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How to Choose a Frame for Black and White Photos

September 15, 2022

How to Choose a Frame for Black and White Photos

If you're looking for classy, timeless artwork for your walls, consider framed black and white photos. Versatile and eye-catching, black and white photos are a great way to showcase your holiday snaps, create a gallery wall or display family portraits. In this guide, we explain how to frame black and white photos for the best results. Find out how to choose the right frame size, mat board and more.

Why frame a black and white photo?

Colour isn't always superior! Here are some good reasons to hang black and white photos at home:

Emphasise texture and contrast

For some photographs, black and white is the best choice artistically. By taking colour out of the equation, other elements of the picture come to the forefront. Black and white photos often have great texture and excellent use of light and shadow.

Save a photo when the colours aren't working

If the colours in your photograph aren't working for you, but you love the composition and emotion in the photo, converting it to black and white could give it a new life.

Complement your existing decor

In terms of interior design, black and white is a safe and classy way to go. Being naturally subtle, black and white photos complement any colour scheme you currently have in your room. Instead of clashing with your existing design style, black and white enhances the style and hues you love. And if you're designing a gallery wall with many photographs, making some black and white can help you get a cohesive result.

Embrace the timeless look

Many people associate black and white with vintage photographs. And it's true you can use black and white photography to allude to a time in the past. But there’s a reason why black and white photos still remain popular. Black and white photography is actually timeless and classic. While certain colour editing styles might go out of fashion, black and white photos tend to remain compelling as time passes.

picture framing myaree

How to frame black and white photos

Here's our tips for how to frame black and white photos:

1. Decide on your frame size

The subtle nature of black and white photos means they're perfect for a statement piece. You'll get an impressive scale while still maintaining a balanced look in the room. Keep in mind, your photo will need to be high quality if you're planning to blow it up. Read our guide on printing and framing photos for more information.

Wanting something smaller? Black and white photos also look great in small to medium frames. Use them as standalone artworks or display them in groups to create an eye catching feature wall. If you're not sure what size is right for your wall, try cutting out paper rectangles to test it out. That way you won't have to commit until you're confident you've got the right size.

2. Select your frame style

Black and white photos go with a wide range of frame styles– from classic slim frames to vintage style frames and more eclectic options. When deciding on the style of your frame, consider both the nature of the photo and your existing decor.

Minimalist frames are a good option if you want your wall frame to blend in seamlessly with your room decor– or if you want to let the picture do all the talking. Ornate frames can add depth and texture to black and white photos, and work well as statement pieces.

Vintage style frames are the ideal complement to antique black and white photographs. They can also provide eye catching contrast for simple black and white artworks. Read about custom vintage frames for more inspiration.

3. Choose your frame colour

For a classic, timeless look, go for white frames with a white mat. This is a great way to make the picture stand out and emphasise the texture in the photo. For a moodier look, consider black frames with either a white or black mat. This can work well for dramatic landscapes and emotive portraits.

Black and white photos also pair well with natural wood frames. If you're looking for a touch of colour, but still want to stay subtle, this could be the way to go.

Love a pop of colour in your decor? Consider a coloured frame instead. Coloured frames can be striking and eye-catching. For the best results, match the colour of the frame to the existing palette in your room. Find out more: How to choose the right colour picture frame.

4. Finish it off with a mat board

Most black and white photos work best with a mat board between the frame and the photo. This creates space, letting the photograph breathe. White or cream mat boards are the safest option, going well with almost every type of photo. They'll make the artwork stand out, while giving you a classic framed look.

You can also play with the size of the mat. Sometimes black and white photos look great with a very wide mat. Using double mat boards is a good way to add depth to your photograph. Want even more depth? Consider a shadow box frame.

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How to display black and white photos

Before you start printing and framing your photos, it's a good idea to think about how you're going to display them. Knowing where and how you want to display your photos can help you make the right decisions when it comes to framing.

Here are some ways to display your black and white wall photo frames:

  • Gallery wall – display a range of wall frames at once. Keep them all black and white for a tidy look, or mix and match as you see fit. Get your gallery wall right– read our guide on how to arrange different size pictures on a wall.
  • Statement piece – hang a single, large framed photo on your wall to make a dramatic statement. Perfect for above the bed, over a fireplace or in the entryway.
  • Decorate your shelves – smaller black and white photos are perfect for personalising your shelves, bedside tables and bench tops. Read our guide on how to decorate your shelves like a pro.
  • Decorate a dead corner – got an awkward corner with not much going on? A perfect spot to showcase your black and white photo frames. Add visual interest and personalise your space.

Custom framing for black and white photos

Need advice about how to frame black and white photos? The team at Portfolio Picture Framers is here to help. We can walk you through all your options, from framing styles to colours, mat board choices and more.

Pop into our Myaree studio or give us a call on (08) 9330 5884.

Send us a message!