Size of mats

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colrehogan

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Is there a guide for making mats to fit prints? I am planning to mat some 8x10 and 11x14 sized prints and I was wondering what size (outer edges) the mat used would be. How much space do most of you put around your work?
 

Jim Moore

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Diane,

For 8x10 prints I like 14x17 (Although for the print exchange I use 11x14) and for 11x14 prints I like 16x20.

Jim
 

rbarker

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That's really quite subjective, I think, as tastes vary widely. I use the next standard size for simplicity. So, I use 11x14 mats for 8x10 prints, 16x20 mats for 11x14 prints, etc. That's partly because I'm . . . well, frugal, and prefer to buy precut mats and standard frames.
 

Grady O

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I agree with JMoore, I usually prefer two standard sized up from what teh photo is (usually leaving at least a 2 inch border).
 

Jeremy

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5x7 and smaller I put in 11x14 and 5x7-8x10 (my largest prints) are in 14x18 size mats. I think the 14x18 are a little too wide for 8x10 prints so the next order will probably be for 14x17 instead.
 

photomc

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Diane,
I prefer 16x20 mats for both 8x10 and 11x14 prints..I have done some 11x14 mats for 8x10 recently (don't print full 8x10 prints anyhow), but they just don't look as nice as the ones done with the 16x20 mats. Now for 4x5 and 5x7 contact prints the 11x14 mats look good. Guess like others above, prefer lots of space around the print.
Good Luck..
 

Flotsam

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I have been printing on 8x10 paper and have standardized on a 14x14 mat and frame. It allows me to print horizontal and vertical in various aspect ratios while the frames remain uniform. Some may disagree but I like the look. Maybe it's all those years in the slide business :smile:.
 

etriplett

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If there is one thing that you do, it is to buy precut mats. Trying to get nice square cuts on amature equipment can be a nightmare. I find buying the precut standard sizes and cutting the windows to fit to work the best for me.

Maybe if I started taking more trapezoidal pictures I could salvage all those wasted window mats...
 
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colrehogan

colrehogan

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Thanks for all the replies. For my 4x5 contact prints, they are on 8.5 x 11 paper. My 8x10 contact prints are on 11x14 paper. Why do so many of you like so much extra space around your pics? Is this something you learn in a class or just have found through personal preference and looking at others' work?
 

Flotsam

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For decorating, A large frame with a lot of mat space separating the print from its surroundings can be very dramatic and attractive. What I can't stand is matting as it's own art form. When someone looks at the picture and says, "Wow! Get a load of that mat!" Once I had a couple of prints used in a Nielson/Bainbridge ad. When I got them back they were in large frames and oh-so creatively professionally multiple matted in various tones. (Of course... they were selling frames and matboard, not photographs). I refused to hang it back up on my wall until I tore it out of the frame and re-matted it in a sensible white single mat.
 

Jeremy

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colrehogan said:
Thanks for all the replies. For my 4x5 contact prints, they are on 8.5 x 11 paper. My 8x10 contact prints are on 11x14 paper. Why do so many of you like so much extra space around your pics? Is this something you learn in a class or just have found through personal preference and looking at others' work?

I like my images to be looked at based on the image. When the image is displayed in a field of white it--to me--seems to stand more on its own merits as opposed toone size up matting and framing which lets the surroundings (the wall, room, etc.) dictate mood--to me. This is different for different people, but I find large classic white overmats in black matte frames to be my preferred means of display.
 

VoidoidRamone

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I ususally print 8x10 (or print smaller on a sheet of 8x10). And I usually mat on 16x20 vertically (even if the photo is horizontal)- and I weight the bottom a decent amount. I think it looks nice and organized when you are looking at a series of prints and they all have the same size mat and all the mats are vertical. I also prefer a simple white over-mat (window). And lastly, I usually have a white border around the print itself- so for instance printing 6x7.5 on 8x10, and cutting the window about 6.5x8. I choose to mat bigger because like Neal said it's "dramatic and attractive".
-Grant
 

doughowk

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For 8X10 print, 13X15 window mat; 11X14 in 16X20 over mat; and 16X20 print in 24X28 over mat. Seems to give a reasonable amount of visual space around the prints. Too much mat space calls attention to the print size.
 
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djklmnop

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My prints usually end up smaller than the actual paper.. So 8x10 would be trimmed down to around 7x9, so it looks pretty okay on 11x14 framing. It depends on wallspace too.. A huge wall is gonna look rediculous with one tiny print in the middle. So larger matting/framing helps that space.. But I've seen some great setup where there were a number of smaller frames put together to fill the wall.. I usually do one size up since most of my work ends up being sold. If I do it for myself, I enjoy bigger matts. It isolates the viewer to the actual photo better, just like an 8-ply cutout, looks so nice.
 

Tom Stanworth

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Flotsam said:
For decorating, A large frame with a lot of mat space separating the print from its surroundings can be very dramatic and attractive. What I can't stand is matting as it's own art form. When someone looks at the picture and says, "Wow! Get a load of that mat!" Once I had a couple of prints used in a Nielson/Bainbridge ad. When I got them back they were in large frames and oh-so creatively professionally multiple matted in various tones. (Of course... they were selling frames and matboard, not photographs). I refused to hang it back up on my wall until I tore it out of the frame and re-matted it in a sensible white single mat.

Tho done correctly (ie for the sake if the image) using subtle differences in tone can be very effective...but certainly nothing ornate works with photography.....gold trim....wash lines everywhere.....spacers.. urghhhhhh.

When I do not free float images (drymounted with a border between edge of print and window mount bevel edge), I sometimed use a double mat. with a std to bright white under mat and an off white or pearl white outer. Very subtle, but really helps some images which need an off white mount overall, but benefit from slightly increased brightness immediately surrounding the print. Can help to, well, 'frame' the image and prevent it bleeding into the main mat. Without it the effect can be too drab. In effect the same as leaving paper border visible, but more controlable as paper bases vary so much in colour.

Back on topic. I use a simple rule of thumb. Never less than 3 inches border top and sides, with 3.25 to 3.5 bottom. Large prints ie 20x24, that goes up to 4 inches and about 4.5, or 10cm and 11.5-12 cm. I far prefer metric with framing......

If I were doing multiple prints of very slightly differing sizes/aspects but wanted same size mats, I would use above border for largest prints and use for smaller ones too.
 

photomc

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colrehogan said:
Thanks for all the replies. For my 4x5 contact prints, they are on 8.5 x 11 paper. My 8x10 contact prints are on 11x14 paper. Why do so many of you like so much extra space around your pics? Is this something you learn in a class or just have found through personal preference and looking at others' work?

Diane,
Can't speak for the others but for me I just like a print with lots of blank space around it. The reason I prefer the space is is tends to help focus the viewers attention on the print, that and after view several displays and exhibits at the local galleries and museums, have found this to my liking.

I really don't worry about paper size itself, but will trim the paper to fit how I want the finished print to look. If on the other hand you want to keep the paper intact or just don't like the look I would go for what suits you. After all you will be your own best critic..it's your vision from the time you stop and make the negative until the print is mounted and framed (and even where it is hung)...so make yourself happy...the rest is just someone else opinion. :wink:
 

mark

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I can't remember who said it but they said if your photograph is good enough to stand up on it's own put it in the next size up frame, if not put it in a really big frame with lots of white between it and fram. That way you have "drama" and people forget to notice that your print was terrible. I have always taken this to heart. DOn't know why, or what constitutes a really big frame, but I do not frame more than one size up that will give a two inch border with a 1/8 inch or 1/4 inch weight at the bottom. The bigger weight is for the bigger prints.

As for buying precuts I think that is a bad idea. A straight edge will get the outside dimensions straight, assuming you can draw or cut a straight line with a ruler, and simple mat cutter will do the window. Talk about saving money
 

Flotsam

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I tend to let the subject determine the crop rather than the film or paper format. This leaves me no option to use pre-cut mats. Since having custom mats cut for me would be way to expensive, cutting my own is the only choice. Not my very favorite activity but when I'm in the mood it's not so bad. I will say that I am a bit behind on this task at the moment.
 
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colrehogan

colrehogan

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I recently bought a mat cutter, so that's part of the reason I was asking. I hope to give it a try soon, maybe this weekend, unless the weather is good and I'm out shooting. :smile:

So do you ever use any colored mat boards as overlays or does everyone just use a white board as an overlay? Is this another personal preference thing or is there some 'standard'?
 

mark

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Purely a personal preference thing. I think the Standard for BW or other monochrome print (Pt/Pd etc) would be white. With color most people try to compliment a color in the scene. Personally I like white mats for everything. SOmetimes a white mat and a black core for color.

My wife on the other hand likes colored mats. SO, since I am the man of the house, my color work is matted in colored mats.:smile:
 
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Having done my own framing for years and having worked in 2 frame shops...

The standard is 3" top and sides, 3"-4" bottom.

I prefer to have the heavier bottom.

joe
 

RAP

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When AA was working at MOMA, Strand, who was mounting a show at the time, asked for AA's opinion in placement of a print on the mount board. Apparently the placements he was considering differed by about 1/4 on an inch. It was that criticle to Strand.

Since you own a matte cutter yourself, you can experiment as to what you want to do, how much border you want.

The larger the border, the more comtemplative the effect. An 8x10 to 16x20 is what I offer for my images, 11x14 to 20x24 and 16x20 to 22x28.

As for good weather, here in NJ a blizzard is just starting, 12 plus inches of snow and 50 mph winds tonight, sub zero wind chills. Anyone for some night photography? :D
 

Flotsam

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It's just starting to snow here too. After I get some wood piled up by the door, I've got some mats to cut and prints to mount.

RAP, They're talking about white-out conditions tonight. Not great for interesting photographs. Stay inside where it's warm and take some pictures of a white card instead :smile:
 
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