Ask LH: What's The Best Way To Frame Prints?

Hi Lifehacker, I recently purchased a few 15"x10" prints from DeviantART websites, but now I have no idea which frames or frame sizes I should get to hang them in. I've looked through a few frames and none of them would really fit, what should I do? Thanks, I've Been Framed

Frame picture from Shutterstock

Dear IBF,

There are plenty of framing stores in Australia that specialise in this sort of thing (most large shopping complexes such as Westfield will have one tucked away somewhere). Instead of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, you can choose the exact dimensions you need and then have the frame built to order.

Most stores will have a large range of frame widths, materials and colours to choose from. They will also be happy to provide recommendations if you're unsure what will look good on your wall. You can typically expect to have your frames ready for collection within a week or so. The cost will depend on the materials used and whether you opt for glass or naked picture frames.

Alternatively, you might be able to find ready-made frames that fit your pictures by checking out stores with a bigger selection: Big W, Target and IKEA spring to mind. This will be cheaper than ordering from a specialist store although it will naturally require more hunting to find the exact sizes you need.

If you'd prefer to save even more money, you could try going down the DIY route. It's possible to make attractive wooden frames with plexiglass fronts and mat-board backings for around $5 each, provided you buy in bulk.

This old Oh Happy Day post explains how you can customise the frames to fit different sizes by buying the materials raw. Hope this helps!

Cheers Lifehacker

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    What I want to know, is why is it so hard to buy frames that are 8x12 (or that aspect). 4x6 is a standard size, so why not multiples? Why do they all have to be 8x10. To me, it sucks for portrait shots and is way too wide an aspect ratio.

    Here's a little mini-tutorial on Picture frames, digital photos and aspect ratios:

    Conventional 35mm film cameras use a picture ratio of 3:2, hence 6x4 inches, 5x7 inches, etc. 6x4 inches is approximately 10x15cm.

    This is also the standard sizing for most frames, with the exception of 8x10 inches, which is 4:5

    Digital camera (mostly) shoot at either 4:3 (because the early models were based on video camera technology of sorts) and sometimes offer other aspect ratios like 16:9 or 3:2.

    This is why when you get digital photos that were shot at 4:3 ratio printed as 3:2, you need to adjust them to avoid having someone's head cut off.

    Then there's the standard A8, A7, A6, A5, A4, A3, A2, A1, A0 paper size, which at A4 is 297x210mm. And 'B' and 'C' sizes, which I'm not going to get into here.

    A lot of digital prints of artwork (like on deviantart or other online shops) sell at these 'A' sizes, since they're easy to print at that size.

    Of course none of these match up exactly. An A4 sheet is larger than an 8X10" frame, for example.

    Having worked in Photographics and Pre-Press for a few years, I can tell you it never gets any easier.

    Last edited 14/01/14 2:28 pm

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