Friday, April 17, 2009

Framing and Matting Blues

(Click on the thumbnail for the bigger, better version)

I have barely begun the process of transferring prints into frames that will allow me to lower prices so I am more in line with the local market, and I’m already burned out on the job. As much fun as shooting is and as much as I enjoy and get lost in the job of processing, that is how much I dislike matting and framing. I need to discover some way to find real joy in that job. Yes, I do enjoy seeing the final product, but the work? Yecch. For the last few days, I have had a lot of other work to do; but today I couldn’t justify not spending some time in the salt mine. Finally, I ran out of wire. Thank goodness. Another excuse to do something else. After all, I will have to go into town to the hardware store, won’t I? I can’t get around that. Yippee!


  1. Oh my god what a beautiful landscape, if that is what it look like where you live, you're lucky woman. The photo is spectacular with that low sun and the contrasts between the warm coloured valley and the cold coloured mountains. Really nice job (I'm sure that goes for what you did today too)!

  2. Ove - Indeed, I am one lucky woman and deeply grateful for my blessings.

    I am so pleased that you like this photo. This specific scene is about forty-five minutes away from our house, but many of my shots are from right here in Bear Valley Springs. The light on the afternoon that I got the shot above made for one of those magical afternoons and evenings that leaves you breathless.

    I should put a scene like this above my work area and glance at it occasionally, while I have a print face down finishing up a frame. Why didn't I think of that before? You get credit for triggering this, Ove. Thanks. There's nothing like a reminder to practice gratitude.

  3. I think we all need a reminder now and then.

  4. I echo Ove's sentiments! Beautiful. You are playing around in a realm that I refused to go. I tried framing and matting a couple of pictures and was totally frustrated with it. I also tried to cut my mats, which is probably why I surrendered. I couldn't get a straight cut no matter what! :-)

    If I were to do it again, I'd stick with standard sizes and pre-cut mats and standard sized frames! If I needed a print framed 'special', I'd farm it out!

  5. Rakesh - I certainly am guilty of getting so focused on my feet, I suppose—something, and missing the important stuff.

  6. Paul - I have cut a few mats that were strictly for my own use and I had plenty of time. Of course, I spoiled a bit of mat board, but I did some nice ones. Still, the notion of doing large numbers of them, and without one of those pricey gadgets that does part of the work—oooh, makes me shudder.

    I'm with you. My replacement frames come all put together and, for now at least, I'm sticking with standard sizes and pre-cut mats to minimize the time spent on the job.

  7. I agree about the standard sizes. Without one of those gadgets that hang on the wall, I don't know how people do it. Anita, that is a glorious California afternoon, captured beautifully. Forgive me if I've asked you this before, but what camera are you using?

  8. Chris- You have me intrigued. What gadget hangs on the wall? I have a Logan mat cutter, but it is (if I recall, the bottom of the line, ie. affordable) and it helps, but leaves plenty of room for botched cuts. I did reasonably well with it when cutting small openings, but anything over 8x10 was a real hassle. It soon began gathering dust. Although, I am thinking about giving it another go after SoFoBoMo.

    I am using a Canon 40D and my "walk-around lens" is the 24-105mmL f/4 IS. It is a great lens. Now, I'm thinking seriously about a 10-22mm, partly because I plan to stay in the I guess it's called "prosumer line" for some time. Now, since my memory has lapsed my turn to ask, what are you using?

  9. I'll get you the link to the 'gadget that hangs on the wall," but I shoot a 10D, a Beesa R2a film rangefinder, an old CanonFTb, and a Mamiya 645 medium format film camera, all with a myriad of lenses. The Wife shoots a 40D, which she loves with a 50mm Canon Macro and the 70-200 f/4 zoom. If you can afford it, I'd really recommend the 17-40 f/4 L, which has gotten me ALL my landscape shots and which I love. It's not that much more expensive than the 10-22.

  10. Chris - I saw you sent me the link. Thank you. I'm looking forward to checking that out.

    You have made me feel better about wanting more than one camera. I still have my 20D to back up the 40D, but I'm hankering for the 50D. That 70-200 f4 is very nice lens—one of my favorites. (Is your wife blogging, by the way. Can we see here work?)

    Thanks for the recommendation on the 17-40. I have been considering that as well as the 10-22. Because I have never had anything like the 10-22, it calls to me. On the other hand, I have a 17-85 and, naturally, the old 15-55 kit lens that came with my Rebel. Of course those lenses aren't in a class with the 17-40L, but I find myself thinking about going wide, really wide. Ahhh. Decisions, decisions.

  11. Very nice landscape here Anita. Regarding matting/framing - I can relate - it sucks! You certainly get an appreciation for why it costs so much to have something matted & framed by a professional shop.

    I have been using Frame Destinations now for my mats - they have more sizes than anyone can imagine, so there is no need to stick with standard windows. Plus, I have taken a liking to 8-ply mat board - which is really tough to cut.

    I also made the decision to outsource my canvas mounting as well. Another finishing process that can take a lot of work.

    I know it costs more, but folks equipped with computerized mat cutters and other equipment saves my arms and back - and gives me more time to do the work I actually enjoy.

  12. Mark - Thanks for the comment on the photo.

    I had investigated Frame Destinations a while back and was hoping to hear a personal recommedation. Hooray. I agree about 8-ply mat board. I used to frequently buy mats by Neilsen-Bainbridge that were extra thick (I'm not certain if they were actually 8 ply, but very handsome. I especially like the ones with black core.) They more or less ruined me for everything else. Now, I will definitely go back to Frame Destinaion. Thanks.

    I definitely don't want to stay bogged down in that workroom, matting and framing rather than shooting. I've been doing too much of that recently.

    By the way, I still think of you every time I'm framing and use the compressed air to save my sanity.

  13. Anita, my wife's a bit shy about sharing her photos, but I think she has a better eye than I do. She gets a little frustrated by the tech stuff (f-stops, etc). But she shoots very instinctively, and she's got many lovely images. Interestingly, her photos have been published in a book Barnes & Noble did about cats, so I'm not sure why she's as reluctant as she sometimes is.

  14. I can sympathize with your wife on both counts. It took me a while to share my photos. I'll bet she thinks you have a better eye. I wonder.

    I struggled mightily with the tech stuff—way too much math and things that seemed counter-intuitive. You would think that having photos published would give her great confidence, wouldn't you? I hope to see some of her work eventually.


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