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  1. #1
    bvy
    bvy is offline

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    Square or Rect. Frame?

    I'm trying to frame an image for an upcoming juried show. It's a square frame from my Holga, and I was planning to make a 12x12 C print. I've "staged" several options using American Frame's online tool, but nothing looks quite right. I tried a 16x16 square frame, but it looks just too square (if that makes sense). I thought that offsetting it to the top of a rectangular frame (say 16x20) might work better, but now I'm not so sure. Should I center it vertically in a 16x20 frame? I know this is subjective, but maybe hearing what other people prefer for square images would help. The requirements are a black metal or wood frame, and a white, off-white or black mat without ridiculously large borders.

    Here's the image:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    cliveh's Avatar
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    This is a square picture and should be framed as such, with about a 20% white border.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  3. #3
    dasBlute's Avatar
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    When I've done this, on the vertically oriented 16x20 mat: let the left, right and top borders around the image be equal, leaving extra mat space below the image. But I see the advantage of just going with the square frame. Some might say all the extra space on the 16x20 mat is pretentious...
    Last edited by dasBlute; 12-24-2013 at 04:23 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  4. #4
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    I frame 10.5 inch squares (11x11 nominal) in a vertical 16x20 frame "optically centered." But looking at that for 12x12, optically centered or not, I find the sides too narrow. I would probably use an 18x20 or 18 x 22 frame.

    Russel Cottrell has a page about the topic with an interactive display. He's updated it since I last saw it, and the final frame drawing seems a bit weird (breaks in the corners), but the basics work. Vertical centering tends to make the top border seem top heavy. Top and sides equal can make the bottom border overly heavy, depending on the specific dimensions. Optical centering places the print just slightly above the vertical center to place a bit of weight on the bottom. I have framed a couple of my shots square, but prefer the vertical rectangle.

    A sample here
    Last edited by DWThomas; 12-24-2013 at 04:53 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5

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    First, I think a 12" wide print is too big for a 16" wide frame. Counting overlap, you're looking at 2.25" borders. If it was me, I'd reduce the print size slightly and aim for a 3" border.

    As to the shape of the frame, I prefer the optical center approach aesthetically. But I think that a square frame sometimes stands out in a display.
    "Far more critical than what we know or do not know is what we do not want to know." - Eric Hoffer

  6. #6
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    For decades Hasselblad advertized that square was the perfect shape for a photograph or print. Who are we to argue with Hasselblad?
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  7. #7
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Normally I would recommend a 20x24 frame, vertical, probably 4 to 5 inches of mat on the top. Nice and formal, plenty of breathing space for the image. But the image is not very 'formal', being a Holga image. So this is one of the rare instances I would say a sq mat would be okay...maybe 18x18. To each their own, of course!
    At least with LF landscape, a bad day of photography can still be a good day of exercise.

  8. #8
    Chris Lange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    For decades Hasselblad advertized that square was the perfect shape for a photograph or print. Who are we to argue with Hasselblad?
    Oskar might...
    See my work at my website CHRISTOPHER LANGE PHOTOGRAPHY

    or my snaps at my blog MINIMUM DENSITY
    --
    If you don't have it, then you don't have it.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    For decades Hasselblad advertized that square was the perfect shape for a photograph or print. Who are we to argue with Hasselblad?
    I always heard "it was the NEVER right format".

  10. #10
    Jon Shiu's Avatar
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    Either 20x24 mounted higher than center, or 20x20 would be fine.

    Jon
    Mendocino Coast Black and White Photography: www.jonshiu.com

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