Should you mount prints prior to framing?

matting prints for framing

Recently, I sat down with photographer Emma Thurgood to interview her about things that every professional frame shop wishes photographers knew about mounting prints and framing.

Thanks to a sorta heated Facebook thread, we talked about everything you need to know about mounting and framing your photography for wedding and portrait clients so they are archival.

A few topics we discuss include:

  • Should you mount prints that will be put in a frame, or leave them loose?
  • Can you frame a canvas print?
  • What question should you ask a frame shop to find out if they are archival?
  • The proper way to mount prints to a backer board with hinge tape matting techniques
  • how to finish the artwork for your clients
  • The structure of matting a piece of artwork

and lots and lots of SALES TIPS for photographers!

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Framing tips for your photography:

how to sell wall art to photography customers

When I began my photography career, I went to the wonderful Photo North East Conference, which is a regional convention for photographers. At the conference, I took an amazing class from some High School Senior Photographers who laid out their entire business model.

I learned SO much during that class and am still implementing those tips and techniques all these years later.

One thing I learned was that loose prints from a portrait session should cost the customer a minimum of $50 each. When I learned that, I was shocked. It sounded like so much money for a loose 8×10 print. 

In order to charge higher boutique pricing for loose prints, they recommended mounting the prints and individually packaging them to make the experience special.

Mounting prints makes them hardier, less likely to get damaged in transit to a frame shop, heavier (adding value, and generally something that is definitely different.

So when a Facebook thread came up in a photography group about how to properly  frame prints, I was surprised to know that mounting the prints is the worst thing I can do for my clients.

I’ve always been a steward of my client’s family history through their photographs, so this upset me greatly.

Emma set me straight about having mounted prints, and I also learned something new, well more than a few new things, about what frame shops wish photographers knew about framing our photos. 

Watch the full interview about framing:

Emma is a photographer who worked at a professional frame shop in a previous life. She has always worked with art on a fine-art scale and with the best archival techniques for posterity.

She gets nerdy about her preferred hinge mat techniques, picking ready made frames, how to pick your frame shop, and so much more.

Choosing a Lustre coating on your prints protects them from the elements, or from drunken mishaps in your home. It is a light protection and is recommended for every print.

Are you looking for a professional frame shop? Do you know how your framed prints are constructed? It is something that we photographers and consumers might not think too much about.

I’ve always assumed that this day and age, everything is archival. Luckily, Emma set me straight and shared her tips on what to ask your professional framer about mounting and finishing your photography.

Who frames your prints? Share in the comments. I’d love to hear what’s working for you!

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