What print size/mat size do you usually make and why?

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by DarkroomDan, Oct 31, 2005.

  1. DarkroomDan

    DarkroomDan Subscriber

    Messages:
    239
    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2003
    Location:
    Enumclaw, WA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I just responded to a thread on choice of mat materials and, as part of my answer, I said that I tend to make small prints. I started thinking about this and just did a search to see if I could find a previous thread on the subject - I didn't but my not have phrased my search correctly. Anyway, I know that I prefer making small prints for a couple of reasons.

    The first is esthetic, I like intimate pieces that require close scrutiny and exclude surroundings. Getting up close can reveal detail that, to my mind, is lost in the larger work view from greater distance.

    I print in straight B&W as well as several alt processes - Gum, Bromoil, VDB, Argyrotype, Pl/Pd and Lith. Several of these produce effects that can only be seen on close examination. I am not suggesting that the value of a print is in the detail - If the image stinks at 10 feet, it wont smell any better at 1 foot. I love a print that is a strong composition from across the room and yields more and more interesting details as I get nearer.

    Several of the hand coated processes produce artifacts unique both to the process and to the individual print. In some, areas that appear as continuous tone or color become reminiscent of Pointillism at close range. The papers and some of the processes can have tactile dimensions that really should be held when viewed to be appreciated.

    THe other reasons I have for mainly printing small are 1) I shoot a lot in 5x7 and 2) My house is rather small and I like hanging a lot of my work here were I can see it.

    What size do you like your prints. Why?
     
  2. Mick Fagan

    Mick Fagan Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,114
    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2005
    Location:
    Melbourne Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    About fifteen years ago I bought a Durst Printo roller transport machine for colour neg printing. As the width of the machine is 12½ inches wide I standardised on a maximum of 12x16" colour paper, with plenty of 8x10" as well.

    Eventually I started to realise that my larger B&W prints weren't doing anything extra for me, so I standardised on 12x16" as the largest in B&W as well.

    All of the work that I show to people these days, is one of those sizes or a smaller portion of them.

    If you think your larger prints are big, then try competing with a missus who hangs quilts on a wall!

    Mick.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 31, 2005
  3. BruceN

    BruceN Member

    Messages:
    585
    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2004
    Location:
    Wyoming
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm currently gearing up for 20x24, and I don't see myself going beyond that. I do a lot of 8x10. Which reminds me - what's with these galleries framing 8x10 prints surrounded by as much as 15 inches of mat board? Does anyone really think that looks good, or are they just trying to justify selling bigger frames?

    Bruce
     
  4. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

    Messages:
    1,602
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2005
    Location:
    Henrico, Vir
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    99.9% of my prints are made on 8x10 paper. There are two main reasons for this, the first being money. 11x14 paper is almost twice as expensive as 8x10 paper and when you figure in the extra $$ for the larger mats, it really adds up. If I were selling prints, I could justify spending the extra, but I'm not so I can't.

    Second, I live in a relatively small condo and I don't have room for really large prints so I stick to 8x10 prints.
     
  5. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

    Messages:
    9,281
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2002
    Location:
    Bergen, Norw
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    About 80% 24x30cm (or 9.5x12"), the rest mostly 8x10" and 18x24cm. It all depends on what size paper I can find - I prefer 8x10" to 18x24cm, but like 24x30 best.
     
  6. abeku

    abeku Subscriber

    Messages:
    436
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2005
    Location:
    Sweden
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    18x24's in a 30x40 mat, "landscape cut in a portrait format". A bit narrow on the edges but with a proper frame you'll get that necessary space around the picture.
     
  7. mario Ag+

    mario Ag+ Member

    Messages:
    123
    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2005
    Location:
    Cyprus
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I print on 8x10 most of the time. I like to print full frame 35mm negs on 12x16 paper leaving a large white border around the image.
     
  8. jvarsoke

    jvarsoke Member

    Messages:
    121
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Shooter:
    Holga
    I've seen this type of printing and like it a lot. Though, I do question the economic practicality over a similar rendition on a floating matte.

    I personally enjoy the floating matte for many vertical images. Doesn't seem to work as well for most horizontal images.
     
  9. David Henderson

    David Henderson Member

    Messages:
    342
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2004
    Location:
    Datchet, Ber
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    All my b&w prints are made 8" sq ( or similar if rectangular) on 16" x 12" Forte Polywarmtone semi-matt paper used vertically. Mounting is in 20" x 16" window mounts again vertical. Why? Well I want to use a consistent approach and this is the best-balanced combination I've found after trying several others.
     
  10. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,494
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2004
    Location:
    Bath, OH 442
    Shooter:
    ULarge Format
    The photography course I am taking requires a series of twenty 11”x 14” or larger prints, matted and over matted, by the end of the term. I am trying 16x20 inch size with 22” x 28” mats. The subjects are less than three feet away from the lens. I liked the detail that was coming out of the 8x10 negatives so much that I finished early and started a second series. I can't afford a second set of mats, so the first set will be recycled. The Professor has invited me to show ten in a group show at the start of next term.

    John Powers
     
  11. wfe

    wfe Member

    Messages:
    1,285
    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2003
    Location:
    Coatesville,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I print squares (med format negatives) in two sizes 7" x 7" and 10" x 10" but mostly the 10" x 10" and mat them to 14" square for the 7" x 7" and 18" square for the 10" x 10". Thinking about doing some roughly 15" square. I believe that it is largly personal preference combined with what may work for a particular image. I do like the intimacy associated with smaller prints. Larger prints can be very striking and attractive. I do sell enough of them to support the additional costs for the larger sizes.
     
  12. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,196
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Location:
    North Coast,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    I've had three shows so far - all local affairs. The first was all on 8x10 paper and the whole experience is pretty much a blur. The second was all on 11x14 paper and I found it visually disturbing to have a close-up 11x14 next to a wide open, huge sky landscape 11x14. The last show ranged from 5x7 close-ups, to 8x10 middle distance images, to 11x14 big sky images. All were hung not on a single line, but kind of "jumbled together" in a random pattern and it was way more satisfying to the eyes.

    Since then I've discovered that buying a 50 sheet box of 16x20 is less $ than buying 200 sheets of 8x10. Now I can print everything from 5x7 to 16x20 on one paper, from one emulsion batch :smile: Next time I'll go from 5x7 close-ups, to 16x20 big sky landscapes.

    Something I noticed with having all the prints the same size, is that people find their comfortable viewing distance and stay that far from the prints for the whole show. With a small close-up, they'll get real close for a good look then move to the big print next to it where they'll be close enough to notice fine details before moving back to a comfortable big print viewing distance. I think it created a more intimate experience for people than staying back 10 feet and scanning them all from the same distance.

    Murray
     
  13. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

    Messages:
    1,602
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2005
    Location:
    Henrico, Vir
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I have looked at buying 16x20 in the past and cutting it down, but the difference in price (for the paper I use, anyway) is only $8 so I'm much happier not struggling with cutting down that size paper.
     
  14. jvarsoke

    jvarsoke Member

    Messages:
    121
    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2005
    Shooter:
    Holga
    Spend 80$ more on a paper-cutter large enough to cut 16" in one swipe, to save 8$ a box of 100? Hmm.

    I guess it's a good longterm investment.
     
  15. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

    Messages:
    20,214
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2003
    Location:
    local
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    i used to always print 11x14s and somehow started printing 16x20s...
    but over the years have come back down to 8x10 (sometimes printed on 11x14 paper) or smaller ... i can't remember why i went as large as 16x20, maybe just to prove to myself that i could do it ..

    i like small prints. you aren't overwhelmed by them, and if you want to make a small book, it'll look really nice.
     
  16. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

    Messages:
    3,242
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2004
    Location:
    Milwaukee, W
    Shooter:
    35mm
    My own considerations regarding print size and matting are as follows:

    Living in a 4 room flat that has as its largest room of 12x16 feet and making prints for my only own enjoyment when viewed on the wall or in my hand , how big does a print need to be ? Since I will be storing many more prints than I will have on the wall at any one time, what size print boxes am I willing to devote storage space ? What do I think I can afford to do?


    The very great majority of what I do is to photograph static subjects with a 35mm camera. Therefore when taking a photograph I am able to use a tripod. Almost always I am able to find a camera position that will allow me to fill either the 24mm or the 36mm dimension to my satisfaction. In a lot of cases I find a camera position the allows me to simultaneously fill both dimensions to my satisfaction. When I unable to fill both dimensions of my frame I consider before making the negative how the unfilled dimension(s) will be cropped.

    Having developed my film, I project unto an 8X10 piece of photo paper
    a 6 1/2 x 9 3/34" image. My enlarger head is rarely moved. I take my finished 6 1/2 x 9 3/4" image and tack a piece of dry mounting tissue to it. If my thought when exposing the film was to use all of the negative I just trim into the image a little as possible while removing al non image photo paper. Otherwise I trim the print as I originally conceived it. This print is the mounted somewhat above center on an 11x14 board.

    I allow my self little leeway in doing these things. It simplifies my life.
    When viewing the finished print I am either satisfied or I am faced to confront my sloppy work and thought. In either case the print has value in either giving me a reconnection with my reason for taking the photo or in forcing me to realize, everytime I see the print, that I should use my head and stop being such a dummy. Of course, I also produce some negatives that are very efficient to deal with in that they go directly from the developed film to the most important darkroom device I own..a 40 gallon thrash can. Otherwise I try to stick with what I visualized when looking thru the finder..this is meant more in a general than a aboslute zone by zone comparison of what I now think I originally intended. I believe there can be value in not second guessing yourself.

    So now I have some prints that are easy to store and with which the viewer, me, is able to see with sufficient clarity.

    Well known am I for producing prints of a very highly evolved nature as far as their ability to bore. I rarely use an over mat. My thoughts being: The print box is a darkened bedroom. The mounting board is the print's bed.
    I am just too cheap to provide a blanket by using an over mat.

    These are my thoughts. They have servered me well enough so that I am reluctant to change them.

    What you do, how you do it and why you do it is, I believe, properly your choice not mine.
     
  17. mark

    mark Member

    Messages:
    5,270
    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2003
    I Print 5x7 for BW because I have too. It is the largest neg I can get at this time. I am not sure I want to go bigger. I admit to being a print sniffer. I like to hold the print and look into it. Big BW prints just don't thrill me. COlor on the other hand is different. I like big color prints, not huge just big. SInce I print color with the big bad D process I won't comment on their size.
     
  18. MurrayMinchin

    MurrayMinchin Membership Council Council

    Messages:
    4,196
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Location:
    North Coast,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    :smile: INITIATING SELF-DEFENCE PROCEDURE :smile:

    I picked up a huge paper cutter from a retired professional photographer for next to nothing, and from Henry's in Canada 100 sheets 8x10 Multigrade IVFB is $99.99 and 50 sheets 16x20 is $169.00. You can do the math, but it's sure more than $8.00 in savings. Oh ya...and all my paper is from one emulsion batch which makes my life easier which of course makes me :smile:

    Murray
     
  19. Travis Nunn

    Travis Nunn Member

    Messages:
    1,602
    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2005
    Location:
    Henrico, Vir
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I use Kentmere Fineprint VC Fiber and Kentmere VC Fiber Warmtone (both are the same price)
    Prices per BH Photo: 100 box of 8x10 - $53.99, 50 box of 16x20 - $99.99, the difference between 2 boxes of 8x10 and 1 box of 16x20 is only $7.99.

    If I were to save as much money as you, then I, too, would buy big and cut them down. It all depends on how much you have to pay for paper.