Recommendations for framing a large photograph

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Caduceus
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Recommendations for framing a large photograph

Post by Caduceus » Sun Oct 13, 2019 10:38 am

I have a huge (30 inch by 26 inches) silver-gelatin photograph that I cannot easily store and I've come to the conclusion that framing it is probably the best way of preserving it, even if I'm going to store it in the dark and not display it.

But I've been quite surprised to find out how expensive conservation frames (UV-filtering glass, archival boards, etc.) are. Does anyone have any recommendations for good online sites that come with a good price? I'm playing around with American Frame's website so far and it keeps coming up to more than $300 for a simple frame.

Carson
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Re: Recommendations for framing a large photograph

Post by Carson » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:17 pm

Go to a local shop and tell them your bare minimum and what you are trying to accomplish. Framing large prints is expensive and shipping can cost quite a bit and is baked into the cost somehow.

I was able to get a very large print mounted and framed at an affordable cost. the staff was used to dealing with really high end things but were able to guide me to the minimum requirements to get my print safely on the wall.
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Gnirk
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Re: Recommendations for framing a large photograph

Post by Gnirk » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:31 pm

Part of our business before retirement included three very successful custom frame shops, and a good portion of our business was correcting a chain store’s framing. Archival framing is expensive, but if the photograph means anything to you, it’s worth it. Find an independent frame shop, find their least expensive frame and put your $$ into the archival glass and mat board. I wouldn’t take it to a large chain because the one I’m thinking of doesn’t frame in house....they send the items to Texas to be framed.

Even a metal poster frame will work if it’s done right.

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lthenderson
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Re: Recommendations for framing a large photograph

Post by lthenderson » Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:34 pm

Framing shops are probably all going to run you around that price for even basic framing. Probably the only way you are going to get that price down significantly is to buy a used frame that is the correct size or make one yourself. You can buy lengths of picture frame molding, cut them to length and glue them together to make a frame. If you have a router, it is easy to make your own molding at of available materials.

SrGrumpy
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Re: Recommendations for framing a large photograph

Post by SrGrumpy » Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:18 am

I'm the cheapest person here, but I never cut corners with framing, and my stuff looks as good now as it did 20+ years ago. I found my latest framing guy in L.A. on Yelp (a Guatemalan chap). I second the advice above about getting a cheap frame and splurging on conservation materials. Also, non-refective glass. Perspex is probably better, but more expensive.

BTW, you can have fun with a colorful mat and interesting frame. Maybe the store that you pick has some leftover wooden material that you might associate more with Flemish masters.
Last edited by SrGrumpy on Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

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nativenewenglander
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Re: Recommendations for framing a large photograph

Post by nativenewenglander » Mon Oct 14, 2019 4:01 am

I have used https://www.framedestination.com/ to purchase custom frames for six paintings and prints. They came out perfect and the shipping is very inexpensive. It cost 1/3 of what I was quoted from a local frame shop. After the first painting I ordered, I purchased all the matting choices, so I could make better choices on multiple mat backgrounds. Everything is beautifully package and the glass is clean, so ready to assemble.

dekecarver
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Re: Recommendations for framing a large photograph

Post by dekecarver » Mon Oct 14, 2019 5:42 am

Gnirk wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:31 pm
Part of our business before retirement included three very successful custom frame shops, and a good portion of our business was correcting a chain store’s framing. Archival framing is expensive, but if the photograph means anything to you, it’s worth it. Find an independent frame shop, find their least expensive frame and put your $$ into the archival glass and mat board. I wouldn’t take it to a large chain because the one I’m thinking of doesn’t frame in house....they send the items to Texas to be framed.

Even a metal poster frame will work if it’s done right.
My family ran a custom framing shop for years. +1 for ^ re glass, mat board and frame.

barnaclebob
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Re: Recommendations for framing a large photograph

Post by barnaclebob » Mon Oct 14, 2019 8:52 am

Custom framing is very expensive but makes you artwork or photos look twice as good when done properly. I think I've paid about $600 to frame an 18x24 poster but that was double matted, museum glass, and the frame itself wasn't the cheapest either. You probably aren't going to beat $300 but be sure they are actually using archival materials.

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Caduceus
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Re: Recommendations for framing a large photograph

Post by Caduceus » Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:19 am

Gnirk wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:31 pm
Part of our business before retirement included three very successful custom frame shops, and a good portion of our business was correcting a chain store’s framing. Archival framing is expensive, but if the photograph means anything to you, it’s worth it. Find an independent frame shop, find their least expensive frame and put your $$ into the archival glass and mat board. I wouldn’t take it to a large chain because the one I’m thinking of doesn’t frame in house....they send the items to Texas to be framed.

Even a metal poster frame will work if it’s done right.
A few questions for Gnirk, dekecarver (only on Bogleheads will I get to ask frame shop owners my questions!) and other knowledgeable posters:

1) Acrylic or glass: For my purposes (primarily archival, and only secondarily to display occasionally), I am thinking acrylic makes more sense. It does not break, unlike glass, which means that the photograph is less likely to be damaged through accidents. Do you agree?

2) Are the higher-end acrylics/glasses really worth it? I was given four basic options: (a) regular glass, (b) regular acrylic, (c) UV-filtering acrylic, and (d) various versions of something called True-Vue, which is very, very expensive but supposed to be the museum-conservation standard. My question is: is True-Vue really worth it? This photograph is historically very valuable, but would it matter if all I was doing was storing it in the dark? I don't intend to take it out very often. I might display it maybe a week or two every year, if at all. On the other hand, I guess there's an argument to just frame it right the first time. But the price difference is enormous.

3) Metal or wood?: I don't understand why most folks seem to choose wooden frames. Wood contracts or expands with changes in humidity, and it attracts pests and it degrades over time. I was thinking of going with a simple aluminum frame, which also happens to be cheaper. Any drawbacks, in your opinion?

4) What type of mat-board to choose? They are all acid free, but does it matter if it's 4-ply or 8-ply? I was told to choose only white for important photographs as colored mat-boards might bleed.

5) Is there any point in placing dehumidifiers (like ArtSorb silica gel sheets) inside the frame itself? Those are also very expensive.

Thanks! Geez - this whole framing business is more complicated than I thought.I guess the thing I need to know is: if i cannot afford everything - what's the most important thing not to save on? Is it the glass, the mat, the frame, etc?
Last edited by Caduceus on Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

travelspot
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Re: Recommendations for framing a large photograph

Post by travelspot » Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:20 am

I have also purchased frames for large photographs from www.framedestination.com and have been very happy with them. I think you could find what you need for just north of $100. Other options e.g. custom frame stores are just too expensive, and the Frame Destination ones look great.
If you don't do stuff, then you don't do stuff.

dpm321
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Re: Recommendations for framing a large photograph

Post by dpm321 » Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:36 am

Framing and matting a print this size, archivally, will be very expensive. If your intent is storage then framing is a waste of money. Go to a reputable frame shop and get a sheet of 8 ply archival mat board, cut it in half and sandwich the print between the two pieces. Use archival tape to seal the edges and you're good to go. The other option, which I use to store my unframed images, is to get an archival storage box and keep it in there, though this would be overkill for one print. I've been doing this for almost 50 years with zero problems. The important thing is to store the print in the dark, however you choose to house it.

Gnirk
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Re: Recommendations for framing a large photograph

Post by Gnirk » Mon Oct 14, 2019 11:21 am

Caduceus wrote:
Mon Oct 14, 2019 9:19 am
Gnirk wrote:
Sun Oct 13, 2019 11:31 pm
Part of our business before retirement included three very successful custom frame shops, and a good portion of our business was correcting a chain store’s framing. Archival framing is expensive, but if the photograph means anything to you, it’s worth it. Find an independent frame shop, find their least expensive frame and put your $$ into the archival glass and mat board. I wouldn’t take it to a large chain because the one I’m thinking of doesn’t frame in house....they send the items to Texas to be framed.

Even a metal poster frame will work if it’s done right.
A few questions for Gnirk, dekecarver (only on Bogleheads will I get to ask frame shop owners my questions!) and other knowledgeable posters:

1) Acrylic or glass: For my purposes (primarily archival, and only secondarily to display occasionally), I am thinking acrylic makes more sense. It does not break, unlike glass, which means that the photograph is less likely to be damaged through accidents. Do you agree?

2) Are the higher-end acrylics/glasses really worth it? I was given four basic options: (a) regular glass, (b) regular acrylic, (c) UV-filtering acrylic, and (d) various versions of something called True-Vue, which is very, very expensive but supposed to be the museum-conservation standard. My question is: is True-Vue really worth it? This photograph is historically very valuable, but would it matter if all I was doing was storing it in the dark? I don't intend to take it out very often. I might display it maybe a week or two every year, if at all. On the other hand, I guess there's an argument to just frame it right the first time. But the price difference is enormous.

3) Metal or wood?: I don't understand why most folks seem to choose wooden frames. Wood contracts or expands with changes in humidity, and it attracts pests and it degrades over time. I was thinking of going with a simple aluminum frame, which also happens to be cheaper. Any drawbacks, in your opinion?

4) What type of mat-board to choose? They are all acid free, but does it matter if it's 4-ply or 8-ply? I was told to choose only white for important photographs as colored mat-boards might bleed.

5) Is there any point in placing dehumidifiers (like ArtSorb silica gel sheets) inside the frame itself? Those are also very expensive.

Thanks! Geez - this whole framing business is more complicated than I thought.I guess the thing I need to know is: if i cannot afford everything - what's the most important thing not to save on? Is it the glass, the mat, the frame, etc?
1. I have no personal experience with acrylic, but I would definitely use, at the minimum, the UV-filtering acrylic. My personal preference is the archival glass.
2. See #1
3.A well-fit metal frame should be fine...I have used them for framing my personal items. (even though we owned the frame shops, I still paid retail with the normal employee discount, so I was cost-conscious).
4. 4-ply mat board is fine, as long as it is acid-free. And white would be my choice.
5. Where are you storing this photo? It should not be stored in an attic, garage, or any area where there are great changes in temperature, or where there is humidity. For the art that I don't always display, I store it in a bedroom closet.

If the photo is very valuable, then frame it right. And by that I mean frame it so that you are actually doing your best to protect it from damage by light, dust, heat, cold and humidity. You do not need to choose an expensive wooden frame, or the most expensive mat board.
By the way, some of the independent frame shops will occasionally offer 20% off or 25% off custom frames...though the discount doesn't usually apply to the glass or fitting.

DaftInvestor
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Re: Recommendations for framing a large photograph

Post by DaftInvestor » Tue Oct 15, 2019 6:37 am

I have used https://www.arttoframe.com/
Great results, lots of options, and well shipped I don't know how pricing might measure up though but take a look.
It might be just as expensive as the site you are looking at - I don't know.

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