General framing, esp. panoramas

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by pna, Mar 6, 2012.

  1. pna macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2005
    Hi all,

    As I've gotten better at photography over the years, I've continued to struggle to find a good place to get inexpensive (yet classy) frames. In particular, I've had difficulty finding good frames for less standard shots like panoramas.

    The choice I feel I'm faced with is one that I suspect many of you are also faced with. You love a shot you took, and would love to have it on display, but can't stomach the cost of spending $150+ to get a proper frame instead of spending the money on something else photography or life related. As a result, I've got about 5 big prints that I'd love to have hanging around my place, but haven't framed yet. They were cheap enough to print and look fantastic, but framing them is going to break me.

    Surely many of you have faced the same issue and found ways to address it. Do you have a favorite place to buy frames online that are nice, but less expensive?

    Any and all thoughts are really appreciated here. Especially on finding nice frames for panoramas.

    Thank you!
  2. Ruahrc, Mar 21, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012

    Ruahrc macrumors 65816

    Jun 9, 2009
    A few thoughts:

    1) You have a photo you really like, what is so wrong with spending some money to present it in a manner fitting of its quality? A well made print with proper framing can last a lifetime, and is truly a work of art- so is it really a "waste" of money to present it properly? As far as the actual framing goes, I always invest in museum glass (the ones with antireflective coatings and UV protection). The print just looks so much better with that, especially in rooms where you can't control the lighting/reflections as well. Personally, I feel it is well worth the cost even though it can be quite expensive. The frames themselves I usually go with a very simple and subtle black wooden frame, with a super clean white matte (although I have done double and triple mattes with some color which looked excellent too).

    I can tell you that I nave never regretted spending the money to get the pictures framed. I enjoy them very much, and having them framed on the wall does me a lot more good than having those 1s and 0s sitting on my HD, doing nothing. You spend several thousand (or more) dollars on camera equipment, for what- images you only look at on screen?

    2) I have framed several largish panos in my apartment over the past few years. Do you live in the US? Or, is there a Michael's craft store nearby? I got nearly all my big prints framed at Michaels. They often run sales on custom framing, with discounts as high as 60% off. So even though I still end up spending $150 or so, that's a $500 frame job- which means I am selecting quality materials like the above mentioned museum glass. With big discounts like this, I feel I get a decent value.

    3) I have put a few panos in Ikea frames. Again I like the simplicity of the Ikea frames, and they have a couple pano-format options. The framing quality is obviously not on par with a professionally done job, but it works well enough. Cheap glass panes can be replaced with cut pieces of museum glass, or you can even just take the glass out.

    4) You can try "standardizing" on pano aspect ratios, and using image-neutral framing (i.e. simple black frames and simple white mattes- gallery style). This way, you can swap out prints using the same frame and matte over again if you want to change up your decor. By keeping the aspect ratio constant, you can slot in new prints and they will still fit.

    5) An alternative for "cheaper" panos is to use some kind of frameless/glassless presentation, like a gallery wrap. These are I believe on the whole a little less expensive than getting a print of equal size framed, and the presentation itself is a little more modern. I might try doing this with some future prints to see how I like them. Other alternatives are also having it face-mounted to acrylic so you can suspend it from the ceiling with fishing wire, etc., or even get it printed on metal which again requires no frame/glass (although large metal prints can be quite expensive too).

    But really it all just comes down to presentation. IMHO, pick the presentation you feel best fits the image and the display area, and don't worry as much about the cost. Wait for the big sales like the Michael's 60% off ones, and get your prints framed then. Finally, don't feel bad about properly enjoying your images! It's why many of us shoot photography to begin with! I'll repeat it again- make those 1s and 0s work for you! They do nobody any good just sitting on your HD.

    At risk of getting off topic, let me rephrase the situation. Do you feel it is a "waste of money" to go on a photography trip to take photos? Would you also rather put that money into more gear? The bottom line is, not every monetary expenditure in photography revolves around acquisition of new gear.

    If the expense is too great for you, just slow down the rate. My goal has been roughly to produce one "high end" photographic print per year. At that rate, the expense is very reasonable and it helps me better enjoy the fruits of my photography efforts- something that is easy to lose sight of, getting caught up in the minutae of pixel peeping, gear specs, and processing techniques.

  3. Photoshopper macrumors regular


    Mar 24, 2010
    Good points all, Ruahrc.

    Another good option for presentation, and probably the least expensive, is to simply flush-mount the borderless print on to 1/2" black foam or (better) gator board. There are simple brackets you stick in the back for hanging.
    While there's no protection against accidental rough contact with the print surface, it's a very contemporary style of presentation, and budget-friendly. You can also protect the surface with a spray coating. I love museum glass, but it's also nice to not have any glass at all between the print and the viewer.
  4. Somepix macrumors member


    Apr 7, 2008
    Beauce, Québec
    Pano framing

    This is my (basic solution) for this 10" x 54" pano :

    1) Pano printed at local printing and copying store
    2) 1/8 masonite
    3) Glass (better : non-glare glass)
    3) Decorative plate hangers (not easy to find, but ....)

    Attached Files:

Share This Page