Archival, acid-free 4-ply mat board is recommended.

8-ply mat board is even better and looks great but is more expensive.

I prefer the simplicity (and lower cost) of a single matt and think double mats detract from the photo.

I would strongly avoid colored mats. It’s better to use off white, warm white, or slight cream tone.

Matching a matt color with a color in your photo will detract from the integrity of the photo

Window: I recommend about ¼” space around the black border or edge of the image

Use at least 4″ border on top and sides, 4.5 to 5″ on bottom.

Smaller borders, even on small prints, will not isolate the image enough and will look cheap.

Sometimes a small print with a very large border can be very effective

Minimum border size could be 3” but 4” is much better. Less is too constricted around the image.


I do not recommend elaborate frames that detract from the photograph.

I would use a wood museum frame or simple box frame and would avoid ornate or elaborate frames.

Black, brown or natural wood finish is usually the most complimentary to photographs.

Black or silver metal frames can be very attractive and are also less expensive than wood.

I much prefer a deeper profile depth (about 1.5 to 2″) than a shallow profile frame.


Regular glass is usually fine and is inexpensive.

Plexiglas is preferable for very large prints. It is much less fragile and weighs a lot less for shipping.

Plexiglass is safer for large prints but is more expensive and scratches easily and is hard to clean.

UV glass is good if the print will be in direct sunlight but is more expensive.

Museum glass is amazingly clear but much more expensive (and often not necessary)!

Non-glare glass is not recommended because it is less clear, as it has a slight textured surface.

Remember these are my preferences, based on known gallery preferences, current trends and what I think works best for showcasing a photograph as a work of art, yet you are the one that has to live with the frame and how it fits your existing décor and personal taste.  


122 8th St SE, Minneapolis MN 55414, (612) 874-7222
(great prices)

Washington Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55401, (612) 676-0696
(great work, nice people)

1500 Jackson St NE  #443, Minneapolis, MN 55413, (612) 788-1790
(expensive but very high quality, also a photo gallery)


©Douglas Beasley 2017