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A Guide to Printing and Framing Your Photos

July 08, 2021

picture frames

There's a lot to wrap your head around when it comes to printing and framing photographs. In this picture frame guide, we take a closer look at what size to print your photos, how to choose the right frame and whether you should go with a standard or custom frame.

Whether you've bought some photos from a professional photographer, are a budding artist yourself or just want to print some snaps from a recent holiday, it's important to know the tricks to achieve the best framing for photography.

If you have any further questions about photo framing in Perth, don't hesitate to get in touch with the team at Portfolio Picture Framers.

What size should I print my photos?

It's important that your digital photos are the right resolution and pixel dimensions before printing, especially if you plan on printing the photo quite large.

Digital photos are usually measured in pixels. Each pixel translates to a dot when printing. The resolution of a photo is measured in DPI, which means "dots per inch". The higher the resolution, the more dots there will be, and the better quality the print will be.

Professional printers will have guidelines about the minimum resolution and photo dimensions you need to ensure a high quality result. Printing at 150 DPI is ok for smaller prints and may give you a decent result. However, if you want the best results at a professional standard, always print at 300 DPI.

The table below explains the minimum dimensions your photo needs to be in pixels when printing at 150 DPI or 300 DPI. Of course, photos can be printed at any size, not just the standard sizes listed in the table.

Print Size

Pixel size for printing at 150dpi (OK RESULTS)

Pixel size for printing at 300dpi (PROFESSIONAL STANDARD)

6x4

600 x 900px

1200 x 1800px

11x14

1650 x 2100px

3300 x 4200px

16x20

2400 x 3000px

4800 x 6000px

30x40

4500 x 6000px

9000 x 12000px

 picture framing guide

If you are unsure what size to print your image or the table has confused you, see Natasha at Portfolio Picture Framers who can look at your image and give you all the information you need to know about the quality and the best size to print it at.

How do I choose a frame for a picture?

There are many frame styles that work well with photography. The important thing is to consider what styles, colours and frame sizes would work with the specific photograph you want to frame. 

Any good picture frame guide will tell you that you should choose the frame for the art, not the other way around.

When making your picture frame choice, think about:

  • The subject of your photo – Some subjects look best with a slim, modern frame. Others might have a better effect with a more ornate frame. Consider the frame style that will do the photo justice.
  • The colours – Think about the frame colour that will best enhance your photo. Classic white, black or wood colours are a safe bet if you're not sure. If you want to go for colour, choose a colour that you can find in the photograph or a contrasting colour if you want more of a pop.
  • The picture size– Of course, you need the perfect picture frame size to suit the size of the print. Consider how much mat space you want around the print to determine the right picture frame size. Some photos look great with wide mat boards which let the photos breathe. Others look best with a more classic, thin mat board.
  • The existing decor in your home – Don't just think about what the photo will look like in its frame, also consider what it will look like in your home. It's important that the framed art complements the existing style of the room.
  • The material the photo is printed on – For example, if the photo is printed on canvas, it might suit a different frame style – or no frame at all – compared to a photo printed on fine art matte paper.

What's the best framing for photography?

Some of the most popular ways to frame photographs include:

  • Modern style frame –Modern frames are slim and minimal, usually made in understated colours such as white, black or natural wood. These frames harness the power of white space and let the image do all the talking. They're perfect for modern, industrial and scandi style homes.
  • Ornate frame –Ornate frames have a texture or pattern on them and are usually finished with a gold or silver colour. Ornate frames often work well with photographs that match the level of intricacy, but they can also work with simple, understated photos which contrast with the fancier frame style.
  • No frame (canvas) –Photographs printed on canvas can be stretched over stretcher bars and displayed without a frame. If you prefer the look of framed canvas art, a frame can be added after the canvas is stretched.

How much bigger should a frame be than the picture?

It all depends on the final look you want to achieve. Mat boards are used in the space between the frame and the print to help the eye focus in on the image. Although there are no hard and fast rules, the photo frame is typically thinner than the mat board.

A mat board can be any colour, though it's important it does not detract from the image. If you're not sure, play it safe by using a white or cream mat board. If you want colour, choose one that complements the colours and tones in the image.

In some cases more than one mat board can be used to achieve a more layered look that draws the eye in. This works very well with some photography art, but may overwhelm others. It's best to choose the mat style based on the specific photograph you are framing.

Should I get a professionally made frame?

You will find many ready-made photo frames in frame shops and department stores. While a cheap price tag might be tempting, ready-made frames are often poorly made and will not protect your precious photos like a custom frame would.

Custom frames are made from high quality, acid-free materials which will not damage or discolour your images over time. Professional framers also use UV resistant glass to protect artwork so that you can keep enjoying it for a long time.

Beyond the protective advantages, custom framing allows you to design a frame that is perfectly suited to the specific piece you are framing. What’s more, custom framing might be more affordable than you realise.

Check out our article on choosing a custom frame over ready made options for more reasons why custom framing is worth it.

Looking for custom framing in Perth?

Portfolio Picture Framers can help make the right frame to show off your photo in the best light. Whatever the artwork size, whether you're after a traditional frame or a modern design, we've got you covered.

We hope this picture frame guide was useful. For more tailored advice, come into our showroom or give us a call today to see what we can do for you.

Send us a message!