Back to Basics – The Best Frame For Your Photos
Congratulations! You did it. You took a photo that’s so darn good it deserves to be printed and hung on your wall. Or someone else took a great photo, or you bought one — either way, you’re going to need a frame. This might seem like the easy part. You’ve already got the photo, so slapping a frame around it should be simple, right? Not so fast. Photo frames, in reality, can be as complex as the image they’re surrounding, with their own character and qualities, and choosing the wrong frame can seriously detract from your photo. On the other hand, choosing the right frame can make it look even more amazing, turning a snapshot into a true piece of art. So, that said, how do you choose the best picture frame for your photo? Don’t stress, we’ve got you covered.
Types of Picture Frames
Before you decide what frame to use for your photo, you need to know what the options are. Every time you choose a frame, you’ll need to consider certain elements:
- Size: Big frame? Small frame? Wide? Narrow? Your call.
- Color: Depending on the material you choose, you’ll need to decide among various colors.
- Texture: Do you want a subtle pattern or a simple matte finish? Often times a simple frame best compliments a great photograph.
- Mat: The mat is a paper boarder that goes around your photo and appears between the photo’s border and the frame. If you choose to have a mat, you’ll need to decide on its color.
Tips for Choosing the Best Photo Frame
So now that you know the different choices you’ll need to make, let’s talk about how to make them. Here are our five top tips:
- Put the art first.
The whole reason you’re choosing a frame is because you took a photo that’s worthy of being displayed, so make sure you think about the photo itself first and foremost. Is it a simple portrait, a still life, a group pic, a nature photo? In general, more casual images (like, say, a great candid from that bachelorette weekend) do well with white frames like our Broadway White or Stone Street White frames. These are simple white frames that can accommodate the smallest or largest of photos. They have a classic clean look and don’t steal from the photos they hold. On the other hand darker frames are a great complement to more formal pieces (for instance, a black-and-white nature photo). For a classic black photo frame we often suggest the Broadway Black or the Stone Street Black frames. These are simple but sophisticated mouldings and typically you can’t really go wrong using any of these frames.
Along those same lines, modern, strong images (like a graffiti-spattered cityscape) can stand up against bold frames, whereas more traditional photos (a landscape or posed photo) tend to work better with classic options. On a holistic level, think about what feeling you want the finished product to evoke, and any elements or qualities of the photo that you want to emphasize. Use these as guideposts in every framing decision along the way.
- Consider where it will go.
Your frame will not only need to be good for your photo, but also for the room where it will hang. Before you choose a frame, make sure you know just where the framed photo will go, and take the décor and wall space into account in your decision. How much empty room is there? Are there other framed photos or works of art hanging nearby? What’s the overall aesthetic of the room — modern, eclectic, romantic, cozy? For example, if you live in an urban type loft that has an industrial feel, we like the NoMad Frame as it has metallic industrial lines with a 1920s art deco feel. If you’re in a more traditional setting, we love to the Carnegie frame which is a solid gold frame with classic lines coupled with simple, yet beautiful, curves. What are the primary materials and colors in the room? Ask yourself all of these questions, and use the answers to help you choose a frame that suits the room it’ll occupy.
- When it comes to color, don’t be too “matchy.”
For most frames, you’ll get to decide among a few colors. As you decide, consider how that color will look alongside three other elements: the room’s décor, the mat, and the photo itself. Given all these variables, it can be tempting to just simplify things by choosing a color that “matches” its surroundings, or even the photo itself! — but this isn’t always the best choice. In fact, choosing a frame that’s the dominant color in the photo can mean that color gets lost; rather, choose a secondary color in the photo, one that you want to call out. This will complement the image and make that color pop. Similarly, don’t choose the same color for the frame and the mat. Doing this creates a big block of one color, which shifts the emphasis from the photo to the frame. Finally, make sure you don’t choose a frame that’s too close to your wall color! Otherwise, the finished piece will just blend into the background (which sort of defeats the purpose of getting it framed, right?).
- Play with proportion.
Something as simple as the relative size of the photo, frame, and mat can make a big impact. Think about what kind of photo it is when you decide how big it should be: is there a lot of detail that would benefit from being at a larger scale? Is it a personal portrait that works better as a small piece? Once you decide on the photo size, try out frames and mats of varying widths and depths to see what proportion you like best. An extra wide mat makes a bold statement, while no mat reins in the oomph of a particularly dramatic piece; a large frame might help balance a strong, modern image, while a more narrow one may be the best choice for something gentler. Of course, when you’re trying out different proportions, also consider the proportion of the finished piece of artwork to the space on the wall it’ll occupy.
- Have some fun and listen to your instincts!
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to framing. Ultimately, if you like the way something looks, go for it. After all, you’re the one who will be seeing it the most!
Have some fun along the way, and remember — it’s an art, not a science! If you have any questions, or need some help with your next framing project don’t hesitate to contact us so we can help you on your next framing project.