There are literally thousands, if not millions, of frames to choose from. However, we've taken away some of the hardship of choosing a frame for you. We don't stock thousands. We've narrowed the selection down to about 150 frames that we believe work well with portraits, and a few others for special occasions. Many of our frames have been specifically selected for B&W photography too. Of course we can also order anything you like from our catalogues of available mouldings.
Along with a good selection of mouldings, we also have a wide range of mats to choose from. All the mats we use are conservation quality, meaning they are acid free and won't damage your print in any way.
Mat pricing can vary as do the frames. There are different thicknesses, qualities, textures and of course colours to choose from. For most prints, you'll find a 2 to 3 inch mat will enhance your photograph quite nicely.
Along with the thousands of frames to choose from, your choice of frame can also be affected by the quality of the frame. Many people think that a frame is a frame. However, the quality of construction of the frame and materials used can make a significant difference on how long the frame will last.
We deal exclusively with Larson-Juhl & Triple-Touch Mouldings. The assortment of frames is incredible, from classic and ornate to simple and contemporary, and the build quality is outstanding. I've simply never had one fail. And by fail, I mean that the corners stay together, the frame doesn't warp and the finish is beautiful and lasting.
I've tried other frames that have literally fallen apart while hanging on the wall. They were cheaper of course - looked the same - but didn't last either. The danger of course is when you have a print framed with glass. If the frame fails, the glass can fall and shatter putting anyone in the vicinity at risk of injury. Not to mention the damage it can cause to your prized print!
As much as framing can cost, the extra little bit you pay for quality is well worth it. Consider it a piece of furniture, something that you're going to have around for a long time. Consider it insurance for the protection of your art work. And consider it protection for not only your print, but also your family.
A Note About Glass
There are many qualities of glass available and we only offer actual framing glass, as opposed to a sheet of glass you may pick up at the hardware store. The difference is quality. Framing glass is much clearer than regular glass and doesn't change the colour of your print. Framing glass is available in three qualities and two varieties.
Regular Framing Glass is very clear and doesn't detract from viewing the image, other than the reflection that it will pick up from the room it's displayed in, especially lights. It is however, the least expensive and most common. Non-Glare, or Reflection-Control glass will diffuse the reflection so that you can view the print from just about any angle in the room. It's not quite as clear as the regular framing glass because of this, but often, it will actually make it easier to see the print. I usually prefer the NG glass for all my prints.
In addition to the regular framing glass, there is also UV Glass. This glass has UV inhibitors embedded into the glass to assist in preventing UV light from fading your photograph. You never want to place a photograph, or any art work for that matter, in direct sunlight. But if you are displaying your piece in a bright room, even if it doesn't receive direct sunlight, you should consider UV glass. This again is what I use for all my personal photography.
The third option is Conservation Glass. This is what museums use to protect their artwork and is the ultimate protection for you print. Although it is quite expensive, it is still cheaper than having to replace a print if it fades.
What About Canvas?
There are two types of Canvas prints that we sell. Museum Canvas is the term used when the canvas is wrapped on a stretcher frame and intended to be placed in a frame - which is the way it's been done for centuries and most often used for displaying artistic work in museums, hence the name. It's also called a Traditional Stretch(ed) Canvas. We consider this the ultimate display method.
Of course, we also offer the more contemporary "Gallery Canvas" where the image is 'wrapped' around the edges of the stretcher frame with no need for an actual frame. This provides a very clean, crisp presentation of the finished print and has a unique 3-D quality to it.
We'll help you decide on the best finish, paper, protection and frame for your needs. Having your print professionally framed is well worth the investment.
Mike Guilbault, MPF, AIAP