Printing, Matting & Framing.

Printing your images.
So after you have taken your image, edited & cropped as needed, now it is time to print your image. There are so many sources for printing your images, it can be mind boggling. I use online and "Lab" printing services. Nowadays, you can even digitally print yourself. I have checked out the "home" printers and they have their pluses and minuses. I still use optically printed services, I just feel the details come out better for what I want to print. But I have seen very good results on a good HP photo printer too, one that can print an 13x19 print. Price of the one I looked at was about $650 which isn't bad, then you have to add the price of the paper and rest of the stuff too.

If you decide that you want to print your own images, check the differences between "Pigment" and "Dye" transfer printers. Dye transfer printers are being superceded by pigment printers. You then need to buy good supplies, ink and papers. Look into Giclee or Acrhival prnter supplies. If you decide on pigment inks, you want at least an 8 color printer, I have seen as many as 12 color printers. So now you can have your own lightroom.

Next, I will take a look at parper types. Yes, there is the usual matte and glossy. But have you ever seen a "Metallic" print? It should not be used on EVERY print, but ones with a lot of high contrast, such as black & silver (Those colors give the best results, my opinion). When you see the difference on a metallic print compared to a glossy print, with the right subject and coloring, the difference is amazing. Kodak came up with this in the early 2000's and they call it their Endura Metallic papers. There are online services for metallic prints (Search with kodak metallic print), I prefer to use a lab in Irvine called Pro Photo Connection (I do not get any kind of discount for mentioning them). I have done many prints there and their quality is very good, plus if I don't like my print, they have reprinted the print at no charge before, making more adjustments to the process. I wish I could simply show you here the difference between a 'normal' & 'metallic' print, but that is difficult, I will experiement with my little digital camera and see what I can do. If you have an image that does NOT have a lot of contrast, you probably won't want to use a metallic print. But if you shoot in black & white, WOW, incredible results.

Again, here there are so many ways to do this. You can buy "pre cut" mats, you can pay for a "custom mat" or you can purchase a mat cutting system. I have done all of these. I started by buying the pre cut mats, but I found I had to crop & print my pictures to the mat size, it just wasn't right to me. Then I was trying to get some prints I made matted & framed at a local place. I had 3 prints and the cost of just this service was well over $120 each. I thought I was stuck, expensive work that I just could not afford or cheap mats. Then I was at a "home show" and there were people there doing a demo on a mat cutting system. I was impressed how I could buy my own system that was inexpensive and I could do whatever I wanted with a mat. If I screwed up, just cut another one. I use the Alto's Mat cutting system and I highly recommend it for those who want to do their own work. I just go out and buy mat board in full sized sheets, which are about 40x32 inches. Your color choices are endless. I learned that you just don't use "white mats & black frames", you need to select a mat board that is one of the "lesser" colors that are in the image, a different color for the frame, following the colors from the print again. There are exceptions, making an entry for the OC Fair, use a black frame & white mat, even if it doesn't fit the print's colors or some landscapes will look better with a mat & frame that are close to the same color. But I find for underwater shots, since fish have such vivid colors, picking the colors from the print work great. See the 2 images of the Donkey to the right? The first would represent an unframed picture, then you see what a mat & frame look like. I have this shot matted & framed on my wall at home. Just remember the "Golden rule" of matting, ALWAYS use "museum quality" mat board. What is that? Museum quality mat board does NOT have any acids in the material. Have you ever seen a mat that has a "brownish" tint to it? Or the artwork under it has that same tint? Those acids will eventually destroy the artwork under it, so always use museum quality mat boards.

You have options here as well. You can purchase ready made frames, get a custom frame made or make your own. I will keep this part short, I buy my frames. Many places around town offer "monthly deals" or "One cent frame sales". You can even pick up old frames at garage sales for that "old time look" if that is what you want. I have the tools to make my own frames, but I just don't want to keep all the wood & glass for this step. Again, use a color that is in the print for your frame.

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since 03-21-10.