I have a couple of question regarding matting:
1) What color should be used for the matte? One contest that I considered entering required photos to be matted in a 'museum quality white' (whatever that is).
2) I like the 2 x 3 format of our cameras. Yet stock mattes available at local art supply stores are in 5 x 7, 8 x 10, 11 x 14, etc. Oft times the composition of the photos I take do not fit these formats. The alternative is custom matting and at times framing. Anyone know of a online business that has stock 2 x 3 mattes available?
Thanks in advance for your answers and comments.
"If you want to be a better photographer, stand in front of better stuff." – Jim Richardson
#1. "RE: Matting" | In response to Reply # 0esantos Nikonian since 10th Nov 2002Mon 21-Oct-13 01:22 PM
Mats can be just about any color and are even lined with textured material. It can be a bit tricky matching colored mats with a photograph and frame. If you don't have a good sense of color I would leave that to someone who does. Also, using a colored mat is subject to personal taste. This is the reason most people "play it safe" with a nice high-quality white or neutral off-white colored mat. Museums and galleries are very particular about mats and generally discourage colored matting.
There are dozens of framing suppliers on line but very few of them offer stock mats outside of the normal 5x7, 8x10, etc. It really doesn't cost too much more to special order mats to the aspect ratio and outside dimensions you need. Personally, I have a good working relationship with a local framing shop and they get all my business.
esartprints.com Ernesto Santos Photography
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#2. "RE: Matting" | In response to Reply # 0fdi Nikonian since 14th Feb 2010Mon 21-Oct-13 11:00 PM
What color to use for a matte is a few chapters of a book.
In photography a common framing style is called gallery style which consists of a simple small black frame with a white mat. The goal is the frame and matboard do not distract from the photo. This style has 3 significant advantages:
1. it is easy to figure out, no custom frame design skills required
2. when doing a gallery show, keeping the frames and mats the same helps ensure that frames do not distract from the theme of the photography
3. allows for lower cost since you can take advantage of qty discounts
When going with gallery style one guideline is to avoid using a mat that is a brighter white than the brightest white in the image. In the Bainbridge Alphamat line they have color called "photo white" which is a good general purpose white.
If you are going to select a color for the mat a basic guideline for that is to pick a color that is not the dominant color of the image, but a color that would be nice if it had a little more pop. Of course when factoring in frame color and the decor of the location for the framed piece and your personal preference things get more complicated.
In regards to size the problem you mention is why I started Frame Destination after I started printing my own images. 3:2 aspect sizes are standard at my company however, most online supplies will cut the same sizes and the cost is not high especially if you can order 4-10 at a time.
My companies website has some more info about the types of mat board (decorative vs archival) here:
#3. "RE: Matting" | In response to Reply # 0kmh Nikonian since 04th May 2008Tue 22-Oct-13 12:42 AM
I can vouch for the excellent service provided by FrameDestinations. I have bought frames and mats from them for years. They offer a long list of mat/frame sizes, which cover aspect ratios of 1.5:1 and more, in many mat colors and several styles of frames. If you need an odd size, they can supply it for just a few dollars more. Their prices are very competitive.