How to frame a photograph – design and rationale.

How to frame a photograph – design and rationale.

We have here a photograph that a client brought in. Obviously, it’s of a couple and this is the effect of it in a single mat. We’ve taken the mat and decided to chose a white colour that was soft so that it wouldn’t contrast too much with the beiges that are in here – it’s soft and sort of off-white in the background. We decided together with that particular client on that particular white.

When we do anything like this, we tend to put a certain amount of mat board around the artwork. That amount of mat board varies depending on the frame we use as well as varies depending on a lot of other things on how much space we need to give the artwork so that it breathes.

The basic concept, though, is that the sides are even on all 4 sides. We I cheat by putting a little bit more on the bottom because of something called parallax. When we see something on the wall, the top looks bigger because of the angle at which you’re looking at it. So, we put 1/4 of an inch more on the bottom and then your eye feels comfortable and it feels like all 4 sides are equal.

The client decided that they wanted to have a solid walnut frame. That’s what this is and we declined when the client actually wanted a smaller mat board. I refused because I still want your eye to flow evenly from the outside through the mat board to the image and in order for that to happen, we needed a larger width of mat so that we have enough of the mat board there so that your eye movement flows instead of there being a sharp definitive line.

We worked together on picking the colour of the mat chosen. They wanted walnut, solid walnut and this is the one that they chose. This has a very wide profile and the width of this profile just highlights how much you’re going to focus on the content because the brown that’s all the way around here is literally a barrier keeping your eye on the content.

So, if you’re not interested in this photograph you wouldn’t bother looking at all, but if you’re in the least bit interested in it, then this brown will focus your eye because it will force you try to stay in the frame acting as a barrier.


Dictated by John Daniel

Atelier Daniel

4625 Avenue Wilson,

Montreal, Quebec


Produced by Ocean Marketing