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MN Shutterbug

Enlargement size advice needed.

27 posts in this topic

I just got accepted into a juried arts and craft show for next month. I'll be bringing hundreds of my notecards. I'm also going to display an enlargement of a loon and an eagle on easels and offer them for sale by orders. I was going to order 16 X 24 enlargements but then realized that your standard frames are 16 X 20. If the customer was going to frame them, this could be a problem? What size would you, who have sold prints, order?

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Mike, far and away the most popular two nature print sizes are 8x10 and 11x14. Not because people don't want to own large, stunning prints, but because most folks who collect fine art nature prints already have maxed out their hanging space.

At my shows, I offer most images 8x10 mounted and matted in 11x14 mats, all in clear bags, so they are ready for the customer to put into an 11x14 frame of their choice.

If you want to print 16x24, you likely are looking at a 20x30 mat and frame. You may sell them at that size, but even if you don't they will have a wonderful impact.

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This whole print size thing is frustrating. I'm trying to get some prints ready for a gallery show for our photography club. I have several photos that I really like but I shot them full frame. If I crop them even a little the image is useless. You can't find frames for 8x12's anywhere so what's a guy to do other than leave space around everything you shoot to allow for cropping?

There's not too many folks shooting 4x5's anymore. It's time to update these "standards".

Sorry Mike, I didn't mean to rant on your parade but it just got me thinking about it again.

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I agree with Steve on print sizes. Though I don't sell many at those sizes, I honestly think those are the most popular sizes. but I also have a different market than nature work. Most of mine are 4x6 and 5x7 and then I have some at 16x20. The bulk of my larger print sizes are done at 20x30 and 24x30 sizes. And I do a lot at those sizes.

The aspect ratios are a bit difficult to deal with I agree Mike. In my case I usually shoot most shots just a bit loose to allow for cropping later. If you don't want to do that use a framer, it doesn't matter what size you shoot at. I have a local framer that I worked out special prices with, he frames whatever size I need. I also custom make my own wood frames and matts so again it really doesn't matter what the print size.

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You can't find frames for 8x12's anywhere so what's a guy to do other than leave space around everything you shoot to allow for cropping?

MM, many art houses, such as Dick Blick, where I do my frame business online, offer 12x16 frames for just the reason you mention. I typically use the black or cherry colored contemporary wood gallery frames from Blick. An 8x12 with a 2-inch mat around it fits centered into a 12x16 frame like a glove. While I don't see 8x12 frames (they offer 9x12), an image almost always looks far, far better with a mat around it than simply dumped into a frame.

X-T: If you opt for the 8x10 print in 11x14 mat or the 11x14 print in a larger mat, you can simply print up a card on your home printer specifying larger prints are available by contacting you. If you want impact (and if the image is sharp enough to make it really big, which many are not) print big. If you want sales, print smaller. It's six of one, half dozen of the other. Impact today means sales tomorrow. Smaller prints mean sales today.

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There is a lot of food for thought here. If I knew I was going to continue doing shows, I'd probably get some 8 X 10's and 11 X 14's printed up, but this may be the only show I do, so I can't risk bringing a lot of prints back with me. This is why I'm going to just take orders. If I bring back a few hundred notecards, that's not serious. I have other locations for those. I may go with the larger size for impact and offer optional sizes. Another reason for the larger size is for people to see them from a distance and attract their attention.

Do you think I should have them matted just for display purposes? I will order them mounted on double weight matboard. If so, how do you attach the print to the matte? As you can tell, this is all new to me. Also, how much print size do you lose once it's attached to the matte?

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Mike, I would definitely mat them. It's a much more finished look. You can either sign the mat or the print. When I offer matted, mounted images for sale in clear bags, I always sign the mat. They're adhered together anyway, so it's not like the client can separate them. If I'm just selling the prints alone in clear bags, I sign the print.

Any art supply store (I order online), will have acid free spray adhesive. I spray the back of the mat and simply press it down over the print.

However, when I order prints like that, I not only have them mounted on matboard or 1/4 inch foamcore, I have them mounted on the next size larger. So I order an 8x10 centered and mounted on an 11x14 piece of mat or foam. That way, when I adhere the 11x14 mat, it's much easier to line it up right so the edges match, and it's all one solid piece of construction, which is much more attractive to a prospective buyer. It also drops right into an 11x14 frame with no finagling.

Clean hands freshly washed and dried are a must when matting, and it also doesn't hurt to practice your signature. A beautiful print deserves a nice signature. On the print, I use a contrasting color of fine marker designed for signing prints. If it's a light area in the LRC, I use black. If it's a dark area, I use silver or gold. On the mat (I almost always use off-white or white mats) I sign lightly in pencil.

Hope this helps!

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Yep, helps a lot. However, you missed my last question. grin I know, so many questions. whistle How much print size do you lose once it's attached to the matte? And, where do you go online for your art supplies, like the adhesive spray?

Thanks much!

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Hey, X! I picked up a ton of frames and mats this weekend at Michael's. They had a sale going on (8x10 frames for 5x7 mats and prints for $5 and 11x14 frames for 8x10 mats and prints for about $10 - many styles to choose from). What I really liked, other than the price, was that I could check each frame out for defects. Don't know how long the sale is on, but have to go to Duluth next Sunday and might pick up some more if the sale is still going.

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I use a Scotch, now 3M 752 ATG dry mount gun with the acid free adhesive for all my photos and artwork. This thing is slick as can be, no sprays very easy to use. Always mounted on acid free foam core prior to framing.

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I use a Scotch, now 3M 752 ATG dry mount gun with the acid free adhesive for all my photos and artwork. This thing is slick as can be, no sprays very easy to use. Always mounted on acid free foam core prior to framing.

In other words, you mount your photos to the foam core yourself, with this 3M spray? Neither mpix or whcc will mount the prints to a larger size backing. Where do you get your foam core from?

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Neither mpix or whcc will mount the prints to a larger size backing.

Technically that is correct, but I figured out a simple way to do a bit of an end run in Photoshop to get what I described earlier.

If I want an 8x10 on an 11x14 mount, I size the print to 8x10 in photoshop and then create a second photoshop file that's 11x14 and the same ppi and color bit depth as the print. Then I drag the 8x10 into the new 11x14 file and make sure it's centered before flattening the layers. Then I have an 11x14 photoshop image with an 8x10 photo centered in it. Because mats sized to go over 8x10 images have an opening more like 7 7/8 by 9 7/8, as long as my print is 8x10 and centered on the 11x14 file before flattening, it all goes together like clockwork and I never need to worry about a mat cut too large for the print.

When calling up the ROES software to make a WHCC order, I simply select 11x14 and orient the canvas whichever way it needs to go (horizontal or vertical) and drag over the prints. Then in the lower lefthand box on the ROES screen, it offers mounting options, and I check the 1/4 inch foamcore or the matboard. Only catch is, you have to pay the slightly higher 11x14 price for all of that.

What I get back is a print so tightly bonded to the mount that it can never come off, and it's a simple matter to put adhesive (Dan's adhesive method is another excellent way) on the back of the mat, line up the mat and the mounted print and press them firmly together. I'd much rather pay the few dollars more per print to get them this way than to have to cut foamcore, adhere the print to the foamcore, adhere the mat to the foamcore/print combo and trim the foamcore to match the mat. The time saving is more important to me than the cost savings, especially when I might be putting together 20 or 30 images at a time.

If you want to cut your own foamcore or matboard, all types of art supplies are available online through Dick Blick. Everything you need to do this whole process from scratch is available from that single source, although if as Ken suggested you have access to a Michaels or other brick-and-mortar art supply store, they will have it all, too.

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Thanks everyone for your advice. I have decided to stick with the 16 X 24 size, and frame them with black metal frames and white mats. The cost for the frames and mats is only $26 plus shipping. I can pick up 16 X 24 acid free foam core for $7 locally. I'll go to the hardware store for the single pane window glass. The enlargements are mainly for display and to attract attention. I think having them already framed will be more eye appealing. I'll have a price list broke down by size and options. I'll also let them know where they can order the frames and mats themselves. If I was intent on selling a couple dozen enlargements at the show, I would go with Steve's idea of the 8 X 10's and 11 X 14's.

Any suggestions on width of the mat? I was thinking 3 inches.

Now I can worry about attaching the foam core to the print, without getting it crooked. crazy

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Mike, I wasn't recommending 8x10 and 11x14, simply using it as an example. You'll note that I originally pointed out both large and small options as viable, simply depending on your ultimate goal.

You don't need to wrestle with perfect lineup of print and foamcore. Cut your foamcore a good bit larger than you'll ultimately need. Adhere the print to it. Then adhere the mat over it all. Then trim away the excess foamcore from the mat. I buy foamcore in 30x40 sheets for just that reason.

That way you don't have to worry about getting everything mated perfectly.

When adhering the print to the foamcore, curl the print up, letting the middle of the print contact the adhesive first and then carefully rolling it out to avoid air bubbles.

So what is the size of the prints? It kind of sounds like your frames and mats are 16x24. Or is that the print size, with the mats and frames being larger?

And regardless of which size the print is, you can still use the tip offered and order it mounted through WHCC on the next size up foamcore for ease of assembly with the mat/frame. That's just the way I do it because I like to avoid assembly headaches. All up to you, my friend.

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Actually, the print sizes are 16 X 24. The frames will be 21 3/4 X 29 3/4. Also, WHCC tells me that they will not mount next size up. You can only order them mounted on foam core the same size as the print. If they offered that sevice, I'd be more than happy to let them.

Thanks for the instructions on mounting the foam core to the print.

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Using Steve's method, you're not actually mounting the next size up. Your print will be that size, it's just that there will be a white border around it to center the image on the print.

Anyhew, can you let me know where you're getting the frames so cheap. I'm on the lookout.

Steve, thanks a bunch for the tip on Dick Blick. I never thought of them. They have a ton of stuff. I'm guessing they don't include the glass, correct?

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Right. I forgot that tip. Thanks for catching that. Unfortunately, the cost goes up considerably when upping the print size, when starting at 16 X 24. Just the foam board alone would cost me $21. I have to try and save where I can, especially since it's my first show and I have no idea if I'll make a couple bucks or blow a few.

I have a friend who told me about a place called frames by mail. Just google it and it'll come up. They cannot ship glass, but will ship plexiglass. I've heard that single pane window glass works best. He's had good luck with them.

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X-T, if you want to economize, you might select matboard for the mounting from WHCC. It's significantly less exensive than foamcore and is acid-free and an excellent mounting medium. As well as being just as good a mounting medium as foamcore, it is quite a bit thinner, and that can make it easier to work with than foamcore in some frames.

MM, Blick ships with plexi. I throw it in the trash and buy single pane glass from the local hardware store. I like the contemporary wood gallery frames from Blick in black or cherry because they have a simple, classic appearance. There are better frames out there, but not for that money on a consistent basis.

Also, if your print size is 16x24, X-T, and your frame size is larger, you're going to want to buy foamcore in sheets larger than 16x24. You want your foamcore to come all the way out to the outer edge of your matboard if possible.

So if you buy 30x40 foamcore you can assemble it all by using the other series of tips I supplied and not have to worry about lining everything up just perfectly.

And I'll re-state that tip. Adhere the 16x24 print to the approximate center of a 30x40 piece of foamcore by spraying adhesive on the foamcore, not the print, and apply the print by curling it up and allowing the center of the print first contact with the adhesive, rolling it out and smoothing it down as you work toward the edge. Done correctly, this eliminates air bubbles. Then, when that's done. Spray or apply your adhesive to the back of the mat and carefully place the mat over the image, pressing down firmly when it's in the right position. Because the matboard hole is slightly smaller than the size of the print itself, you have a bit of room for error in placement.

Then, when that's all solidly in place and pressed firmly together, simply take a razor knife and trim away the excess foamcore flush with the mat. You need a very sharp blade or it will pull and tear the foamcore instead of cutting it well.

This will waste a certain amount of foamcore, but since you're only doing two prints it won't be a significant issue.

Last tip: Clean hands!

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Thanks guys. I'm a little less frustrated now that I know I have options. I really don't like to leave room for cropping but maybe I do need to do that sometimes. When I look through my viewfinder and see a photo I click the shutter. It's much easier that way.

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MM, once you get used to it, leaving room for cropping becomes second nature, and it kind of reeks that 8x10 is so much more square than a sensor or film frame.

However, if you end up doing a fair amount of matting and framing, there is a certain subset of customer that sees custom crops and mats and frames as a stamp of uniqueness, a sort of added specialty feel.

Because of that, we bought a mid-range mat cutter and buy matboard in large sheets so we can custom mat those occasional panoramic or other strange crops.

Not the way to go right from the start unless a person has the money, but as demand builds and you want to offer different looks, it's a great option.

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Steve, the matboard from WHCC only comes in sizes up to 16 X 20, so it won't work with these 2 prints. I assume you can trim the foam core with an exacto knife?

What's a typical width for a mat of this size?

One last quick question. Have any of you tried the lustre coating? If so, was it worth the extra moolah?

This has really been a valuable learning experience.

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X-T, if you put the 16x24 print on a 20x30 canvas in photoshop like I said and order a 20x30 print from WHCC with 2mm styrene (a very good mounting material), the total cost per print, mounted, is about $42.

If you order the 16x24 print, unmounted, and then buy 30x40 foamcore to mount it yourself, you are up around $30 per print, mounted.

Times two, doing it all yourself, and putting yourself through the hassle and headache of a first-timer's exercise in mounting, you are only saving a total of $24.

OK, on to the next issue. "Typical" mat size doesn't matter in this case. You've already selected your print size and your frame size, so mat size is fixed to fill the space between them.

Also, since you're looking for impact (indicated by your choice of the size of the work), to do what is typical would be to lessen the potential impact.

As an example, I've seen 5x7 prints with 8 inches of mat around each of the four sides in custom frames, and that impact was amazing. I've also taken square crops and custom matted them and placed them in vertical frames, not centered but placed toward the top of the frame with proportionally more mat below the image than above and on either side. That was a bit unusual and added impact.

This is an issue where, if you're really looking to frame your art in an arresting way, your imagination is really the only limit. If your budget also is an issue (isn't it always?), you can keep your large frame size, bump down your print size and opt for a larger mat, as just one example.

Doing that will also allow you to double mat, and I've double matted with space between each of the two mats to add shadow and drama to the whole thing. And you can even use a deep frame like a shadow box and mount the image unmatted and with ragged edges in a way that makes it float in the frame. It sits up from the back of the mount but doesn't come all the way out to touch the glass. Lots of impact and drama there. These are techniques that can't be adequately explained with words on a forum but would require pictures, too.

I've never tried the luster coating.

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X-T, if you put the 16x24 print on a 20x30 canvas in photoshop like I said and order a 20x30 print from WHCC with 2mm styrene (a very good mounting material), the total cost per print, mounted, is about $42.

If you order the 16x24 print, unmounted, and then buy 30x40 foamcore to mount it yourself, you are up around $30 per print, mounted.

Times two, doing it all yourself, and putting yourself through the hassle and headache of a first-timer's exercise in mounting, you are only saving a total of $24.

OK, on to the next issue. "Typical" mat size doesn't matter in this case. You've already selected your print size and your frame size, so mat size is fixed to fill the space between them.

Actually, there would be about $30 savings, considering I can get the foam core locally for around $10. I can see your point though. It's food for thought.

As far as mat size, with this source, the frame is sized according to the size of the print and width of the mat you choose. I punched in 3" width all the way around, and the site figured out the frame size to 21 3/4 X 29 3/4. If I change the width of the mat, the frame size changes accordingly.

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Got it.

If you're getting two 30x40 sheets of foamcore for $10 ($5 per sheet) locally, I gotta find out who's selling it to you. gringrin

Anyway, on the frame size, even though it can go up as needed, the cost then will also go up, so you'll weigh whether it's worth paying more for a larger frame in order to get a larger mat in there.

Good luck, man, and I hope you get lots of interest. You've been working hard at this and you deserve all you can get! smile

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