When I attend art fairs and markets I take a mix of framed prints and unframed mounted prints. Framing is a pain. The frames are easily damaged, one small ding or scratch can ruin it. It’s expensive to get custom frames made, and how do you know what frames people like? What if you try framing a particular print but it doesn’t get any response and you want to swap it for a different one? Can you dismantle it and try again? All in all, framing is a right royal pain in the backside. However, nicely framed prints look gorgeous and make a great impact on the stand or stall.
I’ve always gone for the custom framing route before but now I’ve bought some ready made frames to try. Much much cheaper, they’re nice quality and look great. Because they’re from a major retail chain I reckon I’m fairly safe in the choice of design. The major retail chain knows what sells and what’s on trend and wouldn’t be stocking them if they weren’t popular.
The key for me was the aspect ratio. My prints have a variety of aspects, 3/2 or 4/3 for the digital prints, and various for slide film scans, not to mention ones that have been cropped for artistic reasons. My main worry was whether the mount borders would be all wrong. It turns out that with the two sizes I’ve bought – 50cm x 40cm and 40cm x 30cm – the aspect is close enough that I don’t think anyone will be bothered. The person who fusses most about this is me and they look good to me.
If this works out it will be a major breakthrough. I’ll be able to standardise print and mount sizes and by interchangeable, inexpensive ready made frames that will be less of a heartache to replace when damaged and less of a wallet ache to invest in up front and will let me try different prints in the frames to see what the response is.
And I have to say, they look gorgeous!
It’s easy to find religious discussions on the internet about the pros and cons of cropping your images. Some people think it’s artistic heresy to crop, that you should get the image right in-camera. I think crop if you want to but one very good reason for never cropping is that if all your pictures are the same shape, printing, mounting and framing are MUCH easier. And if you really want an easy time of it, shoot in square format.