Framing 13×19 photographic prints


How do you frame your prints?

Modern DSLR cameras produce images in an 8×12 format which is a bit more rectangular.  In comparison an 8×10 print looks much squarer.  The tricky part is finding mats and frames for 8×12 or 13×19 which is the largest size many people’s home photo printers can produce.

Art Prints

4×5, 5×7, 8×10, these standard sizes that you would get from a photo studio or school photo day photographers are easy to find in your local Kohls, Target, Walmart or any other store that has a home decorating section.  But try to find a non-standard size and it gets trickier and expensive.

Let’s face it.  Framing outside of standard sizes gets expensive.  Rarely does one save as much money as they think they might framing it themselves.  Often it better to simply order a framed print when ordering a unique from size from my gallery.  Or ordering a canvas print.  Canvas prints are basically always made to order and the labor is less than having a mat cut and a frame made to size.

Art Prints

Where did these photographic ratios come from?

Some say that the 4 to 3 ratio comes from the printing industry. 8.5×11 inch was a common paper size even before the first photo was ever made; and goes back several centuries.  4×5 inch film was popular back in the day of large format camera including those press cameras you see in the movies.  8×10 is simply a multiple of 4×5.

35mm format is 3:2 and there are not a lot of 6×4 frames or mats out there. One solution is to shoot with cropping in mind.  Give in today’s cameras large megapixel counts, as long as you are not producing billboards, one can easily crop to fit a more standard ratio.

35mm still is 8 sprocket holes on 35mm movie film; which makes about a 24x36mm frame. “regular” movie film running vertically is 4 sprocket holes. Still 35mm cameras evolved from 35mm films used with 35mm movie cameras. Mechanically it easy easy to make the film advance an intergral number of sprocket holes. Thus 8 was used with most 35mm still cameras; one sprocket hole is 45 degrees of sprocket rotation. – Kelly Flanigan

Hip to be Square

Shooting, cropping and formatting for a square aspect ratio has a lot of advantages.  There are ready made square frames in smaller sizes like 4×4, 8×8, 10×10, with the popularity of Instagram, frame manufactures have created a lot of ready made frames for this ratio.

Art Prints

Another advantage is the square online often gets shown larger on certain websites.  Because the square is easier to layout on a page, photos are often cropped willy nilly into squares, you by creating a square yours is less likely to be cropped in a strange way when displayed in certain situations.

The downside is composing in a square format can be challenging. Square frames and mats:

Wood Frame, 14 by 14-Inch, Matted to 7-inch by 7-inch Opening, Black:
Kiera Grace Langford Wood Frame, 14 by 14-Inch, Matted to 7-inch by 7-inch Opening, Black

8×8 frame:
Malden International Designs Manhattan Matted 8×8 Black Wall Picture Frame

16×16 black frame:

Art To Frames Picture Frame, 16 by 16-Inch, Black

Framing the 13×19 Print

I recently had the chance to prints some photographs on an Epson photo printer at the arts center where I teach.  Now what to do with the output without spending an arm and a leg on custom framing.

If you print with a 1/2-inch margin all around (12×18), and then mat with 3 inches all around, you will have an 18×24 matted print, which is a stock frame size found in most art supply stores.

You can choose to frame casually without a mat (poster style) or buy a mat and then a frame.

You can get pre-cut mats here:

10 of 18×24 White Pre-cut Acid-free whitecore mat for 13×19 + back+bag

18×24 frame:

Art To Frames Picture Frame, 18 by 24-Inch, Black

13×19 Frame (no matting):
Art To Frames Picture Frame, 13 by 19-Inch, Black