Why I Don't Feature Unframed Prints

NOTE: This post was originally part of the "About" section of my website.

There are lots of photographic print sellers on the internet, many of them offering good work. But you often see e-commerce solutions on these sites that were designed around traditional print sizes with prices tiered accordingly. All you can do is check a box. I decided early on in planning SPR Images that I wanted print sizes to reflect the aspect ratios of the images themselves and that I wanted to offer glassless, framed and finished work, ready to hang on the wall. Here are some of the reasons:

  • Print sales based on standard frame sizes (8 x 10, 11 x 14, 16 x 20, etc.) means every image has to be a variation on a standard 4:5 rectangle. This may be a good aspect ratio for portraits, but even a single 35mm frame is wider (or taller) at 4:6. Anyway, I think the image should dictate the size and shape of the print and frame, not the other way around.
  • It seems to me an unframed print is unfinished. If you buy a poster, OK, but I think fine art of any kind should be finished, ready to hang and enjoy. Few painters sell unframed canvasses unless their intent is for the work to be displayed that way.
  • I think they look better. Everything I try to do with my work is to maximize visual impact, and so far I’ve yet to find an image that looks better to me with a mat, a wider frame profile and glass. At the first gallery show I did with glassless framing, people asked, “What are these? Photographs? They look like paintings.” That’s when I knew I was on the right track.
  • Priced as they are, I think my finished images are a good value. Even simple, traditional framing with a mat and UV glass is expensive, and if you go for “museum glass” (anti-reflective), the cost is astronomical. Also, few frame shops are set up to do this kind of print lamination, mounting and surface protection.
  • Last, it's easier for buyers to see and understand exactly what they're going to end up with on their wall, without having a framing project to get done first.