TIPS ON FRAMING PHOTOGRAPHS
This is a brief post on a few points about what to do when your beautiful photographic prints arrive in the mail or you pick them up from the printer. Assuming you are not a framing expert, what do you do? I would first call around and get an idea about what framers are charging to mount, mat, and frame a specific size of photographic print. Say you have a 16 x 24″ print. You may decide to call five retailers and ask about what the charges are for mounting the photograph, matting it (perhaps in simple white 4-ply mat), using regular glass, and using the cheapest, most simple black frame available (usually some plastic derivative material). At least this way, you can know whether the framer is going to charge $100 or $500 for somewhat similar products. And yes, the prices can swing this much. In the end, see if there is a wholesale framing shop in your city, as this company will usually give you a much better price. The catch here is that you often need a business license and will need to show that license the first time you frame with that company. As with anything, you get what you pay for. Usually. Michael’s 50% off is usually still higher than the wholesale framing prices, so watch out when it comes to the retailers. On the other hand, some of the retailers really know how to make a piece look good, and you may be on your own for design when it comes to the wholesale framer. In addition, here is a bullet list of some other simple things to keep in mind:
1) Always lift the print from one corner or opposite corners in order not to bend or crease the image. Papers are becoming more durable, but one crease can really ruin the image for you and your client.
2) Have a professional framer who is comfortable mounting a 20 x 30” print do the job. This is important as the wrong technique may end up damaging the print or decreasing its life. My first printer killed $750 worth of prints as that person didn’t really know how to mount correctly a large panorama print. They peeled off in months, and I was left trying to explain this to a client who called me and who was very frustrated. You live and you learn.
3) Avoid highly anti-reflective glasses. These are not just more expensive; they cut the light that is reflected from the supergloss print and decrease its brilliance and luster. The image was shown under a slightly reflective glass “regular” glass to preserve the print’s luminosity. Framers will often want to upsell very expensive anti-reflective glass, but often I have found that this is not helpful to the print. I semi-reflective (single-coated) glass is probably best for most color prints. Black and white prints can handle much more anti-reflection. One of my colorful prints hung in California was suddenly a very muted “matte” finish after a framer upsold my client to a severely anti-reflective glass which cost him several hundred dollars more!
4) Keep the print and framed print out of direct sunlight and keep it in cool to room temperature rooms, around 68 to 70 degrees F. This will ensure its long life. My melted prints in a restaurant which closed at 2 p.m. and then literally baked during the summer afternoon was a manifestation that prints cannot handle severe heat! That was the first place I hung prints over ten years ago…no more restaurants.
5) Find someone you trust to do all this and use them over and over again!