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March is the month of Photography here in Denver. I am personally so glad that we have a month dedicated to an art form that I love. I think photography is a great way to be creative in everyday life. Almost anyone can capture an image on their mobile device that is a beautiful moment in time. When asked what my advice is for framing photography I have 5 basic rules I think apply from the most experienced photographer to a hobbyist.

1.) Know the material your photo is printed on. Photos can be printed on almost anything from photo paper, stock cardboard, aluminum substrate, watercolor paper, canvas and so much more. The material you print on will greatly affect the way it’s framed. Aluminum and canvas can be framed without glass for example. Some photo papers have UV coating some don’t, and this can effect what type of glass and matting that will be needed. Being aware of these small things will help the direction you might want to choose in framing.

2.) The size of the printed piece. The size that you would like to print the photo will effect the framing as well. Obviously the larger prints will cost more in framing, but it could also change the way the photo is presented. A large photograph (11”x14”or bigger) will more than likely have to be permanently mounted to a mat/foam board to avoid the photo from developing a “waviness” in the photo paper. The matting size and frame width could be changed depending on size. Normally a 1” wide mat is fine for a 5”x7” photo, but would look odd on a 20”x24” photo (in most cases). All of this is good to bring up with your framer.

3.) Mounting the photograph. As spoke about earlier photographs can often develop a waviness if not mounted properly. This is even more true for higher gloss finishes and larger prints. Some mounting processes can effect the finish of the photo. You can actually ruin a photograph by mounting it improperly, so make sure your choosing the proper mounting for your photo.

4.)Matting the photograph. Most all photography is matted as well as framed. There is a reason for this. The emulsions in the photo print can be significantly damaged if pressed directly on to glass. The mat keeps the glass from laying directly on the photograph, while adding a sense of depth and importance to the piece. If you do not want matting for your photograph there are options such as in frame spacers, lined sides, and stacked frames. All will provide a way to get the glass from laying directly on the photo.

5.) Composition, Color, and Value. A good frame should not only protect and preserve the photo, but should also work to show the beauty of the piece. What makes the Photo special to you? Is there a good color or value (black & white photos) that can be accentuated in the matting? A texture that can be brought out by the frame. Remember a frame is there to enhance the photograph and give it balance to the place you are hanging it. This is your chance to add a little more to the artwork….. Let yourself be creative and have fun designing!

Hope these tips help in the framing of your photograph. Whether it is a family photo, fine art, or a just because photo that you are looking to have framed we would love to help. The month of march we are doing 25% off all photography framing so it is a great chance to really make something special! Come see us at 7172 W. 38th Ave. in Wheat Ridge, Co. 80033. We would love to help!

Peace Love and Creativity,

Russell Wilbar

Artcentric owner