Matting your Photo

When you are presenting a photo for a live audience, you want that photo to be showcased to the best of your ability. So definitely you want to have the photo printed onto the highest quality paper possible, with the best printing system. The next step is to mat the photo in a way which best highlights the photo's qualities.

I cover matting separately from framing because those are two separate steps. The mat can often make or break a photo.

For the majority of subjects, a white or off-white mat is best. You want your eye to be drawn to the photo itself, not to the mat around it. In this first example, try shrinking your browser down so you just see each photo one at a time. See how it gives a different impression with the different colors around it. For this photo, I chose the traditional white mat.

Matting your Photo


Matting your Photo


Matting your Photo


Matting your Photo


Sometimes, though, a colored mat can help the image stand out more clearly. Here is an example. The shell looks washed out with the white or off-white mats, while the blue mat helps draw out the color of the shell.

Matting your Photo


Matting your Photo


Matting your Photo


The key is to physically try laying your photo down with a variety of mat options to see how the colors react with each other. Be aware that the standards are white or off-white, but be willing to go beyond that if it helps the photo come to life.

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