Why and how should I frame my prints?

March 10, 2021

Filed in: Print Shop

Against a blush pink wall, a thin black frame encases a photograph of a brown French door against which a cluster of pink roses bloom in Provence.

Alright, peeps, this is a subject I should have broached when I first opened my shop. Why should you frame fine art (and any, for that matter) prints? How should you frame them? Where should you frame them?

This post will break it all down. Let’s start with why.

Why You Should Frame Fine-Art (and Any) Prints

I spent much time researching the paper I wanted for my print shop. Any old paper was not going to cut it. I wanted something that felt really good in your hands and that would be sensational to unpackaged. Hence, when I stumbled across Musea Lab on the recommendation of a fellow film photographer and friend, I was sold.

The paper I chose is archival, museum etching paper. It’s 100 percent cotton, 350 gsm, 60mm thick, and matte. What does that mean?

  1. It’s sturdy. This is not a flimsy paper. If you hold it by a corner, it remains rigid. As the name suggests, it’s made for a museum, and fit to grace your walls.
  2. The ink is rich. Musea says their prints will last 200 years. I quality-control each print, and I’m amazed every time I slip it out of the plastic sleeve. I can always smell the ink.
  3. It’s textured. You can see the etching on paper, which is not completely smooth. I like it, coupled with the hand-torn edge (deckled), because it gives a handmade feel.

This paper deserves a frame — you can’t tack quality and craftsmanship to the wall with painter’s tape or thumbtacks! I also sign and number every print, because each has limited quantities. Once they’re gone, voilà! Take good care of it!

Framing also helps you make a statement with your artwork. Depending on the type of frame you choose, you can create a certain ambience in your room, and encourage the viewer to look at the photograph in a certain way. (Fun fact: Did you know that some painters — I’m recalling the Pointillism movement — deliberated painted borders around their paintings with specific colors so that the viewer would feel certain sentiments?)

How To Frame Fine Art Prints

Now that we’ve discussed the why, let’s talk about how. In my opinion, there’s not really a “right” way. As I mentioned above, the frame you choose can influence a viewer’s experience with the artwork, so choose carefully.

With my prints, I am personally a fan of “floating” frames. This means the artwork is suspended so that you can see the edges. Deckled edges should be exposed for viewing pleasure. Otherwise, what’s the point?

When you float, you have two options. “Frameless” acrylic or other clear (like glass) panes sandwich the print and are sealed together with bolts in each corner (more if the frame is large). It’s like a print a sandwich.

The second option is to get a traditional frame a little larger in size so that you can expose the print’s edges. Take into consideration the color, material, and texture of the frame. White versus black, colored (how will the color of the frame trim complement, clash, or enhance the colors of the photo?), wood, metal, hand-carved…

Where to Frame Fine-Art Prints

And finally, let’s talk about where you can frame your prints.

I vote to visit a local business, support an artisan, and visit a framer.

Craft stores will also do — drop off your print at the frame department, or grab one off the shelf.

Online, you have numerous options as well. Framebridge, Simply Framed, Framed & Matted, and Level Frames are good places to start.

I am a San Francisco Bay Area film photographer specialising in the floral portrait,  families, love stories, and (personal) brands. Want to work together? Get in touch! I’d love to know your story. If you need fine art prints & posters to decorate your home, check out my print shop!

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Paris & California strolls; plenty of flowers; stories; and looking for the beauty in the everyday. I hope you'll come along as I take the year to document the entirety of my home state!