What mat? No Mat?

So, down the road from me I have this store that everyone in the vicinity frequents and being one of those people I have come to know the owner a litte bit.

I asked him if it was alright to hang a picture in his store in the hopes ( dear God please someone buy the damn thing ) that someone will buy it. I live along a lake as do most of the people in my small area ( we live on a little peninsula ) and this is one of the most powerful sunsets I’ve had the pleasure of imaging. These folks love themselves some lake, so I figured it was a natural fit.

I got myself a frame ( 11 x 14 I believe ) to put this sucker in but now I’m faced with the decision of matting. To tell you the truth I don’t really like matting. Perhaps I’m a simpleton but I prefer the way a picture looks sans mat. I get that it’s not very “professional” even though I hate the damned things and it adds yet more cost to this little project.

From what I can suss out I need to have a mat that’s 11×14 with an 8×10 window. Is that proper? I have some snobby ass photogs around here so I don’t want it to be all jacked up. Thinking of one of these types ( I even ran into a guys wife who was snobby on his behalf LOL) going in the store all Judgy McJudge pants and talking smack riles me right up. So this has to be decent. Cheap frame is one thing, bad mat format is another ( right? ).

I’m already stuck with a very expensive ( an umatted)  custom frame I have NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH. For this very same purpose ! I’m in the hole in a big way and I don’t want to be carting this thing home like I did my glorious 11×17  frame and print.

  1. Rachael Alexandra08-18-2013

    Haha no +Richard Martin .  I came across this searching for something else and did not get one single notification for your comment :( I'm still saving up to buy it first :)

  2. Richard Martin08-15-2013

    +Rachael Alexandra This just came across my stream again… So, did you sell it. I can't see how you could miss with the marketing slogan… Please someone buy the d… thing. :)

  3. Don Spenner08-15-2013


  4. Shawn McClure07-09-2013

    This is gorgeous.

  5. Olav Folland06-21-2013

    Nothing wrong with that – I write in a conversational style for most things.  – even my recipes are written like I was telling them to the reader.

  6. Rachael Alexandra06-20-2013

    +Richard Martin  Thanks x 2 Richard :) . I don't think of myself as a writer so that's nice to hear. Hopefully when it comes out of my mouth it sounds just as good :) I try to type as a I talk, minus the cussing lol I've never heard of the guy so I'll have to check him out :p

  7. Richard Martin06-20-2013

    You write well. Maybe you should do one of those Garrison Keillor type deals. …. Although, I have to admit I've only listened to his show once for about 5 minutes. (I did read your entire share :)  +Rachael Alexandra

  8. Rachael Alexandra06-20-2013

    Thank you so much +Olav Folland :) 

    +Richard Martin  It's worth a lot to me just so you know :)

  9. Richard Martin06-20-2013

    I've got zero advice. Don't have a clue about the matting issue. But I did enjoy reading your share, for whatever that is worth. :) +Rachael Alexandra

  10. Olav Folland06-20-2013

    +Rachael Alexandra here's the web store for University Art.  They're a local chain in the Bay Area and up here in Sacramento.  When I need uncut matting and other general art supplies it's where I shop (helps that they've a store around the corner too ;)

    The link is to the pre-cut area on their web store.  They've got several window sizes for most of the standard mat/frame sizes.

  11. Olav Folland06-19-2013

    I did one (metal print) for a customer a while back.  I wanted to keep it for myself…  I'm planning on getting a couple for the patio at some point.

    Print-wise their work is superb.  IMO slightly better than Mpix and on a par with what I've seen from WHCC.  I love love their metallic prints, especially in B&W or sepia.  Particularly for metal, I'd let them color correct for the process.  I still generally do that with no "surprises" to date.

  12. BJ Bolender06-19-2013

    I sold and demonstrated handheld mat cutters and I can tell you that they are difficult to use well.  Decent ones about $100 and you need a large metal yardstick/long ruler.

    Custom framers can cut and should cut mats with a 1/8" overlap, even some can do 1/16".  I know because I was a professional in a custom picture framing shop for 3 years.  We also cut the tiniest invisible mats to frame a gloss photo but keep the glass from touching the surface.  This way you get the frameless look in skinny frames but have protection.

  13. Rachael Alexandra06-19-2013

    Thank you +Martin Matejic  it's one one of my best sunsets so your appreciation means a lot to me :)

    +Matt Tuomala  Thank you for your thoughts, both the frames are kinda poopy the more I think of it ….so I'm going to bit the bullet and get a metal print.

    Which brings me to you Bay photo guys +james bruce  and +Olav Folland  seeing that I can get 25% off my first purchase I'm going to go for it. Metal print time lol I'm going to get rounded corners and high gloss , can't be any more reflective than regular glass in a picture frame. How do their prints turn out? My monitor is calibrated but only in the most basic way. Should I lighten up the picture or leave it as is ?

  14. Olav Folland06-19-2013

    Yeah, I've got a mat cutter for when I need to do custom stuff.  A basic one is around $100.  Some art stores sell odd sizes pre-cut.  I'm pretty sure University Art does (I'll dig up the website as soon as I get a chance)

    +Bay Photo Lab does more than local – I use them through SmugMug,

  15. Matt Tuomala06-19-2013

    charcoal colored mat/back,  and fancy photo corner stickers that match the frame

  16. Martin Matejic06-19-2013

    This is way too awesome not to be bought, love the drama! As for the questions i'm just a rookie so i'll be out of the further conversation about matting and other fansy stuff :) Once again, really dig this stuff!

  17. Rachael Alexandra06-19-2013

    +james bruce  Thank you and I agree, the prices are very good for what you're getting. Selling something at all would be good. just know no matter which course I choose I'm not going to sell myself short :) Many of the folks in my neighborhood  people have boats and lakefront properties ( I wish, I want a Bass  Hound XD ! lol) , maybe they can spare the change ;)

  18. james bruce06-19-2013

    +Rachael Alexandra I just took a look at Bay Photo again.  I am not sure what size you are wanting to sell, but the pricing can be quite good for smaller prints up to 11×13 or so.  I just had a friend buy several prints there and he was really impressed.  I hope you sell not just one but several of that print no matter which way you go, it is really lovely.
    You also may find that when you price your work at a higher price that you sell more.  Good luck and keep shooting, your work is very good.

  19. Rachael Alexandra06-19-2013

    +Matt Tuomala  ( and everyone else too :p) these are the two frames I have. The brown one is what I was going to use, the black on with the light grey stripes is my custom frame 11 x 17. Since the place  that I was showing it was shut down, it hangs on my own wall lol 

    +BJ Bolender  In the Album I linked Matt to the heart/shell picture is actually on metallic paper. I fell in love with it. It's incredibly glare-y though :( 

    +Olav Folland  I've already had custom mats made. It sucks, I have these little cardboard things and can't do a thing with them. I tried to get the little sticky corners and special hinging tape and it was a massive flop lol Try cutting matboard with scissors haha The guy at the framing desk could have mentioned I needed something else  to cut it with. Thanks for the tip on Bay Photo, they don't just service the local area though, right?

    +Melissa Beagle  I'm sure it would but what am I going to sell this thing for? I was thinking about 60$ That goes up to around $80 at Costco's price.  It's a great suggestion though, thank you :)

    +james bruce  The mother of all suggestions lol Prints on metal. If I liked the metallic paper as much as I did I'm sure I'd just be tickled pink by a metal print. Same thing as the canvas prints Melissa mentioned though. Price. Though I have not seen anyone in the area print on metal, the novelty might be worth it. I'm incredibly afraid of investing more money though, I don't think I can handle failing again. I went in the hole on the custom frame I linked to Matt  and the print to go with it and obviously it's still in my possession. Say all together it's about 65.00 to get it made up, floated, and gotten here., I have no idea what to charge on top of that. I just know I have Dr.s bills to pay :- I'd have to charge at least $160 to feel decent about myself. Then I start thinkin' who the heck is going to go to get their lottery tickets and end up dropping serious cash on a print. Having said that, I did buy a ridiculously priced ( relatively speaking)  stuffed Champy that a crafter had put up in there because it's a regional icon and it was so freaking cute . Another thought is that I'm an unknown ( I don't photograph people unless requested ) and pricing a print that high could either work in my favor or against me. Either I'm a hot-shot or I'm a wanna be hotshot o.o lol Sorry I've digressed but this whole deal is money that I;d use for food, so I make a kind of big deal out of it.

  20. james bruce06-19-2013

    Another choice could be to print on metal.  Check the prices at Bay Photo.  I think it would look great done that way.  Great photo.  I don't like matts either.

  21. Olav Folland06-19-2013

    If you want to go canvas, Thin Wraps from Bay and others don't lose much more than a standard matting either.

  22. Melissa Beagle06-19-2013

    This would look wonderful as one of the canvas wrapped prints. Then you could keep the clean lines (no mat) and no cutting off anything. A 12 x 16 print at Costco is only $28.99 and you can get it with black edges so again, no cutting any of those glorious colors. (plus Costco can mail it to you)

    As long as it's clean lines, the power of the photo will show through. You could also do that with a simple black frame as well.  So to heck with any snobs! ;0)

  23. Matt Tuomala06-19-2013

    hmm..   what does the frame look like?

  24. Olav Folland06-19-2013

    An 8×10" window on an 11×14" mat is going to cut about 1/4" off each side.  So, not too much unless you have critical details on the border.

    8×10" is a "standard" opening.  You can also buy pre-cut mats for a 2×3 aspect ratio – 8×12" for example if you look.  Again with the 1/4" loss, but that's so the edges of the photo don't show.  You might want have to look around though – most of my sources are bulk.

    Your art supply store could also cut one if you can't find it, but it's not going to be so cheap.

  25. BJ Bolender06-19-2013

    Definitely look into a metal print paper!  This is the type of image perfect for that.  I did it a few times and warm images just gleam like crazy.

  26. Rachael Alexandra06-19-2013

    +Allan Cabrera  Thank you and thank you again ! I'm pleased to not be the only one who thinks it'd look nice unmatted :D

  27. Rachael Alexandra06-19-2013

    11×14 is about the biggest I can go with the little section of wall I am after and even that is a bit cramped lol

  28. Rachael Alexandra06-19-2013

    +Elizabeth Lund  If I do have it matted, I'd get the picture printed at 8 x 10 so I wouldn't be cutting too much off hopefully. I have a personal love for larger prints though and I'd love to show it off as big as I can manage. Which means getting it printed 11×14 :)  I did a test run in Zenfolio to see what it'd look like framed, and matted with black and white. I still like the full version without the mat better. The frame is fairly thin, so it's not as wide as the one on zen , so that might factor into it. I might take a couple screen shots later and post them for comparison purposes. Thanks too, I was just lucky enough to be there takin' the picture. I wasn't the only one either lol When we get a bad ass sunset the whole side of the peninsula notices :p 

    +Chris Mallory  Yep, same sunset :) I'm going to re-edit this one though so it doesn't come out as quite dark as yours did. Ahh the perils of not having on of those little spider things to stick to the screen to calibrate it lol

  29. Allan Cabrera06-19-2013

    I'm with +Elizabeth Lund on this one. I would go with unmatted…Beautiful capture btw!!

  30. Chris Mallory06-19-2013

    This looks like the one on my wall, was it taken the same day by any chance? :) Dunno about the questions though.

  31. Elizabeth Lund06-19-2013

    Awesome photo and personally I would leave it unmatted as it would also cut off some of the great clouds and color!
    JMHO :)

  32. Rachael Alexandra06-19-2013

    Thank you +BJ Bolender  :D

  33. BJ Bolender06-19-2013

    Sheer beauty, awesome even!

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

"Midway in the journey of our life • I came to myself in a dark wood • for the straight way was lost" - Dante's Inferno