Despite the rise of digital photography and online photo albums, nothing beats framing and displaying print portraits in your home.  There is a reason that framing is still a popular choice: portraits come alive when they are paired with the right mat and frame.  The big question is: should I frame the portrait myself or seek out a professional to do it for me?  Either method has its pros and cons.  Read on to learn more about each and to decide for yourself which works best for you.


Custom Framing

Custom framing, although more expensive than DIY framing, is a great option for portraits that hold special meaning to you, for example heirloom or wedding photos.  Many professional framers operate out of a retail store, though it is not uncommon to find home-based framing businesses or framing hobbyists.  Custom framers offer several advantages that make their higher price point worth the investment:

  • Knowledge and Expertise: Many custom framers invest in training and courses that allow them to stay up-to-date regarding trends, techniques, and things to avoid. Their familiarity with principles of color, shape, proportion, and design allow them to give you the best advice for framing your portrait.
  • Craftsmanship: Custom framers invest in specialty tools and employ techniques to ensure their customers walk away with a high quality frame for their portrait. Their hands-on approach and care is time well-spent over a mass produced frame.
  • Material Selection: Custom framers often have access to unique and/or specialty framing materials that the general public does not. This may include conservation framing materials that help preserve photos for years, if not centuries.


Do you homework before seeking out a custom framer, as each one has his or her own style and price points.  Because quality also varies, it cannot hurt to get a second opinion.   If possible, consult a professional photographer for their recommendations.


DIY Framing

Matting and framing your own portraits is often the most economical choice, especially if you are on a budget.  Labor costs associated with custom framing can add up quickly and set you back several hundred dollars for just one portrait.


You have a couple of options when it comes to DIY framing.  The easiest, and often cheapest, option is to purchase a ready-made frame.  These frames can be found at many locations, from department stores and home good stores to camera shops, and come in a wide-range of colors, sizes, styles, and price points.  Most come fully assembled with backing material and glass.  All you need to do is remove the backing, clean the glass (if needed), insert your photo, and secure the backing in place.


Another option is to choose and assemble the mat and frame yourself.  Unlike ready-made frames, you have more control over the look and feel, allowing you to add a touch of your personality to the final product.  Materials can be purchased at a craft store, DIY framing store, hardware store, or online.  Tips for selecting a mat and frame can be found in this September blog post.  If you choose to acquire your materials from a DIY framing or craft store, consult an employee or in-house framing expert about the materials they recommend or tips they have for your particular framing project.  Some shops can even cut glass and matting for you so all you have to do when you go home is assemble the frame.  Just remember, the more work you do, the more you will typically save on the overall project.  Need guidance on the framing process?  Social sharing platforms like Pinterest provide hundreds of creative ideas while other websites and blogs offer step-by-step instruction, like this post from Apartment Therapy.


Regardless of the framing method you decide on, be assured you are making a safe investment in the preservation of your most precious memories.  At Michael Broyles Photography we use The Town Framery.


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