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.
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 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.
Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.
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 $8 so I'm much happier not struggling with cutting down that size paper.
Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin
Searching my way to perplexion
Spend 80$ 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.
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.
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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.
Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)
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.
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
I use Kentmere Fineprint VC Fiber and Kentmere VC Fiber Warmtone (both are the same price)
Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin
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.
Searching my way to perplexion