Choosing the Right Frame for Your Photograph

I’ve said it many times here that I strongly encourage people to periodically look through their digital albums and bring their favorite images out into the real world. It’s just good to get your best camera work out where you can see, share, and enjoy it. If you’re going with a print—and I want to remind you we can print images up to 40×60 in size—remember that a frame significantly affects the beauty and power of an image.
Some folks believe you should pick a frame specifically to match the room where you’ll display the photograph. I disagree to some extent. Though you don’t want the frame to clash with the room, I think it’s most important, certainly from an artistic viewpoint, to pick a frame that complements the photograph. For example, an art-deco frame might not be the best choice for an image of a rickety rural farmhouse. And not many photos can play well inside ornate, Baroque-style gold frames. In the end, it really is best to get into the store and try out different frames with the actual image. Sometimes unexpected combinations of frames and photographs can produce visually interesting results.

Stores offer no shortage of embellished frames, things with curlicues or flowers or a pattern of plaid. I’m not the biggest fan of these frames. I think they tend to fight with the photographs they contain, almost begging for attention. Remember it’s the photograph you’re trying to show off, not the frame, and a too-busy frame will lead a viewer’s eye right away from your subject. This is not to say you should avoid texture or color. On the contrary, some subtle texture (think reclaimed barn wood around a wedding photo) or a complementing color (think copper metal around a pastoral scene with oranges and purples) can be wonderful. Again, try it before you buy it.

Some interior decorators advise against using frames and mats that are oversized compared with the photographs they contain. I disagree. Part of the fun of matting and framing a photograph can be in playing with proportions. A large frame coupled with a custom-cut mat that leaves but a small opening for a small photograph can actually look pretty amazing. And in some cases, playing with the proportions can even draw the viewer in for a closer look at the image. Take a look at this book cover:

Choosing the right frames for your Photograph

See how the large white mats and contrasting frames around those itty bitty images really do make you want to get closer to see what all the fuss is about?

Remember that a frame isn’t the only way to skin this horse. We can print your exceptional photograph on metal – and we have a special on that service right now! Have you tried a gallery wrap? Gallery wrap is a method of stretching canvas so that it wraps around the sides of (and is secured to) the back of the wooden frame. We offer this service in the store, and though it’s not right for every photograph, we can certainly help you decide whether it’s right for yours!


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