A good portion of my income comes from the sales of my framed images. When it comes to presentation, it is a serious and wonderful portion of my photography process. I print a lot of my images and most are larger than 30″ at the shortest length and I have annual events where I showcase the images. (My next one will be in March at the world class and prestigious Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ.)
I am sure the following will help you regardless of what you want hanging on one of your walls.
I also thought about writing this because we got some special mail and art from Haiti last night. Each year, my wife and I help a wonderful kid go to school in Haiti by paying his way.
He’s a wonderful 16 year old that loves football, his favorite color being yellow and wants to be a doctor down the road. When I read that last night, I got a little choked up because I’m sure his people will greatly benefit from his specialty.
He also sent us the wonderful art that I’m excited to hang on my wall of fame:
Just recently, one of my clients was featured in Forbes Magazine. When I saw that, I took a step backwards and was happy I went the extra mile to ensure they had a wonderful image and that it took a little longer than usual to matte, mount and select a wonderful moulding that wouldn’t clash with where the image was going to hang.
Going the extra mile in presenting a piece of art, heirloom or anything is important. Another project I will endeavor on is placing a belt I inherited from my grandfather in a framed case. He got this belt many, many years ago and he lived to be 104!
I think framing anything shouldn’t be taken lightly. I like to use shops that really know what they do and how much they invest in using premium framing products. If a framing company doesn’t have or use “Wall Buddies”, I flat out go somewhere else. I’ll talk about this in a bit….
Here are some of the important items to consider when framing your art or images (or anything) courtesy of The Framing Department: (even if another shop is doing it for you or if you frame everything….)
* Insist on conservation grade materials. Materials that are acid-free and specifically designed for use in art framing are the only acceptable choice! Scotch tape and cardboard do NOT count!
* Explore your mounting options. Any original artwork must be mounted in a safe and reversible way; if you want to re-frame this piece later, you should be able to. Hinging is the generally accepted way to safely mount two-dimensional art. Hinging tape can be self-adhesive, heat-activated or water-activated. (NOTE: Dry-mounting is a popular and relatively inexpensive way to mount that is *not* reversible.)
* Use glass or plexi-glass to protect your art. Photographs, watercolors, and pretty much anything except sealed paintings NEED a type of “Glazing” to protect them. It can be standard glass, anti-reflective glass, UV resistant glass, or even plexi-glass – but something needs to protect your art from splashes, bumps, spills, drops, and other calamities. We generally prefer glass that has UV-resistant coatings as well as anti-reflective properties.
* When cleaning glass, make sure to spray your cleaning solution onto the paper towel (or, preferably a microfiber cloth) and then clean the art. DO NOT spray cleaners like Windex directly on the glass! The solution will often seep into the mat board or even into the art itself – a sure way to ruin your art.
* While we’re talking about glass – it is important to ensure that the glass does not physically touch the art. It can touch mat board, but it should always be spaced off the art in some way. Mat board is often a simple way to create this space. In other cases (especially when framing posters or photographs without a mat board), an adhesive acrylic spacer is applied to the glass to provide this space.
* If you are using Inkjet prints, make sure the print has plenty of time to “Off-Gas” before being installed behind glazing.
* When installing your framed image on the wall, use TWO hanging nails instead of one. This gives you extra insurance if one of the nails fails and also helps to keep the image perfectly level on the wall.
* If at all possible, ensure that your artwork stays out of direct sunlight throughout the day. Even with UV resistant glass, temperature and humidity changes will be affected more strongly under direct sunlight.
When in doubt, take it to a local, professional frame shop and feel free to ask questions! Any respectable shop will make you feel comfortable leaving your art in their experienced hands. You should feel respected and your questions should certainly be answered. Make sure whatever shop you choose is willing to stand behind their work.
Here’s the bottom line about The Framing Department. From my front door to theirs, it is exactly a 1,006 mile round trip if I don’t take any detours. IF. Most times I do.
I use The Framing Department for 3 main reasons:
1) They used to print a boat load of Cibachromes back when it was in it’s hay day. Now they do a lot of sliver gelatin and the insanely expensive Platinum Palladium traditional darkroom prints. Traditional dark room printing and framing happens under the same roof.
They know how to and handle everything and provide a white glove experience! Framing and printing is their specialty. They don’t sell camera’s. They don’t sell tripods. THIS IS all they do and they are pretty dang good at it.
2) The Framing Department isn’t perfect …. but they are. This is one of those hit two birds with one stone deals. IF you are in the health and active lifestyle industry, you would know one of my clients. In 2010, I met her in Arizona and showed her a few examples of my work and a few of the original sheets of 4×5 film.
She purchased a framed photograph with glass that measured 30″x36″.
This was going to be my first time shipping something like this so I was on thin ice about making sure it would arrive in New York safe and sound.
The Framing Department has done work for those that have gorgeous fine art galleries in Las Vegas, Jackson Hole, etc…. and in all the years, they’ve only had a couple, like less than 5 or so images with glass arrive busted.
So that gave me a lot of confidence BUT the greatest thing was Stephen telling me up front, that if the worst thing happens, “we stand behind our work and if it does get there busted up, bent or broken, we’d redo another one and do what’s right“.
I said “Ok. Let’s do this.”
Off the image went to New York City….. A couple days later I got the email from her. NOT the email you want to get!!!
In fact, I dug through my emails today and took a screen shot:
I thought I was going to get a lawsuit and go to prison or something wild like that!!! The image got there and glass was EVERYWHERE!!! I mean everywhere!!! She sent me some images and I then talked to Stephen about what we needed to do.
By The Way, she was beyond bummed!
Stephen then got a new frame, and the team started working on the double floating matte design. He asked me to get a new print to them and in no more than 1.5 days, a new framed image was on it’s way.
All total, it took 4 days for the new framed image to be created and for it to arrive in New York City – clean as a whistle and ready to hang!
She then called me and told me how professional everything was and was happy to have a new image. When she called, I was in the middle of a leading one of my landscape photography workshops in Arizona so I couldn’t answer her call but she left a voice message.
To this day, her voice message from September of 2010 is one of two that I still have on there.
I don’t ever intend on deleting that voice message because in order to hear new voice messages, I have to listen to the message and another one. Through this process, I am reminded each week of The Framing Department and their integrity.
Again, a wonderful reason why I don’t mind driving 1,006 miles to see my images get suited up.
3) Lastly, they have industry leading idea’s and recommendations when it comes to framing your work. Whether if you are on a tight budget or need an exquisite presentation, they have all the bases covered.
Another client of mine who’s home was featured in Phoenix Home and Garden magazine, had their interior designer provide important input. She wanted to make sure the image would have the right matting and framing so it would go along with the house and layout of the beautiful design and color palette. Though she never visited Flagstaff, the final presentation added to the existing home.
The image “Grand Entry” measures 58″ in length and is a wonderful panoramic print! The image is mounted on photographic aluminum metal called Di-Bond with no reveal of the metal. This helps the image lay extremely flat and doesn’t have the “orange peel”. Some like it. Some don’t – to each, their own.
I always use the best glass known to mankind to protect the images which also allows the image to have optimal clarity.
Here is “Grand Entry” in their beautiful home in Scottsdale, AZ:
It is so frustrating to hear “We don’t carry that ________” or “We can’t get that _______ for your project.”
I use a lot of Italian Roma Mouldings and hardwood frames. The selection The Framing Department has for the right options of mouldings is in the thousands!!!
Having these options will greatly benefit you so that your work doesn’t clash with where the image is going to hang. You’ll want some continuity.
The exact same image of Grand Entry also hangs in another home near Lake Tahoe. Same print BUT different moulding, matting AND I revealed some of the Di-Bond aluminum because it works.
Here’s Grand Entry in another home in Lake Tahoe:
Grand Entry is a popular print. Though only 25 will ever be produced, many of my framed images hang in different homes and offices in Santa Fe, Oklahoma, Australia, Paris and other places.
Clients of mine have been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, the Today Show, the Tyra Banks show and magazines including Lucky, the New York Times, W Magazine, GQ, O Magazine, Shape, Prevention, Better Homes & Gardens, Allure, Redbook, Marie Claire, People, Health, Entrepreneur, Sports Illustrated, Self, InStyle, Stylewatch, Forbes Magazine and many more. Some clients range from Inc Magazine Best-Selling authors, Southwest enthusiasts and luxurious properties.
Whether if you have an exquisite item to frame or a nice 8″x8″ drawing, I hope these tips helped you.
Some framed images require “Wall Buddies”, some don’t. Some images require Di-Bond. Some don’t. Having the options available is most important. Though I’ve spent thousands of dollars at The Framing Department, their execution of pristine service is unmatched.
Here’s a quick timelapse of a framed image that found a new home in Santa Fe, NM:
All in all, we’ve shipped many images across this wonderful planet and the only one that was busted up, was the one that went to New York. So far, so good.
Be sure to find the right combination when it comes to framing your fine art, paintings or anything you want hanging on the walls.
I hope these tips about presentation helped you.
For those of you attending my workshops, you’ll see a few of my 30″ and 50″ framed images as we talk more in depth about the elements of presentation and doing well with the craft of landscape photography.
* I promise I’ll never send you junk and will keep your contact information private. We do not sell, rent or give your contact information away.
Lastly, if there was something helpful you read, comment below.