Selling Prints II; Frames, Borders and Mattes.
Having gotten lots of inspiration and good advice in my previous thread, many other question have now surfaced regarding presentation. I believe that the presentation can go a long way to adding to the salability of a print, and along this line I think the major question for me now is the size of matte borders with frame face widths a close second. So I'll ask two questions of you knowledable people, one being, is there any kind of rule of thumb regarding matte border sizes in regards to frame sizes or is all mostly all up in the air. Second, what's your thoughts on frame widths. Having looked for some deals on frames today, and mostly finding better prices on aluminum frames over wood frames, I noticed that alot of the widths seemed pretty narrow. So I'd like to ask yor thoughts on this. Again thanks for your expertise.
Let me start by stating I pay a local picture framing business to make mine up, so I'm no expert on the mechanics of the frames and matte widths. We do have them optically weighted, with ~10% more matte at the bottom than the top.
This is very true, which is why I think you should stay away from the cheap looking aluminium "mass market" frames.
I believe that the presentation can go a long way to adding to the saleability of a print ...
All our mouldings are wooden with various finishes (some are painted gun-metal grey, some are stained in red wood finish, some are varnished wood with gold trim). They look (and are) professionally built and add value and the perception of quality to the finished article. (After-all, I think they are worth framing properly, so my customers see that quality too.) We pass the cost of the frame directly onto the customer with no mark up.
We only have four styles of moulding, in two widths for each style. When combined with five different matte colours, our showroom appears to be a coherent entity, but each framed print has been customised perfectly (in my not-so-humble opinion).
We don't sell prints in matte only. Tried it - nobody new what we were talking about (I think it's a cultural thing - Aussies aren't used to seeing work presented that way). We do offer prints without any frame what-so-ever, so the customer can choose the matte and moulding to suit their decor at home. We suggest they take the print to our framer, since he knows our work and how to frame it well. Tourists also prefer to take their prints without a frame, since a tube with a print is easier and safer to pack than a frame with glass.
While you're on the subject of presentation, don't forget wall colour, lighting styles, sound and general ambiance. The whole gallery adds to the saleability of each print and you as an artist.
As far as I know there are no hard and fast rules about this, except maybe the more weight at the bottom thing. So what I think you will get here are a lot of opinions about what different people like to do. So here's mine...
I use bright white rag mats in black square wood frames (the face is just over an inch). I mount 5x7s in 11x14, 8x10s in 14x18 and 11x14s in 20x24. The frames are all oriented vertically regardless of print orientation. I use the method on this website for centering: http://carbonphoto.cicada.com/pdf/opticalcentre.pdf . I dry mount the print and cut the window to leave 1/2" on the bottom and 1/8" on the other 3 sides. I sign and number the print on the mat.
I think that the best way for you to decide what you want to do, is to look at a lot of other people's work, and focus on the presentation. What is your first impression when you look at the framed print. Do you notice the frame first, the giant mat, does the image feel crowded (too little mat, this looks cheap to me) or lost in space (too much mat, this can come off a very pretentious). If you can, take a look around at a few galleries and art museums, see what they are doing and decide if it would work for your photography. Seeing the presentation of some good photography can really help because the photographer or gallery has not had to compensate for a sub-par image with a giant enlargement or mat or fancy frame. When the image is good, all you need from the frame and mat is aesthetic support.
I am a firm believer that the presentation should solidify the image, not compete with it and not undermine it. Its a balancing act.
Both Graeme and Todd have good suggestions. I personally use wood frames for everything; either Cherry to Teak in color. I like simple things. I also use a colored under mat.
Do they call this floating the print?
Originally Posted by I dry mount the print and cut the window to leave 1/2" on the bottom and 1/8" on the other 3 sides. I sign and number the print on the mat. Todd Schoenbaum
I'm going to find some galleries out in Phoenix and look see. If anyone knows any drop a line. thanks
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To be honest I don't know what its actually called.
Originally Posted by waynecrider
floating the print or an island matt.
that is what I have heard.
yes that is floating, or at least one term that is used
Here in Arizona, when the print is mounted in such a way that all of the edges of the photograph are shown including the substrate that it is mounted to, the technical term is called "Salon Mount". I use this process on almost all my exhibit prints and it looks very classy when done properly.
"Floating" is when all the edges of the photograph are showing except the substrate that is mounted to which is usually trimmed off after mounting.
Both mounting techniques have there own challenges.
Floating the print is done by putting a piece of mat under the image and thus lifting it off the paper. Cutting around the print mounted on the back mat is a window mat and matting over the print is an over mat.
I use the least expensive metal frames for sales. Most of the time my clients want a temporary frame they can hang the image until they find the right frame for their decor.
I use all of the above mounting and matting types depending on the image. Some times it's because a client orders it that way. If they like a platinum print with brush strokes, they may also want it float mounted in a deep frame to show the entire piece as the art work. (it also has all my chicken scratches on it for pt formula, sig, neg number, and exposure time.
I may have reproductions of my work for sale without a frame, but since they cost about $8 each, I'm not to worried about it.
Although, some of my larger sales were due to the fact that they had a very nice frame on them.
Use your own judgement and listen to what your clients want.