Mat dimension guidelines

Discussion in 'Presentation & Marketing' started by hblad120, Mar 25, 2004.

  1. hblad120

    hblad120 Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    Denver, Colo
    I am in the process of developing a portfolio of some recent photos I took while in Southeast Asia. I want the portfolio to be as professional in appearance as possible.

    Each image will be enlarged to 10.75 inches square. Allowing for 1/8 inch mat coverage on each side the final image display size will be 10.5 inches square.

    Are their gallery or museum guidelines I should consider for matting a square image of this size?

    Any recommnedations or thoughts on this matter are greatly appreciated
  2. ann

    ann Subscriber

    Sep 10, 2002
    In order to maintain my new "rep" as a vast holder of information here are some basic thoughts.
    generally speaking the top and side are the same size with the bottom being at least 1/2 inch deeper if not at least one inch. I don't like centered windows.

    Also, for most hangings the work is salon hung which means the frames are all hung vertically. As yours are square that should not pose any problems for you.

    My own personal taste is to have deep boarders around the sides and a much deeper bottom. Lots of white space, setting up the image. As an example I have a 4 X5 print that is sitting in a 19 X 21 window. This may be too much for some, but i like it and people respond positively.

    If these were mine I would have a 4 inches top and sides with a 8 inch bottom. Maybe more , maybe a little less, would have to think more about the specifics.

    Something i like to do when matting a new size is to take a piece of white paper, cut to the outer dimension and a piece of colored paper the size of the print. Tape the color paper to the white piece and tack it up in the lab where I can look at it for a few days to determine if this is working for me.

    As with everything else in our world there is always more than one way to do things.
  3. photomc

    photomc Member

    Jul 20, 2003
    Multi Format
    Noel, forgive me for jumping into your post but Ann brings to mind another question - while we all purchase paper of a certain size, say 8x10 or 11x14, the final image is generally not printed to that size. Obviously it would be a matter of personal vision, but are there any general guidelines?

    And I noticed that some like to cut the mat window so that ONLY the image shows and others will leave space inside the window, just preference or is there some guideline there as well. Understand that corner mounted prints vs dry mounted prints would have some influence.

    Thanks in advance.
  4. Aggie

    Aggie Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    So. Utah
    Multi Format
    this is a loose standard of what some people prefer to mat by:

    for use mat size

    4x5 and 5x7 11x14 or 13x15

    8x10 14x17 or 14x18

    11x14 16x20

    16x20 20x24 or 22x28

    now these are not hard and fast, just ones that some galleries prefer. Like ann said, it all comes down to personal taste of what you want. Just remember if it is for a specific gallery or museum, ask what they prefer.
  5. 127

    127 Member

    Feb 6, 2004
    127 Format
    I've been pondering this and came across a great, fun tool at:

    (join up the line, if it gets split!)

    You can try out mount sizes, colours and frames. You can even upload your own image, and find a combination that works.

    I'll probably cut my own, rather than ordering from them (as I suspect I'll want quite a few), and I'll do some real tests first, but it's given me some good ideas as a starting point.

  6. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

    Feb 8, 2004
    Multi Format
    regarding whether or not to mat slightly beyond the edge of the image or not, Mark Citret was very adamant about showing the edges of the image so that one knew that the 'crop' in the frame was the photographer's choice rather than the framer's. at the AIPAD show in nyc this past february i was very careful to observe whether or not there was a prevailing approach to this. more images had mat windows that did not cover the edge of the image, but not by an overwhelming majority. additionally, among the images where the window began away from the edge of the image, not all were trimmed and dry mounted. some images were printed much smaller than the paper size, were not dry mounted, and must have been corner mounted under the overmat. my personal opinion was that the most elegant prints, on a presentation basis only, were drymounted with perhaps a half inch of bare mount between the image and the edge of the window.

    btw, if you want to simply wallow in an ocean of photography created by artists who range from the emerging to the venerable, attend an AIPAD* show. it's immensely worth the time and trouble.

    *for those in other lands, AIPAD is the Association of International Photography Art Dealers.
  7. b.e.wilson

    b.e.wilson Member

    Sep 7, 2002
    Provo, Utah
    4x5 Format