AFTER YOU PRINT—-WHAT THEN?/ Matting,Mounting and Framing

A few years ago, I began selling some of my prints. I took the easy and cheap way out, only to find there is only one way to do it, the right way.  While living in Ohio, I had all my work done by GALLERY OF FRAMING in Fair Lawn.  For my Ohio friends, I highly recommend them. Lori and Aileen do a great job. (137 Ghent Road, Fair Lawn, OH  44333 (330-835-3046).  

When I relocated to Oregon last summer, Lori referred me to a local shop that does great work as well. I recommend Julia & Brooke at framed Art studios, in the Raleigh Hills area of Portland.

Julia and Brooke are always there to help. I can’t recommend them enough….. and thanks Lori!

 It’s always important to be able to talk to the folks doing your work. How many times have you brought a picture into a “factory” and never seen the same person twice? 

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Framed Art Studios, L.L.C.
7417 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway
Suite 700
Portland, Oregon 97225
phone – 503-493-2880
art@framedartstudios.com 

I am often asked about mounting, matting and framing prints. Much like everything else in photography, everyone seems to have an opinion far as how to accomplish this in the most effective way. Like most things, effectively accomplishing proper matting, mounting and framing isn’t that complicated. First of all, unless you have the proper equipment to accomplish this you need to find a reputable, high quality framing establishment that doesn’t cut corners in order to “do it right”.

 If you don’t and take the easy and less expensive way out, you’ll end up with unhappy customers or end up with bubbling images or worse down the road. When in the field, I frequently see many photographers will buy a great camera and use a cheap lens, or bur a great lens and use a cheap filter. This makes no sense to me. The same goes for printing and framing. Most of us print our images on high quality paper, and use the best inks available on high quality photo printers, Why not do it right?

 So now you have a greet looking print coming off your printer. Let’s look at the proper steps necessary to get it from the printer to your wall. There are sprays and other adhesives that will adhere your print to some sort of backing. This is fairly cheap and keeps your costs down. However to mount, mat and frame an image that will last for many years you must follow standards and practices used by artists and photographers to ensure longevity. 

laortl_ref1.jpg Trillium Lake Reflection,Oregon

First, let the print dry at least a day. It is important to allow for the out-gassing of the inks on the paper.  I’ve had prints that I’ve dry mounted and framed after drying for a day, and later the inside of the glass became fogged from the continuous out-gassing. I now wait a minimum of two to three days with paper on top of the print to help speed up the process.  If you can wait for a week that would be even better.  Prints mounted directly on cardboard (non acid-free material) backings are vulnerable to damage by the acidic paper pulp of the cardboard. Over time, acids can migrate from the backing to the print paper, causing discoloration and deterioration. Acidic mats can create the same problem from the front. Always use acid free materials.

 It is amazing how even a spectacular photograph can be even more enhanced by a tastefully selected mat.  The folks doing my work here in Oregon (framed Art studios)—see address etc below) are much better than me in choosing the right inner mat color. (I usually double mat my prints). I always use bright white outer mats, not adhered to the backing, so the customer can replace that white with a mat of their choice. I usually allow about 2.5”- 3” on each of the 4 sides of the mat. For example an 11” x 14” print typically goes in a 16” x 20” frame. Allowing more space on the bottom of the mat (this goes for verticals as well as horizontals) will accentuate your image and make it stand out even more.

laorhood_stillcrk2_0711a.jpg Still Creek, near Mt. Hood, Oregon

 Frame prices vary due to size and quality. Special framing options are always available, including the use of archival framing materials and techniques. I do not offer framed prints for sale. I leave that to the customer and the framing experts. I  Extreme care is required in handling the photographic prints during matting and framing, since the mirror-like surface clearly reveals fingerprints, abrasion, and any dents or wrinkles that might occur. Precautions must be taken to ensure that no surface defects exist when the prints leave the shop. This is why I recommend professionals. 

slots_upper1.jpgLower Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Now, you done it all right and you hang you print on the wall. Where you hang it can also cause some problems, especially if you don’t mat, mount and frame it correctly. Where you hang your print is also important. You should hang your prints in locations that offer protection from the damaging effects of heat, moisture, and light. Always, hang your framed prints out of the line of direct sunlight. In sunny environments or in areas that are lit with fluorescent lighting, using UV acrylic or glass will minimize the effects of harmful ultraviolet rays. You should also never hang your prints over a heat source, or in an area that will be high in humidity such as a steamy bathroom, though wood mounted pieces are fine in humidity. Heat and humidity can cause serious damage to your framed print. Clean the surface regularly with the proper cleaner. Spray the appropriate cleaner on a soft cloth first not the surface of the framed piece, to avoid pooling and damage to the frame, mat, and art.  Where to avoid hanging prints if possible on outdoor walls, over a usable fireplace, in bathrooms, or in direct sunlight., exterior walls or walls adjoining garages , by heat/cooling ducts and over fireplaces or in high moisture areas such as bathrooms (Wood Mounted, Laminated pieces)
Climate controlled environments are best. 
 

flfpdahilia_ore0907_3_2115.jpg Dahalia

The best way to clean the glass of framed prints is to leave the framed print on the wall or lay it flat on a table. Spray glass cleaner on a paper towel and rub the glass gently. Do not spray water or cleaner directly on the glass! It may seep between the frame and glass, causing moisture damage to the print, mat and backing. If you’ve framed your print using clear acrylic (Plexiglas) instead of glass (not recommended), clean it with a soft cotton cloth slightly dampened with a mild solution of soap and water. Paper towels could actually scratch the soft surface. Glass cleaners, especially those containing ammonia, can turn acrylic milky. Use a soft dry cloth to dust the frame. Moisture could damage paint, or other special finishes on your frame.Again, I recommend using professional folks to complete your work. Most of the time the old adage is still accurate…… more is less!!. JG

Framed Art Studios, L.L.C.
7417 SW Beaverton-Hillsdale Highway
Suite 700
Portland, Oregon 97225
phone – 503-493-2880
fax – 503-493-2883
art@framedartstudios.com 

Gallery of Framing137 Ghent Rd
Fairlawn, OH 44333
(330) 835-3046

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