diy: matting and framing your family photos

October 13, 2017

When you book a session with me, I will take you from start to finished product. My goal is not for your photos to sit on a hard drive, or to have you giving yourself a hard time about not having printed them yet! For that reason, I offer signature art pieces that get your professional portraits printed right away! No waiting for that rainy day to figure out what you want... and then another to get it done!


And, with your signature art piece, you'll also get your digital files! If you opt for the large files, you'll be able to make your own prints if you so desire. I highly recommend printing with me, to ensure the highest quality, and color representation, but if you choose to print on your own, I completely understand — and I have a great option around this as well. Purchase from your online gallery, and get professional quality prints, at competitive rates! (*Only available with large file purchase in my Create a Collection package). 


(the above shows a 1.5" silver metal frame with a white mat)


So, you have some printed photos, either from a session with me, or someone else, that you would like to frame yourself. Considering all the care that went into preparing for your family photo shoot, from selecting the right outfits to your photographer's final touches on your photo package, it only makes sense to show care in how you frame the photos you wish to display in your home. 


Preserving your family photos should be the most important aspect of photo framing and matting. Choose only materials that are archival quality and acid-free. Other materials may cause your photos to deteriorate.


Matting can include fabric and ornaments such as silk flowers, tiny jewels, pearls and other small effects such as scrapbooking items. But how you use ornamentation depends upon the composition of your family photos. 


Select a frame, mat, and any accents based upon the theme of your family photos. For example, if you have a fun-loving, childlike theme, a more casual frame and mat may suit it better. 


Complement retro clothing and photo effects for example, with a distressed frame and antique-looking matting, not a shiny chrome frame with modern black matting. 


(the above shows a 10x20 charcoal wood frame with (3) 5x5 images and a white mat)


Maybe you have lots of photos from a particular session that all go together to tell a story. Show off some details (above), or do a 9-up to show them all off, without necessarily taking up too much wall space!


(the above shows a 20x20 white wood frame with (9) 5x5 images and a white mat)


Consider a box frame for baby photos and include a small token that represents your baby's age and stage, such as the hospital bracelet with a newborn photo, or a lock of hair tied with a ribbon or clasped with a tiny barrette from baby's first haircut. 


A more serious, studio photo shoot would be better complemented by a metal or wooden frame without ornamentation and conservative matting. 


Photo composition makes a difference. A portrait that's from the chest up with a studio background could warrant a detailed frame and printed mat. But a family photo that includes props and many details is already busy enough. Just go with a complementary color and plainer frame.


(the above shows a 1.5" natural barnwood frame with a white mat. The frame in this case is just a little busier than an even toned painted wood frame)


Speaking of color, select a mat that's the same color or lighter than the frame. In the example above, the mat is a slightly lighter tone than the lightest part of the frame. The colors should complement the dominant colors of the photo, but not necessarily match it. For example, if everyone wears earth tones in your family photo, a brown, wooden frame and a sage green mat may look nice. It is also a good idea to match the color theme of your home when thinking about mat and frame colors! 


Me personally — I stick to plain white mats, to keep it simple, and focused on the photo. 

You can choose any number of ways to mat and frame your family's portraits; however, selecting what looks good to you and complements your home is the best way to display your family photos.



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abra klinger

Los Angeles, California based newborn photographer, serving the greater LA area. Offering newborn (my favorite!), maternity, kids (watch me grow) and family sessions.


Reach out if you're interested, or just have a question - I'd love to chat! 

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Tel: 323-929-2272

Port Orchard, WA 98366

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