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Thread: Size of mats

  1. #11
    colrehogan's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the replies. For my 4x5 contact prints, they are on 8.5 x 11 paper. My 8x10 contact prints are on 11x14 paper. Why do so many of you like so much extra space around your pics? Is this something you learn in a class or just have found through personal preference and looking at others' work?
    Diane

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  2. #12
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    For decorating, A large frame with a lot of mat space separating the print from its surroundings can be very dramatic and attractive. What I can't stand is matting as it's own art form. When someone looks at the picture and says, "Wow! Get a load of that mat!" Once I had a couple of prints used in a Nielson/Bainbridge ad. When I got them back they were in large frames and oh-so creatively professionally multiple matted in various tones. (Of course... they were selling frames and matboard, not photographs). I refused to hang it back up on my wall until I tore it out of the frame and re-matted it in a sensible white single mat.
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by colrehogan
    Thanks for all the replies. For my 4x5 contact prints, they are on 8.5 x 11 paper. My 8x10 contact prints are on 11x14 paper. Why do so many of you like so much extra space around your pics? Is this something you learn in a class or just have found through personal preference and looking at others' work?
    I like my images to be looked at based on the image. When the image is displayed in a field of white it--to me--seems to stand more on its own merits as opposed toone size up matting and framing which lets the surroundings (the wall, room, etc.) dictate mood--to me. This is different for different people, but I find large classic white overmats in black matte frames to be my preferred means of display.
    Let's see what I've got in the magic trash can for Mateo!

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  4. #14
    VoidoidRamone's Avatar
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    I ususally print 8x10 (or print smaller on a sheet of 8x10). And I usually mat on 16x20 vertically (even if the photo is horizontal)- and I weight the bottom a decent amount. I think it looks nice and organized when you are looking at a series of prints and they all have the same size mat and all the mats are vertical. I also prefer a simple white over-mat (window). And lastly, I usually have a white border around the print itself- so for instance printing 6x7.5 on 8x10, and cutting the window about 6.5x8. I choose to mat bigger because like Neal said it's "dramatic and attractive".
    -Grant

  5. #15

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    For 8X10 print, 13X15 window mat; 11X14 in 16X20 over mat; and 16X20 print in 24X28 over mat. Seems to give a reasonable amount of visual space around the prints. Too much mat space calls attention to the print size.
    Last edited by doughowk; 01-20-2005 at 07:05 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    van Huyck Photo
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  6. #16
    djklmnop's Avatar
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    My prints usually end up smaller than the actual paper.. So 8x10 would be trimmed down to around 7x9, so it looks pretty okay on 11x14 framing. It depends on wallspace too.. A huge wall is gonna look rediculous with one tiny print in the middle. So larger matting/framing helps that space.. But I've seen some great setup where there were a number of smaller frames put together to fill the wall.. I usually do one size up since most of my work ends up being sold. If I do it for myself, I enjoy bigger matts. It isolates the viewer to the actual photo better, just like an 8-ply cutout, looks so nice.
    Money is not the problem. The problem is, I don't have any.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flotsam
    For decorating, A large frame with a lot of mat space separating the print from its surroundings can be very dramatic and attractive. What I can't stand is matting as it's own art form. When someone looks at the picture and says, "Wow! Get a load of that mat!" Once I had a couple of prints used in a Nielson/Bainbridge ad. When I got them back they were in large frames and oh-so creatively professionally multiple matted in various tones. (Of course... they were selling frames and matboard, not photographs). I refused to hang it back up on my wall until I tore it out of the frame and re-matted it in a sensible white single mat.
    Tho done correctly (ie for the sake if the image) using subtle differences in tone can be very effective...but certainly nothing ornate works with photography.....gold trim....wash lines everywhere.....spacers.. urghhhhhh.

    When I do not free float images (drymounted with a border between edge of print and window mount bevel edge), I sometimed use a double mat. with a std to bright white under mat and an off white or pearl white outer. Very subtle, but really helps some images which need an off white mount overall, but benefit from slightly increased brightness immediately surrounding the print. Can help to, well, 'frame' the image and prevent it bleeding into the main mat. Without it the effect can be too drab. In effect the same as leaving paper border visible, but more controlable as paper bases vary so much in colour.

    Back on topic. I use a simple rule of thumb. Never less than 3 inches border top and sides, with 3.25 to 3.5 bottom. Large prints ie 20x24, that goes up to 4 inches and about 4.5, or 10cm and 11.5-12 cm. I far prefer metric with framing......

    If I were doing multiple prints of very slightly differing sizes/aspects but wanted same size mats, I would use above border for largest prints and use for smaller ones too.

  8. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by colrehogan
    Thanks for all the replies. For my 4x5 contact prints, they are on 8.5 x 11 paper. My 8x10 contact prints are on 11x14 paper. Why do so many of you like so much extra space around your pics? Is this something you learn in a class or just have found through personal preference and looking at others' work?
    Diane,
    Can't speak for the others but for me I just like a print with lots of blank space around it. The reason I prefer the space is is tends to help focus the viewers attention on the print, that and after view several displays and exhibits at the local galleries and museums, have found this to my liking.

    I really don't worry about paper size itself, but will trim the paper to fit how I want the finished print to look. If on the other hand you want to keep the paper intact or just don't like the look I would go for what suits you. After all you will be your own best critic..it's your vision from the time you stop and make the negative until the print is mounted and framed (and even where it is hung)...so make yourself happy...the rest is just someone else opinion.
    Mike C

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  9. #19

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    I can't remember who said it but they said if your photograph is good enough to stand up on it's own put it in the next size up frame, if not put it in a really big frame with lots of white between it and fram. That way you have "drama" and people forget to notice that your print was terrible. I have always taken this to heart. DOn't know why, or what constitutes a really big frame, but I do not frame more than one size up that will give a two inch border with a 1/8 inch or 1/4 inch weight at the bottom. The bigger weight is for the bigger prints.

    As for buying precuts I think that is a bad idea. A straight edge will get the outside dimensions straight, assuming you can draw or cut a straight line with a ruler, and simple mat cutter will do the window. Talk about saving money
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  10. #20
    Flotsam's Avatar
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    I tend to let the subject determine the crop rather than the film or paper format. This leaves me no option to use pre-cut mats. Since having custom mats cut for me would be way to expensive, cutting my own is the only choice. Not my very favorite activity but when I'm in the mood it's not so bad. I will say that I am a bit behind on this task at the moment.
    That is called grain. It is supposed to be there.
    =Neal W.=

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