is to have the bottom of the mat be the larger margin, and the top smaller; in asia, it is common to do the reverse. I usually offset mine by 1/2 to 1 inch, depending on size. As a general rule, larger borders look better, although using huge borders can start to look pretentious. If you are framing for exhibition, use at least 4 ply mat board, and if you can afford it, go for 8 ply. 8 ply is very heavy, and provides a very nice offset to your image, almost like doing a floating mount or a box frame. 8 ply is a pain to learn to cut. Get VERY good at cutting 4 ply before attempting 8 ply on your own.

    As to color, the best color for a mat is white, off-white (cream, etc) museum gray or black. It all depends on the nature of the image. This holds true even for color photography. You do not want the color of the mat to visually affect the photograph, which using a colored mat will do.
     
  8. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    My typical print is 6-1/2x9-3/4 inches mounted on an 11x14 board. The print size may be different, if when I set up the camera and tripod, I decided not to use the full 35mm frame. This is accomplished with a print trimmer. I always mount the print above center. The reason for doing so is that prints that are center mounted give me the impression of being mounted below center.

    Having a uniformity of mat board sizes is a great aid in storing prints. Some peiple really like a very large mat compared to the print..such as mounting an 8x10 on a 16x20 board.

    My own objectives is to have a print that is easily viewable when handheld, easy to store and large enough to view decently upon the wall in my home. I live in a small flat. I may upon ocassion make a larger print. I tend to favor simple as opposed to complex compositions for my work. I avoid the tendency of trying to make an oversized, for my situation, enlargement.
     
  9. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

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    I use white for everything I do (just not bright white). I'm not opposed to others using whatever color they want, but for me, I'll take white mat board. I use standard size mats, but not standard sized windows (ok, standard windows maybe 10% of the time) so I have to cut my own. The advantage of this is that if an image you have doesn't quite work with an 8x10 or 11x14 opening, you can customize it to fit your tastes.

    As far as window placement goes, I don't like center-cut windows for the most part. There are a number of ways to decide how offset you want the window. One way I've read of people doing is to make the top border the same as the side borders. That may not work all of the time. There are also websites that help you find "optical center" which again may or may not be to your taste. The best method I've found is to put a print on a matboard and move it until it looks good to you and then cut your window there.
     
  10. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I use standard sizes for prints up to 20x24, for bigger size prints (I go up to 30x40), I use 4 inches around. As for matting, I mostly use triple mounting (except for the 30x40s), with the middle mat being a color that is in harmony with the predominant color in the photograph, with a white upper mount. I use the Nielsen-Bainbridge ArtCare system, so if you look that up, you will get more information.

    For framing, I generally prefer a warm colored wood, a light wood color, or in rare cases Koa (which is rare). I haven't mounted or framed B&W in over 20 years - these days I am strickly color.

    BTW, my favorite size for prints is 20x24.
     
  11. Stoo Batchelor

    Stoo Batchelor Member

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    I print 11 X 8 1/4 All my prints for my portfolio are window mounted in the centre of a 20 X 16 board in antique white.(off white) This is done using a Longridge cutter. Les Mclean did a great article about this cutter in B*W magazine.

    For framing, I mount in the same size, but I use the 'Optical Print centering' technique explained here...........................................

    http://www.russellcottrell.com/photo/centering.htm

    The choice of colour changes with the mood of the photograph and how it is toned, but is usually treble mounted, antique/white/antique.

    I feel colour always looks better with a black surround (IMO)

    Regards

    Stoo
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 10, 2006
  12. Mark H

    Mark H Member

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    I was asked to give a mat cutting presentation recently for the local camera club. I never used any particular formula before but while doing some research came across a suggested ratio of 1 : 1.3 (width of top border to bottom border), which actually was pretty close to what I normally did by eye. The reason is to (supposedly) provide balance when viewing the hung print.
    That being said, I don't always follow the rule. Some images will work with much larger borders at the bottom, particularly square images and horizontal images placed in a vertical frame.
    I find that cutting mats is very quick and easy with minimal investment (I use a Logan 301 cutter, which can be had for under $75; the local craft stores have 40% off any 1 item coupons every week). It takes very little practice. The biggest difficulty that many people have is in measuring and marking the mats for cutting. I first learned how to do this at an art school; the method required writing down and halving measurements and was so confusing that most people gave up. Then I discovered the centering-ruler that cost about $6. I can now measure and cut a mat very precisely in under 5 minutes.
     
  13. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    Despite having lots of photography books, I don't remember a title that really deals with this sort of thing in detail--mat sizes, aligning the print with the mat window, recommended materials, and so on. If someone could recommend a good title, I would be grateful.

    I gather that dry mounting is going out of favor? If large prints are not dry mounted, won't they appear wavy due to their weight tugging on the large amount of the photograph which is not secured?
     
  14. Monophoto

    Monophoto Member

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    An earlier poster suggested that cutting mats is expensive. My experience is that it is much less expensive to purchase mat board in larger sheets than it is to purchase pre-cut mats. And cutting mats is not all that difficult - I use the cheapest Logan cutter (model 1000), and a Logan straight edge that I picked up at a garage sale many years ago. It takes a little time, and it's tedious to do the measurements. The real expense is for blades - one of the secrets to cutting mats that look good is to always use new, sharp blades.

    As to color, I have pretty much standardized on white for most of my work. I use Exeter conservation board from Light Impressions, the "gallery white" which is a very pale cream color. I purchase 2-ply boards precut at 11x14 for both mounting and cutting mats, and 4-ply boards precut at 16x20 for larger mats. I mount larger prints on a less expensive 4-ply board that I get locally in 32x40 sheets and cut down.

    On rare occasions I will use a black mat. This practice is reserved for a hand-colored image where the black mat enhances the color.
     
  15. jeroldharter

    jeroldharter Member

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    I agree that using sharp, new blades is a key. I try to standardize as much as I can. I am now trying to us the recommendations from the Ansell Adams photography book regarding trimming prints to a borderless dimension and then cutting the windwo with some relief arround the edges for contrast and to allow for signature. Works pretty well but requires some learning curve/practice.

    For 8 x 10 prints, 11 x 14 mat
    For 11 x 14 prints, 16 x 20 mat
    For 16 x 20 prints, 20 x 24 mat
    For 20 x 24 prints, not sure yet.

    All of the prints sizes are somewhat smaller because I use a 4-blade masking easel and trim off the white borders.
     
  16. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

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    I use a matte white vellum (untextured) mount cut for me by Nielsen Bainbridge. My b&w prints are most often 8" sq., but even with the occasional landscape-shaped print I'll use a 20" x 16" matte board vertically. I always have 4" at either side and at the top; leaving 8" at the bottom if the print is square; a little more or less if its landscape or portrait.
     
  17. eddym

    eddym Member

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    I try to standardize as much as possible. I buy frames and mats from Light Impressions, and they offer a discount if you buy more than 10 frames, so I always try to do so (that also saves on freight). I use 4 ply Exeter Gallery White mats and Nielsen #11 or 110 frames, in Contrast Gray. I frame 11x14's in a 16x20 mat & frame, and 16x20 in a 20x24 frame. I do not offset the print vertically; I never understood the reason for doing that.
    I cut the openings with a Logan 301 cutter; $110 at Light Impressions, and well worth the investment.
    I mount the print to acid-free foamcore with the Clear Hold mounting corners, all (again) from LI. FB prints do not lay as flat as they would with dry mounting, but from an archival standpoint, dry mounting is not a good idea because it is not reversible.
    By the way, many years ago I used some black mats, but found that they faded easily, and really look awful when they do.
     
  18. thefizz

    thefizz Member

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    Thank you all for your replies.

    Could you also tell me if you sign, date and name your photos. If so, where?

    Thanks,
    Peter