I print 11 X 8 1/4 All my prints for my portfolio are window mounted in the centre of a 20 X 16 board in antique white.(off white) This is done using a Longridge cutter. Les Mclean did a great article about this cutter in B*W magazine.
Originally Posted by thefizz
For framing, I mount in the same size, but I use the 'Optical Print centering' technique explained here...........................................
The choice of colour changes with the mood of the photograph and how it is toned, but is usually treble mounted, antique/white/antique.
I feel colour always looks better with a black surround (IMO)
Last edited by Stoo Batchelor; 02-10-2006 at 12:06 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I was asked to give a mat cutting presentation recently for the local camera club. I never used any particular formula before but while doing some research came across a suggested ratio of 1 : 1.3 (width of top border to bottom border), which actually was pretty close to what I normally did by eye. The reason is to (supposedly) provide balance when viewing the hung print.
That being said, I don't always follow the rule. Some images will work with much larger borders at the bottom, particularly square images and horizontal images placed in a vertical frame.
I find that cutting mats is very quick and easy with minimal investment (I use a Logan 301 cutter, which can be had for under $75; the local craft stores have 40% off any 1 item coupons every week). It takes very little practice. The biggest difficulty that many people have is in measuring and marking the mats for cutting. I first learned how to do this at an art school; the method required writing down and halving measurements and was so confusing that most people gave up. Then I discovered the centering-ruler that cost about $6. I can now measure and cut a mat very precisely in under 5 minutes.
Despite having lots of photography books, I don't remember a title that really deals with this sort of thing in detail--mat sizes, aligning the print with the mat window, recommended materials, and so on. If someone could recommend a good title, I would be grateful.
I gather that dry mounting is going out of favor? If large prints are not dry mounted, won't they appear wavy due to their weight tugging on the large amount of the photograph which is not secured?
An earlier poster suggested that cutting mats is expensive. My experience is that it is much less expensive to purchase mat board in larger sheets than it is to purchase pre-cut mats. And cutting mats is not all that difficult - I use the cheapest Logan cutter (model 1000), and a Logan straight edge that I picked up at a garage sale many years ago. It takes a little time, and it's tedious to do the measurements. The real expense is for blades - one of the secrets to cutting mats that look good is to always use new, sharp blades.
As to color, I have pretty much standardized on white for most of my work. I use Exeter conservation board from Light Impressions, the "gallery white" which is a very pale cream color. I purchase 2-ply boards precut at 11x14 for both mounting and cutting mats, and 4-ply boards precut at 16x20 for larger mats. I mount larger prints on a less expensive 4-ply board that I get locally in 32x40 sheets and cut down.
On rare occasions I will use a black mat. This practice is reserved for a hand-colored image where the black mat enhances the color.
I agree that using sharp, new blades is a key. I try to standardize as much as I can. I am now trying to us the recommendations from the Ansell Adams photography book regarding trimming prints to a borderless dimension and then cutting the windwo with some relief arround the edges for contrast and to allow for signature. Works pretty well but requires some learning curve/practice.
For 8 x 10 prints, 11 x 14 mat
For 11 x 14 prints, 16 x 20 mat
For 16 x 20 prints, 20 x 24 mat
For 20 x 24 prints, not sure yet.
All of the prints sizes are somewhat smaller because I use a 4-blade masking easel and trim off the white borders.
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I use a matte white vellum (untextured) mount cut for me by Nielsen Bainbridge. My b&w prints are most often 8" sq., but even with the occasional landscape-shaped print I'll use a 20" x 16" matte board vertically. I always have 4" at either side and at the top; leaving 8" at the bottom if the print is square; a little more or less if its landscape or portrait.
I try to standardize as much as possible. I buy frames and mats from Light Impressions, and they offer a discount if you buy more than 10 frames, so I always try to do so (that also saves on freight). I use 4 ply Exeter Gallery White mats and Nielsen #11 or 110 frames, in Contrast Gray. I frame 11x14's in a 16x20 mat & frame, and 16x20 in a 20x24 frame. I do not offset the print vertically; I never understood the reason for doing that.
Originally Posted by thefizz
I cut the openings with a Logan 301 cutter; $110 at Light Impressions, and well worth the investment.
I mount the print to acid-free foamcore with the Clear Hold mounting corners, all (again) from LI. FB prints do not lay as flat as they would with dry mounting, but from an archival standpoint, dry mounting is not a good idea because it is not reversible.
By the way, many years ago I used some black mats, but found that they faded easily, and really look awful when they do.
Thank you all for your replies.
Could you also tell me if you sign, date and name your photos. If so, where?