Matting Fine Art Photographs

by Andrea Sperling - Date: 2006-12-23 - Word Count: 312 Share This!

Picking the right mat when framing fine art photographs and other pieces of art can enhance the visual impact of your art. Proportion issues, color of the mat, and thickness of the mat are important to consider when making your selections.

Matting is just as important as framing. It's what draws you into the image. Small images in large frames with oversized window matting create an intimacy with the viewer and can make even a small family snapshot look much more interesting and important. On the other hand, large images tend to work better with slimmer, simpler frames.

Two and a half to three inches of mat space on each side of an image is a good starting point. Most people err and use smaller matting or use precut window mats that come with store bought frames. These are designed so they fit with industry standard size prints but aren't necessarily the proper proportion to your art.

As for what color mat to use when framing photographs, white is usually the best color. For black and white photographs especially, a white mat always works. If the image is sepia or warm toned, or you're using a brown wood frame or gold leaf frame, you can try an off-white or warm white mat. For color photographs, white or off-white mats are still great choices because they won't distract you from the image. If you do want a bit of color in your matting, create a double mat where the undermat has the color. Other kinds of art like watercolors, lithographs, prints, etc. can work well with color mats.

Thick 8-ply matting is always gorgeous when displaying photographs. They add depth to the photograph and look especially beautiful when using small images in larger mats. If they are not within your budget, then use four-ply matting. Always make sure your framer uses acid-free materials to mount your photograph.

Related Tags: matting art, picture matting, art prints. framed art, matting frames, photography art

Andrea Sperling is the founder of the online fine art photo gallery for the home called Will It Look Good Over The Sofa. To see her site, visit =>

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