Framing : LUSENET : B&W Photo - Printing & Finishing : One Thread

Are black frames the best type to use for displaying black and white photos? Also, when taking portrait photos what colour backdrop is best to use?

-- Paula Turner (, January 20, 2000


That is actually for you to decide. (This applies to both your questions.)

Conc. framing: This is often a matter of debate between followers of this belief or that. Many people will not accept any colour for a passepartout but white. (The more tolerant ones will admit that there are different tones, just as there are warm-tone papers and neutral or cold ones.) Most passepartouts I saw at exhibitions were white, too. Yet, personally, I like to use dark gray ones for (most of) my own prints.

As for the background for portraits: I seldom shoot formal portraits, but I would guess that here, too, anything goes. If you portray a black-haired person in front of a black background, it might be a good idea to use backlight to create some highlight, or bright lining, on the subject's hair, or there will be too little separation from the background. With a blonde, then, to light a background might cause problems.

Still, almost any mistake can be used for artistic effect. So I guess this posting will not yield too many helpful answers.

-- Thomas Wollstein (, January 20, 2000.

Don't be afraid to try different frames. My philosophy on frames has always been to keep it simple...especially with black and white. I want the frame to compliment the image, yet not draw too much attention to itself(hence, away from the image). Personally, I like Maple shadowboxes(1 1/4 inch deep for 16x20), which also look nice with sepia toned images, IMHO. One disadvantage to these frames is they are not quite as cost-effective as the aluminum black, or polished silver frames.

-- Paul Klingaman (, January 20, 2000.

For the backdrop: you choose. Not only the light/dark, but also whether it should be textured.

You have to worry about the colour of the matte surround (passepartout), and the frame. Both are matters of taste. Many people only like white for the matte. I rarely like either white or black, prefering something neutral in tone. I used to like a low-saturation colour, like sepia or dull green or blue. I now prefer them much closer to grey, but it has to be exactly the same colour grey as the photo, or deliberately different: a cool grey for a warm photo, etc.

How light or dark for the matte? Whatever works with the image. You might find that one with a dark background works best with a light matte, and vice versa. Or it might not.

The frame, matte and image should all work together. If they are being framed for a particular room, you might take that into account as well.

-- Alan Gibson (, January 20, 2000.

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