If you’re going to do your own printing and framing, realize that it’s an art. I confess to not being very good at framing. But I have some excellent framers who work for me and they offer a few short tips.
The biggest problem with framing your own prints typically comes from improperly curing them. This leads to glass ghosting and other problems. It’s completely unavoidable.
My framers advise taking extra care when curing images. They say better to be on the side of waiting a little longer to frame than framing too soon.
After you make a print, allow the print to sit undisturbed for 15-30 minutes. Resist the temptation to pull the print off the printer. Let it sit there for a bit. When you do remove the print, use print gloves and hold the print by opposing corners to avoid creasing.
Place the print in a clean, dry area where you can lay it flat. Let the print rest here another 15 minutes. Then cover it with a plain piece of paper – not photo paper. The cover should be equal or greater in size to the print.
Leave the print here for 24-48 hours. You may need an additional 12-24 hours for larger prints.
If the print is wavy when you frame it, you’ll have problems so allow as much time as necessary for the outgassing process. The aforementioned times are guidelines, not rules.
You may think a print is dry before it really is. Most prints are dry to the touch the minute they come out of the printer. But this isn’t the kind of “dry” you want when you frame. Allow proper time to pass. You’ll have fewer of these problems when printing on matte or art paper.
Here are a few more random framing tips.
1. Use archival quality materials.
2. Use a dust backing to both protect the print and present a professional appearance.
3. Don’t use framing hooks – use framing wire. It more equally balances the weight of the frame and also provides a more professional presentation.
4. Poke a small thumtack-sized hole in the center of the backing to let it breathe.
5. If you’re shipping the framed print and it needs glazing, use plexiglass not real glass.
6. Remember that frames are meant to COMPLIMENT your photograph. Don’t let the frame overwhelm the image.
7. Professional matting can make an image look better when framed.